150th Anniversary

150th Anniversary

Church plans year-long commemoration


No byline for Perry L. Porter
Universe Staff Writer
Tuesday, September 4, 1979
The Daily Universe Page 19

BYU students can look forward to participating in festivities to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints this school year.

The Sesquicentennial is designed to celebrate the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ, honor the Prophet Joseph Smith and his successors, and acknowledge the achievements of the Church during its 150-year history.

A year-long series of events has been planned including such activities as a Grand Ball to be held at the Salt Palace and the Hotel Utah on April 4, 1980; the BYU Mormon Festival of Arts; and many concerts to be held in Salt Lake City during the months of April-July. Among those to perform in this series of concerts are the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, the Mormon Youth Symphony and Chorus and selected special guests of the Assembly Hall Concert series.

The Assembly Hall Concert series will commemorate not only the 150th anniversary of the Church, but also the 100th anniversary of the Assembly Hall itself.

Later in the year, a "World Conference on Records" will be held at the Salt Palace. For those interested in genealogy, information can be obtained by writing, World Conference on Records, 50 East North Temple, Salt Lake City, Utah 84150.

All of the commemorative activities are under the direction of the Church Sesquicentennial Committee, of which Elder Gordon B. Hinckley of the Council of the Twelve Apostles is chairman.

One of the principal events of the 150th anniversary will be the reconstruction and dedication of the original Peter Whitmer Farm home. The dedication services at the Whitmer farm in Fayette, N.Y., will be transmitted via satellite as part of the General Conference session on April 6, 1980.

Workers excavate the foundation of the original Peter Whitmer farm home in Fayette, N.Y. Reconstruction and dedication of the 20-by-30-foot log house will be one of the principal events in the 150th anniversary celebration of the church.

The Church of Jesus Christ was formally organized in the old log home on the Whitmer farm. Peter Whitmer, Sr.'s account of the event states the 20-by-30-foot log house was filled with about 50 people, not including the six people who were to act as trustees in organizing the church, said Larry C. Porter, Church History Department chairman of the LDS church. In an at tempt to comply with the state law regarding the incorporation of churches, Joseph Smith probably designated those who would participate as trustees.

The 1813 law stated three to nine people could form a Board of Trustees and have minutes taken which would accompany a 50-cent fee to the county clerk for recording the incorporation, said Porter. The minutes of the church have not been found. "They must have been lost, not filed, or never recorded," Porter said.

The original home was believed to have been constructed between 1809 and the mid-1820's. After members of the Church moved from New York to Ohio in 1831, ownership of the Peter Whitmer farm changed hands a number of times. The old house was eventually torn down before the Church purchased the farm property in 1926.

The rock foundation of the old Whitmer log house was unearthed by a farmer in the mid-1940's and subsequent archaeological diggings by BYU exposed the entire foundation and revealed the old house to have been approximately 20 by 30 feet.

The Church's Historic Arts and Sites Committee, composed of architects and contractors, is cooperating to insure that the rebuilt log house, including furnishings, will be as close as possible to an exact replica of the original.

Other parts of the restoration project will include a new chapel and meetinghouse for the Fayette Branch of the church, designed to match typical early 19th Century western New York/New England style architecture, a visitors center to accommodate thousands of visitors annually, and relocation and remodeling of an existing early 19th-century house on the farm.

[Note, I have the byline for this story, but some of the content was provided by standard PR release information.  I supplemented it with some additional information. This was my first story printed in a college Newspaper.  The Daily Universe, at that time was the State's 2nd largest morning newspaper.]

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