11. Organization Mormon Church

Joseph Smith was living in Fayette, New York, when he received a revelation that Christ’s Church should be restored and organized. This revelation was received shortly after Joseph and Oliver received the priesthood. In the revelation they were told exactly what day the Church was to be organized. So on April 6, 1830, in accordance with the revelation, a meeting was held in the home of Peter Whitmer, to officially organize the Church in accordance with the laws of the country. Joseph Smith, Oliver Cowdery, Hyrum Smith, Samuel Smith, David Whitmer, and Peter Whitmer were the first official members of the Church and had been baptized before the meeting. It was required by the laws of New York that a Church have at least six members. About sixty other people also attended the meeting.A prayer was said, then those at the meeting voted and sustained Joseph and Oliver as their teachers and advisors in the gospel. Joseph Smith was ordained as the first elder in the Church and Oliver Cowdery as the second. Joseph also received revelation that he was a prophet and that he would be Christ’s mouthpiece on the earth.President Thomas S Monson MormonThe Doctrine and Covenants records this revelation that Joseph was to be “a seer, a translator, a prophet, an apostle of Jesus Christ”1 and that the members of the Church should listen to Joseph and accept his words as if they were coming directly from God. Joseph and Oliver then confirmed each of the baptized men with the gift of the Holy Ghost. The sacrament was then administered in accordance with revelation given to Joseph Smith about how to bless and pass the sacrament. After this Joseph taught those present more about the Church and bore his testimony. Following the meeting many people were baptized, including Joseph Smith’s parents. Joseph was filled with joy when his parents were baptized and stated, “Praise to my God! That I lived to see my own father baptized into the true Church of Jesus Christ!”2The organization of the Church is a very important event to members of the Church. All that happened before this event was in preparation for it. President of the Mormon Church, Gordon B. Hinckley has said,

“This day of organization was, in effect, a day of commencement, the graduation for Joseph from ten years of remarkable schooling. It had begun with the incomparable vision in the grove in the spring of 1820, when the Father and the Son appeared to the fourteen-year-old boy. It had continued with the tutoring from Moroni, with both warnings and instructions given on multiple occasions. Then there was the translation of the ancient record, and the inspiration, the knowledge, the revelation that came from that experience. There was the bestowal of divine authority, the ancient priesthood again conferred upon men by those who were its rightful possessors—John the Baptist in the case of the Aaronic Priesthood, and Peter, James, and John in the case of the Melchizedek. There were revelations, a number of them, in which the voice of God was heard again, and the channel of communication opened between man and the Creator. All of these were preliminary to that historic April 6.”

See the next article in the timeline series.

See also “The Sixth Day of April, 1830″ by President Hunter

Other Links:

1 Section 21:1. Doctrine and Covenants.

2 See Larry C. Porter, “A Study of the Origins of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the States of New York and Pennsylvania, 1816–1831,” Ph.D. diss., Brigham Young University, 1971, pp. 374–86.

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