Elder and Sister Watts

Elder and Sister Watts

Hill Cumorah Visitors' Sites Mission Statement

"Behold, I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I have been called of him to declare his word among his people, that they might have everlasting life."
3 Nephi 5:13

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

PETER WHITMER FARM AND CHURCH ORGANIZATIONAL SITE VIRTUAL TOUR: Part II

The Whitmer Farm Visitors' Center Art Gallery is one of our favorite parts of this site.  William Whitaker of the Art Department at Brigham Young University was commissioned to paint pictures depicting the organization of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints for the first Ensign magazine.  They appeared in that magazine in January 1971.  These original pieces of art are now on display at the Peter Whitmer Farm Visitors' Center.

On the morning of Tuesday, April 6, 1830, Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery met in an upstairs room to prepare for the important events of the day.  This drawing shows them in the same room where they had completed the translation of the Book of Mormon the year before.

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Joseph Smith, Sr., the Prophet's father was among those who took part in the events of the day.  He was the first to hear and believe his son's account of the visit of the Angel Moroni.
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There were between 40 and 60 guests at the organizational meeting, some coming as far as 100 miles away.  Many of the women of the Smith and Whitmer families, the wives, daughters, and daughter-in-law were present.
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One of the Three Witnesses of the Book of Mormon, Martin Harris, sold part of his farm to pay for the publication of the book.  He came from Palmyra to attend the meeting.

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Additional chairs were brought into the main room of the Whitmer home to accommodate the growing crowd as preparations for the meeting were completed.  (It seems the Priesthood still put up and take down chairs today!)

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Joseph Smith, 24 years of age, presided over the meeting.  At his side was Oliver Cowdery, who had shared many of Joseph's greatest spiritual experiences.
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The meeting opened with solemn prayer.  The room was crowded with the Prophet's family and friends.  We no longer kneel in prayer in our public meetings, but we kneel in personal and family prayer and often in council meetings.

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Establishing the principle of common consent, the six official participants voted to organize the Church and to sustain Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery as presiding officers.  In addition to Joseph and Oliver were Joseph's brothers, Hyrum and Samuel Smith, David Whitmer and Peter Whitmer, Jr.

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Joseph ordained Oliver to be an Elder in the Church of Christ (as it was initially called); then Oliver ordained Joseph to the same office.
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As it was in Christian meetings in New Testament times, the sacrament of the Lord's Supper was part of this first meeting of the restored Church.

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Several people who had been previously baptized were confirmed members of the Church.  Joseph and Oliver also ordained a number of men to offices in the Priesthood.

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Some time that day, baptisms by immersion were performed nearby. Although Joseph and Oliver had been previously baptized, they repeated the ordinance to signify they were now members of the official church.

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Several other people who had attended the meeting later applied for baptism and were received into the Church.  Those receiving baptism were Martin Harris, Joseph Smith, Sr., his wife Lucy Mack Smith and others.

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The Prophet's father, baptized on the day of the organization, was later confirmed a member of the Church and given the gift of the Holy Ghost.

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The Church organization chart here re-emphasizes the same organization, principles, and ordinances as the Church when organized by Christ during His ministry.  Jesus Christ is still at the head of the Church, and now Thomas S. Monson is the current prophet today, with the same responsibilities as Peter had during Christ's day.


We hope you enjoyed this beautiful art gallery as much as we do.  Next we will go out to the recreated farm home of the Whitmers.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for posting these paintings. They add a beautiful visual as we talk about the history.

    ReplyDelete