Today is the 175th birthday of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The Lord revealed to Joseph Smith that 6 April 1830 was the day on which the Church of Jesus Christ in this dispensation was to be organized (see D&C 20:1). Notices were sent to believers and friends, and some 56 men and women gathered at the log home of Peter Whitmer Sr. in Fayette, New York. Six men were chosen by the Prophet to assist in the organization ?¢‚Ç¨?ìagreeable to the laws of our country, by the will and commandments of God?¢‚Ç¨¬ù (D&C 20:1).
The Prophet recorded: ?¢‚Ç¨?ìHaving opened the meeting by solemn prayer to our Heavenly Father, we proceeded, according to previous commandment, to call on our brethren to know whether they accepted us as their teachers in the things of the Kingdom of God, and whether they were satisfied that we should proceed and be organized as a Church according to said commandment which we had received. To these several propositions they consented by a unanimous vote.?¢‚Ç¨¬ù
With the consent of those present, Joseph ordained Oliver an elder of the Church and Oliver ordained the Prophet an elder as they had been directed by the Lord. The sacrament was blessed and passed to the members present. Those who had been baptized were confirmed and given the gift of the Holy Ghost. The Prophet said that ?¢‚Ç¨?ìthe Holy Ghost was poured out upon us to a very great degree?¢‚Ç¨‚Äùsome prophesied, whilst we all praised the Lord, and rejoiced exceedingly.?¢‚Ç¨¬ù During this meeting, Joseph received a revelation in which the Lord instructed the Church to give heed to the words of the prophet as if they came from the Lord himself (see D&C 21:4?¢‚Ç¨‚Äú6).
The elements present at that meeting in 1830 continue in the Church today: exercise of the law of common consent, singing, praying, partaking of the sacrament, sharing of personal testimonies, bestowal of the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands, ordinations, personal revelation, and revelation through priesthood officers.
Joseph?¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s mother, Lucy Mack Smith, recorded a tender scene that occurred that day when Joseph Smith Sr., the Prophet?¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s father, was baptized: ?¢‚Ç¨?ìWhen Mr. Smith came out of the water, Joseph stood upon the shore, and taking his father by the hand, he exclaimed, with tears of joy, ?¢‚Ç¨ÀúPraise to my God! that I have lived to see my own father baptized into the true Church of Jesus Christ!?¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢ ?¢‚Ç¨¬ù Joseph Knight Sr. said of that moment: ?¢‚Ç¨?ì[The Prophet] was filled with the Spirit to a great degree. ?¢‚Ç¨¬¶ His joy seemed to be full. I think he saw the great work he had begun and was desirous to carry it out.?¢‚Ç¨¬ù
There was a strong bond of love between father and son. Later in a eulogy to his father, the Prophet said, ?¢‚Ç¨?ìI love my father and his memory; and the memory of his noble deeds rests with ponderous weight upon my mind, and many of his kind and parental words to me are written on the tablet of my heart.?¢‚Ç¨¬ù
The love that existed between the Prophet and his father was also manifested by Joseph Smith Sr. for his father, Asael Smith. In August 1830, Joseph Smith Sr. took copies of the Book of Mormon northeast into St. Lawrence County, New York, to give to his father and mother and brothers and sisters. Asael Smith read the book nearly through before his death in October 1830 and declared that his grandson, Joseph Smith Jr., ?¢‚Ç¨?ìwas the very Prophet that he had long known would come in his family.?¢‚Ç¨¬ù Three more of the sons of Asael eventually joined the Church?¢‚Ç¨‚ÄùSilas, John, and Asael Jr. The Prophet had the privilege of seeing all his immediate family immersed in the waters of baptism, and many of his father?¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s family. (Our Heritage, “Establishing the Foundations of the Church”)
Ronan has posted some ideas regarding ways his family will be observing this special day. I think it is a good idea.