Robert D. Foster

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Robert D. Foster (14 March 1811 – 1 February 1878) was a 19th-century physician and an early member of the Latter Day Saint movement, being baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints sometime before October 1839.[1]

Early life[edit]

Foster was born in Braunston, England. He was the son of John Foster and Jane Knibb.[1] He was the brother of Charles A. Foster.[2]

Foster married Sarah Phinney on 18 July 1837 at Medina County, Ohio.[1]

Latter Day Saint movement[edit]

Foster was baptized into the Latter Day Saint church sometime before October 1839 and was ordained an elder in October 1839, in Nauvoo, Illinois. Foster was mentioned by name in a revelation dated 19 January 1841, in which Joseph Smith states that Foster should build Smith a house in Nauvoo:[1][3]

And again, verily I say unto you, if my servant Robert D. Foster will obey my voice, let him build a house for my servant Joseph, according to the contract which he has made with him, as the door shall be open to him from time to time.

And let him repent of all his folly, and clothe himself with charity; and cease to do evil, and lay aside all his hard speeches;

And pay stock also into the hands of the quorum of the Nauvoo House, for himself and for his generation after him, from generation to generation;

And hearken unto the counsel of my servants Joseph, and Hyrum, and William Law, and unto the authorities which I have called to lay the foundation of Zion;

Foster built the resulting Mansion House, and the Smiths moved in 1843.

Foster was appointed surgeon general in the Nauvoo Legion in March 1841 and he was a Regent of the University of Nauvoo from 1841 to 1844.[1]

Foster was excommunicated from the church on 18 April 1844, in Nauvoo.

Nauvoo Expositor and death of Joseph Smith[edit]

After his excommunication, Foster became a publisher of the Nauvoo Expositor, which was critical of the church and Smith. Smith ordered the destruction of the press, leading to his Smith's arrest and ultimately to his death.[4] There is even evidence that Smith propositioned Foster's wife to become one of Smith's plural wives, but was turned down.[5][6]

Foster was an apostle in the break-away church formed by First Presidency member William Law.

Later life[edit]

In 1850, Foster moved to Canandaigua, New York. In 1860, he moved to Loda, Illinois, where he died in 1878.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Foster, Robert D." Retrieved 2013-10-05.
  2. ^
  3. ^ Doctrine and Covenants 124:115.
  4. ^ "BYU Studies - Biographical Registers". Archived from the original on 3 October 2013. Retrieved 5 October 2013.
  5. ^ Ostlings, 14.[full citation needed]
  6. ^ On the legal issues, see Edwin Brown Firmage and Richard Collin Mangrum, Zion in the Courts: A Legal History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1830–1900 (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1988) pp. 106–13.