Scott Lloyd Posted June 2, 2009 Share Posted June 2, 2009 This is a redux of this thread in which Alf O'Mega strenuously promoted the notion of Michael Marquardt that the Church was organized in Manchester, N.Y., not at Fayette, as has traditionally been held.Marquardt bases his contention on the 1833 Book of Commandments, which gives Manchester as the location for D&C 21, which was given at the organization of the Church.However, there is now evidence that predates the Book of Commandments, evidence in a manuscript found in the First Presidency's vault, called "The Book of Commandments and Revelations." This manuscript gives the setting for D&C 21 as Fayette, thus sustaining the traditional account. The Book of Commandments and Revelations was discussed in a session of the recent Mormon History Association Conference held in Springfield, Ill. The session was billed as "A Major Documentary Discovery." I reported on the session in my Church News article linked here.One of the presenters in the session was Steven C. Harper, an editor in the Joseph Smith Papers project. I have transcribed the relevant portion of Harper's presentation as follows:John Whitmer wrote that the 17th commandment [i.e. D&C 21], revealed 6 April 1830, was a revelation to Joseph the Seer by way of commandment to the church given at Fayette, Seneca County, State of New York. The 1833 Book of Commandments, heretofore the earliest source available, located this revelation in Manchester, N. Y. Wesley Walters and Michael Marquardt thus argued that the traditional story of the Churchâ??s founding in Fayette, N.Y., lacked foundation in the historical record. But we can now see that, in this case, tradition and the historical record match up. The BCR gives Manchester as the location for a series of revelations that are now combined in LDS Doctrine and Covenants Section 23. However, it gives Fayette as the location for the 6 April 1830 revelation that calls for a record to be kept and for Joseph and Oliver Cowdery to be ordained the Churchâ??s leading elders. Moreover in the manuscript BCR, as in the most recent edition of the Doctrine and Covenants, this revelation precedes the series of short ones that are now Section 23. But for some reason, in the published Book of Commandments in 1833, these revelations were put ahead of the 6 April one that precedes them in the BCR. It dates all of the revelations as 6 April, though none of the short personal texts is so specifically dated in the manuscript. The one to Oliver Cowdery is dated only to the month of April, for example, and all the others only to the year 1830. All of them are located in Manchester. Apparently in the process of printing the BCR, William Phelps and/or his associates changed the order of the revelations and confused or conflated their dates and places. Whatever happened, it is clear that the earliest available source, presently the BCR, reaffirms Josephâ??s later history and its explicit account for the Church being organized on Tuesday, 6 April 1830 at the Whitmer home in Fayette, N.Y. Link to comment
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