Leman Copley

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Leman Copley (March 25, 1781 – December 1862) was an early convert to Mormonism. Born in Connecticut, Copley moved to Rutland County, Vermont sometime before 1800 and was living in Thompson Township, Ohio by 1820.[1] Prior to his conversion to Mormonism, Copley was a Shaker.

In March 1831, Copley was called by Joseph Smith to preach the gospel to the Shakers along with Sidney Rigdon and Parley P. Pratt.[2][3]

When the members of the branch of the Church of Christ from Colesville, New York came to settle in Ohio, Copley consecrated his large farm (between 700 and 1000 acres) for their settlement. When he and the church had a falling out he forced them all to leave. Joseph Smith received a revelation to have the "Colesville Saints" go to Missouri, where God would reveal to Smith the location of the land of Zion. This was the beginning of the church's movement to Missouri and the dual centers of church activity (i.e. Kirtland, Ohio and Independence, Missouri).

In June 1831, Copley was excommunicated from the Latter Day Saint church. He was readmitted to the church in October 1832. He served another mission with Doctor Hurlbut.

After the death of Joseph Smith, Copley joined the Church of Christ (Brewsterite) which was led by Hazen Aldrich. He left this church in 1849 and joined a Latter Day Saint denomination led by Austin Cowles, about which little is known. Sometime before 1850 Copley moved to Madison, Ohio, where he died in May 1862.


  1. ^ Biography of Leman Copley, The Joseph Smith Papers (accessed 21 December 2011)
  2. ^ Doctrine and Covenants 49
  3. ^ Flake, Lawrence R. (1979), "A Shaker View of a Mormon Mission" (PDF), BYU Studies, 20 (1)