Bent was born in Barre, Worcester County, Massachusetts. He lived in New York and Michigan through much of his life and was a Congregationalist and Presbyterian. In 1833, he was baptized a member of the Church of Christ by Jared Carter in Pontiac, Michigan. Within a few days he was serving as a missionary in Michigan. Bent was a member of Zion's Camp, and spent time between Michigan and Kirtland, Ohio for the next few years. In 1836 he moved to Liberty, Missouri. He was one of the main targets of the mobs in that place that caused the Latter Day Saints to relocate to Caldwell County, Missouri where Bent was a key figure in the founding of Far West, Missouri.
After going to Nauvoo, Illinois at the time the Latter Day Saints were driven out of Missouri, Bent served as a colonel in the Nauvoo Legion and as a member of the Council of Fifty. In 1846 he was appointed as president of the Latter Day Saints in Garden Grove, Iowa, an office he filled until his death.
- Andrew Jenson. LDS Biographical Encyclopedia. Vo. 1, p. 307-308.