Orson Hyde

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Orson Hyde
Orson Hyde.jpg
President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
December 27, 1847 (1847-12-27) – April 10, 1875 (1875-04-10)
PredecessorBrigham Young
SuccessorJohn Taylor
End reasonJohn Taylor replaced Hyde as President of the Quorum[1]
Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
June 27, 1839 (1839-06-27) – November 28, 1878 (1878-11-28)
Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
February 15, 1835 (1835-02-15) – May 4, 1839 (1839-05-04)
Called byThree Witnesses
End reasonRemoved from Quorum by a vote of the church
LDS Church Apostle
February 15, 1835 (1835-02-15) – November 28, 1878 (1878-11-28)
Called byThree Witnesses
ReasonInitial organization of Quorum of the Twelve
End reasonDeath[2]
at end of term
Moses Thatcher ordained
Personal details
Born(1805-01-08)January 8, 1805
Oxford, Connecticut, United States
DiedNovember 28, 1878(1878-11-28) (aged 73)
Spring City, Utah Territory, United States

Orson Hyde (January 8, 1805 – November 28, 1878) was a leader in the early Latter Day Saint movement and an original member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. He was the President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) from 1847 to 1875 and was a missionary of the LDS Church in the United States, Europe, and the Ottoman Empire.

Early life[edit]

Hyde was born to Nathan Hyde and Sally Thorpe in Oxford, Connecticut.[4] He was raised in nearby Derby, Connecticut, under the care of Nathan Wheeler. In 1819, when he was just 14 years of age, he walked from Connecticut to Kirtland, Ohio to care for a piece of property Wheeler had purchased. While employed as a retail clerk in Kirtland, Hyde became involved with the Reformed Baptist Society, also called Campbellites, through the preaching of Sidney Rigdon.

Church membership and service[edit]

When Oliver Cowdery and other Latter Day Saint missionaries preached in Kirtland in late 1830, Hyde spoke publicly against the "Mormon Bible". However, when his former minister, Sidney Rigdon joined the Latter Day Saint church, Hyde investigated the claims of the missionaries, and was baptized by Rigdon on October 30, 1831. Hyde was called on a succession of missions for the church, serving with Hyrum Smith, Samuel H. Smith, and John Gould. In 1832 he was among the first missionaries in Connecticut;[5] he was also among the first missionaries from the church to preach in Maine and Massachusetts.

Hyde marched with Zion's Camp in 1834 and became one of the members of the first presiding high council in Kirtland, Ohio. He was ordained an apostle of the church on February 15, 1835 as one of the original twelve, being fifth in seniority. An apostolic mission with Heber C. Kimball to Great Britain in 1837 to 1838 was successful in bringing thousands of converts to the faith.

Upon returning from Britain, during a period of persecution and internal dissension, Hyde wrote that he felt God was no longer with the church. He left the church on October 19, 1838 with Thomas B. Marsh, the presiding member of the Twelve. Marsh explained the reasons for their dissent in an affidavit which he and Hyde signed on October 24, 1838 in Richmond, Missouri. These included their contention that the Mormons had organized into a company known as the Danites, "who have taken an oath to support the heads of the church in all things that they say or do, whether right or wrong" and that Mormon and Danite vigilantes had burned and looted non-Mormon settlements in Daviess County.[6] Marsh and Hyde also claimed that Joseph Smith planned "to take the State, & he professes to his people to intend taking the U.S. & ultimately the whole world."[citation needed]

The testimony of Marsh and Hyde added to the panic in northwestern Missouri and contributed to subsequent events in the 1838 Mormon War. Because a Mormon attack was believed imminent, a unit of the state militia from Ray County was dispatched to patrol the border between Ray and Mormon Caldwell County to the north. On October 25, 1838, reports reached Mormons in Far West that this state militia unit was a "mob" and had kidnapped several Mormons. The Mormons formed an armed rescue party and attacked the militia in what became known as the Battle of Crooked River. Although only one non-Mormon was killed on the Missourian side, initial reports held that half the unit had been wiped out. The Mormons suffered more casualties: Gideon Carter died in the battle and David W. Patten and Patrick Obanion died from wounds they received in the battle.[7] This attack on the state militia, coupled with the earlier expulsion of non-Mormons from Daviess County led Missouri's governor to respond with force. On 27 October he called out 2,500 state militia to put down what he perceived as a Mormon rebellion and signed Missouri Executive Order 44, which became known as the "Extermination Order".[8]

Because he had signed the Richmond affidavit with Marsh, Hyde was disfellowshipped (disciplined, but not removed from membership) in 1838. On May 4, 1839, a church conference in Quincy, Illinois voted to remove Hyde and William Smith from the work of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. The leadership of the church invited the two to explain their actions. On June 27, Hyde returned to the church and publicly explained himself, recanting his affidavit and asking to be restored. The fall conference, October 6 to 8, 1839, voted to restore both Hyde and William Smith as apostles.

Hyde had also left church activity, and thus the quorum, on October 19, 1838. When dealing with seniority in the council in 1875, long after the death of Joseph Smith, Brigham Young ruled that, if a council member had been disciplined and removed from the council, his seniority was based on the date of readmission. By this ruling, in June 1875, both Hyde and Apostle Orson Pratt were moved down in quorum seniority. So, when Hyde repented in 1839, he effectively joined the quorum as a new member. As a result of this ruling, John Taylor replaced Hyde as President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in 1875.[9]

The Orson Hyde Memorial Garden, in Jerusalem
Stone marker at the Orson Hyde Memorial Garden in Jerusalem

Mission to Jerusalem[edit]

One of Hyde's most significant missions was a call to preach in Jerusalem. From April 1841 to December 1842, he proselyted in Palestine.

Originally he was supposed to travel with John Page, another prominent Mormon, but Page never showed up in New York and Hyde left without him. According to the minutes of the meeting on April 6, 1840, at which Hyde was dispatched he was "to visit the cities of London, Amsterdam, Constantinople, and Jerusalem; and also other places that he may deem expedient; and converse with the priests, rulers, and elders of the Jews, and obtain from them all the information possible, and communicate the same to some principal paper for publication, that it may have a general circulation throughout the United States."[citation needed] His letter of introduction claimed that "The Jewish nations have been scattered abroad among the Gentiles for a long period; and in our estimation, the time of the commencement of their return to the Holy Land has already arrived."[citation needed]

Hyde spent from April 1841 to December 1842 in Jerusalem. He recorded that before dawn on October 24, 1841 he climbed up the Mount of Olives overlooking the city, then both wrote and recited a prayer, part of which reads:

Now, O Lord! Thy servant has been obedient to the heavenly vision which Thou gavest him in his native land; and under the shadow of Thine outstretched arm, he has safely arrived in this place to dedicate and consecrate this land unto Thee, for the gathering together of Judah's scattered remnants, according to the predictions of the holy Prophets -- for the building up of Jerusalem again after it has been trodden down by the Gentiles so long, and for rearing a Temple in honor of Thy name. Everlasting thanks be ascribed unto Thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that Thou hast preserved Thy servant from the dangers of the seas, and from the plague and pestilence which have caused the land to mourn. The violence of man has also been restrained, and Thy providential care by night and by day has been exercised over Thine unworthy servant. Accept, therefore, O Lord, the tribute of a grateful heart for all past favors, and be pleased to continue Thy kindness and mercy towards a needy worm of the dust.[10]

Having dedicated Jerusalem and Palestine for the ingathering of the Jews, Hyde departed the mountain after building a small altar with stones. The Orson Hyde Memorial Garden on the Mount was dedicated to Hyde in 1979. The park was funded by donations to the Orson Hyde Foundation through the Jerusalem Foundation. Hyde traveled home through Europe, stopping in Germany to produce the first LDS Church pamphlets in German.

Family life[edit]

Orson Hyde around 1862

Hyde married Marinda Nancy Johnson, in Kirtland, Ohio, on September 4, 1834.[4] Joseph Smith was sealed to Marinda as a plural wife in Spring 1842 while Hyde was on his mission to Jerusalem. It is not clear when, or if, Hyde learned about his wife's sealing to Smith. However, three months after his return, Hyde had learned about plural marriage and married two additional wives. He ultimately took eight wives and fathered 32 children.[citation needed]

Later life[edit]

After Joseph Smith's death in 1844, the majority of the Latter Day Saints left Nauvoo for Iowa Territory. However, Hyde remained behind to oversee the completion of the Nauvoo Temple, which was dedicated in 1846. Hyde then returned to England, presiding over the British mission from 1846 to 1847. Upon his return in 1848, Hyde was placed in charge of the Camps of Israel in the Midwest, remaining in Council Bluffs, Iowa until 1852.

During the settlement of Utah Territory, Brigham Young called Hyde to lead settlement groups to Carson Valley, Nevada and the SanpeteSevier District in Utah.


Hyde died on November 28, 1878, one day after suffering a severe stroke, and was succeeded in the apostleship by Moses Thatcher. He is buried at Spring City, Sanpete County, Utah.


  1. ^ Brigham Young rules that the President of the Quorum is to be the person with the longest uninterrupted service in the Quorum, as opposed to the person who entered the Quorum at the earliest date, thus making John Taylor the new President of the Quorum.
  2. ^ Hyde was removed from the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles by vote of the church between May 4 and June 27, 1839. However, Hyde retained his apostleship during this time.
  3. ^ Smith 1994, p. 16
  4. ^ a b "Hyde, Orson - Details". The Joseph Smith Papers. Church Historian's Press. Archived from the original on 6 April 2013. Retrieved 21 January 2013.
  5. ^ Deseret Morning News Church Almanac, 2006 ed., p. 190
  6. ^ Document, p. 57.
  7. ^ Baugh 2000, p. 106.
  8. ^ Baugh 2000, pp. 108–09.
  9. ^ Bergera 1992.
  10. ^ Orson Hyde's Dedicatory Prayer, Sunday morning, October 24, 1841, accessed 2008-02-26.


Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Religious titles
Preceded by
Brigham Young
President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
December 27, 1847–June 1875
Succeeded by
John Taylor
Preceded by
Heber C. Kimball
Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
February 15, 1835–May 4, 1839
Succeeded by
William E. M'Lellin
Preceded by
George A. Smith
Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
June 27, 1839–November 28, 1878
Succeeded by
William Smith