John Whitmer Timeline

August 27, 1802

Born to Peter Whitmer, Sr., and Mary Musselman Whitmer near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, the third of nine children.

Peter Whitmer Home


The Whitmer family moves to Fayette, New York, where they work a large farm.

June, 1829

Joseph Smith moves to Fayette, New York to continue the translation at the home of John Whitmer’s father, Peter Whitmer.

Doctrine & Covenants 15 is received and directed to John indicating that “the thing which will be of the most worth unto you will be to declare repentance unto this people, …”

John is baptized by Oliver Cowdery.

As one of The Eight Witnesses, John see the golden plates and testify of the book’s truth.

Joseph Smith finishes translating the Book of Mormon at the Whitmer home.

April, 1830

The Church is formally organized in Fayette, New York

John is an early member.

June 9, 1830

Ordained an Elder of the Church.

March 8, 1831

Joseph Smith receives a revelation from God, now Section 47 of the Doctrine & Covenants, calling John to “write and keep a regular history” of the Church.

John is called as the first official church historian and writes the first history of the church spanning 1831- 1838.


John is ordained as a High Priest

Moves to Jackson County, Missouri and is called as an assistant president of the church in Missouri.

February 10, 1833

Marries Sarah Jackson. They would have 5 children.

October - December, 1833

Church members are driven from Jackson County, Missouri.

John and his family take refuge in Clay County.

He petitions the Missouri government for redress on behalf of the beleaguered Saints.

He purchases land for the Church in Caldwell county and founds the settlement at Far West as a safe haven for the members of the Church.

March 10, 1838

John is excommunicated by the High Council at Far West, Missouri.

June 17, 1838

Sidney Rigdon preaches the “Salt Sermon” in which he declares that dissenters from the faith (understood to include Oliver Cowdery and David Whitmer), were “as salt that had lost its savor” and that it was the duty of the faithful to cast them out “to be trodden beneath the feet of men.”

John and the entire Whitmer family move to nearby Richmond, Missouri.


John returns to Far West where he lives out the remainder of his days as a successful farmer and livestock rancher.

July 11, 1878

John Whitmer dies in Far West.