Of the many significant dates in LDS history, few of us would single April 26 out as one of the more important. However, I can think of few other dates (April 6 for the organization of the church being the most notable) that are specifically mentioned by the Lord in scripture.

In Doctrine and Covenants section 118, the Apostles are called to preach the gospel in England, and, in verse 5, they are told to depart for their mission on April 26, 1839:

Let them take leave of my saints in the city of Far West, on the twenty-sixth day of April next, on the building-spot of my house, saith the Lord.

I wonder why the Lord picked that particular date and that location for the commencement of their mission. Wouldn’t their missionary work been as effective if they’d left from Nauvoo? Why April 26th?

I’m not sure if the date mattered in particular, but fulfilling that seemingly small request ended up being a difficult and dangerous task. By April 26, 1839, the Saints had abandoned Far West, been driven out of Missouri, and were gathered in Illinois. Five members of the Quorum of the Twelve made the trip back to Far West to be there on April 26 in Far West: Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, Orson Pratt, John E. Page, and John Taylor. Wilford Woodruff, who was ordained an apostle at that meeting, was also present. These apostles made the trip despite the danger of being killed by Missourians, many of whom had planned to ambush the apostles at the April 26 meeting. While they met in the middle of the night to avoid some of the danger, it was still a great act of faith. I do not think it is a coincidence that the next three presidents of the church were willing to endanger their lives to fulfill this particular request by the Lord.