|Between October 13, 1831, and December 10, a former member of the Mormon Church, Ezra Booth, began printing lies about the Church in the Ohio Star Newspaper. He printed nine letters which he claimed truthfully detailed his experience as a member of the Church. God had chastened Ezra Booth in September:
“Behold, I, the Lord, was angry with him who was my servant Ezra Booth, and also my servant Isaac Morley, for they kept not the law, neither the commandment; they sought evil in their hearts, and I, the Lord, withheld my Spirit. They condemned for evil that thing in which there was no evil; nevertheless I have forgiven my servant Isaac Morley.”1
Ezra Booth was bitter and disillusioned. He had joined the Church when he saw a miraculous healing and was upset that he did not experience miracles constantly.
Up until this time Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon had been working to translate the Bible. Then on December 1st, 1831, Joseph received the revelation now found in Doctrine and Covenants 71. In this revelation Joseph and Sidney were told that they should preach the gospel and teach from the scriptures. They were told to go to the areas near Kirtland and teach until God told them to stop. This mission was to teach the people in the area that the things that had been printed about the Church were lies. The two men were promised that if they were faithful and obedient God would confound their enemies and they would be able to teach many.
Upon receiving this revelation, Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon stopped translation of the Bible for a time and prepared to leave. They left Kirtland on December 3, 1831. The next day, many Elders of the Church met together. They wanted to know what their duty was. In response to this request, Joseph received the revelation now found in Doctrine and Covenants, section 72. In this revelation God told the men that the Church needed a bishop and that Newel K. Whitney should be this bishop. The duties of the bishop were then revealed.
From the 4th of December until about the 10th of January, 1832, Joseph and Sidney preached in towns of Ohio such as Shalersville and Ravenna. Joseph Smith recorded what they preached,
“setting forth the truth, vindicating the cause of our Redeemer; showing that the day of vengeance was coming upon this generation like a thief in the night; that prejudice, blindness and darkness filled the minds of many, and caused them to persecute the true Church, and reject the true light.”2
Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon were very successful in showing many that the things being printed by Ezra Booth were not true.