Michael Marquardt discusses early missionary accounts. The final installment of our conversation with Michael is only available to newsletter subscribers. Sign up at gospeltangents.com/newsletter to get a secret link that talks about early missionaries and apostles!
Here’s what we will talk about. What did they preach to new converts? How were the original 12 apostles called? We’ll also talk about the Community of Christ. Do they believe the church was founding in Fayette or Manchester? Sign up right away so you don’t miss out on our conversation!
President Nelson has made a big push about using the name of our church, but it wasn’t always known as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Michael Marquardt, an unsung hero in Mormon history, tells why the church changed names a few times.
Michael: In May of 1834 members of the United Firm, which was like an auxiliary of the church at that time, met and changed the name of the revealed name of a Church of Christ to the Church of Latter Day Saints. And that’s where that name comes in.
Michael: Yes. He proposed that. Sidney Rigdon was an elder and also high priest in the church. And the church is in deep debt at that early time of 1834. And that was one of the reasons at that time that they, said that the church was organized in Fayette–to protect the organization. It’s the same reason as the next year in the 1835 First edition of the doctrine and covenants, they used pseudonyms. No there was not real names but other names. So people would not know who the revelation that we’re referring to to protect the organization, protect the individuals.
GT: For financial reasons is that the main reason?
Michael: From what I can gather that that’s the main main reason at that time.
GT: Okay. Okay. So let’s recap here. So April 6, 1830 the Church is organized in Manchester. In 1833 it’s published that it’s still organized in Manchester. In 1835 we start having some difficulties with finances. So they renamed the Church: Church of Latter-day Saints. They left out Jesus Christ, by the way, I’ll add in.
Michael: Well, it was 1834. Yeah. You’ll notice sometimes while the name, Jesus is not there or the title Christ, it was also used at that time.
You probably noticed that Michael said the was founded in Manchester, New York, contrary to the official church history record that the church was organized 30 miles away in Fayette. How does Michael make his case, and why is there a discrepancy?
GT: Why does the church say Fayette and why are you saying it’s in Manchester?
Michael: Well, it’s basically trying to look at over a period of time, where the baptisms occur, where the revelations were given. And, of course the early Church of Christ did publish in the Evening and Morning Star, the first church periodical that it was organized and established in Manchester on April 6. And that’s also where you find where it mentions six members. So there’s probably was six individuals. We don’t know if they’re a male or a female.
GT: Okay. You said this was published where again?
Michael: In the ‘Evening and the Morning Star’ in Independence, Jackson County, Missouri.
GT: And what was the date on that?
Michael: It would be March, 1833 and April, 1833.
GT: So in March and April of 1833. The Evening and Morning Star is saying that the church was organized in Manchester, not in Fayette.
Marquardt says several revelations occurred in Manchester in April 6, 1830, and this was because it was the first church meeting. Were you aware of a discrepancy in the historical record for the location of the founding of the Church?
It’s Black History Month at Gospel Tangents. This is our final conversation with Russell Stevenson and we’ll talk the LDS Church in Africa. Did you know that Nigerians in the 1960s and even in the 1950s I learned have asked for LDS missionaries to come teach the gospel to them. It’s pretty surprising that they did this without any LDS presence in Nigeria. Russell Stevenson will talk more about this in our next conversation.
Russell: Throughout the 1950s, a number of church leaders are getting letters from various Nigerians across the river in Igboland, elsewhere begging for missionaries, asking for some kind of missionary presence. The initial response by David O. McKay and others was some level of skepticism. Maybe they are just looking for an opportunity to make money. They are just looking for white people to give them business, maybe looking for a new source of patronage now that the British influence was beginning to recede. By 1960 it was officially turned over to Nigerians.
In 1960 David O. McKay and the First Presidency, they send Glen Fisher, who has once been a mission president in South Africa to see what’s happening on the ground. Are these potential converts legitimate? Do they in fact want to join the LDS Church, or are they just looking for some kind of business opportunity? Glen Fisher returned with a report that was gushing by saying these people are the real deal. They crave Mormonism. They crave the LDS Church.
So they go there and they come away with the same conclusion that Glen Fisher had come away with, that these people are the real deal. They are legitimate. They in fact crave Mormonism. In fact Lamar Williams went further. He said, “Ultimately we cannot keep the priesthood from these people.” Essentially it’s only a matter of time.
GT: What year is this?
Russell: This is in 1961.
GT chuckles: ’61. That’s pretty prophetic!
Russell: Yes. I should note too, this isn’t the very first time you have Nigerians communicating this kind of thing to missionaries. We have evidence all the way back to 1950 of a Nigerian reverend approaching missionaries in New York City asking for a missionary presence. This is all throughout the post-war period. I’m only talking about the period in which the activity is most sustained.