Church History Chronology

“Church History Chronology,” Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Class Member Study Guide (1999)

1805, December 23

Joseph Smith born to Joseph Smith Sr. and Lucy Mack Smith in Sharon, Vermont (see Joseph Smith—History 1:3–4).

1820, Early Spring

Joseph Smith received the First Vision in a grove of trees near his home in the state of New York (see Joseph Smith—History 1:15–20).

1823, September 21–22

Joseph Smith visited by the angel Moroni and told of the Book of Mormon record. Joseph viewed the gold plates buried in a nearby hill (Cumorah) (see Joseph Smith—History 1:27–54).

1827, September 22

Joseph Smith obtained the gold plates from Moroni at the Hill Cumorah (see Joseph Smith—History 1:59).

1829, May 15

John the Baptist conferred the Aaronic Priesthood on Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery in Harmony, Pennsylvania (see D&C 13; Joseph Smith—History 1:71–72).

1829, May

Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery received the Melchizedek Priesthood from Peter, James, and John near the Susquehanna River between Harmony, Pennsylvania, and Colesville, New York (see D&C 128:20).

1829, June

Translation of the Book of Mormon completed. The Three Witnesses and the Eight Witnesses shown the gold plates (see 2 Nephi 11:3; 2 Nephi 27:12–13; D&C 17).

1830, March 26

First printed copies of the Book of Mormon available in Palmyra, New York.

1830, April 6

Organization of the Church in Fayette Township, New York.

1830, September–October

First missionaries called to preach to the Lamanites (Native Americans) (see D&C 28; 30; 32).

1830, December to 1831, January

The Lord commanded the Saints to gather to Ohio (see D&C 37; 38:31–32).

1831, July 20

Site for the city of Zion (the New Jerusalem) in Independence, Missouri, revealed to the Prophet Joseph Smith (see D&C 57; Articles of Faith 1:10).

1833, March 18

Sidney Rigdon and Frederick G. Williams set apart as Counselors in the Presidency of the Church and given the keys of the kingdom (see the headings to D&C 81 and D&C 90; see also D&C 90:6).

1833, November 7

Saints began fleeing from mobs in Jackson County, Missouri, across the Missouri River and into Clay County, Missouri.

1834, May 5

Joseph Smith left Kirtland, Ohio, for Missouri as the leader of Zion’s Camp to bring relief to Saints expelled from Jackson County.

1835, February 14

The Quorum of the Twelve Apostles organized in Kirtland, Ohio (see D&C 107:23–24).

1835, February 28

The organization of the First Quorum of the Seventy commenced in Kirtland, Ohio.

1835, August 17

The Doctrine and Covenants accepted as a standard work of the Church in Kirtland, Ohio.

1836, March 27

The Kirtland Temple dedicated (see D&C 109).

1836, April 3

Jesus Christ appeared to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery in the Kirtland Temple (see D&C 110:1–10). Moses, Elias, and Elijah appeared and conveyed priesthood keys (see D&C 110:11–16).

1837, July 19

Elder Heber C. Kimball and six others arrived in Liverpool, England, on the first overseas mission.

1838, April 26

Name of the Church specified by revelation (see D&C 115:4).

1838, December 1 to 1839, April 16

The Prophet Joseph Smith and others imprisoned at Liberty Jail in Liberty, Missouri (see D&C 121–123).

1840, August 15

Baptism for the dead publicly announced by the Prophet Joseph Smith.

1841, October 24

Elder Orson Hyde dedicated Palestine for return of the children of Abraham.

1842, March 17

Female Relief Society organized in Nauvoo, Illinois.

1842, May 4

First full temple endowments given in Nauvoo, Illinois.

1844, June 27

Joseph and Hyrum Smith martyred at Carthage Jail in Carthage, Illinois (see D&C 135).

1846, February 4

Nauvoo Saints began crossing the Mississippi River to move west. Some Saints sailed from New York City for California on the ship Brooklyn.

1846, July 16

Mormon Battalion mustered into United States service in Iowa.

1847, April

President Brigham Young’s pioneer company left Winter Quarters on the journey west (see D&C 136).

1847, July 24

President Brigham Young entered the Salt Lake Valley.

1847, December 27

Brigham Young sustained as President of the Church.

1848, May–June

Crickets in the Salt Lake Valley devastated the crops. The fields were saved from complete destruction as flocks of seagulls consumed the crickets.

1849, December 9

Sunday School organized by Richard Ballantyne.

1850, June 15

Deseret News began publication in Salt Lake City.

1856, October

Willie and Martin handcart companies detained by early snowstorms. Found by rescue party from the Salt Lake Valley.

1869, November 28

Young Ladies’ Retrenchment Association organized, forerunner of the Young Women program.

1875, June 10

Young Men’s Mutual Improvement Association organized, forerunner of the Young Men program.

1877, April 6

St. George Utah Temple dedicated. President Brigham Young received revelation to set in order the priesthood organization and stakes of Zion.

1878, August 25

Aurelia Spencer Rogers held the first Primary meeting in Farmington, Utah.

1880, October 10

John Taylor sustained as President of the Church. The Pearl of Great Price accepted as a standard work.

1883, April 14

Revelation given to President John Taylor on the organization of the Seventy.

1889, April 7

Wilford Woodruff sustained as President of the Church.

1890, October 6

“Manifesto” sustained in general conference, ending the practice of entering into plural marriage (see Official Declaration 1).

1893, April 6

President Wilford Woodruff dedicated the Salt Lake Temple after 40 years of construction.

1898, September 13

Lorenzo Snow became President of the Church.

1899, May 17

President Lorenzo Snow received revelation in St. George, Utah, prompting him to emphasize tithing.

1901, October 17

Joseph F. Smith became President of the Church.

1918, October 3

President Joseph F. Smith received the vision of the redemption of the dead (see D&C 138).

1918, November 23

Heber J. Grant became President of the Church.

1936, April

Church Security Program instituted to assist the poor during the Great Depression; became Church welfare program. This program grew out of a revelation received previously by President Heber J. Grant.

1941, April 6

Assistants to the Twelve first called.

1945, May 21

George Albert Smith became President of the Church.

1951, April 9

David O. McKay sustained as President of the Church.

1961, September 30

Under the direction of the First Presidency, Elder Harold B. Lee announced that all Church programs were to be correlated through the priesthood to strengthen families and individuals.

1964, October

Observance of family home evening emphasized.

1970, January 23

Joseph Fielding Smith became President of the Church.

1971, January

New Church magazines—Ensign, New Era, and Friend—commenced publication.

1972, July 7

Harold B. Lee became President of the Church.

1973, December 30

Spencer W. Kimball became President of the Church.

1975, October 3

President Spencer W. Kimball announced reorganization of the First Quorum of the Seventy.

1976, April 3

Two revelations added to the Pearl of Great Price. In 1981 they were moved to become D&C 137 and D&C 138.

1978, September 30

Revelation granting the priesthood to every worthy male member regardless of race or color sustained by the Church (see Official Declaration 2).

1979, September

LDS edition of King James Bible with study aids published.

1981, September

New editions of the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price published.

1984, June

Area Presidencies inaugurated, with members called from the Seventy.

1985, November 10

Ezra Taft Benson became President of the Church.

1989, April 1

Second Quorum of the Seventy reorganized.

1994, June 5

Howard W. Hunter became President of the Church.

1995, March 12

Gordon B. Hinckley became President of the Church.

1995, April 1

Announcement of a new leadership position to be known as an Area Authority.

1995, September 23

President Gordon B. Hinckley read “The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” from the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, at a general Relief Society meeting.

1997, April 5

Area Authorities to be ordained Seventies. Third, Fourth, and Fifth Quorums of the Seventy organized.

1997, October 4

President Gordon B. Hinckley announced plans to build smaller temples.

1997, November

Church membership reached 10 million.

1998, April 5

President Gordon B. Hinckley announced goal of having 100 temples in service in the year 2000.