Isaac Morley

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Isaac Morley served in the Presiding Bishopric of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as First Counselor to Edward Partridge from June 6, 1831, until Partridge’s death on May 27, 1840.

Morley was baptized by Parley P. Pratt in November 1830 near Kirtland, Ohio, where he farmed and was part of the Campbellites under Sidney Rigdon. Morley invited many early converts to live on his 80-acre farm. He offered his home to Joseph Smith and his wife Emma and built a small home for them. They lived on the farm from from March to September 1831. Here, Emma gave birth to twins who soon died. Several days later, the Smiths adopted the infant twins of John Murdock, whose wife, Julia, died from complications of childbirth. While living on the Morley Farm, Joseph received 13 revelations now included in the Doctrine and Covenants (sections 45–50, 52–56, 63–64).

Like many early Church members, Morley also served as a missionary while traveling to Independence, Missouri. He and Bishop Partridge served a mission to the Eastern States in 1835. A revelation from the Lord to Joseph Smith regarding their service is preserved in Joseph Smith’s journal, dated November 5, 1835: “The word of the Lord came to me, saying: ‘Behold I am well pleased with my servant Isaac Morley and my servant Edward Partridge, because of the integrity of their hearts in laboring in my vineyard, for the salvation of the souls of men.’”[1]

Morley also helped settle Far West, Missouri; in November 1837 he was called as Patriarch of Far West (ordained by Joseph Smith). He, along with 55 other Latter-day Saints were arrested as part of the extermination order of Governor Lilburn W. Boggs. He was released after three weeks imprisonment. In July 1838 after Partridge was tarred and feathered by a mob, Morley and five others stepped forward and offered themselves as a ransom for Partridge and others of their brethren, willing to be scourged or die, if that would appease the anger of the mob of 500 armed men.

In Illinois, Morley established himself as a cooper and was called as stake president. By September 1845, however, his houses, shop, other property, and grain were burned by a mob and he and his family fled to Nauvoo and then went on to Winter Quarters. He immigrated to the Great Salt Lake Valley in 1848. He settled Sanpete County, including Manti, Utah, in November 1849. He was a senator for the State of Deseret and in 1851, 1853, and 1855, he represented Sanpete County in the Utah Territory legislative council. He also served as stake patriarch until his death on June 24, 1865.

Morley was born on March 11, 1786, in Montague, Massachusetts. He served in the War of 1812 from 1812 to 1815. He married Lucy Gunn in June 1812 and they were the parents of seven children. He later practiced polygamy and married Leonora Snow and Hannah Blakesley (who bore him three more children). He also married Hannah Libby, Harriet Cox, Hannah Sibley, and Nancy Bache. He died on June 24, 1865, in Fairview, Utah.

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