by F. Mark McKierman

Sidney Rigdon was a man with a vision, a quest, and a mission. His entire life, from 1793 to 1876, was a constant search for the so-called "fullness of the gospel," which Rigdon believed he was called by God to expound to the world. The restoration of Christ's true religion as revealed in the New Testament became a compulsive, consuming passion, which led Rigdon to follow solely the dictates of his own religious understanding and to scorn all other viewpoints.

Rigdon believed that he could find in the New Testament the ordinances of Christ's Church, which could be established in the nineteenth century through the direction of God's Holy Spirit in the lives of righteous men. He claimed that God revealed to him that he would become a latter-day John the Baptist, a voice crying in the wilderness, to proclaim the establishment of the Kingdom of God and the second coming of Christ.

In 1830 he and his congregation embraced the Mormon movement, and Rigdon became one of the most important converts that Mormonism has ever gained. His acceptance of Mormonism gave the sect the prestige which allowed its missionaries to obtain audiences throughout the Western Reserve. Soon the Church, through Rigdon's influence, moved its headquarters to Kirtland, Ohio, where rapid growth ensued.