John Murdock (Mormon)

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John Murdock (July 15, 1792 – December 23, 1871) was an early convert to the Latter Day Saint movement and was a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). He is mentioned twice in the Doctrine and Covenants. He was also the first mission president for the LDS Church in Australia.

Murdock was born in Shell Beach, New York.

Prior to joining the Latter Day Saint Church of Christ, Murdock had belonged to many churches. First he had affiliated with the Dutch Lutheran Church. He next became a Methodist. He also was for a short time part of a Baptist congregation, which he left because he did not agree with their support of Calvinist doctrines. In 1827, Murdock joined the Campbellites.[1] His falling out with the Campbellites was largely due to Alexander Campbell rejecting the gift of the Holy Ghost.[1]

Murdock was baptized a member of the Church of Christ in November 1830. At this time, he lived in Geauga County, Ohio.[2]

In 1831 Murdock accompanied Hyrum Smith on a mission to Pontiac, Michigan.[3][4] They had been commanded to take this general route in Doctrine and Covenants 52:8.

Murdock served several missions for the church in the early years. After his first wife (Julia Clapp Murdock) died, Joseph Smith and his wife Emma adopted Murdock's newborn twins, Joseph and Julia.[5]

In a revelation of Smith's recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 99:1, Murdock is commanded to go to the eastern United States and declare the gospel "from house to house, from village to village and from city to city."

Murdock served in Zion's Camp. Before he joined Zion's Camp he was one of the elders who attempted to recruit people to join it. On March 17, 1834, he was at a conference at Avon, New York, attempting to convince the local members of the church to join the Zion's Camp effort.[6]

After Zion's Camp, Murdock also served on the high councils in Far West and later, in Salt Lake City, Utah. He also served as a bishop in Nauvoo and Salt Lake City.

In 1851, Murdock went to Australia as the first Latter-day Saint missionary sent to Australia since William Barratt in 1840.[7] Murdock was accompanied on this mission by Charles Wandell. They first preached in Sydney and also traveled to the immediate vicinity of the area. He gave his first sermon in Australia on November 2, 1851, at the site of the Old Sydney Race Course.[8]

His son John R. Murdock led more Mormon pioneer down-and-back companies than anyone else.

Murdock died in Beaver, Utah Territory.