New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently issued an executive citation to commemorate the 200th anniversary of Joseph Smith’s First Vision.

“In April of 1820, Joseph Smith, a young man from a local farming family experienced a holy vision in a grove near the small village of Palmyra in western New York,” the citation notes. It adds, “Smith’s translation of sacred scripture led to the publication of the Book of Mormon in 1830, and the birth of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,” both of which also took place in New York.

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Cuomo also noted the church’s “glorious past” and “bright future” in the executive chamber citation, which he signed on Nov. 20.

Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles received the citation on behalf of the church earlier this month, according to a news release issued Tuesday.

“Given its unique role as the site for the beginnings of the Restoration, we are grateful in this bicentennial year for the goodwill and recognition conferred by the state of New York,” Elder Christofferson said in an Instagram post.

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Elder D. Todd Christofferson, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and Elder Randall K. Bennett, president of the North America Northeast Area, read a citation from New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020. The citation acknowledged the bicentennial anniversary of the First Vision | The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

“We’re grateful for the foundations of the church beginning in New York,” he added in a statement released by the church. “There weren’t many places in the world where it could have happened, and that was one. … We look back after 200 years and express gratitude for those beginnings and for the present and for what is to come.”

The proclamation begins with the term “Whereas,” a formal and traditional way to create a preamble citing the reasons for issuing the document.

“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is based upon a renewal of Christian values and principles as conveyed in the gospels, and this longstanding tradition of guidance continues to serve as a source of inspiration for a church where fellowship, respect and service to others are held in the highest regard,” it says.

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It also noted the good works of Latter-day Saint congregations in New York, where the church has 82,000 members, 143 congregations and temples in Palymyra and Manhattan.

“Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints can be deservedly proud as they gather in joyful commemoration of two centuries of history, a bright future for this house of worship and their ongoing commitment to giving of oneself, for the betterment of all humankind,” the citation states.

President Russell M. Nelson declared 2020 a bicentennial year for the church to commemorate the First Vision. In April, he and the other members of the Council of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles issued a bicentennial proclamation to the world titled, “The Restoration of the Fulness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”

“It’s very significant, I believe,” Elder Christofferson said, “that the governor of the state and state government would recognize the deep significance of this for us and for the world.”

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