THE Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was organized as an institution among men on the sixth day of April, 1830. Through a period of more than six years prior to that date, Joseph Smith, the Prophet, had received at intervals Divine revelations and commandments.
Of these, the first and of all most glorious was the visitation in which, in answer to the young man's prayer for guidance as to which of the numerous and opposing sects of the day he should join, the Eternal Father, and His Son, Jesus Christ, personally manifested themselves, and the Father, pointing to the Christ, thus affirmed and commanded: THIS IS MY BELOVED SON. HEAR HIM!a,
This took place in the early spring of 1820. In September, 1823, and at later times, Joseph Smith received visitations from Moroni, an angel of light, who revealed the resting place of the ancient record from which The Book of Mormon was afterward translated.b,
Many revelations followed, in preparation for the re-establishment of the Church of Jesus Christ on earth, and, later, for the direction of the Church so organized. As early as the summer of 1830, the Prophet, acting under Divine commandment, was engaged in copying and arranging the revelations received up to that time, evidently with a view to their publication in book form. On November 1, 1831, at a conference of the Elders of the Church held at Hiram, Ohio, definite action relating to the publication of the revelations was taken, and the compilation was called the Book of Commandments. The Lord's acceptance of the undertaking was made manifest by the giving of the revelation herein appearing as Section 1, which is currently known as the Preface.c,
During the conference at Hiram, the Elders present testified individually to their conviction of the Divine origin of the revelations, and of their willingness to proclaim their testimony to the world. Their solemn affirmation was thereupon formulated as follows:____________________