Revelation, 6 April 1830 [D&C 21]

17th. Commandment AD 1829
A Revelation to Joseph the Seer

The Book of Mormon identified a seer as a “revelator, and a prophet also,” specifying, however, that a seer was “greater than a prophet.” A seer could “know of things which has past, and also of things which is to come.” The work of a seer included translation...

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by way of comm andment

Generally, a divine mandate that church members were expected to obey; more specifically, a text dictated by JS in the first-person voice of deity that served to communicate knowledge and instruction to JS and his followers. Occasionally, other inspired texts...

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to the Church

The Book of Mormon related that when Christ set up his church in the Americas, “they which were baptized in the name of Jesus, were called the church of Christ.” The first name used to denote the church JS organized on 6 April 1830 was “the Church of Christ...

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given at Fayette

Located in northern part of county between Seneca and Cayuga lakes. Area settled, by 1790. Officially organized as Washington Township, 14 Mar. 1800. Name changed to Fayette, 6 Apr. 1808. Population in 1830 about 3,200. Population in 1840 about 3,700. Significant...

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Seneca County  State of New York
Behold there Shall a Record be kept among you  & in it thou shalt be called a seer & Translater & Prop[h]et  an Apostle of Jesus Christ

A title indicating one sent forth to preach; later designated as a specific ecclesiastical and priesthood office. By 1830, JS and Oliver Cowdery were designated as apostles. The “Articles and Covenants” of the church explained that an “apostle is an elder...

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an Elder of the Church

A male leader in the church generally; an ecclesiastical and priesthood office or one holding that office; a proselytizing missionary. The Book of Mormon explained that elders ordained priests and teachers and administered “the flesh and blood of Christ unto...

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through  the will of God the Father & the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ  being inspired of the Holy Ghost to lay the foundation  thereof & to build it up unto the most holy faith which  Church was Organized & established

6 Apr. 1830

Church of Christ organized; revelation directing church members to keep record and acknowledge JS as revelator, apostle, and elder, Fayette Township, New York.

in the year of our Lord  one thousand Eight Hundred & Thirty in the forth Month  on the Sixth day of the month which is called April  Wherefore meaning the Church thou shalt give heed unto  all his words & commandments which he ghall [shall] give unto  you as he receiveth them wa[l]king in all holyness before  me for his word ye shall receive as if from mine own  mouth in all Patience & faith for by doing these things  the gaits of Hell shall not prevail against you yea & the  Lord God will disperse the Powers of darkness from before  you & cause the Heavens to shake for your Good & his  names glory for thus saith the Lord God him have I inspired  to move the cause of Zion

A specific location in Missouri; also a literal or figurative gathering of believers in Christ, characterized by adherence to ideals of harmony, equality, and purity. In JS’s earliest revelations “the cause of Zion” was used to broadly describe the focus ...

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in Mighty power for good &  his dilligence I know & his prayers I have heard yea  his weeping for Zion I have seen & I will cause that [p. 28]
On 6 April 1830, the “Church of Christ” was formally organized. This revelation, dictated sometime during the meeting, affirmed JS’s role as prophet and instructed members to heed his words. The text as recorded in Revelation Book 1, the earliest complete record, identifies Fayette

Located in northern part of county between Seneca and Cayuga lakes. Area settled, by 1790. Officially organized as Washington Township, 14 Mar. 1800. Name changed to Fayette, 6 Apr. 1808. Population in 1830 about 3,200. Population in 1840 about 3,700. Significant...

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, New York, as the site of this revelation and hence of the church’s organization.
The 1833 Book of Commandments dated this revelation to 6 April 1830 but changed the location to Manchester

Settled 1793. Formed as Burt Township when divided from Farmington Township, 31 Mar. 1821. Name changed to Manchester, 16 Apr. 1822. Included village of Manchester. Population in 1825 about 2,700. Population in 1830 about 2,800. JS reported first vision of...

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, New York, a mistake that could not be corrected until Revelation Book 1 became available in 2005. The change (and the addition of “Manchester, New York” to several other short revelations bearing the same date but no location) appears to have been made by Missouri

Area acquired by U.S. in Louisiana Purchase, 1803, and established as territory, 1812. Missouri Compromise, 1820, admitted Missouri as slave state, 1821. Population in 1830 about 140,000; in 1836 about 240,000; and in 1840 about 380,000. Mormon missionaries...

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printer William W. Phelps

17 Feb. 1792–7 Mar. 1872. Writer, teacher, printer, newspaper editor, publisher, postmaster, lawyer. Born at Hanover, Morris Co., New Jersey. Son of Enon Phelps and Mehitabel Goldsmith. Moved to Homer, Cortland Co., New York, 1800. Married Sally Waterman,...

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, who joined the young church in 1831 and therefore had no personal knowledge of the 1830 organizing meeting.
John Whitmer

27 Aug. 1802–11 July 1878. Farmer, stock raiser, newspaper editor. Born in Pennsylvania. Son of Peter Whitmer Sr. and Mary Musselman. Member of German Reformed Church, Fayette, Seneca Co., New York. Baptized by Oliver Cowdery, June 1829, most likely in Seneca...

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recorded this document in Revelation Book 1, in which it was identified as “17th Commandment AD 1829.” Later, “1829” was crossed out, and “April <6> 1830” was inserted by Whitmer and Oliver Cowdery

3 Oct. 1806–3 Mar. 1850. Clerk, teacher, justice of the peace, lawyer, newspaper editor. Born at Wells, Rutland Co., Vermont. Son of William Cowdery and Rebecca Fuller. Raised Congregationalist. Moved to western New York and clerked at a store, ca. 1825–1828...

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. Edward Partridge

27 Aug. 1793–27 May 1840. Hatter. Born at Pittsfield, Berkshire Co., Massachusetts. Son of William Partridge and Jemima Bidwell. Moved to Painesville, Geauga Co., Ohio. Married Lydia Clisbee, 22 Aug. 1819, at Painesville. Initially a Universal Restorationist...

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may have drafted an earlier copy of the text, but only a portion of that is extant.