Sunday, October 26

Historic Palmyra

I am so excited to share this blog entry with all of you. I have looked forward to the opportunity of going to Palmyra for years and it was a truly remarkable experience. Palmyra is the birth place of the Church of Jesus Christ of latter Day Saints. It is here that Joseph Smith experienced the first vision, the Book of Mormon was translated and published and the Church was officially organized and restored.

I hope you enjoy my tour...
( All historical information was collected from

The Smith Family Farm

Joseph Smith Sr., his wife Lucy Mack Smith, and their eight children moved to Palmyra, New York, in 1816. After a few years in Palmyra, Joseph Sr. bought 100 acres of wooded land. He and his sons cleared the land, prepared the soil for cultivation, and planted crops.
The family built a small log home on their property and lived there for a number of years.

They then decided to build a larger and more comfortable home. Father and sons worked side by side to produce a quaint frame home, which they moved into late in 1825. Having lost title to their farm, they moved back into the log home in the spring of 1829, where they lived until late 1830, when they moved from the area.

The Palmyra Temple sits on a hill top East of the Smith House.

From the Temple you have a beautiful view through the trees of the Sacred Grove

The Sacred Grove

During the 1820s, upstate New York experienced a period of religious revivals. Joseph Smith Jr., a 14-year-old boy, lived in Palmyra, where he attended the services of various religions. He searched the Bible to discover religious truth. While searching the New Testament, he read, "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him" (James 1:5). Joseph was inspired to ask God the questions that had been troubling him. One morning in the spring of 1820, he went to the woods near his home, found a secluded place, and knelt down to pray. While praying, a miraculous event occurred, which Joseph later described: "I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me. . . . When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other–This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!" (Joseph Smith–History 1:16-17). These two personages, God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ, instructed Joseph not to join any of the churches then established, but instead to wait for further direction in the restoration of Christ's Church.

It was a very special moment when we sat as a family in the sacred grove and read the words of the Prophet Joseph Smith describing the miraculous appearance of God the Father and his Son Jesus Christ. It was important to read these words to my children and share my testimony with them. I know with every fiber of my being that they appeared to the fourteen year old boy in this very place. There is no denying the spirit of the Lord that can be felt and it speaks to your heart telling you the truth that the Gospel of Jesus Christ has once again been restored to the earth and that the Prophet Joseph Smith did see God the Father and his Son Jesus Christ as two distinct persons glorified in the flesh.

Hill Cumorah

On the night of September 21, 1823, Joseph Smith prayed to know God's further will toward him. Steadily a light grew "as though the house was filled with consuming and unquenchable fire." Moroni, a messenger sent from God, stood before him. In mortal life Moroni had been the last of ancient American prophets having authority from God and whose teachings were recorded for our time. Moroni declared "that the time was at hand for the Gospel in all its fullness to be preached in power, unto all nations" and that Joseph was "to be an instrument in the hands of God" in that work. He quoted ancient prophets who had foreseen that this time would come. As Moroni stood before him Joseph was shown in vision "the place where the plates were deposited." Every September for four years, Joseph went to the Hill Cumorah and was taught by Moroni. In September 1827 Joseph met Moroni at the hill and received the gold plates. Twenty-one months later, having completed the translation, Joseph returned the plates to Moroni.

The Hill Cumorah is the first site that greets you as you drive into Palmyra. It is an awesome sight to see a Golden Moroni shine in the sun beckoning all to come learn for themselves about the truth of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.
Beautiful Upstate New York

Book of Mormon Publication Site

In this building, Joseph Smith met with E. B. Grandin to discuss printing the first 5,000 copies of the Book of Mormon, Another Testament of Jesus Christ. It took 2 years and 7 months for Grandin to complete the copies. Each leather bound Book of Mormon cost $1.25 which was sum of two days wages at the time. The Book of Mormon is a religious history of a group of people who lived on the American continents centuries ago. Among many things, they wrote of Christ's visit to the ancient Americas after His Resurrection.

It struck me with such power to read the first scripture I ever memorized on this page written by the hand of Oliver Cowdery directly from the mouth of the Prophet Joseph Smith. "I will go and do the things that the Lord hath commanded for I know that the Lord giveth no commandment unto the children of men save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them" 1 Nephi 3:7 I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God and was translated through his power by the Prophet Joseph Smith. These Scriptures have been a strength, comfort and guide to me throughout my life.

A first edition Book of Mormon

Whitmer Farm

It was here on 6 April 1830, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was formally organized with six members. Members of the Whitmer family did much to further the budding Church. They took in the Prophet Joseph Smith Jr. and his wife Emma for a period of time and allowed Joseph and Oliver Cowdery to work on the translation of the Book of Mormon in their home. In fact the page of scripture that we saw at the Grandin building was translated at a table just like the one pictured below. Joseph also received revelations comprising 20 sections of the Doctrine and Covenants, and some of the first priesthood ordinances were performed in or near this home.

It was a remarkable experience to stand in this place and realize that the whole church once fit in this small room. Today the church is 13 million members strong and over 125 temples are in operation around the world. The words of Daniel the prophet have truly been fulfilled. The stone cut out of the mountain without hands has rolled forth and filled the whole earth. I feel so blessed to be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. My life has been blessed by the restored priesthood, covenants of baptism, temple ordinances and temple sealing which binds me to my family for time and all eternity. I know this is the only true church on the earth and that Jesus Christ, my Savior, is at the head. I know that we have a latter day Prophet , Thomas S. Monson, and the Lord speaks through him just as he did through the Prophet Joseph Smith. I know the Book of Mormon is the word of God.
In between all the spiritual stuff we dealt with the practicalities of traveling with a 10 week old baby, toddler and five year old. We left early Thursday morning and the girls were remarkably well behaved. We took the back roads and the scenery was beautiful. The girls traveled well watching movies and playing with sticker albums. Liddy Ann took a bottle and slept in her car seat (wich she has hated so far). We made it to the Hill Cumorah that afternoon befor heading to our hotel in Rochester. It was a 12 hour day and we were all tired but all in all it went better then I expected. We had our share of "adventure" the next mornign when we got locked out of our hotel room while eating breakfast. It took an hour and a half and a persistant maitenance man to ge the door open. We had to wait around because Liddy's car seat was in the room. Good thing they had lost of free danish:) Later that day while in the Sacred Grove our camera just stopped working. We were planning on getting a new one for christmas so we headed to the Walmart and we love our new camera. To bad when we got back to the grove the clouds rolled in and it got cold and windy. Neeldess to say we ran out of daylight and decided to go to the Whitmer farm the next morning. Liddy is a wonderful baby and she slept through both nights at the hotel. We can't say the same for Susanna who kept waking up crying not knowing where she was. We woke up to rain on Saturday and headed out for the Whitmer farm and then the drive home. We took the fast way home on a tollway. It was an expensive way to travel. You pay about $9 in tolls and a Mc Donalds "Value meal" at the nicest rest stop I have ever seen cost $7!!! That is NY for you. We were thrilled to make it home to MA safe and uplifted from a wonderful vacation. Being in Palmyra strenghend my testimony of the gospel. It is such an important part of my life and makes me who I am. Thank you for letting me share this experience with alll of you.


Marilyn said...

Great vacation. Michael's cousin's daughter served their on her mission a few years ago and we went and took one of the tours from her, it was really fun.

Spencer+Kellie said...

What an amazing experience to be able to share with your children! I bet the spirit was so strong. I hope that we get to go there someday!

Jerry Craven said...

We are so glad you had the experience a the sacred grove. We are thrilled that you shared this sacred place with your children and strengthened their testimonies. You are a great missionary--what a beautiful testimony.

Christina said...

Beautiful pictures! What happened to the days of living in sweet little humble homes! the size of that cabin for 10 people is probably not much bigger than my kitchen/living room! Simple place settings and lots of love, I'm sure! Hopefully, one day, we will be able to experience that beautiful sacred place! Thank you for sharing!

Tiffany said...

SO FUN!! And what a beautiful time of year to see it in. I was touched by your testimony, as I'm sure your kids were, thanks for sharing.

Clark Family said...

Isn't it awesome! My family and in-laws went 2 yrs ago and loved it. Fun pictures.

The Hatch Family said...

I'm so jealous, glad you could go and it went well!!

The Henrich Family said...

Beautiful photos!...a great time of year to visit. Thank you for sharing your testimony. What a perfect way to spend a family vacation.