Organization of the Church of Jesus Christ

Church History in the Fulness of Times Teacher Manual, (2001), 12–13


Themes

  1. 1.

    A decade of preparation climaxed on 6 April 1830 with the organization of the Church of Jesus Christ.

  2. 2.

    When the Church was organized, the Lord commanded the Church to give heed to the words of his prophet (see D&C 21:4).

  3. 3.

    Trials and persecution immediately confronted the Prophet and the handful of Church members.

  4. 4.

    After the Church was organized, missionaries were called to gather Israel and build the Lord’s kingdom.

    Suggested Approaches

  • Consider why the Church was organized ten years after the First Vision. How important were the following factors? Were there others?

    • The age of Joseph Smith and his need for a spiritual education, such as that provided by Moroni and other heavenly visitors.

    • The publication of the Book of Mormon.

    • The restoration of the priesthood.

    • Time to generate support through informal missionary work.

  • President Ezra Taft Benson said, “The greatest events of history are those which affect the greatest number for the longest periods” (The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1988], p. 15). Using this statement, discuss why the organization of the Church on 6 April 1830 was one of the greatest events in history.

  • Outline for students the events that took place the day of the organization of the Church.

    Theme Sources

  • History of the Church, 1:60–70, 74–117.

  • Comprehensive History of the Church, 1:187–224.

  • John C. Carmack, “Fayette: The Place the Church Was Organized,” Ensign, Feb. 1989, pp. 14–19.

    Elder Carmack concludes that despite the missing deed of incorporation and the existence of some documents suggesting the Church was organized at Manchester, the overwhelming amount of evidence, including all official sources, designates Fayette as the location.

  • Richard Lloyd Anderson, “I Have a Question: Who were the six who organized the Church on 6 April 1830?” Ensign, June 1980, pp. 44–45.

    Since organization minutes were not kept, there is some question as to who some of the six organizers were. From the recollections of contemporaries, the author maintains we can be certain of the identities of four of them, reasonably certain of the fifth person, but less than certain on the sixth.

    Additional Sources

  • Larry C. Porter, “I Have a Question: Was the Church legally incorporated at the time it was organized in the state of New York?” Ensign, Dec. 1978, pp. 26–27.

    The author summarizes his search for the deed incorporating the Church, and gives two possible explanations for the lack of any incorporation record.

  • 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. 243–77.

    Provides information relative to the organization of the Church.

  • Richard L. Bushman, Joseph Smith and the Beginnings of Mormonism (Urbana, Ill.: University of Illinois Press, 1984), pp. 143–59.

    Deals with the events surrounding the organization of the Church, the organization itself, and the early views, doctrines, and practices of the infant Church.

  • Ivan J. Barrett, Joseph Smith and the Restoration (Provo: Brigham Young University Press, 1973), pp. 120–48.

    Covers the organization of the Church, missionary work, the Saints in Colesville, and some of the early conferences.

  • Richard Lloyd Anderson, “The House Where the Church Was Organized,” Improvement Era, Apr. 1970, pp. 16–19, 21–25.

    Reviews the “investigations” that have led to the identification of the Peter Whitmer home in Fayette, where “history of eternal significance was made” (p. 17).