Harmony (Oakland), Pennsylvania
Bank of the Susquehanna River
Section 13
May 1829
"Upon you my fellow servants, in the name of Messiah I confer the Priesthood of Aaron, which holds the keys of the ministering of angels, and of the gospel of repentance, and of baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; and this shall never be taken again from the earth, until the sons of Levi do offer again an offering unto the Lord in righteousness."
Joseph Smith History 1:29-30, 32-33
Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery were working on the translation of the Book of Mormon when they came to passages concerning baptism and authority.
Joseph and Oliver retired to the woods near his home on the Susquehanna River to ask God for further information on the subject.
Key Events
Restoration of the Aaronic Priesthood to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery in May 1829 by John the Baptist.
After receiving the authority, Joseph and Oliver were commanded to baptize each other here.
Peter, James, and John conferred the Melchizedek Priesthood on Joseph and Oliver a month or two later, about 16 miles upriver.
Words of Joseph Smith
"[John the Baptist] commanded us to go and be baptized, and gave us directions that I should baptize Oliver Cowdery, and that afterwards he should baptize me.
Accordingly we went and were baptized. I baptized him first, and afterwards he baptized me - after which I laid my hands upon his head and ordained him to the Aaronic Priesthood, and afterwards he laid his hands on me and ordained me to the same Priesthood - for so we were commanded." (Joseph Smith History 1:70-71)
"Immediately on our coming up out of the water after we had been baptized, we experienced great and glorious blessings from our Heavenly Father. No sooner had I baptized Oliver Cowdery, than the Holy Ghost fell upon him, and he stood up and prophesied many things which should shortly come to pass. And again, so soon as I had been baptized by him, I also had the spirit of prophecy, when, standing up, I prophesied concerning the rise of this Church, and many other things connected with the Church, and this generation of the children of men. We were filled with the Holy Ghost, and rejoiced in the God of our salvation. Our minds being now enlightened, we began to have the scriptures laid open to our understandings, and the true meaning and intention of their more mysterious passages revealed unto us in a manner which we never could attain to previously, nor ever before had thought of." (Joseph Smith History 1:73-74)
In response the Prophet's prayer about baptism, the resurrected John the Baptist appeared to Joseph and Oliver, conferring the priesthood authority to baptize upon them in May 1829.
Copyright 2005 Steve Mortensen. All rights reserved.