Welcome to the Whitmer Farm Visitors' Center. This is one of the 4 Sites where we serve here in New York. It is not right in Palmyra, but is in Fayette, New York, about 27 miles southeast of Palmyra. We are happy to have you here on tour today!
This is the beautiful Fayette Ward Chapel and Whitmer Farm Visitors' Center. It was completed and dedicated on April 6, 1980 on the 150th anniversary of the organization the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
This foyer and the rest of the building are built in Greek Revivalist architecture reminiscent of a house of worship at the time the Church was organized in 1830.
Three men were allowed to witness the plates from which the ancient records were translated and to see Moroni, an angel and ancient prophet that gave the plates to Joseph Smith. They also heard the voice of the Lord saying, "These plates have been revealed by the power of God. The translation of them which you have seen is correct, and I command you to bear record of what you now see and hear." These three men, Oliver Cowdery, Martin Harris, and David Whitmer testified of this event for the remainder of their lives. Later, in Palmyra, 8 more witnesses saw the plates.
Peter Whitmer, Sr. and his wife Mary moved to Fayette, New York in 1805 and by 1819 they had built a small log home on their farm of 100 acres. Peter and his sons were highly respected in the community, each holding elected or appointed positions. The Whitmers were a hardworking family who followed convictions based upon deep religious feelings and were a great help to Joseph Smith.
Peter Whitmer, Sr.
The map below helps understand the relationship of events leading to the organization of the Church. Joseph and his wife, Emma, left Palmyra and went to Harmony, Pennsylvania so Joseph could translate. Oliver Cowdery came to Palmyra to teach school and while boarding with the Smith family learned of Joseph Smith and his vision. Oliver received his own witness of the truthfulness of these events and went to Harmony to meet Joseph Smith. He became his scribe and was the scribe for most of the translation of the Book of Mormon. They eventually came to the Whitmer Farm here in Fayette, to finish the translation.
The chart below establishes the need for a restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. From Adam's day and always, God has shown his love for us by calling prophets. At times, through the ages, people chose to ignore the prophets and lived in spiritual darkness or apostasy. Each time the Lord again called a new prophet to restore His Gospel. This was the role of Joseph Smith in our day.
When Jesus Christ lived on the earth he established His church in a pattern with apostles, a prophet and head of the church, Peter, Seventies, and important ordinances, offices, and attributes of the Lord's Church, such as continuing revelation. The chart below illustrates that organization.
These illuminates of the First Vision and Joseph Smith receiving the gold plates are based upon stained glass windows in chapels in Brigham City, Utah and Santa Monica, California. These events are endpoints of the great apostasy, but beginnings of the Dispensation of the fullness of Times.
This bronze sculpture, "The Moment After," depicts the moment after Peter, James, and John restored the Melchizedek Priesthood to Joseph Smith. Oliver Cowdery kneels behind Joseph. This interpretation in bronze was done by Trevor Southey in 1980.
The bronze sculpture sits on top of a time capsule with items placed in it on April 6, 1980. The capsule will be opened on April 6, 2030, the 200 anniversary of the organization of the Church. Some items in the time capsule include the dedicatory prayer of the three buildings on the Whitmer farm, copies of talks given that day, a souvenir program, copies of Church magazines and auxiliary handbooks, photos taken at the events of the conference and more.
Here once again we have the same pattern of the Church that Jesus Christ established while he was on the earth. With the restoration of the Gospel, the pattern is exactly the same, only the people are different (Joseph Smith is the prophet instead of Peter, etc.).
We hope you have enjoyed this part of the tour of the Peter Whitmer Farm and Visitors' Center. Next we will visit the Whitmer Farm Art Gallery. We are so thankful for the miraculous events that took place at this Sacred Site and testify that they are true.
For those who might be interested, here are scriptures from the Bible supporting the Church Organization Charts at the Peter Whitmer Farm in Fayette:
Apostles: Matt 10:2; Mark 6:30; Luke 6:13; Acts 1:2, 26
Seventy: Luke 10:1, 17
Lay Priesthood: Matt 4:19, Mark 1:17
Continuous Revelation: Matt 4:4; Prov 29:18; Matt 16:17-18; John 16:13; James 1:5
Growing Scripture: The Synoptic Gospels and Acts 50-60+AD; The Epistles 50-65AD
Members Called Saints: Rom 1:7; 15:25-31; 1 Cor 1:2; 2 Cor 8:4; Eph 1:1, 15, 18; Phil 1:1
Baptism by immersion: Matt 3:6, 16; Mark 1:5, 10: Acts 8:37-39; John 3:23; Rom 6:1-6,
Gift of Holy Ghost: Matt 3:11; John 3:5; 7:39; Acts 1:5; 2:4; 8:15; 19:2; 1 Cor 6:19; Heb 6:4
Eternal Marriage: Eccl 3:14; Matt 16:19; 18;18; Mark 10:0; 1 Cor 11:11; Eph 5:31
Spiritual Gifts: Luke 1:16; Acts 1:8; 2:17; 7:55; 11:17; 1 Cor 11:11; Eph 5:31
Sacrament: Matt 26:26-27; John 6:54; Acts 20;7; 1 Cor 11:26
Blessing of Children: Mark 10:16