April 6, 1830

One hundred eighty years ago, Joseph Smith, Oliver Cowdery, and a handful of others gathered together to organize The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. By all accounts it was a simple but spiritual meeting. Joseph records that following the sacrament, “the Holy Ghost was poured out upon us to a very great degree—some prophesied, whilst we all praised the Lord, and rejoiced exceedingly.”1

The events of this day went unnoticed by the world; they were not accompanied by headlines or heralds. Nevertheless, how the heavens must have rejoiced and glorified God—for on that day, the Church of Jesus Christ returned to earth!

Solomon Chamberlain

From that day to this, millions of faith-filled sons and daughters of Heavenly Father have followed the promptings of the Holy Ghost and entered the sacred waters of baptism. One such man was Solomon Chamberlain.

Solomon was a spiritual man and had spent many hours in prayer, seeking for the remission of his sins and pleading with Heavenly Father to lead him to the truth. Sometime around 1816, Solomon was promised in a vision that he would live to see the day when the Church of Christ would be organized after the apostolic order was established once again on the earth.

Years later Solomon was traveling by boat toward Canada when his vessel stopped in the small town of Palmyra, New York. There he felt a compelling force urging him to disembark. Not knowing why he was there, he began speaking with the townspeople. It wasn’t long before he heard talk of a “gold Bible.” He said those two words sent “a power like electricity [that] went from the top of my head to the end of my toes.”

His inquiries led him to the Smith home, where he spoke with those present about the wonderful news of the restored gospel. After spending two days there and receiving a testimony of the truth, Solomon resumed his journey to Canada, taking with him 64 newly printed, unbound pages of the Book of Mormon. Everywhere he went, he taught the people, “both high and low, rich and poor, … to prepare for the great work of God that was now about to come forth.”2

A Great Work of God

Since that day in April 1830, millions have discovered the truth of the restored gospel and have entered the waters of baptism. I testify that this “great work of God” is on the earth today. I bear witness that the Lord watches over His Church and directs it through His prophet, President Thomas S. Monson. It is no ordinary blessing to live in these latter days. These are glorious times, foreseen by ancient prophets and attended by watchful, angelic hosts. The Lord is mindful of His Church. He is also mindful of those who, like Solomon Chamberlain, follow the promptings of the Holy Ghost and join with their brothers and sisters the world over in helping to bring forth this great work of God.

Photograph by Matthew Reier taken on the set of Joseph Smith: The Prophet of the Restoration

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Notes

  1. 1.

    Joseph Smith, in History of the Church, 1:78.

  2. 2.

    “A Short Sketch of the Life of Solomon Chamberlain,” typescript, Church History Library (on the Internet at www.boap.org/LDS/Early-Saints/SChamberlain.html); see also William G. Hartley, “Every Member Was a Missionary,” Ensign, Sept. 1978, 23. A few days after the organization of the Church, Solomon Chamberlain was baptized by Joseph Smith in the waters of Seneca Lake, New York.