Chronology of Mormonism

Chronology of Mormonism


This is a chronology of Mormonism. In the late 1820s, founder Joseph Smith, Jr. announced that an angel had given him a set of golden plates engraved with a chronicle of ancient American peoples, which he had a unique gift to translate. In 1830, he published the resulting narratives as the Book of Mormon and founded the Church of Christ in western New York, claiming it to be a restoration of early Christianity.

Moving the church to Kirtland, Ohio in 1831, Smith attracted hundreds of converts, who were called Latter Day Saints. He sent some to Jackson County, Missouri to establish a city of Zion. In 1833, Missouri settlers expelled the Saints from Zion, and Smith's paramilitary expedition to recover the land was unsuccessful. Fleeing an arrest warrant in the aftermath of a Kirtland financial crisis, Smith joined his remaining followers in Far West, Missouri, but tensions escalated into violent conflicts with the old Missouri settlers. Believing the Saints to be in insurrection, the Missouri governor ordered their expulsion from Missouri, and Smith was imprisoned on capital charges.

After escaping state custody in 1839, Smith directed the conversion of a swampland into Nauvoo, Illinois, where he became both mayor and commander of a nearly autonomous militia. In 1843, he announced his candidacy for President of the United States. The following year, after the Nauvoo Expositor criticized his power and such new doctrines as plural marriage, Smith and the Nauvoo city council ordered the newspaper's destruction as a nuisance. In a futile attempt to check public outrage, Smith first declared martial law, then surrendered to the governor of Illinois. He was killed by a mob while awaiting trial in Carthage, Illinois. After Smith's death, his followers split in to several groups, including The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), who followed Brigham Young as Smith's successor. These Mormons followed Young to the Great Basin, where they established a theocratic society. Eventually, after the Mormons discontinued their practice of polygamy, they entered mainstream American society and became champions of the nuclear family. A branch of Mormon fundamentalists who disagreed with that decision broke off from the LDS Church and established their own organizations. In the 20th century, the LDS Church grew dramatically, and currently has millions of members worldwide.


Smith's aunt Lovisa Mack Tuttle, after a two-year illness, is miraculously healed. (Anderson 2001, p. 167). Returning from a near death experience, she tells of a vision in which Jesus spoke through a veil and told her to "warn the people to prepare for death" and to "declare faithfully unto them their accountability before God". (Anderson 2001, pp. 238–40).
24 January 1796 
Smith's parents Joseph Smith, Sr. and Lucy Mack Smith are married in Tunbridge, Vermont by Seth Austin (Anderson 2001, pp. 168, 799)
Smith's grandfather Asael Smith states in a letter that "I believe that the stone is now cut out of the mountain without hands, spoken by Daniel, and has smitten the image upon his feet." (Brooke 1994, pp. 66, 133).
Joseph, Sr. and Lucy Smith have an unnamed baby child, who dies. (Anderson 2001, p. 168). There is disagreement on whether this was a boy or a girl. (Anderson 2001, p. 264 n. 101)
6 December 1797 
Joseph, Sr., his father Asael, his brother Jesse, and fourteen others form a Universalist Society. (Brooke 1994, p. 131; Anderson 2001, p. 168).
11 February 1798 
Smith's brother Alvin Smith is born in Tunbridge, Vermont. (Anderson 2001, p. 168).
10 April 1799 
Smith's grandfather Asael Smith writes a letter to his family, intended to be read after his death, articulating his belief in universal salvation, warning them not to look to outward formalities of religion. (Brooke 1994, pp. 132–33; Anderson 2001, p. 291). Asael Smith, however, was a pew holder of the local Congregational church (Anderson 2003, pp. 207 nn. 183, 185), a church known at the time for having preachers who taught Christian Universalism and Unitarian theology.

19th century

9 February 1800 
Smith's brother Hyrum Smith is born in Tunbridge, Vermont. (Anderson 2001, p. 168).
4 August 1800 – 4 May 1801 
The Smith family may not have been counted during the 1800 U.S. census. Although there are "Joseph Smith" families in both Tunbridge and Poultney, Vermont, neither of them match in ages and children with the family of Joseph and Lucy Smith. (Quinn 1998, p. 126).
Smith, Sr. may have moved temporarily to or visited Poultney, Vermont, 50 miles from Tunbridge, according to residents who said he lived there "at the time of the Wood movement here". (Quinn 1998, pp. 25–26; Brooke 1994, p. 133).
spring or early summer 1800 
A counterfeiter named (Justus?)[1] Winchell organizes a dowsing company to dig for money in Middletown and Rutland, Vermont. Winchell associates with Nathaniel Wood, who had founded the New Israelites some years earlier, whose religious elements included temple building, divination, polygamy, and the idea that they were literal descendants of the Israelites. (Quinn 1998, pp. 121–24, 449; Brooke 1994, pp. 57, 133–34; Vogel 1995, pp. 617–20). Among the company is Warren Cowdery, Jr., the father of Oliver Cowdery, the dowser who became Smith's scribe in 1829. (Quinn 1998, pp. 25–26; Brooke 1994, p. 133). According to interviews conducted by a local historian, Joseph Smith, Sr. was also part of the New Israelites, and was one of its "leading rods-men" (Quinn 1998, pp. 35–36; Brooke 1994, pp. 133). There is no historical consensus linking Smith, Sr. to the New Israelites; however, he said that his money digging career began during this decade or earlier. (Brooke 1994, pp. 133, 39).[2]
14 January 1802 
The New Israelites, having prophesied this day as the end of the world, are confronted by local militia. This is known as the "Wood Scrape". The militia fires their weapons to disperse the "Fraternity of Rodsmen". (Quinn 1998, pp. 121, 449; Brooke 1994, pp. 57, 133–34; Vogel 1995, pp. 617–20).
about spring 1802 
Joseph, Sr. and Lucy Smith rent out their farm in Tunbridge, Vermont and move to the more urban Randolph, Vermont to set up a merchant shop. They operate with $1,800 in goods on credit from merchants in Boston. (Anderson 2001, pp. 275, 285; Brooke 1994, p. 135; Bushman 2005, p. 18).
Soon after moving to Randolph, Smith, Sr. speculates on a shipment of ginseng, which he sends from the port in New York City to China. Anderson 2001, pp. 282
about fall or winter 1802 
Six months after moving to Randolph, Lucy contracts tuberculosis. (Anderson 2001, p. 276).
While deathly ill, Lucy has a religious conversion after she believes she hears the voice of God. (Bushman 2005, pp. 23–24; Brooke 1994, p. 139). She said that she perceived her "mind at one time raising gradually, borne away to Heaven above all hight [sic] then reverting back again to my babes and my Companion at my side", after which she promised God that if she would live, she would try to find religion, and then heard a voice saying "Seek and ye shall find knock and it shall be opened unto you let your heart be comforted ye believe in God believe [sic] also in me". (Anderson 2001, p. 278). Lucy tries to find a religious home, but is unhappy with several ministers; therefore, she concludes that "there is not on Earth the religion which I seek I must again turn to my bible taking Jesus and his deciples [sic] for an ensample". (Anderson 2001, p. 280).
A large Christian revival sweeps across Vermont and Connecticut. (Bushman 2005, p. 24).
about 1803 
After the ship returns from China with the proceeds from the sale of Smith Sr.'s ginseng (a round trip that might have taken about a year), the earnings are stolen by a Royalton merchant who flees to Canada. (Anderson 2001, pp. 282–85).
Joseph, Sr. and Lucy Smith move from Royalton back to Tunbridge, Vermont. (Anderson 2001, p. 285).
The Smiths must sell their farm in Tunbridge to cover their debts to Boston merchants, and they thereafter become poor tenants. (Anderson 2001, pp. 285–86; Brooke 1994, p. 135).
17 May 1803 
Smith's sister Sophronia is born in Tunbridge. (Anderson 2001, p. 168).
Lucy attends meetings at a Methodist church, and Smith, Sr. "went a few times to gratify [Lucy] for he had so little faith in the doctrines taught by them that my feelings were the only inducement for him to go".(Anderson 2001, p. 291; Bushman 2005, p. 25).
Hearing that Joseph, Sr. is attending Methodist meetings, Smith's Universalist grandfather Asael Smith appears at his door, throws Thomas Paine's Age of Reason, into the house, and angrily demands that Smith, Sr. read it until he had believes it. He also suggests that Smith, Sr. ought not let Lucy attend the meetings. As a result, the Smiths stop attending Methodist church meetings. (Anderson 2001, p. 291; Bushman 2005, p. 25; Brooke 1994, p. 139).
Lucy Mack Smith visits a grove near Tunbridge to pray about her husband's rejection of organized religion. When she returns home and goes to sleep that night, she has a vision that Smith, Sr. would eventually accept the "pure and undefiled Gospel of the Son of God" (Anderson 2001, pp. 292–93).
about 1804 
The Smiths move from Tunbridge to Royalton, Vermont, where they "resided a few months". (Anderson 2001, p. 294).
27 August 1804 
Smith's maternal grandfather Solomon Mack purchases property in Sharon, Vermont. (Anderson 2003, pp. 24–25; Bushman 2005, p. 19).
Joseph, Sr. and Lucy move to Sharon, Vermont, where they rent the farm of Lucy's father while Joseph, Sr. cultivates crops in the summer and teaches school in the winter. (Anderson 2001, pp. 294, 299). Solomon Mack likely lives with them. (Anderson 2003, pp. 25–26).
23 December 1805 
Smith is born in Sharon, Vermont to Joseph Smith, Sr. and Lucy Mack Smith. (Anderson 2001, pp. 265, 294, 299). Vermont residents recall that Smith, Sr. told them the young Joseph was born with a caul (a sign of good luck), and that Smith, Sr. "intended to procure a stone for [him] to see all over the world with". (Quinn 1998, p. 42).
3 May 1806 
Smith, Sr. witnesses a land transaction between his in-laws Solomon Mack and Daniel G. Mack in Sharon, Vermont. (Anderson 2001, p. 168).
1 April 1807 
In the court of Windsor County, Vermont, a person is convicted of passing counterfeit money to "Joseph Smith". (Brodie 1971, p. 7; Brooke 1994, p. 138).
16 April 1807 
A second person is convicted of passing counterfeit money to "Joseph Smith". (Brodie 1971, p. 7; Brooke 1994, p. 138).
Sharon resident George Downer is convicted of passing two counterfeit bills the previous spring. There is some tenuous evidence, based in part on a descendant of the counterfeiter against whom Smith, Sr. testified on April 1, that Smith, Sr. was an accomplice in that case who avoided conviction by turning state's evidence. See Brooke (1994, p. 138) (noting the evidence is weak, but arguing that it favors the involvement of Smith, Sr. given that court records verify there was an unnamed accomplice who testified against Downer). But see Brodie (1971, p. 7) (discounting the evidence; Brooke notes that Brodie does not mention the court records showing there was an unnamed accomplice witness).
Smith family moves from Sharon back to Tunbridge, Vermont (Anderson 2001, p. 294).
15 October 1807 
Smith, Jr., his brother Jesse, and other Tunbridge residents petition the Vermont legislature for an exemption from providing their own military equipment as members of the Vermont militia. (Anderson 2001, p. 169).
13 March 1808 
Smith's brother Samuel is born in Tunbridge, Vermont. (Anderson 2001, pp. 169, 265).
Smith family moves from Tunbridge to Royalton, Vermont. (Anderson 2001, pp. 169, 294, 299)
Smith possibly attends school on Dewey Hill, taught by Deacon John Rinney, although he may have been too young. (Anderson 2001, p. 169).


13 March 1810 
Smith's brother Ephraim is born in Royalton, Vermont. (Anderson 2001, p. 169).
24 March 1810 
Ephraim Smith dies. (Anderson 2001, p. 169).
winter of 1810-11 
A Christian revival occurs in the towns around Royalton, Vermont. (Brooke 1994, p. 145). Smith, Sr. becomes "much excited upon the subject of religion" and "contended" for a restoration of primitive Christianity. (Brooke 1994, p. 145).
spring 1811 
Smith's maternal grandfather Solomon Mack, after being ill all winter in Sharon, Vermont, and after searching the scriptures and praying, sees a vision and later hears a voice. (Anderson 2003, pp. 23–24, 201–02). He is converted to evangelical Calvinism and denounces Universalism. (Brooke 1994, p. 145).
13 March 1811 
Smith's brother William is born in Royalton, Vermont (Anderson 2001, p. 169).
April[3] 1811 
Joseph Smith, Sr. tells his family about his first vision. He sees a field representing the barrenness of true religion upon the earth, and he sees a log containing a box. His spirit guide tells him that if he eats the contents of the box, he will be filled with "wisdom and understanding". He raises the lid of the box, but is unable to eat its contents because "all manner of beasts, horned cattle, and roaring animals, rose up on every side in the most threatening manner possible". Based on the vision, Smith, Sr. concludes, more than ever, that there is no true religion on the earth. (Smith 1853, pp. 54–55) He would have six other visions between 1811 and 1819.
1811 (after May 11)[4]
After selling his property in Sharon, Vermont and moving to live with Smith's uncle Daniel in Royalton (Anderson 2003, pp. 29–30), Smith's maternal grandfather Solomon Mack self-publishes a booklet describing his heavenly visions and voices of the previous winter: Mack, Solomon (1811), A Narraitve [sic] of the Life of Solomon Mack, Windsor: Solomon Mack, .
1812 (after May) 
Smith family moves from Royalton, Vermont to Lebanon, New Hampshire (Anderson 2001, p. 169).
1812 (after May) 
Joseph Smith, Sr. has his second vision, in which he saw a barren field representing the desolate world, a "narrow path", a stream with a rope running along its bank leading to a beautiful tree bearing a fruit whiter than snow that was "delicious beyond description. While eating, he thought "I cannot eat this alone, I must bring my wife and children, that they may partake with me." Thus, he brought his family to eat the fruit. However, there was a "spacious building" across the valley where the tree was, filed with finely-dressed people looking down and mocking Smith's family. Smith's spirit guide said that the fruit represented "the pure love of Christ". The guide said that the spacious building represented "Babylon, and it must fall". (Smith 1853, p. 58).
winter of 1812–1813 
Smith and his siblings contract typhoid fever, and Smith acquires osteomyelitis in his leg. He has surgery to remove infected bone, causing him to hobble on crutches at least until 1816. (Anderson 2001, p. 169).
about 1813 
Smith stays with his uncle Jesse Smith in Salem, Massachusetts while recovering from his leg operation. (Anderson 2001, p. 169)
8 July 1813 
Smith's sister Katherine is born in Lebanon, New Hampshire. (Anderson 2001, p. 169).
by May 1815[5]
Smith family moves to Norwich, Vermont, and their first year of crops fails. They survive by selling fruit. (Smith 1853, p. 66; Anderson 2001, p. 169).
15 March 1816 
The Smith family is "warned out of town" in Norwich, Vermont. (Vogel 1996, pp. 222–68; (Anderson 2001, p. 169)).
Joseph Smith, Sr. relates to his family his third vision, in which he was lame, but his spirit guide sent him through a garden amidst 12 wooden images of giants. After each of the wooden giants sequentially bowed toward him in obeisance, he was healed. (Smith 1853, pp. 70–71; Anderson 2001, chronology).
25 March 1816 
Smith's brother Don Carlos is born. (Anderson 2001, p. 169).
summer 1816 
New England and other areas experience a climate abnormality known as the Year Without a Summer.
1816 - 1817 
Palmyra experiences a large Christian revival.
fall 1816 
Smith, Sr. moves to the village of Palmyra, New York (Anderson 2001, p. 169). Tucker (1867, p. 11) dates this as the summer of 1816.
January 1817 
Lucy Mack Smith and the remainder of the family move to Palmyra, where they live in a small house on Main Street. (Anderson 2001, p. 170).
abt. 1817 
Smith, Sr. opens a "cake and beer shop" in Palmyra, selling "gingerbread, pies, boiled eggs, root-beer, and other like notions of traffic", and peddles these on the street from a handcart during Independence Day celebrations and military training days". (Tucker 1867, p. 12). A journalist who visited the area in 1831 wrote in his notes that Smith, Sr. "was a vender—made gingerbread and buttermints &c&c". He said, "In this article [gingerbread? ginger?] he was a considerable speculator, having on hand during a fall of price no less than two baskets full.... What their dividends were I could not learn, but they used considerable molasses, and were against the duty on that article". (Arrington 1970, p. 2 (online ed.)).
abt. 1817 
Influenced by the Christian revivals of 1816-17 (Bushman 2005, p. 37), Smith later recalls, "At about the age of twelve years my mind become [sic] seriously imprest with regard to the all importent [sic] concerns for the wellfare [sic] of my immortal Soul which led me to searching the scriptures believeing [sic] as I was taught, that they contained the word of God thus applying myself to them and my intimate acquaintance with those of different denominations led me to marvel excedingly [sic] for I discovered that they did not adorn instead of adorning their profession by a holy walk and Godly conversation agreeable to what I found contained in that sacred depository." (Smith 1832, pp. 1–2).
In Palmyra, Smith, Sr. and his oldest sons take occasional day jobs, such as gardening, harvesting, and well-digging, to supplement their income. (Tucker 1867, p. 12). Lucy Mack Smith sets up a business selling painted oil-cloth coverings (Smith 1853, pp. 67–70).
April 1817 
Joseph Smith, Sr. is listed on the local road list as living in Palmyra village, on Road District 26. (Marquardt & Walters 1994, p. xxvi; Anderson 2001, chronology).
During some period between these years, Smith visits the office of the Palmyra Register weekly and buys a news paper for his father. (Quinn 1998, p. 100; Turner 1851, p. 214).
December 1817 
A "Joseph Smith" (Sr.?) joins the Masonic lodge in nearby Canandaigua, New York. (Brooke 1994, p. 140).
April 1818 
Joseph Smith, Sr. family is living in Palmyra village. (Marquardt & Walters 1994, p. xxvi).
May 1818[6]
Joseph Smith, Sr. relates to his family his sixth vision. Smith, Sr. rushes toward a meetinghouse where multitudes of other people are entering, but just as he arrives there, the door shuts before him. The porter tells him that he must be barred entry to satisfy justice. After praying for forgiveness of sins, the mercy of Jesus satisfied the needs of justice and he was allowed entrance. (Smith 1853, p. 72).
April 1819 
Joseph Smith, Sr. family is listed on tax records as still living in Palmyra village. (Marquardt & Walters 1994, p. xxvi).
The Smith family builds a log home in the town of Palmyra, away from the village and adjacent to the border of Manchester. Smith (1853, p. 71) said they moved into the log home two years after arriving in Palmyra. Turner (1852, p. 214) remembers the Smiths occupying this log home in the winter of 1819-20. Tucker (1876, pp. 12–13) dates the move to the log home to 1818, said that the Smiths occupied the land as squatters, and described the log home as "divided into two rooms, on the ground-floor, and had a low garret, in two apartments. A bedroom wing, built of sawed slabs, was afterward added". They may have begun clearing trees and farming nearby land they did not yet own, or they may have been renting the land.
While on their new property, the Smiths engage in "chopping and retailing of cord-wood, the raising and bartering of small crops of agricultural products and garden vegetables, the manufacture and sale of black-ash baskets and birch brooms, the making of maple sugar and molasses in the season for that work, and in the continued business of peddling cake and beer in the village on days of public doings". They also engage in hunting and fishing, trapping muskrats, and digging out groundhogs from their holes, and spending time at Palmyra shops. (Tucker 1867, p. 14).
Smith, Jr. works as a clerk for the peddling of cake and beer on public occasions, and sometimes is duped into accepting counterfeit coins from other youth. (Tucker 1867, p. 14). See also Arrington 1970, 4 (online ed.) ("I believe his son, Joe Junior, was at times a partner in the concern.").
Alvin Smith leaves home to raise money for the family (Smith 1853, p. 71).
An unknown shooter hides under a wagon, and when Smith approaches his home, the shooter fires across the path, missing Smith but lodging a bullet in a cow. (Smith 1853, p. 73).
Joseph Smith, Sr. tells his family about his seventh and last vision, telling him that he lacked one thing in order to secure his salvation. His spirit guide wrote what that one thing was on a piece of paper, but Smith, Sr. awoke before he could read it. (Smith 1853, p. 74).
September 1819 
According to Tucker (1876, p. 19), Smith discovers a seer stone, which is white and opaque, and resembles a child's foot. Tucker's account apparently conflates the story of finding this stone with the better-documented story of Smith finding his brown seer stone in 1822. Vogel (1994, p. 202 n.11) argues that this 1819 date cannot be relied upon, and that it is not established that Smith began using a seer stone for treasure digging until 1822.


between 1820 and 1827 
According to Tucker (1867, pp. 24–25), Smith sees the location of a buried chest of money, but says that a black sheep must be sacrificed in order to break the spell on it. He obtains the sheep from Manchester resident William Stafford and makes the sacrifice within a circle at the cite of the dig. After three hours of digging, one of the party accidentally breaks the enchantment by breaking silence and causes the excavation to fail.


about 1820 
According to one account, Smith finds his first stone by borrowing the stone of another treasure seer. (Vogel 1996, p. 456).
about 1820 
According to Tucker (1867, p. 20), Smith is paid 75 cents to locate a stolen roll of cloth with his seer stone. He sends the owner on a three mile trip to look for the cloth, but it is never found.
about 1820 
During this period are the earliest reports of the Smiths conducting treasure quests in the Palmyra/Manchester area. Howe (1833, pp. 237, 240, 251, 268) date this earliest digging to 1820. See also Vogel 1994, p. 201 (dating the first digs to 1820 and suggesting the first digs occurred on their Manchester land). In Arrington (1970, 4-5 (online ed.)), James Gordon Bennett says, without giving a definite year, that "the Smith's [sic] and their associates commenced digging, in the numerous hills which diversify the face of the country in the town of Manchester. The sensible country people paid slight attention to them at first.... They Would occasionally conceal their purposes, and at other times reveal them by such snatches as might excite curiosity. They dug these holes by day, and at night talked and dreamed over the counties' riches they should enjoy, if they could only hit upon an iron chest full of dollars. In excavating the grounds, they began taking up the green sod in the form of a circle of six feed diameter—then would continue to dig to the depth of ten, twenty, and sometimes thirty feet.")
Smith family is listed on local records as living at the end of Stafford Road in Palmyra Township (i.e., their log home at the border adjacent to Manchester). Alvin Smith is listed as living in Palmyra village. (Marquardt & Walters 1994, p. xxvi).
According to Tucker (1876, pp. 21–22), Smith uses his seer stone to locate buried treasure near the Smiths' property, and gathers contributions from Palmyra residence for an excavation, which is conducted "at the dead hour of night". After "preparatory mystic ceremonies", digging begins in absolute silence in order not to break the "enchantment". When the chest of money is nearly within reach, one of the party accidentally speaks, thus causing the treasure to vanish. Vogel (1994, pp. 201–202) dates this treasure quest to after 1822, arguing that Smith did not obtain his first stone until that year.
According to Smith's later accounts, he has his First Vision. Depending on the account, it is either a visit by one or more angels, or a theophany. In the vision, a heavenly messenger tells him his sins are forgiven and that all the churches on the Earth at that time were false.


The Smith family obtains a mortgage on a 100-acre (0.4 km2) farm adjacent to their log home, just outside of Palmyra in what was then Farmington. (In 1821, this would become the town of Manchester.) They had already been working this land, either squatting or renting from the owner. Tucker (1867, p. 13) said that Smith made a small payment "to bind the bargain".
18 July 
Smith's youngest sister Lucy is born. (Anderson 2001, p. 170).


abt. Jan. 25 
Smith begins participating in a Palmyra "juvenile debating club" at "the old red school house on Durfee street". (Turner 1852, p. 214 & n.27).[8]
Alvin begins construction on a frame house for the Smiths.
Smith takes an interest in Methodism. Turner (1852, p. 214) says that Smith "catch[es] a spark of Methodism in the camp meeting, away down in the woods, on the Vienna road", and is known there as "a very passable exhorter" at evening Methodist meetings. Tucker (1867, p. 18) says that Smith "joined the probationary class of the Methodist church in Palmyra, and made some active demonstrations of engagedness". According to Turner, this date must be after Smith's participation in the debating club (i.e., after Jan. 25, 1822). Date must also be after 7 July 1821, when the Methodists acquired their property in the woods off Vienna Road (Marquardt & Walters 1994, p. 54 n.41) The Methodists did not begin building their meetinghouse on Vienna Road until 19 June 1822 (Marquardt & Walters 1994, p. 54 n.41), but may have held camp meetings there while waiting for the building. It also must be on or before the summer of 1822, when Turner left the Palmyra area (Marquardt & Walters 1994, p. 55). Morgan (1986, p. 224) dates this to the revivals of 1824-25, but does not acknowledge that Turner said he left the Palmyra area in the summer of 1822.
Smith withdraws from his Methodist probationary class. Mather (1880, p. 199) says that Smith "arose and announced that his mission was to restore the true priesthood. He appointed a number of meetings, but no one seemed inclined to follow him as the leader of a new religion." Tucker (1867, p. 18) says that Smith's "assumed convictions were insufficiently grounded or abiding to carry him along to the saving point of conversion, and he soon withdrew from the class. The final conclusion announced by him was, that all sectarianism was fallicious, all the churches on a false foundation, and the Bible a fable."
Smith finds the black seer stone from a neighbor and locates his own seer stone in a well, at a depth of 22 feet. The digging occurred on the property of Clark Chase, whose son Willard disputed Smith's ownership of the stone. This would be the stone he used for later money digging and translation of the Book of Mormon.
The Smiths seek the expertise of a reputed treasure seer living many miles away. Several sources identify this seer as Luman Walter. In Arrington (1970, 5 (online ed.)), reprinting an 1831 article by James Gordon Bennett, Bennett describes this great seer as having "a particular felicity in finding out the spots of ground where money is hid and riches obtained. [Some anonymous member of the treasure quest party] related long stories how this person had been along shore in the east—how he had much experience in money digging—how he dreamt of the very spots where it could be found". He said that the Smiths worked for a time "to scrape together a little 'change' sufficient to fetch on the money dreamer." Bennett believed this distant magician was Sidney Rigdon, based on discussion with Palmyra residents who thought Rigdon was the author of the Book of Mormon. However, the story parallels a story told by Abner Cole in the Palmyra Reflector on 12 June 1830 (see below), which says the distant magician was Luman Walter, an occultist from Sodus, New York who had been educated in Europe.
Smith, Sr. participates in treasure digging under the direction of scryer Luman Walter, with at least one dig on the property of Palmyra journalist Abner Cole, according to Quinn (1998, p. 117). Vogel (1994, pp. 206–07) states that Cole's property was "Manchester lot 2". Cole lost this property some time after 19 August 1824, after which Benjamin Tabor owned it. Enoch Saunders rented from at least Tabor, and was renting at the time this excavation occurred.
about 1822-24? 
Luman Walter assists or conducts digs on the hill Cumorah. According to one Palmyra resident, Walter conducts three digs on the hill Cumorah, after having no success, he suggests that Smith, Jr. might be the only one that could find treasure there. (Quinn 1998, p. 117). Arrington (1970, 5-6 (online ed.)) relates a story reported by James Gordon Bennett that "About the time that this person [the scryer from far away, which Bennett identifies as Sidney Rigdon but could be Walter] appeared among them, a splendid excavation was begun in a long narrow hill, between Manchester and Palmyra. This hill has been called by some, the Golden Bible Hill.... In the face of this hill, the money diggers renewed their work with fresh ardour, [the scryer/Rigdon] partly uniting with them in their operations." Bennett dates this story to about the time of the Palmyra's large religious revival of 1824-25. (Arrington 1970, 6 (online ed.)). Tucker (1867, p. 34) says that on the summit of Cumorah is a "yet partially visible pit where the money speculators had previously dug for another kind of treasure".


Ethan Smith, an anti-Masonic congregationalist minister in Poultney, Vermont (and pastor of Oliver Cowdery's family), publishes View of the Hebrews from the press of the Poultney Gazette. The book concludes, based on reports of a parchment book, metal artifacts, and plates found in Indian burial mounds, that the American Indian peoples were the Ten Lost Tribes. (Brooke 1994, pp. 142–43). See Smith, Ethan (1823), View of the Hebrews (1st ed.), Poultney, Vermont: Smith & Shute,  (contains an internal date of July 1823).
21–22 September 
Late at night, Smith says he had three visions, and one again in the morning, of an angel, who showed him the location of a buried golden book engraved with a history of the Indians.
22 September 
Smith tells his father about his visions of the angel, and visits the hill Cumorah where the angel said the plates were buried. He returns empty-handed, claiming that he had failed to strictly follow the angel's commandments. He says the angel required him to return in exactly one year with his brother Alvin.
23 September 
Smith tells the rest of his family about the visions and his visit to Cumorah (Smith 1853, p. 84).
Every night, the Smith family gathers to hear Smith tell stories of the "ancient inhabitants of this continent, [including] their dress, mode of traveling, and the animals upon which they rode; their cities, their buildings, with every particular; their mode of warfare; and also their religious worship" (Smith 1853, p. 84).[9]
23 October 
The Wayne Sentinel, to which the Smith family subscribed (Brodie 1971, p. 46), recounts a vision of Asa Wild, who said that "every denomination of professing christians had become exceedingly corrupt", including the Presbyterians and Methodists, of which he had been a member. Therefore, prior to the Millennium, which would arrive in seven years (i.e., 1830), there would be a restoration of primitive Christianity. God was in the process of "raising up" a class of people "signified by the Angel mentioned by the Revelator, XIV. 6, 7, which flew in the midst of heaven" who would preach the true gospel. These people "are of an inferior class, and small learning", and "they will be rejected by every denomination as a body; but soon, God will open their way, by miracles, judgments, &c." See Watson, Elden J. (1997–98), "The 'Prognostication' of Asa Wild", BYU Studies 37 (3): 223–30, .
15 November 
Alvin contracts "bilious cholic", and a physician administers a toxic amount of calomel. Five physicians are unable to get him to expel the poison (Smith 1853, p. 87).
19 November[10]
Alvin dies. On his death bed, he encourages Smith to "do everything that lies in your power" to obtain the golden plates. (Smith 1853, pp. 87–89).
20 November 
Smith pays a $3.00 fee at the Palmyra drug store. (Anderson 2001, chronology).


12 May 
Local interest in fortune telling is sufficiently high that a Palmyra newspaper advertises two occult handbooks: The Complete Fortune Teller, and The Book of Fate (Quinn 1998, pp. 73, 100, 415).
17 May 
A new land agent, John Greenwood, receives power of attorney over the Smith property. (Anderson 2001, chronology).
22 Sept. 
Smith visits Cumorah and returns empty handed because he was unable to bring Alvin (or possibly one of Alvin's body parts). (Quinn 1998, pp. 158–59). The angel requires him to return in exactly one year with the "right person"; Smith was to know that person by looking in his seer stone.
25 Sept. 
The Smith family hears rumors that Alvin's grave had been exhumed and dissected (possibly by the young Joseph Smith). To prove this was untrue, Joseph Smith, Sr. has Alvin's body exhumed in the presence of witnesses.
29 Sept. 
Joseph Smith, Sr. runs an add in the Wayne Sentinel for six weeks, announcing that he had exhumed Alvin's body, and that it was undisturbed. It also runs 6, 13, 20, 27 October and 3 November. (Anderson 2001, chronology)
fall 1824 to spring 1825 
The Palmyra area experiences a large Christian revival of Baptists and Presbyterians, and Lucy, Sophronia, Hyrum, and Samuel become Presbyterians. (Anderson 2001, chronology). Smith discourages them from attending, preferring solitary study of the Bible. (Smith 1853, pp. 90–91).
fall 1824 to spring 1825 
According to James Gordon Bennett, during the Palmyra revivals, Smith first began "turning their digging concern into a religious plot." Subscribing to the Spalding–Rigdon theory of Book of Mormon authorship, Bennett states that the idea for this shift was Sidney Rigdon's. Arrington (1970, p. 7 (online ver.)).


The Smiths are unable to raise money for their final mortgage payment, and their creditor forecloses on the property. However, the family is able to persuade a local Quaker, Lemuel Durfee, to buy the farm and rent the Smiths the property.
22 September 
Smith visits Cumorah and returns empty handed. Prior to this date, Smith had selected Samuel T. Lawrence as the "right person", and either Smith changed his mind and visited Cumorah alone, or brought Lawrence to the hill but the angel failed to appear. (Quinn 1998, p. 162; Anderson 2001, chronology).
11 October 
A speech by M. M. Noah, a Jewish rabbi and editor of the New York Enquirer is reprinted in The Wayne Sentinel of Palmyra, summarizing the many parallels found in other literature between the American Indians and the Jews. (Brodie 1971, p. 46).
The frame house begun by Alvin in 1822 is finally completed and the family moves in. (Anderson 2001, chronology). Tucker (1867, p. 13) says this house is partly enclosed, and never completed, and that the Smiths used the original log home as a barn.
Smith is approached by Josiah Stowell, from South Bainbridge, New York, who had been searching for a lost Spanish mine near Harmony Township, Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania (now Oakland), and needed a treasure seer (Anderson 2001, chronology; Smith 1853, p. 91).
Smith and his father travel to Harmony hoping to raise money to pay off their Manchester farm. (Marquardt & Walters 1994, p. xxviii)
1 November 
Smith, Sr, Smith, Jr., and seven others sign a contract for a money digging company in Harmony Township, Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania. (Anderson 2001, chronology).
The money digging company stays at the home of Isaac Hale, father of Smith's future wife Emma Hale. (Marquardt & Walters 1994, p. xxviii).
17 November 
The money digging company disbands. (Anderson 2001, chronology)
November 1825 to March 1826 
Although the money digging company has disbanded, Smith continues to work for Josiah Stowell, and attends school. (Anderson 2001, chronology). Smith uses two stones to search for treasure and prays for help in the endeavor. (Marquardt & Walters 1994, p. xxviii).
Because the Smiths are delinquent on their mortgage, land agent John Greenwood sells the Smith farm to a group of three men. The new owners give the Smiths until 15 December for Hyrum to raise $1,000. (Anderson 2001, chronology).
20 December 
A local Quaker named Lemuel Durfee Sr. buys the farm and allows the Smiths to rent the property until spring 1828, in exchange for labor by Samuel. (Anderson 2001, chronology).


20 March 
Smith is the subject of judicial proceedings in South Bainbridge, New York before Justice Albert Neely. He is charged with being a "disorderly person", because he was a "glass looker". According to witnesses, he was either convicted but allowed to escape, or discharged for lack of evidence (Hill 1972, p. 5). Smith states that by looking at the stone he can discover hidden treasures, gold mines, coined money, and lost property. (Marquardt & Walters 1994, p. xxix).
11 August 
Joseph Smith, Sr. is listed among delinquent subscribers of The Wayne Sentinel published by E. B. Grandin. (Brodie 1971, p. 46).
14 August 
William Morgan, a disaffected Freemason from Batavia, New York, registers a copyright for an exposé of Masonic rituals. (See December 1826 entry, regarding publication.)
11 September 
William Morgan, who was working to publish Illustrations of Masonry, an exposé revealing secret Masonic ceremonies, is seized in Batavia, New York by several parties and later taken to Fort Niagara, after which he mysteriously disappears. This "Morgan affair" stokes the fires of an anti-Masonic movement, and soon leads to the formation of the Anti-Masonic Party, especially active in Western New York.
22 Sept. 
Smith visits Cumorah without the "right person". The angel tells him that the next annual visit on 22 September 1827 is his last chance to obtain the golden plates. The angel tells Smith that he must be married in order to obtain the plates. (Quinn 1998, pp. 163–64).
Smith looks into his seer stone and determines that Emma Hale, whom he had met previously, is the "right person" with whom he must go to Cumorah in 1827 to successfully obtain the golden plates. (Quinn 1998, p. 163).
2 November 
Smith's brother Hyrum marries Jerusha Barden. (Anderson 2001, chronology).
Josiah Stowell can no longer afford to continue searching for buried treasure, and Smith travels to Colesville, New York for a few months to work for Joseph Knight, Sr.. (Jessee 1984, p. 32). Smith directs further excavations on Knight's property and at other locations around Colesville (Vogel 1994, pp. 227, 229).
William Morgan's exposé of Masonic rituals is published in Batavia, New York: Morgan, William (1826), Illustrations of Masonry by One of the Fraternity Who has devoted Thirty Years to the Subject, Batavia, N.Y.: David C. Miller, . (See 11 September 1826.)


18 January 
Smith elopes with Emma Hale in South Bainbridge, New York and they are married by judge "Squire Tarbill" (Zachariah Tarbell). (Anderson 2001, chronology).
Josiah Stowell moves Smith and his bride to Manchester. (Marquardt & Walters 1994, p. xxix).
10 March 
Smith receives a receipt for credit of $4.00 on the account of Abraham Fish, who is known to have financed some of Smith's treasure expeditions. (Marquardt & Walters 1994, pp. xxix, 64, 67).
23 March 
The Wayne Sentinel, the Palmyra newspaper published by E. B. Grandin, quotes the Rochester Daily Advertizer in arguing: "The excitement respecting Morgan, instead of decreasing, spreads its influence and aquires [sic] new vigour daily....The Freemason...[is] proscribed, as unworthy of 'any office in town, county, state, or United States!' and the institution of masonry, held up as DANGEROUS and detrimental to the interests of the country!".
16 April 
Smith's brother Samuel begins a seven-month term of work for Lemuel Durfee, owner of the Smith Family Farm, in exchange for tenancy.(Anderson 2001, chronology). (Marquardt & Walters 1994, p. xxix).
1 June 
The Wayne Sentinel runs a story of a German scholar working in the Vatican Library who said he had found evidence that the Mexicans and Egyptians were in communication in ancient times, and that there were examples in Mexico of biblical texts written in two different Egyptian dialects.
Smith, Sr. tells fellow treasure seeker Willard Chase that several years ago, a spirit had appeared to Smith and told him about a golden book. (Marquardt & Walters 1994, p. xxix).
June - June 1828 
Hyrum Smith is listed during this term as a member of the Palmyra Mount Moriah Masonic Lodge No. 112. (Marquardt 2005, p. 116).
According to Tucker (1867, p. 28), a "mysterious stranger" appears at the Smith residence and meets privately with Smith, Jr., possibly multiple times.
Smith and his wife Emma visit Harmony to retrieve Emma's possessions. (Anderson 2001, chronology). Peter Ingersoll moves Emma's furniture from Harmony to Manchester. Smith tells his father-in-law Isaac Hale that he will give up glass-looking. (Marquardt & Walters 1994, p. xxix).
Smith works two days mowing for landlord Lemuel Durfee, Sr. (Marquardt & Walters 1994, p. xxx).
Tucker (1867, p. 30) states that stories that Smith was about to recover the golden plates were given "wide circulation". Tucker dates the stories of the First Vision and Smith's subsequent angel Moroni visions to this time period, arguing they are retrospective inventions (pp. 28, 33).
about fall 
According to Tucker (1867, p. 31), Smith approaches Willard Chase, a carpenter, and asks him to make him a strong chest to hold the golden plates. In lieu of payment, Smith offers to give Chase a share in the profits generated by the plates.
20 September 
Josiah Stowell and Joseph Knight Sr. arrive in Manchester in anticipation of Smith obtaining the golden plates. (Anderson 2001, chronology; Marquardt & Walters 1994, p. xxx).
22 September 
After the stoke of midnight, Smith takes a wagon to visit Cumorah with his wife Emma, and retrieves the golden plates while she prays. (Anderson 2001, chronology). Smith says he hid the plates in a fallen tree top at Cumorah. With the plates, he says he found a sword, a breastplate, and a set of spectacles, telling Joseph Knight that with them, "I can see anything". (Marquardt & Walters 1994, p. xxx).
late September 
Smith travels to nearby Macedon, New York to work for Mrs. Wells. (Marquardt & Walters 1994, p. xxx).
Alone, Smith visits Cumorah and returns with something heavy wrapped in a frock, which he places in a chest. Willard Chase claims that Smith admits that if it had not been for the brown stone found on the Chase property years earlier, he would not have found the plates. (Marquardt & Walters 1994, p. xxx). Chase believes that because the stone is his, Chase has at least part ownership of the plates.
After the original chest said to hold the plates is smashed by members of Smith's former money digging company, Smith obtains a "glass box" (a wooden box used to hold pieces of glass) and says that the plates are kept inside.
The family of Martin Harris, a wealthy Palmyra resident, hears about the golden plates from Lucy Mack Smith. Martin's wife and daughter visit the Smith home to investigate, and Harris conducts his own investigation, asking Smith how the book was found. Smith says that he had located the plates via his brown seer stone, and that an angel appeared to him and told him that it was God's work, and that Smith must quit the money-digging company, translate the plates, and publish the translation. Harris offers, "If the Lord will show me that it is his work, you can have all the money you want." (Marquardt & Walters 1994, pp. xxx-xxxi).
According to Tucker (1867, pp. 30–31), Smith tells Palmyra residents that when he first saw the golden plates, he saw a "display of celestial pyrotechnics", as the angel appeared as his "guide and protector", while "ten thousand devils gathered there, with their menacing sulphureous [sic] flame and smoke, to deter him from his purpose!"
Harris is said to have mused around the village of Palmyra about "what wonderful discoveries Jo Smith had made, and of his finding plates in a hill in the town of Manchester (three miles south of Palmyra), —also found with the plates a large pair of "spectacles," by putting which on his nose and looking at the plates, the spectacles turned the hieroglyphics into good English." (Gilbert 1892).
According to Tucker (1867, pp. 32–33), Palmyra residents were not generally aware at this time of the spectacles Smith said were found with the plates.
According to Tucker (1867, p. 31), "notorious wags" William T. Hussey and Azel Vandruver visit the Smith home and say they are willing to view the golden plates, taking upon themselves the risk that they would be being struck dead if they saw them. They observe something "concealed under a piece of thick canvas". After Hussey removes the canvas and sees a tile brick, Smith claims to have pulled a joke on the men, and "with the customary whiskey hospitalities, the affair ended in good-nature".
Harris gives Smith $50, which allows him to get out of debt and move to Harmony, Pennsylvania. Emma's brother Alva comes from Harmony to pick up the couple.
Smith and his wife leave Manchester and move to Harmony, Pennsylvania (now Oakland, where they live with Emma's parents. (Anderson 2001, chronology). During transit, the glass box said to contain the plates is hidden in a barrel of beans. (Marquardt & Walters 1994, p. xxxi).
30 December 
Smith's sister Sophronia marries Calvin Stoddard in Palmyra. Smith is apparently absent. (Anderson 2001, chronology).


December 1827-February 1828[12]
Working behind a curtain, Smith transcribes some of the characters he says are engraved on the golden plates, and hands them across the curtain to Emma and her brother Reuben Hale. Smith also attempts to translate some of the characters.
Hyrum Smith and Martin Harris travel to Harmony to see Smith. (Marquardt & Walters 1994, p. xxxi).
February - March 
Martin Harris takes a transcript of characters and some of their translations to several scholars in New York. (Anderson 2001, chronology). According to Tucker (1867, p. 43), these scholars include "Hon. Luther Bradish, Dr. Mitchell, Professor Anthon, and others". James Gordon Bennett later reported that Harris told a potential financer in 1830 that he first approached "one of the Professors of Columbia College" (Anthon), who told Harris that he "could not decypher them", but referred him to Samuel L. Mitchill, who "looked at his engravings—made a learned dissertation on them—compared them with the hieroglyphics discovered by Champollion in Egypt—and set them down as the language of a people formerly in existence in the East, but now no more". (Arrington 1970, p. 8 (online ver.)). Harris said that after speaking with Mitchill, he returned to Anthon, "who put some questions to him and got angry with Harris". (Arrington 1970, pp. 2-3 (online ver.)). According to Gilbert (1892), Harris returns to Palmyra after his meetings in New York and tells residents that Smith is a "little smarter than Professor Anthon." According to Tucker (1867, p. 45), Harris declared "in a boastful spirit that God had enabled him, an unlearned man as he was, to 'confound worldly wisdom'".
An anti-Masonic convention is held in Le Roy, New York. News of this conference is widely publicized in regional newspapers, and arouses anti-Masonic sentiment. (McCarthy 1903, p. 375).
6 March 
A second anti-Masonic convention is held in Le Roy, New York, attended by representatives from the counties of Wayne (Palmyra) and Ontario (Manchester). (McCarthy 1903, p. 375).
12 April 
Harris begins acting as Smith's scribe while Smith begins dictating a translation of the golden plates, which Smith calls the Book of Lehi. (Anderson 2001, chronology; Marquardt & Walters 1994, p. xxxi ("The contents of the book are for the first time dictated by Joseph Jr.")).
14 June 
Harris persuades Smith to allow him to take the original, uncopied 116 manuscript pages to Palmyra to show his skeptical wife and family. (Anderson 2001, chronology).
15 June 
Smith and his wife have their first child, named Alvin, who dies soon after birth. Emma nearly dies, and hovers near death for days. (Anderson 2001, chronology; Marquardt & Walters 1994, p. xxxi).
According to Tucker (1867, p. 46), Lucy Harris took the 116 manuscript pages from Martin Haris while he was sleeping, and burned them. Tucker said that she kept this "a profound secret to herself, even until after the book was published".
4 July 
Anti-Masons hold a third convention in Le Roy, New York. (McCarthy 1903, p. 378).
abt. 7 July 
Smith visits Manchester to find out what happened to Harris, and learns that Harris has lost the 116 manuscript pages. Smith says the plates and the Urim and Thummim (Latter Day Saints) are taken away.
Smith returns to Harmony.
In Harmony, Smith dictates his first known written revelation (Phelps 1833, pp. 7–9), chastising him for losing the manuscript translation, and noting that "this is the reason that thou has lost thy privilages for a season, for thou hast suffered the counsel of thy director to be trampled upon from the beginning." Bushman (2005, p. 68) and Marquardt & Walters (1994, p. xxxi) describe this as Smith's first known written revelation. The identity of the speaker is unknown, because this revelation, unlike most later ones, refers to God and Jesus in the third person, although a hint to his identity may perhaps be found in his reference to "my people, the Nephites". Bushman (2005, p. 69) refers to the speaker as a "messenger". The revelation indicates that the "very purpose" of the golden plates is to ensure the Lamanites know about the Nephites, and "come to the knowledge of their fathers, and...that they may believe the gospel and rely upon the merits of Jesus Christ".
4 August 
Anti-Masons hold a fourth convention in Le Roy, New York. Dissatisfied with both parties, they form the Anti-Masonic Party. (McCarthy 1903, p. 379).
Lucy, Hyrum, and Samuel Smith stop attending the Presbyterian church in Palmyra. (Marquardt & Walters 1994, p. xxxi).
7 September 
Anti-Masons hold a fifth convention in Le Roy, New York. They nominate Solomon Southwick as their candidate for Governor of New York. (McCarthy 1903, p. 380).
22 September 
On this, the anniversary of Smith's Cumorah visits, Smith begins translating again, using his seer stone. Smith begins translating where he left off, know known as the Book of Mosiah.
September 1828 to March 1829 
Samuel, Emma, and her brother Reuben Hale serve as Smith's scribes. Translation is sporadic because Smith has to work to support his family, and very little gets translated until April 1829.
Cowdery takes a job teaching school in Manchester. He boards with the Smiths in Manchester.
aft. 22 September 1828 
Smith, Sr. and Lucy visit Smith, Jr. and Emma at Harmony and meet the Hales.
3–5 November 
In the New York gubernatorial election, Anti-Masonic Party candidate Solomon Southwick obtains 33,335 votes, compared to 136,783 votes for Martin Van Buren and 106,415 for Smith Thompson. (McCarthy 1903, p. 382).


Joseph Smith Sr. and Lucy Mack Smith travel to Harmony. (Marquardt & Walters 1994, p. xxxii)). Smith dictates a revelation (Phelps 1833, p. 9) calling the elder Smith to take part in a "marvelous work". The revelation refers to God in the third person.
Martin Harris becomes skeptical about the golden plates, and asks Smith to let him see them. Smith dictates a revelation for Harris (Phelps 1833, pp. 10–13). Unlike prior revelations, this one refers to God in the first person. It also says that Smith had "entered into a covenant" with God not to show the plates to anyone unless God commands otherwise. It says that Smith "has a gift to translate the book, and I have commanded him that he shall pretend to no other gift, for I will grant him no other gift". While future generations would have access to the plates, in the present generation, the words of the book would go out with the testimony of the Three Witnesses who would have "power, that they may behold and view [the plates] as they are, and to none else will I grant this power, to receive this same testimony among this generation." For the first time, a Smith revelation specifically refers to the restoration of a church: "[I]f the people of this generation harden not their hearts, I will work a reformation among them, and I will put down all lyings, and deceivings, and priestcrafts, and envyings, and strifes, and idolatries, and sorceries, and all manner of iniquities, and I will establish my church, like unto the church which was taught by my disciples in the days of old." The revelation says that Harris could be one of the three witnesses if he humbles himself. However, if he sees the plates, Harris is commanded to say nothing more than "I have seen them, and they have been shown unto me by the power of God". Because of a conspiracy to destroy Smith, he is commanded to translate a few more pages, and then "stop for a season, even until I command thee again".
Harris returns to Palmyra. (Marquardt & Walters 1994, p. xxxii).
5 April 
Oliver Cowdery, a school teacher and dowser, arrives in Harmony with Samuel.
7 April 
Cowdery begins acting as Smith's scribe while translating the golden plates.
Smith dictates a revelation (Phelps 1833, pp. 14–17) calling Cowdery to assist with a "marvelous work", and referring to the "cause of Zion". The revelation refers to Cowdery's "gift" (dowsing) and instructs Cowdery to "exercise thy gift, that thou mayest find out mysteries." He is only to reveal his gift to "those which are of thy faith". The revelation refers to "records which contain much of my gospel, which have been kept back because of the wickedness of the people." Cowdery is to use his "gift" to assist in bringing these records to light. Both Cowdery and Smith are given the "keys" to this gift, so that "in the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established".
Smith dictates what is characterized as a translation of a parchment written by John the Apostle and "hid up by himself". The revelation says that John will "tarry" on the earth until the Second Coming. (Phelps 1833, p. 18).
Smith dictates a revelation (Phelps 1833, pp. 19–20) referring to Cowdery's two "gifts". The first gift is Cowdery's ability to "receive a knowledge concerning the engravings of old records, which are ancient". The second gift is "working with the rod" (dowsing). The revelation says "there is no other power save God, that can cause this rod of nature, to work in your hands, for it is the work of God". Cowdery is commanded to "[a]sk that you may know the mysteries of God, and that you may translate all those ancient records, which have been hid up...."
Cowdery begins to translate (perhaps by dowsing), then returns to acting as Smith's scribe. Smith dictates a revelation (Phelps 1833, pp. 20–21) indicating that God took away his gift to translate for the time being because he was not persistent, and misunderstood the nature of translation, which requires the translator to "study it out in your mind". After the golden plates were translated, the revelation says, Cowdery could assist with translating "other records".
abt. April 
Smith dictates a portion of the golden plates telling a story of Alma the Elder, who baptized his followers by immersion, "having authority from the Almighty God", and called his community of believers the "church of God, or the church of Christ". (Mosiah 18:13-17). The book described the clergy in Alma's church as consisting of priests, who were unpaid and were to "preach nothing save it were repentance and faith in the Lord". (Mosiah 18:20). Alma later established many churches, which were considered "one church" because "there was nothing preached in all the churches except it were repentance and faith in God." (Mosiah 25:22). In addition to priests, the clergy of these churches included teachers (Mosiah 25:21) and elders. (Alma 4:7).
about May 
Smith dictates part of his translation (Third Nephi chapter 11) describing the exact mode of baptism by immersion, including the exact words to use. According to Oliver Cowdery's later reminiscence, "after writing the account given of the Savior's ministry to the remnant of the seed of Jacob, upon this continent, it was easily to be seen . . .that . . . none had authority from God to administer the ordinances of the Gospel." Oliver Cowdery, Letter 1, Messenger and Advocate 1 (October 1834): 15.
15 May 
Smith and Cowdery baptize each other. Years later, details gradually emerged concerning a vision prior to this baptism: In 1832, Smith's unpublished history indicated that the priesthood had been received by the "ministering of angels". (Smith 1832, p. 1). In an 1834 publication, Cowdery first told the story of receiving the Aaronic priesthood on this date via a vision of John the Baptist, and then of Smith and Cowdery baptizing each other. Smith essentially agreed with Cowdery's account of the vision.
As the translation proceeds, Smith dictates a revelation (Phelps 1833, pp. 22–27) claiming that the lost 116 manuscript pages still exist, and that the people who possess them have altered them and are waiting for Smith to re-translate the same material. Then, these people plan to argue that Smith cannot translate the same material twice, and thus Smith has only "pretended to translate". Thus, the revelation directs Smith not to re-translate the Book of Lehi. The revelation indicates that the originally-translated Book of Lehi had indicated that it was just an "abridgment" of the "plates of Nephi". Thus, Smith is directed to translate the "plates of Nephi", containing a "more particular account" of the material Smith had already translated. Smith is only to translate the "first part" of these "plates of Nephi", however, continuing down to the reign of King Benjamin, which Smith had already translated from the abridgment. The revelation also speaks of "establishing my gospel that there may not be so much contention". It defined the church of Christ as follows: "whoso repenteth, and cometh unto me, the same is my church: whosoever declareth more or less than this, the same is not of me, but is against me: therefore, he is not of my church".
Smith dictates a revelation (Phelps 1833, pp. 28–30) calling his brother Hyrum to assist in a "marvelous work", but he is not yet called to preach, but he is to be patient, meanwhile praying that he can assist in "the translation of my work". The revelation says that Hyrum "hast a gift, or thou shalt have a gift", and refers to "that which you [Hyrum] are translating".
Smith dictates a revelation (Phelps 1833, p. 31) calling Joseph Knight to assist in a "marvelous work".
1 June 
Smith moves to Fayette, New York and continues translation at the home of Peter Whitmer, Sr..
early June 
Smith dictates a revelation (Phelps 1833, pp. 32–32) calling David Whitmer to assist with the "marvelous work". Whitmer is told that if he asks with faith he "may stand as a witness of the things of which [he] shall both hear and see".
early June 
Smith dictates a revelation (Phelps 1833, p. 33) calling John Whitmer to assist with the "marvelous work". Whitmer becomes one of Smith's scribes. (Roberts 1902, p. 49; Marquardt & Walters 1994, p. xxxii).
early June 
Smith dictates a revelation (Phelps 1833, p. 34) calling Peter Whitmer, Sr. to assist with the "marvelous work".
early June 
Smith and Cowdery begin baptizing new converts in Seneca Lake, including Hyrum Smith, David Whitmer, and Peter Whitmer, Jr. (Roberts 1902, p. 51).
early June 
Years later, after 1839, Smith recalls that he and others gathered in the "chamber of Mr. Whitmer's house", where they heard a voice commanding them to ordain elders, but they refrained from doing so until the organization of the church. (Roberts 1902, pp. 60–61).
between June 1 and 14
Smith dictates a revelation (Phelps 1833, pp. 34–39) directed to Oliver Cowdery and David Whitmer, referring to Smith's previous baptism of Cowdery (presumably on May 15) and instructing Cowdery to "build up my church". Both Cowdery and Whitmer are called to "cry repentance unto this people" and to "search out" the identities of the twelve disciples whom God had called and given power to baptize and to ordain priests and teachers. Cowdery and Whitmer will know the identities of these twelve "by their desires and their works".
11 June 
Using a title page that Smith says was written by Moroni, Smith obtains a copyright for the Book of Mormon (the name of his translation of the golden plates). (Smith 1830, title page).
first half of June 
Smith sends Martin Harris with a copy of the Book of Mormon title page and a few pages of translation to Palmyra to see if E. B. Grandin, owner of The Wayne Sentinel, will agree to publish it. Harris meets with Grandin twice, and the second time threatens that if Grandin does not publish it, they will publish it in Rochester, New York. Grandin provides an approximate estimate of costs, but declines to publish the book. (Gilbert 1892; Tucker 1867, pp. 50–52).
about June? 
Smith directly or indirectly approaches Thurlow Weed, a well-known anti-Masonic publisher and activist in Rochester, New York about printing the Book of Mormon. Weed refuses.
about June? 
Smith attempts unsuccessfully to secure the financial assistance for publishing the Book of Mormon from several family acquaintances including George Crane (a Quaker). (Tucker 1867, pp. 36–37).
Smith begins dictating a replacement section for the Book of Lehi, beginning with the First Book of Nephi.
14 June 
Oliver Cowdery sends a letter to Hyrum Smith referencing language from the "twelve disciples" revelation. (Joseph Smith letterbook (22 November 1835 to 4 August 1835) 5-6. Commentators generally agree that this letter references the revelation. See, e.g., Larry C. Porter (June 1979), Dating the Restoration of the Melchizedek Priesthood, Ensign, p. 5.)
abt. June or later 
Oliver Cowdery receives a revelation called the Articles of the Church of Christ, about "how he should build up his church & the manner thereof". it discusses the ordination of priest and teachers, and calls members to meet regularly to partake of bread and wine. Cowdery is described as "an Apostle of Christ". The revelation contains language found in the "twelve disciples" and "three witnesses" revelations.
Smith dictated the following text from the Second Book of Nephi (found at Smith (1830, p. 110)): "Wherefore, at that day when the book shall be delivered unto the man of whom I have spoken, the book shall be hid from the eyes of the world, that the eyes of none shall behold it, save it be that three witnesses shall behold it, by the power of God, besides him to whom the book shall be delivered; and they shall testify to the truth of the book, and the things therein. And there is none other which shall view it, save it be a few, according to the will of God..." According to information added in 1852 to the History of the Church (but absent in the 1842 Times and Seasons publication of the same material), this passage initiated the idea of showing the plates to three witnesses. There is a similar passage in the Book of Ether, and that passage might have been the spark (as proposed by several later editions of History of the Church). It is not known whether the Book of Ether was translated before or after the Second Book of Nephi.
second half of June 
Smith dictates a revelation to Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer, and Martin Harris that if they have faith, they may be the Three Witnesses to the Book of Mormon, as well as the sword of Laban, the Urim and Thummim, and the Liahona. (Smith et al. 1835, pp. 171).
second half of June 
Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer, and Martin Harris become the first Three Witnesses, other than Smith, of the golden plates by seeing them in a vision in Fayette.[13]
second half of June 
Eight additional witnesses "see" the golden plates. It is uncertain whether they see them in a vision or with their natural eyes.
26 June 
The title page of the Book of Mormon is published in The Wayne Sentinel, the weekly Palmyra newspaper published by E. B. Grandin. (Marquardt & Walters 1994, p. xxxiii). Grandin announces that he intends to publish the book "as soon as the translation is complete". Grandin had received a copy of the title page from Smith earlier in June.
end of June 
Smith completes translation of the Book of Mormon.
11 August 
The anti-Masonic Palmyra Freeman calls the Book of Mormon "the greatest piece of superstition that has come to our knowledge." The article gives an account of how the plates were found by Joseph Smith, referring to three visits by "the spirit of the Almighty", "a huge pair of spectacles", golden plates of dimensions eight by eight by six inches, Harris' visit to Samuel Mitchill. The article reproduces the title page of the Book of Mormon. No known copies survive, but the article was reprinted in other newspapers such as the Niagara Courier (27 August 1829).
25 August 
A contract is drawn up with E.B. Grandin to print 5,000 copies of the Book of Mormon for $3,000. Martin Harris agrees to mortgage his farm to pay for the printing. (Marquardt & Walters 1994, p. xxxiii).
August–March 1830 
In Manchester, Oliver Cowdery copies manuscript pages from the originals, gives them to Hyrum, who takes them to E. B. Grandin's printing press. The manuscript is typset by John Gilbert. (Marquardt & Walters 1994, p. xxxiii).
2 September 
Abner Cole begins publishing the weekly Palmyra Reflector, using E. B. Grandin's printing press. Cole announces, "The Golden Bible, by Joseph Smith Junior, author and proprietor, is now in press and will shortly appear. Priestcraft is short lived!"
16 September 
In Abner Cole's Palmyra Reflector, he writes, "The Book of Mormon is expected to be ready for delivery in the course of one year — Great and marvellous things will "come to pass" about those days."
23 September 
In Abner Cole's Palmyra Reflector, he writes, "We understand that the Anti-Masons have declared war against the Gold Bible—O! how impious! / The number of Gold Bible Apostles is said to be complete. Jo Smith, Jr. is about to assign to each, a mission to the heathen. We understand that Abraham Chaddock intends to build the first house in Harris' New-Jerusalem.... / Some few evenings since, a man in the town of Mendon, had a loud call to go and preach the doctrines contained in the Gold Bible, under heavy denunciations." (May refer to Calvin Stoddard, who had a "loud call" according to Tucker (1867).)
30 September 
In Abner Cole's Palmyra Reflector, he accuses the editor of the anti-Masonic Palmyra Freeman of plagiarizing the Book of Mormon by using the phrase "Beware of SECRET ASSOCIATIONS". Cole notes that "The 'Gold Bible' is fast gaining credit; the rapid spread of Islamism was no touch to it!"
4–22 October 
Smith arrives in Harmony and writes a letter to Oliver Cowdery (still in Manchester) that he has bought a horse from Josiah Stowell, and wants someone to come pick it up. (Marquardt & Walters 1994, p. xxxiii).
7 October 
In Abner Cole's Palmyra Reflector, he refers mockingly to an article in the Palmyra Freeman (now lost) about Mormonism, and how "the building of the TEMPLE OF NEPHI is to be commenced about the beginning of the first year of the Millennium", and how Mormons were claiming that the Book of Mormon would "astonish the natives".
8 October 
Smith and Oliver Cowdery purchase a copy of the Authorized Version of the Bible, Old Testament Apocrypha included, at the E. B. Grandin bookstore, for $3.75. They would later use the book for the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible. Note that Durham, Reed C., Jr. (1965), A History of Joseph Smith's Revision of the Bible (Ph.D. diss., Brigham Young University), p. 25  gives this date as 8 October 1828, a year earlier.
6 November 
In Manchester, Oliver Cowdery replies to Smith's letter, and says that Martin Harris will travel to Harmony and pick up the horse in two or three weeks. (Marquardt & Walters 1994, p. xxxiii).
9 December 
In Abner Cole's weekly Palmyra Reflector, which used E. B. Grandin's printing press and therefore had access to the Book of Mormon manuscripts, Cole announces that "at the solicitation of many of our readers we have concluded to commence publishing extracts from it on or before the commencement of the second series".
28 December 
Cowdery writes to Smith in Harmony, stating that "it may look rather strange to you to find that I have so soon become a printer". (Marquardt & Walters 1994, p. xxxiv).



2 January 
In Abner Cole's weekly Palmyra Reflector, he prints the first part of Chapter 1 of the First Book of Nephi from the Book of Mormon.
13 January 
In Abner Cole's weekly Palmyra Reflector, he continues to print Chapter 1 of the First Book of Nephi from the Book of Mormon.
Palmyra residents organize a boycott of the Book of Mormon.
E. B. Grandin suspends printing the Book of Mormon.
16 January 
Smith, Sr. and Martin Harris sign an agreement on selling copies of the Book of Mormon. It is witnessed by Oliver Cowdery. (Marquardt & Walters 1994, p. xxxiv).
Based on assurances from Harris, E. B. Grandin resumes printing the Book of Mormon.
22 January 
In Abner Cole's weekly Palmyra Reflector, he prints an extract from the Book of Alma, chapter 20, from the Book of Mormon.
Threatened with legal action by Hyrum Smith, Abner Cole stops printing extracts of the Book of Mormon.
An anti-Masonic convention is held in Le Roy, New York. News of this conference is widely publicized in regional newspapers, and arouses anti-Masonic sentiment. (McCarthy 1903, p. 375).
early 1830 
Martin Harris visits lawyer-philanthropist Charles Butler and asks for a $1300 loan to finance publication of the Book of Mormon, but Butler declines. Harris promises that once the book is printed, Butler will receive a copy, and that once he reads it, he will be converted. Butler later receives a copy. Stoddard, Francis Hovey (1903), The Life and Letters of Charles Butler, New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, pp. 125–28, . During the Harris describes to Butler his story of taking a transcript of characters to Charles Anthon and Samuel L. Mitchill in New York. (Arrington 1970, pp. 1-3, 8 (online ver.)).
Smith travels from Harmony to Manchester with Joseph Knight, Sr., and learns that Martin Harris has been waffling on his commitment to paying his share of the debt for publication of the Book of Mormon.
Smith dictates a revelation for Martin Harris (Phelps 1833, pp. 39–42), explaining a "mystery": Smith reveals that "eternal damnation" or "endless punishment" does not mean punishment forever; rather, it just means "God's punishment". Nevertheless, Harris would suffer that exquisite punishment unless he repented, sold part of his farm, and used the cash to pay off the debt to E.B. Grandin for publication of the Book of Mormon.
about March 
Martin Harris is present at the E. B. Grandin printing press when "The Testimony of Three Witnesses" at the end of the Book of Mormon is being typeset. The typesetter later said that he asked, "'Martin, did you see those plates with your naked eyes?' Martin looked down for an instant, raised his eyes up, and said, 'No, I saw them with a spiritual eye.'" Gilbert 1892.
19 March 
The Wayne Sentinel announces that the Book of Mormon "will be ready for sale in the course of next week".
26 March 
The Wayne Sentinel announces that the Book of Mormon "is now for sale, wholesale and retail, at the Palmyra Bookstore". {Quinn 1994, p. 615; Marquardt & Walters 1994, p. xxxiv).
about 1 April 
Smith gives Oliver Cowdery the brown seer stone he had used to translate the Book of Mormon and for earlier treasure hunting. (Quinn 1994, p. 615).
6 April 
The Church of Christ is organized in either Fayette or Manchester, New York. (Quinn 1994, p. 615). A later document from June claims that the church is "regularly organized and established agreeable to the laws of our country" (Phelps 1833, p. 48), but no articles of incorporation are found in the relevant New York agencies.
6 April 
Smith dictates five revelations, respectively, to Oliver Cowdery, Hyrum Smith, Samuel Harrison Smith, Joseph Smith, Sr., and Joseph Knight, Sr. (who had not yet decided to join the Church of Christ), describing their duties in the church. (Phelps 1833, pp. 43–45).
6 April 
Smith dictates a revelation directing that the church keep a record, in which Smith would "be called a seer, a translator, a prophet, and apostle of Jesus Christ, an elder of the church...." It says that Smith has been "inspired to move the cause of Zion in imighty power for good." It says that Smith is to be ordained by Oliver Cowdery, so that Cowdery would be "an elder under [Smith's] hand, he being first unto [Cowdery]". Cowdery is also to be the "first preacher of this church". (Phelps 1833, pp. 45–46).
Smith dictates a revelation stating that people who had already been baptized within some other faith would need to be re-baptized prior to becoming a member of the Church of Christ. The revelation refers to the faith as "a new and an everlasting covenant". (Phelps 1833, p. 47).
April 11 
Oliver Cowdery preaches publicly for the first time as an official representative of the newly formed church. In Seneca Lake he baptizes Hiram Page, Catherine Whitmer Page, Christian Whitmer, Anne Schott Whitmer (Christian's wife), Jacob Whitmer, Elizabeth Ann Schott Whitmer (Jacob's wife), and Mary Page.
19 April 
A letter to the editor of the Palmyra Reflector chastises "Hyrum Smith, and some of his ill-bred associates", for losing their cool during proselytizing. The letter refers to these men as "Apostles".
Smith conceives of first proselytizing mission, involving Oliver Cowdery, directed to the Native Americans. (Quinn 1994, p. 615).
1 June 
An article in the Palmyra Reflector notes that the "apostle to the NEPHITES" Oliver Cowdery has boarded a boat with copies of the Book of Mormon and headed east on the Erie Canal.
Smith begins translating sections the New Testament, claiming to receive information through revelation.
between 1 June and 9 June 
In Fayette, New York, Smith drafts the "Articles and Covenants of the church of Christ". Both Smith and Oliver Cowdery are described as "an apostle of Jesus Christ, an elder of this church". In the earliest possible reference to Smith's First Vision, it says that "after that it truly was manifested unto this first elder, that he had received a remission of his sins, he was entangled again in the vanities of the world; [b]ut after truly repenting, God ministered unto him by an holy angel...." The document refers to the new office of deacon. Howe, Eber Dudley, ed. (April 19, 1831), "The Mormon Creed", The [Painesville] Telegraph II (44), ; Diary of Zebedee Coltrin, 12 January 1832 ; "Revelations / The Articles and Covenants of the Church of Christ", Evening and Morning Star 1 (1): 1–2, June 1832 ; "The Articles and Covenants of the Church of Christ", Evening and Morning Star 2 (13): 1–2, June 1833 ; Phelps 1833, pp. 47–55. This document is considered to be the church's "constitution".
9 June 
Smith presides over the church's first general conference. The current church elders are Joseph Smith, Jr., Oliver Cowdery, Peter Whitmer, David Whitmer, John Whitmer and Ziba Peterson. Joseph Smith, Sr., Hyrum Smith, and Martin Harris are ordained priests, and Hiram Page and Christian Whitmer are ordained teachers.
9 June 
Smith performs the first Latter Day Saint miracle, the exorcism of Newel Knight. (Quinn 1994, p. 615).
Smith has a vision in which Michael the archangel exposes the true identity of Satan, who appears to Smith as "an angel of light". Smith begins dictation of the "vision of Moses" which describes Satan appearing as an angel of light. (Quinn 1994, p. 615).
12 June 
The Palmyra Reflector prints a satire of the Book of Mormon entitled "The Book of Pukei". It refers to "Walters the Magician" (Luman Walter). The "idle and slothful" send for "Walters", who "has strange books, and deals with familiar spirits", in the hope that he would lead them to Nephite treasure. "Walters" led them to a dark grove in Manchester, where he drew a magic circle with a rusty sword, sacrificed a chicken, and allowed his party to commence digging over several nights. However, their excavation was unsuccessful. When the party tires and suspects deception, "Walters" flees with his book, rusty sword, and stuffed Toad back to Great Sodus Bay (near Luman Walter's home), "where he holds communion with the Devil, even to this day." However, "his mantle fell upon the prophet Jo. Smith Jun.", who "made a league with the spirit, who afterwards turned out to be an angel."
30 June 
The Palmyra Reflector sarcastically proclaims that "[t]he age of miracle has again arived", noting that Martin Harris is telling the Palmyra neighborhood about how Smith has cast out a devil "of uncommon size from a miserable man in the neighborhood of the 'great bend' of the Susquehannah."
30 June to 1 July 
Smith stands trial in Colesville, New York for scrying and for performing an exorcism, but is acquitted. (Quinn 1994, p. 615).
abt. 6 July 
Smith and Oliver Cowdery flee a mob in Colesville toward Harmony Township, Pennsylvania. In the mid-1830s, Smith said that in circumstances that match this flight, Smith and Cowdery saw a vision of Peter, James, and John, who gave them "keys" of apostleship. (Quinn 1994, pp. 24–25, 615).
7 July 
The Palmyra Reflector continues with Chapter 2 of its satirical "Book of Pukei". The account describes the angel Moroni as "a little old man...clad, as I supposed, in Egyptian raiment, except his Indian blanket, and moccasins—his beard of silver white, hung far below his knees. On his head was an old fashioned military half cocked hat, such as was worn in the days of the patriarch Moses—his speech was sweeter than molasses, and his words were the reformed Egyptian."
In Harmony, Smith dictates a revelation chastising Smith for his "transgressions". It recalls to Smith that he has "been delivered from all thine enemies, and thou hast been delivered from the powers of Satan, and from darkness!" Smith is to sow his fields, and then go to the church in "Colesville, Fayette, and Manchester, and they shall support thee" while Cowdery works full time for "in Zion", but "in temporal labors thou shalt not have strength, for this is not thy calling". Smith is authorized to perform "casting out devils; healing the sick; and against poisonous serpents; and against deadly poisons", but only when commanded by God. If someone does not receive him he is to shake the dust from his feet. He is to travel "without purse or scrip". (Phelps 1833, pp. 55–57).
Joseph Smith Jr. becomes aware of Hiram Page and his use of a seer stone. Page had predicted the location of the New Jerusalem, and most members of the church believed him.
Martin Harris claims to be a prophet, and tells Palmyra residents that "'Jackson would be the last president that we would have; and that all persons who did not embrace Mormonism in two years' time would be stricken off the face of the earth.' He said that Palmyra was to be the New Jerusalem, and that her streets were to be paved with gold." (Gilbert 1892).
Smith receives a revelation that only he can receive revelations for the church. (Quinn 1994, p. 615).
Smith receives a revelation that gives him authority to issue commandments to the church on any subject, because "all things unto [God] are spiritual". (Quinn 1994, p. 615).
September 26 
A church conference is held.[14] Notable events include: (1) The discussion of the Hiram Page seerstone and its refutation by unanimous vote. (2) 35 new members are added, bringing the total number to 62. (3) Peter Whitmer, Jr. is called to preach with Oliver Cowdery to the Native Americans. John Whitmer is also called to preach (D&C 30).
Immediately following the conference, Thomas B. Marsh is called to preach (D&C 31).
Parley P. Pratt and Ziba Peterson are called to preach to the Indians (D&C 32). Ezra Thayre and Northrop Sweet are also called (D&C 32, 33).
Sidney Rigdon's Kirtland congregation is converted to Mormonism.
Orson Pratt is called to preach (D&C 34).
4 Nov. 
Smith dictates a revelation to Orson Pratt using his white seer stone. (Quinn 1994, p. 615).
Smith dictates a revelation instructing the church to assemble in Ohio. (Quinn 1994, p. 615).
Smith meets Sidney Rigdon, who becomes his scribe in further revision of the Bible (D&C 35). Joseph Smith Jr. is commanded to cease revising until the church is gathered in Ohio (D&C 37).


Joseph Smith, Jr. moves to Kirtland, Ohio.
4 February 
additional revelation is given, naming Edward Partridge the first bishop (D&C 42).
9 February 
Section 42 is received, laying out the law of the church, including naming specific sins and the punishments thereof.
Revelation that Zion is located in Independence, Missouri was presented. Many of Smith's followers still living in New York move to Kirtland.
4 April 
Edward Partridge is called to be the first bishop in the church. Sidney Rigdon anoints him an elder and sets him apart as a bishop.
4 June 
Nineteen men are ordained High Priests, including Joseph Smith, Jr., Lyman Wight, and Edward Partridge. Isaac Morley and John Corrill are ordained assistants to Bishop Partridge.
7 June 
The new bishop and several others are called to settle Jackson County, Missouri to build the city of Zion. A small group travels to Independence, Missouri.
15 August 
A non-Mormon journalist who visited the Manchester/Palmyra area writes, "On the sides & in the slopes of several of these hills, these excavations [by Smith and his associates in search of chests of money] are still to be seen". Bennett, James Gordon (31 August 1831), "Mormonism—Religious Fanaticism—Church and State Party", Morning Courier & Enquirer 7 (562)  in Arrington 1970, 5 (online ed.).
August 28 
Sidney Rigdon ordains Oliver Cowdery a High Priest.
11 November 
Revelation is received directing the church to organize presidencies over each quorum in the priesthood (D&C 107:60-92, 99-100).
4 December 
Newel K. Whitney is called as a bishop over Kirtland, Ohio (D&C 72:2).


January 25 
At a church conference, Joseph Smith, Jr. is ordained President of the High Priesthood over the entire church.
January 26 
Joseph Smith is confirmed president of the High Priesthood by a church-wide sustaining vote.
In an unpublished revelation, Joseph Smith is confirmed as having the authority to direct all the affairs of the church and also to appoint counselors in his presidency.
March 8 
Joseph Smith Jr. organizes his presidency by appointing Jesse Gause and Sidney Rigdon as counselors.
March 24 
Joseph Smith Jr. is tarred and feathered by a mob outside the John Johnson farmhouse.
March 29 
Joseph Smith Jr. and Emma's adopted son, Joseph Murdock Smith, dies from a cold, thought to have been caught during the night of the mobbing.
Joseph prophesies about a Civil War (D&C 87). This follows the threat of South Carolina to secede from the United States on November 24 of that same year.


The comments of the Mormons in Missouri about freed slaves are misunderstood by other Missourians, raising hostility in the area and a manifesto against the Mormons.
As a result of the hostility in Jackson County, Missouri, Mormons who had settled there move to Clay County.
Joseph Smith's first 65 revelations are printed in a book titled "Book of Commandments".
December 16 
Revelation is received appointing the formation of Stakes of Zion to gather the saints. (D&C 101:21)
December 18 
Joseph Smith, Jr. ordains his father, Joseph Smith, Sr. as Presiding Patriarch and assistant to the President of the High Priesthood.


February 17 
A High Council in the Kirtland, Ohio area is organized. The Kirtland Stake of Zion is simultaneously organized.
Zion's Camp is assembled as an effort to help the beleaguered Mormons in Missouri. The "Camp" is really a motley collection of Mormons who followed Joseph Smith to Missouri with the manifest aim of defending the Mormons in Missouri. Shortly after arriving in Missouri, the force is disbanded.
May 3 
The name of the church is changed from The Church of Jesus Christ to The Church of the Latter Day Saints upon a proposal by Sidney Rigdon, seconded by Newel K. Whitney and passed by the church.
Zion's camp is disbanded.
July 7 
Twelve High Priests in Clay County, Missouri is organized into a High Council. David Whitmer is ordained president of the council, and John Whitmer and William Wines Phelps are ordained as counselors. Joseph Smith, while ordaining David Whitmer, also appoints him as "Prophet, Seer, Revelator, and Translator" and mentions that he (Whitmer) should succeed him if Joseph "did not live to see God himself."
December 5 
Joseph Smith, Jr. ordains Oliver Cowdery as an Assistant President of the Church, with the understanding that Cowdery should act in Smith's absence.
December 6 
Joseph ordains Hyrum Smith and Joseph Smith, Sr. as Assistant Presidents of the Church.


February 14 
After a special conference, Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer, and Martin Harris choose the individuals who areto be in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles: Thomas B. Marsh, David W. Patten, Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, Orson Hyde, William E. M'Lellin, Parley P. Pratt, Luke S. Johnson, William Smith, Orson Pratt, John F. Boynton, and Lyman E. Johnson. Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, and Lyman E. Johnson are ordained apostles and members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.
February 15 
David W. Patten, Orson Hyde, William E. M'Lellin, Luke S. Johnson, William Smith, and John F. Boynton are ordained apostles and members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.
February 17 
The committee in charge of compiling Latter Day Saint revelations, comprising Joseph Smith, Jr., Oliver Cowdery, Sidney Rigdon, and Frederick G. Williams, issue a letter that later becomes the preface to the 1835 edition of the Doctrine and Covenants. The preface describes the Lectures on Faith as "embracing the important doctrine of salvation", and describes the remaining section as containing "items of principles for the regulation of the church, as taken from the revelations which have been given since its organization, as well as from former ones." In the process of compilation, many of these earlier revelations were extensively revised by the committee.
February 21 
Parley P. Pratt is ordained an apostle and member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.
February 28 
The Quorum of the Seventy is organized. Joseph Young, Hazen Aldrich, Levi W. Hancock, Leonard Rich, Zebedee Coltrin, Lyman Sherman, and Sylvester Smith are called as the seven presidents.
April 26 
Thomas B. Marsh and Orson Pratt are ordained apostles and members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Elder Marsh, erroneously thought to be the eldest, is ordained the president of the quorum.
March 28 
The Quorum of the Twelve Apostles meet together and confessed their shortcomings and weaknesses to one another before separating on their missions. At this meeting, Joseph Smith receives Doctrine and Covenants section 107, regarding the priesthood. It clarifies the order and administration of the various offices of the priesthood, appointing the First Presidency, Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and First Quorum of the Seventy as equals in the church. The decisions of these quorums must be made unanimously. The standing high councils of the several stakes also form a body equal in authority.
August 17 
The church holds its general conference, though Joseph Smith, Jr. and Frederick G. Williams are absent. The church body unanimously adopts and canonizes the Doctrine and Covenants as compiled by the committee of Smith, Williams, Oliver Cowdery, and Sidney Rigdon. Among the new revelations is D&C 134, concerning the relationship between church, government, and individuals, asserting that governments are instituted by God for the benefit of man; that government should protect the freedom of men to worship as they please; that all men should uphold their government and laws; that churches should not exercise civil powers; and that individuals are justified in defending themselves and their property. Another section 101 was included that condemns the practice of polygamy.


January 15 
Further organizing the priesthood, presidents of each priesthood quorum are called for the Kirtland Stake of Zion, as is a president of the Kirtland Temple, now nearing completion.
January 21 
Joseph Smith states that he had received a vision in which he saw that salvation is possible for those who die without a knowledge of the gospel (D&C 137).
January 26-March 26 
"Furthermore, he and others had studied Hebrew in Kirtland, Ohio, with Professor Joshua Seixas for two hours a day from January 26 through March 26, 1836."[15][16]
March 3 
All the presidencies of the church meet in the Kirtland Temple according to their order.
March 27 
The first dedication of the Kirtland Temple is held.
March 30 
At a solemn assembly in the Kirtland Temple, Joseph Smith comments that he has completed the organization of the priesthood.
April 3 
Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery later state that, on this date, Jesus Christ appeared to them and declared the temple acceptable. Moses, Elijah, and Elias are also reported to have appeared in order to confer the keys of the priesthood upon Joseph Smith (D&C 110).
June 29 
Clay County residents resolve to ask that the Mormons leave their county. Up to this time, Mormons in the county had not voted on local affairs nor been accused of any crimes. Residents assert that the differences between themselves and Mormon would not allow them to peaceably reside together. The resolution encourages the Mormons to settle in Wisconsin.
Under the direction of Alexander W. Doniphan, it is agreed that a new county should be formed for the Mormons called Caldwell County, in what is now Clay County, Missouri. Mormons begin leaving Ray and Clay County to settle the proposed area. Plans for and work on the community of Far West, Missouri begin. Far West, Missouri is the proposed county seat for the new county.
August 8 
The township of Far West, Missouri in Clay County is entered by the Mormons. It would serve as the county seat of the soon-to-be-formed Caldwell County.
November 2 
The Kirtland Safety Society, also known as The Kirtland Bank, is formed for use by church members in financial affairs.
December 23–27 
To ease tensions among Clay and Jackson County residents and provide a county for Mormon settlers, Caldwell County is created by legislation, passing the House on the 23rd and the Senate on the 27th. Daviess County is also created, although disputations about its purpose arise later. Missouri natives feel that the Mormons agreed not to settle it, although no such agreement existed or was acknowledged by the Mormons.


September 3 
Apostle Luke S. Johnson is disfellowshipped from the church in Kirtland, Ohio. Apostle John F. Boynton is excommunicated.
Notable problems begin in the Kirtland Safety Society.
Many people are excommunicated from the church for various reasons.
December 10 
Joseph returns to Kirtland from Missouri.
December 27 
Brigham Young flees Kirtland, Ohio. His life was threatened for vigorously defending Joseph Smith.


January 12 
Joseph Smith Jr. and others flee Kirtland, fearing their safety in wake of assertions dealing with the legality and financial viability of the Kirtland Safety Society.
January 26 
The Far West High Council, meeting with apostles Thomas B. Marsh and David W. Patten, reject the presidency of David Whitmer, John Whitmer, and William Wines Phelps, the stake presidency of Far West.
March 10 
John Whitmer and William Wines Phelps are excommunicated by the High Council in Far West.
9 April 
Smith and Sidney Rigdon write to John Whitmer and ask him to return the manuscript history of the church that Whitmer had started in 1832. They say that if Whitmer does not return the manuscript, they will start their own history from other materials. (Marquardt & Walters 1994, pp. ix, xix)
April 12 
The High Council and bishopric in Far West vote to excommunicate Lyman E. Johnson, David Whitmer, and Oliver Cowdery.
April 13 
Apostle Luke S. Johnson is excommunicated from the church after being disfellowhipped and returning for a short period.
April 26 
While in Far West, Missouri, Joseph Smith presents section 115 of the Doctrine of Covenants, naming the church "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints". Also in this revelation, the Lord commands the church to build a temple in Far West. Work begins almost immediately.
27 April 
Smith and Sidney Rigdon begin preparing a church history, with George W. Robinson as scribe. This history describes the most well-known accounts of his First Vision and the visits of the angel Moroni. Though the original manuscript history is not known to exist, it was later copied into the 1839 Manuscript History of the Church, Book A-1. (Marquardt & Walters 1994, pp. ix-x). Contrary to earlier and later writing, the history indicates that the angel who appeared to Smith was named "Nephi" (rather than "Moroni", as Smith and Oliver Cowdery had separately said in 1835 publications). Some scholars consider this to be a clerical error, though it was never corrected by Smith in later publications. Other scholars believe that Smith saw both Nephi and the angel Moroni. (Marquardt & Walters 1994, pp. xv, xix).
30 April 
Sidney Rigdon gives Smith a set of "grammer [sic] lessons" and then they continue preparing the early church history. (Marquardt & Walters 1994, p. xix).
1 May 
Smith and Rigdon continue preparing the early church history. (Marquardt & Walters 1994, p. xix).
2 May 
After another grammar lesson by Sidney Rigdon, Smith and Rigdon continue preparing the early church history. (Marquardt & Walters 1994, p. xix). By this day, they have completed the history up to at least 1827. (Roberts 1902).
8 May 
Smith spends the afternoon "answering the questions proposed in the Elders Journal", one of which was "How, and where did you obtain the book of Mormon?" The answer, published in July 1838, states, "Moroni, the person who deposited the plates from whence the book or Mormon was translated, in a hill in Manchester, Ontario County, New York, being dead, and raised again therefrom, appeared to me, and told me where they were..." (Marquardt & Walters 1994, p. xix)
May 11 
Apostle William E. McLellin is excommunicated. He joins forces with some of the anti-Mormon groups to persecute the Mormons.
June 17 
Sidney Rigdon delivers the "Salt Sermon" which generated much excitement in the church and among detractors.
June 25 
A Mormon settlement is established in a church conference above Wight's ferry on Spring Hill in Daviess County. The site is named as Adam-ondi-Ahman.
June 28 
Adam-ondi-Ahman is formed into a stake and thus a gathering place for members of the church. It is the third stake established in the church. John Smith is named president of the stake, with Reynolds Cahoon and Lyman Wight counselors. Vinson Knight is acting bishop. President John Smith then organizes the High Council: John Lemon, Daniel Stanton, Mayhew Hillman, Daniel Carter, Isaac Perry, Harrison Sagers, Alanson Brown, Thomas Gordon, Lorenzo Barnes, George A. Smith, Harvey Olmstead, Ezra Thayer.
July 4 
The cornerstone is laid for the new temple to be constructed at Far West. Sidney Rigdon declares a "war of extermination" on those who intend to remove the saints from their land and deprive them of their liberties.
July 6 
The "Kirtland Camp", 515 members under the direction of the Seventy, leave Kirtland, Ohio for Far West, Missouri.
July 8 
John Taylor, John E. Page, Wilford Woodruff, and Willard Richards are called to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles to fill vacancies caused by the excommunications of John F. Boynton, Luke S. Johnson, and Lyman E. Johnson, and William E. McLellin (see D&C 118). The twelve are also called to missionary work in England and were to leave on April 26, 1839.
Settlement in Adam-ondi-Ahman surpasses that of the county seat Gallatin, causing the balance of power to shift towards the Mormons settling in Daviess County.
The 1838 Mormon War begins in Missouri.
September 4 
John N. Sapp, who declared himself a member of a secret Mormon group known as the Danites, swears in an affidavit before the Carroll County clerk concerning the size of the Danite army. He states that they were about 800 – 1,000 well-equipped and ready men.
August 6 
The first battle of the Mormon War occurs as Mormons in Daviess County are prevented from voting in the Gallatin Election. The brawl leaves no one dead, but reports are exaggerated.
August 7 
Upon hearing the exaggerated reports of the previous day's battle, Joseph Smith rallies 150 men and marches to Adam-ondi-Ahman to protect the settlement there.
August 8 
Judge Adam Black of Daviess County pledges support of the constitutional rights of everyone in Daviess County, regardless of religion.
October 1-October 11 
Carroll County residents besieges the town of De Witt, which was inhabited by Mormons. Negotiations led to the abandonment of the settlement without violence.
October 2 
The "Kirtland Camp" arrives in Far West, after traveling 3 months through difficult conditions.
October 14 
Under the direction of the state militia, Mormons organize as an official state militia and march to disband the forming mobs in Daviess County. Allegations of property destruction and theft are made against the Mormons. No lives are lost.
October 19 
Apostle Thomas B. Marsh, angry with Joseph Smith, leaves the church.
October 23 
Under the pretense that the Mormon militia looted and burned property in Daviess County to disperse the mobs, General Atchison authorizes local groups to patrol the border of Ray County and Caldwell County.
October 24 
Apostles Thomas B. Marsh and Orson Hyde, also disaffected from the church, sign an affidavit claiming that Joseph Smith was trying to take over the world and was using the Danites to murder people. They submit the affidavit to authorities in Richmond, Missouri.
October 25 
The Battle of Crooked River occurs as a unit of Mormon Militia fight against Missouri State Militia. Sixteen are wounded, and 4 die from their wounds, including Apostle David W. Patten.
October 27 
Governor Boggs issues Missouri Executive Order 44, also known as the "Extermination Order", revoked in 1976 by then Missouri Governor Christopher S. Bond.
October 30 
A renegade militia group from Livingston County attacks a Mormon settlement in the bloodiest conflict of the Mormon War, and 17 are killed. The event is known as Haun's Mill Massacre.
November 1 
Mormon leaders are taken into custody and declared responsible for the violence and destruction of the conflict.
November 2 
After a short trial, General Lucas orders the leaders of the church to be executed. General Doniphan refuses, recognizing the charges were inaccurate and that little solid information about the events of the conflict was known. Far West is plundered, and several other leaders are captured. After being allowed a brief good-bye, the leaders are led away to Independence for imprisonment and trial.
November 3 
Joseph prophesies that none of the prisoners are going to die.
November 4 
Fifty-six more prisoners are taken from Far West. The imprisoned leaders arrive in Independence.
November 6 
General Lucas addresses the citizens of Far West. Far West prisoners leave for Richmond.
November 8 
General Wilson surroundes Adam-ondi-Ahman. Joseph and some of the other prisoners in Independence leave for Richmond. Their guards become drunk, but no escape is attempted.
November 10 
All citizens of Adam-ondi-Ahman are acquitted, but they are ordered to move to Caldwell County to prepare to leave Missouri.
November 13 
November 25 : Preliminary hearings on the fate of the leaders of the church begin under Judge King. Witnesses testify at the point of a bayonet. Numerous violations of judicial process are recorded. Twenty-three of the imprisoned men are released, leaving thirty in custody. During the hearings, excommunicated members rob the homes of several members in Far West.
November 28 
Joseph and Hyrum Smith, Sidney Rigdon, Lyman Wight, Caleb Baldwin, and Alexander McRae are ordered to the jail in Liberty, Clay County; Parley P. Pratt, Morris Phelps, Luman Gibbs, Darwin Chase, and Norman Shearer are retained in the Richmond jail. The remaining 19 are released or allowed release on bail.
December 5 
Governor Boggs defends his Extermination Order in the state legislature.
December 10 
A committee of Edward Partridge, Heber C. Kimball, John Taylor, Theodore Turley, Brigham Young, Isaac Morley, George W. Harris, John Murdock, and John M. Burk draft a petition to the state legislature detailing the Mormon side of the conflict.
December 17 
The petition is delivered to the state legislature by David H. Redfield, who also meet with General Atchison, Governor Boggs, and others.
December 19 
John Taylor and John E. Page are ordained apostles and members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.


March 17 
Thomas B. Marsh is excommunicated from the church in absentia in Quincy, Illinois.
April 26 
Wilford Woodruff and George A. Smith are ordained apostles and members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.
May 4 
The church votes to remove both William Smith and Orson Hyde from the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.
May 9 
Joseph Smith moves to Nauvoo, Illinois.
June 27 
Orson Hyde returns to the church to explain his actions and rejoin the church.
October 6–8 
The fall conference is held. Among the notable events that occurred, Orson Hyde and William Smith are restored to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.[17][18]



April 14 
Willard Richards is ordained a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.
Work on the Nauvoo Temple begins.


January 19 
A revelation is received by Joseph Smith ordering the church to build a temple in Nauvoo. Also, the order of baptism for the dead is laid out. The church is also excused from building the temple in Jackson County due to the persecution at that time. (D&C 124)
April 6 
Cornerstones of the Nauvoo Temple are laid.
April 8 
Lyman Wight is ordained an apostle and member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.


May 6 
A gunman shoots Governor Boggs in his home, hitting him four times. The gunman is not found, but his revolver was left at the scene. Rumor and speculation points to Porter Rockwell, Joseph Smith's personal bodyguard, as the would-be assassin. Rockwell denies this, remarking that if it was him, Boggs would not have recovered.
March 17 
Female Relief Society of Nauvoo organized.
May 28 
An anonymous contributor to The Wasp, a pro-Mormon newspaper in Nauvoo, writes that, "Boggs is undoubtedly killed according to report; but who did the noble deed remains to be found out."
August 20 " Elder Orson Pratt is excommunicated for refusing to accept the doctrine of plural marriage.
September 1 & September 6 " Joseph Smith writes two letters to the church regarding baptism for the dead, clarifying the doctrine and practice. (D&C 127, 128)
The Illinois legislature considers revoking Nauvoo's charter, but fails to act. Joseph Smith petitions the federal congress to make Nauvoo a territory. His petition is denied.


July 12 
Joseph Smith dictates the revelation concerning eternal marriage, or "the new and everlasting covenant", including the plurality of wive s(D&C 132). Although written down in 1842, Smith received portions of the revelation as early as 1831.
September 28 
Joseph Smith and his wive, Emma, becomes the first couple to receive their Second Anointing in a meeting of the Anointed Quorum.
November 3 
Knowleton F. Hanks becomes the first Mormon missionary to be buried at sea.


Joseph Smith announces his candidacy for President of the United States.
June 7 
The only issue of the Nauvoo Expositor is published by men angry with Joseph Smith and the Church. It is highly critical of Smith and his doctrines and practices.
June 10 
After being declared a public nuisance by the Nauvoo City Council, the printing press of the Nauvoo Expositor is destroyed.
June 12 
Charles A. Foster, a co-publisher of the Nauvoo Expositor, reports that the destruction of the Expositor printing press two days earlier was carried out by several hundred people and the building the machine was housed in was damaged. The city marshal contradicts him, claiming that the destruction was carried out in an orderly fashion. The building stands for at least ten more years.
June 18 
Amid threats of violence concerning the destruction of the Nauvoo Expositor, Joseph Smith, Jr., as mayor, declares martial law in Nauvoo and activates the Nauvoo Legion, a private militia of about 5,000 men.
June ?? 
Joseph Smith, Jr. submits to arrest and agrees to trial in Carthage, Illinois, the county seat. Before he arrives, he prophesies, "I am going like a lamb to the slaughter, but I am calm as a summer's morning. I have a conscience void of offense toward God and toward all men. If they take my life I shall die an innocent man, and my blood shall cry from the ground for vengeance, and it shall be said of me 'He was murdered in cold blood!'"[19] He is held in Carthage Jail.
June 27 
Joseph Smith, Jr. is killed in Carthage Jail by a mob of about 200 armed men. His brother Hyrum is also killed. John Taylor is wounded, but recovers; the fourth cellmate, Willard Richards, is not harmed. The succession crisis begins when news of Smith's death spreads.
August 8 
A conference is held in Nauvoo, Illinois to determine Smith's successor. A majority decides to follow Brigham Young.
The first General Conference of the church under Brigham Young's direction is held.


The population of Nauvoo is estimated to have reached about 12,000 inhabitants, becoming the second-largest city in Illinois. Chicago had about 15,000 inhabitants at the same time.
Planning for the Mormon Exodus to the west begins.


March 8 
Apostle Orson Hyde rebaptizes Luke S. Johnson, a former member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.
May 1 
The Nauvoo Temple is completed and dedicated, despite the majority having already left Nauvoo.
Under the direction of Brigham Young, the largest numbers of saints begin migrating West to settle; they eventually arrive at the Salt Lake Valley.
June 27 
Elder John E. Page is excommunicated from the LDS church for encouraging members to follow James Strang.
The Mormon Battalion is formed. Brigham Young prophesies that the recruits won't see battle and will perform a great service for their country. Many people join up despite the difficulties of the time. They send as much money to their families and the church as possible.
July 16 
Ezra T. Benson is ordained an apostle and member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.


January 14 
Brigham Young receives D&C 136 by way of revelation, which concerns the organization of the westward movement, standards of behavior for the saints, and an explanation on why God allowed Joseph Smith to be killed.
The Mormon Battalion completes the longest march in U.S. Army history, arriving in California.
July 24 
The first settlers arrive in the Salt Lake Basin. This is later memorialized at This Is The Place Heritage Park in Emigration Canyon.
July 28 
Traveling with a group of leaders, Brigham Young puts his cane in the ground and marks the location of the future Salt Lake Temple.
Arriving settlers form the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
December 27 
Brigham Young reorganizes the First Presidency, with himself as president, Heber C. Kimball as first counselor, and Willard Richards as second counselor. This is done in the Kanesville Tabernacle in Council Bluffs, Iowa. The tabernacle is constructed in just two weeks and housed over 1,000 people for the ceremony.[1]


February 2 – The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo is signed, which will grant the territory that the Mormons are settling to the United States.
March 10 
The U.S. Senate ratifies the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, making the treaty official and thus officially making the area part of the United States.
June 9 
The Miracle of the Gulls occurs. It is attributed to saving the crops of the first settlers in Utah.
The Nauvoo Temple is burnt down. The remnants are destroyed by a tornado.
Mormon Battalion members who stay behind in California to raise money discover gold in Sutter's Mill. News of the find spreads, starting the 1849 California gold rush.
Apostle Lyman Wight is excommunicated from the church for not following Brigham Young.


February 12 
Charles C. Rich, Lorenzo Snow, Erastus Snow, and Franklin D. Richards are ordained apostles and members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. This is done to replace those serving in the First Presidency and to replace the vacancy caused by the excommunication of Lyman Wight.



The Compromise of 1850 creates the Utah territory, designating Fillmore, Utah, as its capitol. The Utah Territory is to be neutral towards slavery, deciding its own fate once it achieves statehood.


February 4 
The temple site for the Salt Lake Temple is dedicated.
April 6 
The groundbreaking ceremony is held for the Salt Lake Temple.


March 11 
President Willard Richards, second counselor in the First Presidency, passes away in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Jedediah M. Grant is called an apostle and into the First Presidency as second counselor.


Jedediah M. Grant, Second Counselor to President Brigham Young, is sent to preach in the Reformation of 1856.
Salt Lake City, Utah, replaces Fillmore, Utah, as the capitol of the Utah territory.
December 1 
Jedediah M. Grant dies.


The federal government sends troops to Utah known as the "Utah Expedition" to replace Brigham Young as governor. This results in the Utah War.
May 13 
Apostle Parley P. Pratt is murdered by Hector McLean and two others near Van Buren, Arkansas. Pratt had married McLean's former wife in plural marriage. Pratt was acquitted on charges of interfering in McLean's marriage a few days earlier.
September 11 
The Mountain Meadows massacre occurs as travellers passing through Utah from Missouri are murdered near Mountain Meadows, Utah.



August 26 
George Q. Cannon is ordained an apostle and member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.


The Transcontinental Telegraph is linked to Salt Lake City, Utah. Brigham Young and Abraham Lincoln are among the first to send messages with the new link.


July 8 
President Abraham Lincoln signs the Morrill Anti-Bigamy Act which not only bans plural marriage but limits church and non-profit ownership in the territories to $50,000. The measure has no funds allocated for enforcement, and President Lincoln's opinion is to leave the Mormons alone if they leave him alone.
Patrick E. Connor arrives in Utah with California recruits to represent the federal government as they had been pulled out of Utah due to the American Civil War. He establishes Fort Douglas and encourages his men to find valuable ores so that miners are enticed to settle in Utah to offset the Mormon population.


Valuable ores are discovered in Tooele County, Utah, sparking a rush of new, non-Mormon immigrants to Utah.
February 4 
Brigham Young, Jr. is ordained an apostle by President Brigham Young. It is not until four years later that he becomes a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.


Utah's Black Hawk War, the deadliest conflict in the territory's history, occurs as the three armies- LDS, Indian, and Federal - fight among one another.


July 1 
Joseph F. Smith, son of Hyrum Smith, is ordained an apostle and member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.


Brigham Young, Jr., already an ordained apostle, is adopted into the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.


May 10 
The First Transcontinental Railroad is completed at Promontory Summit, north of the Great Salt Lake. The railroad brings increasing numbers of non-Mormons into the state, and several influential non-Mormon businessmen would make fortunes in the territory.



The Liberal Party organizes to oppose The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The People's Party organizes to support the church and oppose the Liberal Party shortly afterwards. Until this point, politics was run by the church almost exclusively, since the vast majority of citizens were members in the church.
Women's Suffrage is rewarded with another victory, as the Utah Territory follows the Wyoming Territory's lead in giving the right to vote to women. It remains in effect until 1887, when it is banned by federal legislation. This was pushed by the People's Party because there were only a few non-Mormon women in the state. This gave the People's Party an overwhelming advantage at the polls.


President Brigham Young is indicted for adultery due to his plural marriages.
November 9 
The St. George Utah Temple is announced. Simultaneously, the dedication and groundbreaking ceremonies are held by Brigham Young.


Non-Mormon Liberal Party members in Tooele County, Utahgain control of the county government, beginning the first government run by non-Mormons in Utah. They whimsically rename the county "The Republic of Tooele". The federally appointed governor and courts uphold the election, refusing to examine charges by the Mormon People's Party that many voters had voted illegally without satisfying voter requirements.


The Mormon-controlled legislature of the Utah Territory passes laws requiring voter registration and women's suffrage in all local election. This will lead to the Liberal Party losing its majority in Tooele County.


January 1 
Erastus Snow holds the private dedication of the St. George Utah Temple, making it the first operating temple in Utah and the third completed temple.
April 6 – April 8 
Daniel H. Wells holds the public dedication of the St. George Utah Temple.
August 29 
President Brigham Young passes away, after leading the church for 33 years. John Taylor assumes control of the church as President of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles.


The Liberal Party majority disappears in Tooele County. They lose the next election, although the new winners are not seated until next year.


January 6 
In the first case before the Supreme Court regarding the first amendment, the court upholds the 1862 Morrill Anti-Bigamy Actbanning plural marriage in Reynolds v. United States. George Q. Cannon, representative of the territory, states concerning this decision:
"Our crime has been: We married women instead of seducing them; we reared children instead of destroying them; we desired to exclude from the land prostitution, bastardy and infanticide. If George Reynolds [the man who was convicted of committing bigamy] is to be punished, let the world know the facts . . . . Let it be published to the four corners of the earth that in this land of liberty, the most blessed and glorious upon which the sun shines, the law is swiftly invoked to punish religion, but justice goes limping and blindfolded in pursuit of crime."
After six months of delay tactics and formalities, the Mormon-run People's Party regains control of Tooele County, after 5 years of rule by the non-Mormon Liberal Party. The county is left with $16,000 in debt."



The First Presidency is reorganized three years after President Brigham Young's passing. John Taylor is named president.
October 10
General Conference.
October 27 
Francis M. Lyman and John Henry Smith are ordained apostles and members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.


February 25 
After a bitter dispute between George Q. Cannon(who won a decisive victory) and Liberal Partycandidate Allen G. Campbell over who was allowed to represent Utah territory in the House of Representatives, both are denied the position. George Q. Cannon's practice of polygamy was the deciding issue and re-sparks national controversy on the topic.
March 23 
The Edmunds Act declares polygamy a felony. The act not only reinforces the 1862 Morrill Anti-Bigamy Act but also revokes the right of polygamists to vote, disallows them from holding political office, and also makes them ineligible to serve on the jury, regardless of whether they are practicing or merely believe in it. All elected offices in the Utah Territory were vacated, an election board was formed to issue certificates to those who denied polygamy and did not practice it, and new elections were held territory-wide. Practicing polygamists would have their civil rights taken away without a trial or due process. Adulterers and fornicators had no such penalties applied and did not lose their rights.
August 23 
Rudger Clawson is tried for polygamy by a jury composed of 12 non-Mormons. Even though the polygamous marriage was performed before the 1862 Morrill act, he is tried ex-post facto, in clear violation of the Constitution of the United States. He is imprisoned and fined for his marriage.
October 16 
George Teasdale and Heber J. Grant are ordained apostles and members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.


John W. Taylor is ordained an apostle and member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.


February 1 
President John Taylor goes underground to avoid being arrested and tried for plural marriage.


The Edmunds-Tucker Act abolishes women's suffrage, and seizes control of the church and its assets.
July 25
John Taylor passes away, leavingWilford Woodruff to assume control of the church.
July 30 
The attorney general of the United State files suit and seizes all assets of the church and the Perpetual Emigration Fund.


Two years after the death of John Taylor, the First Presidency is reorganized with Wilford Woodruff as president.
The Liberal Party is elected to run Ogden, Utah.
October 7 
Marriner W. Merrill, Anthon H. Lund, and Abraham H. Cannon are ordained apostles and members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.



May 19
The Supreme Court upholds the Edmunds-Tucker Act inThe Late Corporation of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints v. United States
September 24
President Woodruff records the 1890 Manifesto.
September 25
President Wilford Woodruff issues the 1890 Manifesto ending the official practice of polygamy.
October 6
At a General Conference, President Lorenzo Snow submits the manifesto for a vote; many members abstain from voting.
The Liberal Party wins the Salt Lake City, Utah elections, taking control of that city in addition to Ogden, Utah.


The People's Party disbands and members of the church join one of the two national parties as the effort continues to achieve statehood. With three effective parties in the territory, the Deseret News calls the Liberal Party the "bastard party" even though it is able to take a third of the seats in the state legislature.


April 6 
The Salt Lake Temple is dedicated, exactly 40 years after construction began.
All polygamists are given executive pardon in preparation for statehood. This restores their right to vote.
The Liberal Party (Utah) disbands as members join the national parties in anticipation of statehood.


January 4 
Utah is recognized by the federal government and achieves statehood as the 45th state. Polygamy is explicitly banned in the state constitution. Women's suffrage is continued.


September 2
Wilford Woodruff passes away. Lorenzo Snow assumes leadership of the church.

See also

20th century (Mormonism)
21st century (Mormonism)


  1. ^ Quinn argues that the Winchell referred to is Justus Winchell, born 1755. (Quinn 1998, p. 124). Another possibililty could be his first cousin Nathaniel Winchell.
  2. ^ In 1837, Smith, Sr. boasted that "I know more about money-digging than any man in this generation for I have been in the business for more than thirty years!"
  3. ^ Marquardt & Walters (1994, p. 49) ("In April 1811, a month after William was born....").
  4. ^ The book's publication probably occurred after May 11, when Mack received money from the sale of his farm in Sharon, Vermont (Anderson 2003, pp. 29, 225).
  5. ^ Anderson (2001, p. 169) (In May 1815, Smith family is no longer listed in Lebanon tax rolls).
  6. ^ Anderson (2001, p. 170).
  7. ^ Anderson (2001, chronology).
  8. ^ This date derives from Morgan (1986, p. 224), who cites a Palmyra Western Farmer advertisement for the debating society dated Wednesday, Jan. 23, 1822, "at the school house near Mr. Billings' on Friday next.
  9. ^ These stories may have ceased by Nov. 1823. Lucy Mack Smith stated that after Alvin died, the family "could not bear to hear anything said upon the subject" of the golden plates (Smith 1853, p. 90).
  10. ^ Anderson (2001, chronology).
  11. ^ For dating in December, see Morris, Rob (1883), William Morgan: or, Political Anti-Masonry, Its Rise, Growth and Decadence, New York: Robert MaCoy, p. 78, .
  12. ^ Anderson (2001, chronology).
  13. ^ For dating in the second half of June, see Van Horn, Robert T. (June 5, 1881), "Mormonism: Authentic Account of the Origin of The Sect from One of the Patriarchs", Kansas City Daily Journal, .
  14. ^ Minutes of September 26, 1830
  15. ^ "Discovery: "Nauvoo" Found in Seven States". The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Retrieved April 1973. 
  16. ^ "Mormons and Jews: Early Mormon Theologies of Israel by Steven Epperson". The Signature Books Library. Retrieved 1992. 
  17. ^ Brown, Lisle (1995; 1997 rev.); Organizational Chronology of The Church of Christ, and The Church of the Latter-day Saints, 1829 – 1836.
  18. ^ Kenney, Scott G.; Saints Without Halos: 1830 Chronology
  19. ^ Was Joseph Smith Really a Martyr?


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