It’s amazing how the Lord’s true prophet and church could be so persecuted. After all, the mark of the true church is that its members will be persecuted and its prophet martyred.
After the Saints had gathered into one place to build a Zion society with their prophet, neighboring Gentiles vexed the prophet with criminal charges and lawsuits. A disgruntled former counselor in the First Presidency published lurid tales of polygamy and debauchery, which inflamed the Gentiles to anger. At one point the prophet was arrested for treason. Undaunted by opposition, he ran for high political office, facing strenuous opposition.
Eventually the prophet was gunned down in cold blood. His murderers went through the formality of a mock trial but were not brought to justice. After the prophet’s assassination, mobs of Gentiles began attacking the Saints. Soon they drove the innocent Saints from their homes and plundered the city they had built.
Because the prophet was unclear about his successor, there was great confusion about who would be the next prophet. After a power struggle, the leading apostle of the church assumed the leadership of the church. A large faction refused to follow the new leader and eventually formed the RLDS church.
Of course, this great prophet I speak of was James J. Strang, who gathered his followers to Beaver Island, Michigan.