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Fayette, New York

Reconstructed log home at the site of the Peter Whitmer, Sr., home in Fayette, New York. Here the Book of Mormon translation was completed, the testimony of the Three Witnesses was signed (June, 1829), and the Church was organized on April 6, 1830. Twenty revelations in the Doctrine and Covenants were received here. Courtesy LaMar C. Barrett.

by Lamar E. Garrard

The township of Fayette, New York, is located in Seneca County between Seneca and Cayuga lakes. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was organized in the log cabin of Peter Whitmer, Sr., approximately 4.7 miles northwest of the village of Fayette and 3 miles southwest of modern Waterloo, New York (see Organization of the Church [1830]).

Joseph Smith first came to Fayette in the spring of 1829, when David Whitmer, who knew Oliver Cowdery, invited him and the Prophet to come to his father's house from harmony, pennsylvania, to complete the translation of the Book of Mormon. They arrived in Fayette the first week of June and completed the translation by the end of June. They also preached occasionally in the area, baptizing many converts. Joseph Smith received five revelations in Fayette during that month (D&C 14-18). Soon after the translation was completed, Whitmer, Cowdery, and Martin Harris testified that they were shown the plates by a heavenly messenger near the Whitmer home (see Book of Mormon Witnesses).

In April 1830, the Prophet received a revelation instructing him to organize the Church on April 6, which was accomplished in the home of Peter Whitmer, Sr. (D&C 20-21). In the days and months that followed, many meetings were held in the general area of Fayette and more converts were baptized. The first General Conference of the Church was held in Fayette on June 9, 1830.

Because of renewed opposition in Harmony, Pennsylvania, where Joseph and his wife, Emma, had returned after the Church was organized, they moved again to the Whitmer home in Fayette, living there from August 1830 to January 1831. In those months, Joseph continued the work of his inspired translation of the Bible (see Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible [JST]), part of which was later published as the Book of Moses; he also received thirteen additional revelations (D&C 28- 40). The second General Conference was held in Fayette on September 26, 1830.

In December 1830 and January 1831, revelations were received instructing the Latter-day Saints to move to Ohio to a more friendly environment (D&C 37:1-3; 38:31-32), where LDS missionaries had made many converts. Joseph and Emma Smith left Fayette in the latter part of January 1831, and most of the remaining members left later that spring and summer.

Today the Church has built a visitors center, a chapel, and a replica of the Whitmer log cabin on the old Whitmer farm.

(See Daily Living home page; Church History home page)

Bibliography

Porter, Larry C. "A Study of the Origins of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the States of New York and Pennsylvania, 1816-1831." Ph.D. diss., Brigham Young University, 1971.

Encyclopedia of Mormonism, Vol. 2, Fayette, New York

Copyright 1992 by Macmillan Publishing Company

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