Church History
Founding Meeting of the Church of Christ

“Founding Meeting of the Church of Christ,” Church History Topics

“Founding Meeting of the Church of Christ”

Founding Meeting of the Church of Christ

On Tuesday, April 6, 1830, Joseph Smith, Oliver Cowdery, and others convened to organize the Church of Christ. They had anticipated this meeting since the summer of 1829, when revelations directed Joseph and Oliver to establish a church as soon as the Book of Mormon could be published and believers could be gathered.1 No minutes of the meeting have survived, but a few sources, including a revelation received on the occasion, indicate some of what transpired. The meeting opened with prayer, and the assembly sustained Joseph and Oliver as elders and teachers in the Church. Joseph and Oliver then ordained each other as Church elders, the participants in the meeting partook of the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper, Joseph and Oliver laid hands on the heads of those who had previously been baptized to give them the gift of the Holy Ghost and confirm them members of the Church, and Joseph received the revelation now found in Doctrine and Covenants 21.

exterior of log cabin

A log home on the site of the Peter Whitmer Sr. farm in Fayette, New York.

Between April 6 and June 9, when the first Church conference was held, Joseph and Oliver organized branches in Fayette, Manchester, and Colesville, New York. A few early accounts confused the locations of these meetings, suggesting the April 6 organizational meeting took place in Manchester rather than in Fayette. An early manuscript copy of Doctrine and Covenants 21 includes a notation suggesting the revelation was given in Manchester. William W. Phelps used this notation when he prepared the revelation for publication in the 1833 Book of Commandments. Other records linked to Phelps and Orson Pratt—neither of whom was present at the organizational meeting—also name Manchester as the location of the April 6 meeting. However, several early documents produced by Joseph and Oliver, together with later printings of the Doctrine and Covenants, either state that the meeting occurred at Fayette or omit references to Manchester. Accordingly, most historians concur with the principal observers and locate the founding meeting in Fayette.

Related Topics: Palmyra and Manchester