William E. M'Lellin (sometimes spelled McLellan)
was born 18 January 1806 in Smith County, Tennessee, the son of Charles
M'Lellin. He married for the first time Cynthia Ann (maiden name
not known) on July 30, 1829. His wife, however died young and he was a
widower by 1832.
M'Lellin was a school teacher in Paris, Tennessee
during 1831. It was in that year that he was first contacted by Elders
Harvey Whitlock and Sidney
Rigdon. Enthused by their message, he traveled to Independence Missouri
to meet the Prophet Joseph Smith but missed seeing the Prophet. Nevertheless,
he was baptized in Independence Missouri on August 20, 1831. He was ordained
an Elder four days later on August 24, 1831.
Traveling with Hyrum Smith,
M'Lellin left Independence for Tennessee on August 25, 1831. He preached
his first sermon as elder 28 August 1831. After passing through Paris,
Tennessee, M'Lellin left with Hyrum Smith for Kirtland; arriving October
18, 1831. He finally met Joseph
Smith on October 25, 1831. Joseph Smith received a revelation in his
behalf on October 25, 1831 in which M'Lellin was instructed to take a Mission
to the Eastern States with Samuel H. Smith. Although he did preach in Pennsylvania,
the mission short-lived because of disobedience and sickness.
The Lord, however, is long-suffering and again appointed
M'Lellin by revelation received on January 25, 1832 to preach in
the Southern States. He traveled as far as Middlebury, Ohio where on February
25, 1832 he preached a sermon. He did not continue on his mission because
of illness but remained in Ohio until April 26, 1832 when he married Emeline
Miller in Hiram, Ohio. The couple had three known children.
M'Lellin left Ohio for Independence, Missouri on
May 2,1832, arriving in Independence on June 16, 1832. His property in
Clay County was looted in 1833. He was appointed a high councilor in Clay
County July 7, 1834 but was appointed to return to Ohio with Joseph Smith
July 1834. Arriving back in Kirtland, he taught in the School of Elders.
M'Lellin was ordained an Apostle on February 15,
1835, the only member of the original Twelve of the restoration who was
not a veteran of Zion's Camp. Nevertheless, by summer of that year, he
had been disfellowshipped for an insult which he had leveled at the School
of the Elders and the way which Joseph and the Brethren had conducted said
school. After a full confession and evidence of repentance M'Lellin was
restored to full fellowship. Still the spirit of rebellion afflicted him
and he expressed a loss of confidence in Church leadership in 1836 and
publicly opposed Church leaders on May 11,1838 in Far West, Missouri.
William E. M'Lellin was excommunicated for apostasy
in 1838. He took up the practice of medicine after leaving the Church.
Still, having left the Church, he was not able to leave it alone and took
an active part in the persecution of the Saints, robbing, pilfering, and
threatening them in their person and their property.
This vile apostate attempted to organize a new Church
in Kirtland in January of 1847. He failed. He joined the Hedrickites on
June 5,1869 but failed to find there that which he sought. He left the
Hedrickites November 3,1869. His wife joined the Reorganized LDS Church
and the family moved to Independence in 1870. He spent the remainder of
his life trying to get David Whitmer to organize a new Church.
William E. M'Lellin, Apostle and Apostate, died in
Independence, Jackson County, Missouri, April 24, 1883 and is buried in Woodlawn Municipal Cemetery of the same city.