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Monona County

Preparation Canyon


Preparation Canyon is located in the Sioux township in Morona County, Iowa (1). Today it’s located in the 344 acre Preparation Canyon State Park (2).


Preparation Canyon was founded on September 11, 1853 (3). 
50 to 60 families that were a part of an expedition of Mormons that crossed Iowa on their way to Utah left the main group and decided to follow Charles B. Thompson, who was a former follower of Joseph Smith. They settled in the Soldier River valley and the Loess Hills because they found that area very fertile for farming and they determined it was the perfect place to establish their new town. They called their settlement “Preparation” in order to further their schooling “in preparation for the life beyond.” Thompson even published Morona County’s first newspaper (4).
Thompson “...gathered fifty to sixty followers around him, whom he instructed in his ‘School of Preparation’. Thompson named his church the Congregation of Jehovah’s Presbytery of Zion, and his followers were often called Baneemyites because of Thompson’s claim to the title” (5).
The Mission of Baneemy was to “First…prove that Joseph Smith was never to have a successor in the Church. Second, that he was to have a successor in the Priesthood and Prophetic Gift. Third, that through him (Joseph) the Lord would appoint that successor. And fourth, that Baneemy is that successor appointed and endowed” (6).
Charles B. Thompson was able to convince his followers that he had been appointed by the spirit “Baneemy” and that he was the chief steward of their natural goods. Those who were faithful gave all their land deeds and worldly possessions to Thompson. Their settlement thrived until 1858, when “…several began to doubt Mr. Thompson’s credibility and demanded he ‘render an account of his stewardship’”. He left the community for a few days when his account failed to satisfy those who had accused him. When he returned, he narrowly avoided being hung (7). In October 1858, Thompson’s followers ran him out of town (8). Soon many of them headed west to rejoin the Mormon settlement in Utah and “the community of Preparation was doomed to disunion” (9).
In 1867, “the Iowa Supreme Court divided the remaining land equally among the remaining families, but the town faded and eventually disappeared” (10).
Descendants of the original Mormon settlers, Martha and Walter Perrin, sold 82 acres of their land to the state in 1934. In 1969, Martha Perrin decided to sell another 157 acres and then eventually the Perrin family homestead to the state. “These acres of land once contained the town of Preparation” (11).


Charles B. Thompson
William Marks (12)
Guy C. Barnum
Rowland Cobb
Andrew G. Jackson
Job V. Barnum
James M. Durphy
Silas Wilcox
John R. McIntyre
Samuel Scott
William Swett
George Rarick
Orrin Butts
Nelson Turner
Charles C. Perrin
Homer C. Hoyt
Luther C. Cottinham
Daniel W. Butts
George M. Scott (13)
Richard Stevens
Harvey Childs (14)



  3. Ibid.
  5. Bardes, Barbara A. e-Study Guide for: American Government and Politics Today: The Essentials by Barbara A. Bardes. eBook.
  6. "The Mission of Baneemy ." Zion's Harbinger, and Baneem'ys Organ n.d., Vol. 2 No. 1 1. Web. 11 Nov. 2013.
  8. Bardes.


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