History of the Church Series
This daily feature is an introduction to a full article by Larry C. Porter. Each Wednesday we focus on an aspect of church history, beginning in New York in the early 19th century and progressing throughout the year to Utah in the 20th century. To read the full text of this article, follow the link below.
With the many branch, ward, and stake organizations which currently bedeck the international scene of Mormonism, it is understandable that the activities of a small branch of Saints at Colesville, Broome County, New York, could have been virtually forgotten with the passage of time. Yet, at the close of 1830, it was one of some five principal branches serving as focal points for the gathering of the faithful in the new Church. Fayette, Seneca County, New York, served as the headquarters of the Church, while other branches existed at Colesville; Kirtland and Mentor, Geauga County, Ohio; and Warrensville, Cayahoga County, Ohio. The Colesville Branch was personally inaugurated by the Prophet Joseph Smith and its membership played a significant role in the initial years of the new dispensation. Drawn by Joseph's affirmation of communication with the heavens and the supportive evidences contained in the Book of Mormon, the Colesville Saints gave impetus to the missionary zeal of the Restoration and provided elements of needed leadership for the rapidly expanding faith.
From the very inception of "Mormonism," the Saints comprising the Colesville Branch linked their lives inexorably with the Restored Gospel and the volume which had inspired their conversion, the Book of Mormon. They relinquished family, friends, homes and material comforts in pursuit of their testimonies. The Prophet Joseph Smith was not unmindful of these sacrifices. On August 22, 1842, while making entries in the Book of the Law of the Lord, he paid tribute to certain of the Colesville membership, which might well be applied to them all.