Church History
Doctrine and Covenants Historical Resources: Sidney Rigdon

Doctrine and Covenants Historical Resources: Sidney Rigdon, Doctrine and Covenants Historical Resources (2021)

Sidney Rigdon, Doctrine and Covenants Historical Resources (2021)

Sidney Rigdon


Photograph of Sidney Rigdon

Sidney Rigdon, ca. 1873, photograph by Irving Saunders, copy by Fox and Symons Studio, Church History Library, PH 4192.

Sidney Rigdon was born in St. Clair, Pennsylvania, in 1793. He married Phebe Brooks in 1820. He was a former reformed Baptist preacher before joining The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Geauga County, Ohio, in November 1830. He then became a scribe to Joseph Smith and was appointed to travel with him to Missouri in 1831 (Doctrine and Covenants 52:3). In 1832, Rigdon was appointed one of Joseph Smith’s counselors and was also appointed a member of the United Firm (Doctrine and Covenants 82:11). In 1833, Rigdon and Frederick G. Williams, as Joseph Smith’s counselors in the presidency of the high priesthood, were “accounted as equal” with Joseph Smith “in holding the keys of this last kingdom” (Doctrine and Covenants 90:6). Rigdon was imprisoned with Joseph Smith and other Latter-day Saints in the jail in Liberty, Missouri, from December 1838 through February 1839, when he was released. In 1839, he accompanied Joseph Smith to Washington DC to try to obtain redress from the federal government for the mistreatment the Latter-day Saints had suffered in Missouri, but the attempt failed. Rigdon later joined the main body of Saints in their new settlement at Nauvoo, Illinois. Following Joseph Smith’s martyrdom, Rigdon claimed the right to lead the Church. He was subsequently excommunicated in 1844 and started his own church in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

References in the Doctrine and Covenants

Doctrine and Covenants 35, 36, 37, 40, 41, 42, 44, 49, 52, 53, 55, 58, 60, 61, 63, 70, 71, 73, 76, 78, 82, 90, 93, 100, 102, 103, 104, 111, 112, 115124