Fayette, New York

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The Mormon Church was organized in the home of Peter Whitmer, Sr., Intellectual Reserve © 2008

Fayette, New York, has become important as the birthplace of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormon Church). Fayette is located in Seneca County. Even today, it has a population of only a few thousand people. The Prophet Joseph Smith was from Palmyra, New York, a nearby town.

Six people, including Joseph Smith, met in a log home owned by Peter Whitmer, Sr. and organized what was then called the Church of Christ. The first verse of Doctrine and Covenants, section 20 announces “the rise of the Church of Christ in these last days, being one thousand eight hundred and thirty years since the coming of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in the flesh, it being regularly organized and established agreeable to the laws of our country … in the fourth month, and on the sixth day of the month which is called April.”

The headnote to the next section, Doctrine and Covenants 21, declares that the Church was in fact organized on 6 April 1830 at Fayette, New York, “in the home of Peter Whitmer, Sen.” [1]

The specific laws under which the Church was incorporated seem to have been the laws of New York State. By 1784, the state of New York had already enacted a procedure for incorporating religious societies.

In 1980, a reconstructed log home, built on the same site, was dedicated as part of the sesquicentennial celebrations of the founding of the Church. Then prophet Spencer W. Kimball performed the dedication, which was part of a General Conference satellite broadcast. The Whitmer cabin is still operated as a religious historical site by the LDS church. [2]