The Prophet Joseph Smith had completed his work of translating the Book of Mormon – Another Testament of Jesus Christ, and 5,000 copies of the Book of Mormon had been printed. Yet, the work of the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ had just begun.
In a revelation to Joseph Smith, the Lord commanded that His Church be organized on April 6, 1830. Doctrine and Covenants 20 was recorded a few days after the Church of Jesus Christ was organized, but parts of it could have been revealed as early as June 1829. This revelation focuses on the importance of the Book of Mormon, outlines responsibilities of priesthood offices, and provides instructions for the ordinances of baptism and the sacrament.
On April 6, 1830, more than 40 believers crowded into the log home of the Whitmer family in Fayette, New York, to witness the organization of the Church of Jesus Christ. On this same day, the Lord revealed Doctrine and Covenants 21, where the Lord designates Joseph as a prophet, seer, and leader of His restored church. He also exhorted the members to heed the words of the Prophet.
Not long after the organization of the Church of Jesus Christ, people were questioning if those who had been baptized earlier needed to be baptized again to become members of the restored Church. Joseph inquired of the Lord and received the revelation that is now known as Doctrine and Covenants 22, In it, the Lord taught that baptism must be performed by those with proper authority.
Many people wonder why an organized Church is necessary. At least part of the answer can be found in the revelations connected with that first meeting in April 1830. One of the reasons is that the organized Church provides the ordinances necessary for exaltation.
The organization of the Church of Jesus Christ was possible because Peter, James, and John bestowed the Melchizedek Priesthood on Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery. This priesthood provides the administrative authority for the Church of Jesus Christ. The blessings of the priesthood are available to men, women, and children.
Men are ordained to priesthood offices, while both women and men are invited to experience the power and blessings of the priesthood in their lives….
…[Women] preach and pray in congregations, fill numerous positions of leadership, and serve, participate in priesthood councils at the local and general levels, and serve formal proselytizing missions across the globe. In these and other ways, women exercise priesthood authority even though they are not ordained to priesthood office….
… In ecclesiastical callings, temple ordinances, family relationships, and quiet, individual ministry, Latter-day Saint women and men go forward with priesthood power and authority. This interdependence of men and women in accomplishing God’s work through His power is central to the gospel of Jesus Christ (Gospel Topics, “Joseph Smith’s Teachings about Priesthood, Temple, Women,” topics.ChurchofJesusChrist.org).
The organized Church of Jesus Christ provides the ordinances and covenants necessary for salvation. These ordinances are performed under the authority of the priesthood. They are given to both men and women who are expected and required to work together in accomplishing the work of God here on earth.