A Day Chosen by the Lord

By Vivian Paulsen

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    The log cabin was small and homey, a chimney rising from one end and two windows and a door on the front. Around it the fertile fields of Fayette, New York, were turning green. Nearby trees were awakening to spring, shading the fresh, new blossoms struggling to lift their heads to the sun. Parked around the cabin were the horses, buggies, and wagons that had carried the many men and women who were gathered there on that Tuesday morning. It was April 6, 1830, the day chosen by the Lord for the official organization of His church in the last days. (See D&C 20:1–2.)

    Inside the main room of the cabin, the Prophet Joseph Smith, only twenty-four years old, asked five of the men present to join him in legally organizing the new church so that the requirements of the law could be met. Then, after all those present had knelt together in solemn prayer, Joseph asked them if they would accept him and Oliver Cowdery as their teachers and leaders. They agreed. Joseph turned to Oliver, laid his hands on his head, and ordained him an elder in the Church. Oliver then ordained Joseph. In a confirming revelation, the Lord called Joseph “a seer, a translator, a prophet, an apostle of Jesus Christ, an elder of the church” (D&C 21:1).

    The sacrament was blessed and passed. Others were ordained and confirmed. The gift of the Holy Ghost was given to many, and its presence filled hearts of all. The small cabin overflowed with gladness and hope.

    Among those who accepted baptism into the Church that day were Joseph’s parents, Joseph Smith, Sr., and Lucy Mack Smith. The young prophet was so overcome by the joy of the occasion that he went alone into the woods and wept.

    The Church of Jesus Christ was again upon the earth. Its members were few and humble, some with little formal education. But that Tuesday they faced the future with great courage, and they were eager to learn the things of God and to serve Him and His church.

    Mistakes would be made and some would stumble, but the work would go forward, for the Lord promised them, and us, “I will bless all those who labor in my vineyard with a mighty blessing” (D&C 21:9).

    Photographs by Lee Kochenderfer

    A replica of the Peter Whitmer, Sr., farmhouse, built on the original stone foundations, has two rooms on the main floor and two rooms on the second floor.

    It is believed that the Church was organized in a room similar to this one.

    The Fayette Ward chapel, next to the farmhouse, serves as the visitors’ center for the Whitmer farm.

    Much of the Book of Mormon was translated by Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery at a bedroom table. (Photograph by Vivian Paulsen.)