While traveling to western Missouri in the fall of 1830, Oliver Cowdery, Parley P. Pratt, Peter Whitmer Jr., and Ziba Peterson made a stop in Kirtland, Ohio to preach the gospel to some of Parley’s friends and former religious associates. While there, they taught and baptized more than a hundred individuals! They then ordained some of the men as Elders and placed them in charge of the affairs of the Church in that area. The missionaries then continued on to their assigned mission in Missouri.
Left to their limited understanding of the restored gospel, which included a renewal of the gift of the Holy Ghost and spiritual gifts, a few of these newly ordained Elders and members began experiencing unusual spiritual phenomena during their worship services. These included ecstatically jumping up and down, swinging from ceiling joists, falling into trances and unconsciousness, seeing visions of parchments with written messages from heaven, crawling around like snakes on the floor, preaching in tongues to invisible congregations of Lamanites, wielding invisible swords of Laban, and so forth.
Of course, these practices drew the ridicule of outsiders in the community, including in the local press, and gave plenty of fodder for the first anti-Mormon book, Mormonism Unvailed.