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.

John Murdock early LDS Missionary


Murdock was born in Shell Beach, New York.

Prior to joining the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, 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 Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in November 1830. At this time, he lived in Geauga County, Ohio.[2]

David Whitmer, an original witness of the golden plates, claimed that the devil bound John Murdock after he was ordained to be a high priest to show "God's displeasure was upon their works" in his book An Address to All Believers in Christ.[3]

In 1831 Murdock accompanied Hyrum Smith on a mission to Pontiac, Michigan.[4][5] They had been commanded to take this general route in Doctrine and Covenants 52:8. From April 1831 until he went with Zion's Camp in April 1834, Murdock spent almost all his time as a traveling missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.[6]

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.[7]

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.[8]

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.[9] 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.[10]

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

Murdock died in Beaver, Utah Territory.


  1. ^ a b Roger R. Keller, "Prepared for the Fulness", Ensign, January 1993.
  2. ^ Lavina Fielding Anderson, "Kirtland’s Resolute Saints", Ensign, January 1979.
  3. ^ Whitmer 1887, p. 36.
  4. ^ Mormon History Gazetteer for Illinois (1831–1839) at "Saints Without Halos"
  5. ^ James E. Faust, "'Some Great Thing'", Liahona, January 2002.
  6. ^ Olsen, "I Quit Other Business"
  7. ^ Jerry C. Roundy, "The Greatness of Joseph Smith and His Remarkable Visions", New Era, December 1973.
  8. ^ Mormon History Gazetteer for New York (1831–1839) at "Saints Without Halos"
  9. ^ Loren C. Dunn, "Did Not Our Heart Burn Within Us?", Ensign, May 1977.
  10. ^ Lynda Baker and Marjorie Newton, "Temple Crowns Growth in Australia", Ensign, September 1984.


  • Deseret News Church Almanac, 2005 ed., p. 291.
  • Esshom, Frank Ellwood (1913), "Murdock, John", Pioneers and Prominent Men of Utah, Salt Lake City: Utah Pioneers Book Publishing Company, p. 1050, OCLC 2286984 .
  • Craig J. Osler, "John Murdock", Encyclopedia of Latter-day Saint History, p. 804.
  • Marjorie B. Newton, "Australia’s Pioneer Saints", Ensign, February 1997.
  • Lisa Olsen Tait. "I Quit Other Business: Early Missionaries" essay published by the Church History Department of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
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External links[edit]

  1. ^ Whitmer, David (1887). An Address to All Believers in Christ by A witness to the Divine Authenticity of the Book of Mormon. Robert D. Miles: Pacific Publishing Company, Concord, California, 94522, December 5, 1959 Reprin. p. 36.