From The Encyclopedia of Mormonism
Author: Perkins, Keith W.
The Newel K. Whitney store played a major role in the history of the Latter-day Saints in Kirtland, Ohio, during the years 1831-1838. When the Prophet Joseph Smith arrived in Kirtland on February 1, 1831, he strode up to the counter where Whitney was clerking and extended his hand: "Newel K. Whitney, I am Joseph, the Prophet . You've prayed me here; now what do you want of me?" (HC 1:146).
The Prophet later received a number of significant revelations in the Whitney store, including the Word of Wisdom (D&C 89) and two important revelations on priesthood (D&C 84, 88). Joseph Smith also worked on his translation of the Bible in an upstairs room.
The store started in a log cabin in 1823. The present frame structure was built in the flats of Kirtland, Ohio, by 1827. Operating the N. K. Whitney & Co. store as a mercantile establishment and as a post office, Whitney and his partner Sidney Gilbert maintained as large an inventory as any store in northeastern Ohio.
One of the first adult education programs in the United States, the School of the Prophets, was held in the store during the winter of 1833 in accord with revelation (D&C 88:127-141). The school's purpose was to prepare missionaries to take the gospel to the world. Many people told of receiving visions in the store's upper room. The United Order, the predecessor of the current Welfare system of the Church, had its beginning in the store, which was also used as the bishop's storehouse (D&C 72:8-10;78:3).
Today the building is owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and has been restored to its 1830s form as a historical site for visitors. President Ronald Reagan awarded the restored store the President's Historic Preservation Award on November 18, 1988.