(1846) Mormons begin exodus from Illinois to the western USFleeing religious persecution that included the assassination of their leader, Joseph Smith, 1,600 members of what will become the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and their new leader, Brigham Young, head west, where they will eventually settle in the Great Salt Lake Valley.The history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is typically divided into three broad time periods: the early history during the lifetime of Joseph Smith which is in common with all Latter Day Saint movement churches, a “pioneer era” under the leadership of Brigham Young and his 19th-century successors, and a modern era beginning around the turn of the 20th century as the practice of polygamy was discontinued. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints traces its origins to western New York, where Joseph Smith, founder of the Latter Day Saint movement, was raised. Joseph Smith gained a small following in the late 1820s as he was dictating the Book of Mormon, which he said was a translation of words found on a set of “golden plates” that had been buried near his home in western New York by an indigenous American prophet. On April 6, 1830, in western New York, Smith organized the religion’s first legal church entity, the Church of Christ. The church rapidly gained a following, who viewed Smith as their prophet.