What happened in Harmony? Everything! Hear the stories about Joseph and Emma’s time there, the translation of the Book of Mormon, several sections of the Doctrine and Covenants, ordinations, ordinances, and a whole lot more.
Some call Palmyra the “birthplace of the Restoration”. This is where is all began. In this hour long video, which was recorded as a live online fireside, I’ll tell the stories of the restoration that took place from 1816 – 1827. I go through the First Vision, Moroni’s visitations, and many other of the wonderful and sacred events that transpired while Joseph Smith lived in Palmyra.
In less than five minutes, I’ll tell you the main events of the Restoration, from the First Vision to Carthage Jail. Coinciding with the narration, are pictures of the locations where each event took place. If five minutes isn’t enough for you, I have slowed things down to tell you the whole chronological story of the Restoration. Find that video here.
In the Spring of 1820, Joseph Smith went into a grove of trees to pray. While praying, he said, “I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head above the brightness of the sun which descended gradually until it rested upon me.” Within the light was Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ who called Joseph to be a prophet and assist Them in restoring the Church of Jesus Christ to the earth. In 1823, Moroni appeared to Joseph Smith and told him of a book deposited in a nearby hill which contains the fulness of the everlasting gospel as delivered by the Savior to the ancient inhabitants of this continent. Each year for four years, Joseph would visit the hill until when in 1827 he was permitted to take the plates and begin the translation. Just before this, Joseph was working in Harmony, Pennsylvania and met the beautiful Emma Hale. They were married and were living near Palmyra when Joseph obtained the plates. Because of persecution, the Smith’s returned to Harmony and lived on the banks of the Susquehanna River. Oliver Cowdrey heard stories about the prophet and came to meet Joseph himself. Oliver would act as scribe for the translation of the majority of the Book of Mormon. During this time, Joseph and Oliver inquired about baptism and as a result of their prayer, John the Baptist appeared and conferred upon them the Aaronic Priesthood and instructed them to baptize each other, which they did in the Susquehanna River. It was also near here that Peter, James, and John conferred the Melchizedek Priesthood upon Joseph and Oliver. Persecution again required Joseph to move, this time to the Peter Whitmer Farm in Fayette, NY. During his time there, he completed the translation of the Book of Mormon and sent the handwritten printers manuscript to a printer in Palmyra by the name of EB Grandin. It was also at the Peter Whitmer Farm where the Three Witnesses saw the plates from which the Book of Mormon was translated and on April 6, 1830, the Church of Jesus Christ was officially organized. Soon after, Joseph Smith received a revelation, “Go to the Ohio, and there I will give unto you my law and there you shall be endowed with power from on high.” When Joseph and Emma arrived in Kirtland, Joseph walked into the Newell K Whitney store and said, “Newell K Whitney, thou art the man. I am Joseph Smith the prophet. You prayed me here, now what do you want of me.” About Kirtland, President Hinkley said, “In no other area of the Church was so much revelation received. In no other place was the Savior so revealed to mortal man. In no other place was there such remarkable manifestations given to so many.” These manifestations occurred at the Morley Farm, the John Johnson Farm, the School of the Prophets, and the Kirtland Temple where Moses, Elias, and Elijah appeared and restored priesthood keys and authorities. The Savior also appeared here in the Kirtland Temple. While the church was growing in Kirtland, the church was also growing in Missouri. The Kirtland story and the Missouri story happened at the same time. While the Saints in Kirtland were enjoying spiritual manifestations for a time, persecutions began to inflect the Saints in Missouri. Joseph led Zions Camp to help the distressed Saints but ultimately, the Saints were driven from Jackson County, Missouri into Clay County, and then finally into the newly formed Caldwell County. As a temporary safe haven for the Saints, Far West was established as the County seat and the now persecuted Kirtland Saints made their way out of Ohio and established themselves with the Missouri Saints in Far West. Not far from here, the horrific events of Haun’s Mill occurred. Soon after, Joseph Smith was illegally incarcerated in the Liberty Jail. Because of the Extermination Order issued by the governor of Missouri, the Saints fled East to the banks of the Mississippi River. With the help of the citizens of Quincy, Illinois, the Saints made it out of Missouri and settled in Illinois. Upon the release of Joseph Smith from the Liberty Jail, he caught up with the Saints and located some land north of Quincy where they built the city of Nauvoo. Here they lived in peace, had prosperity, and built a temple, until in 1844 more mobs would come to harass the prophet. Once again, Joseph was illegally arrested and taken, this time, to Carthage Jail. On June 27, 1844 at 5:17pm, a mob of men stormed the jail and ascended a staircase which led to the bedroom where Joseph Smith, Hyrum Smith, Willard Richards, and John Taylor were staying within the jail. A bullet came through the door and struck Hyrum in the face. Joseph would leap from the window, perhaps to save the other two men, and land mortally wounded. The mob scattered, and bodies of the prophet and his brother were taken to Nauvoo. The Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, with Brigham Young as President of that Quorum, led the church. Under the direction of Brigham Young, the Saints would leave Nauvoo under the pressure of mobs starting in February 1846. The Saints would journey, often under harsh conditions, over 1,500 miles to the Salt Lake Valley where they would once again establish themselves as a community and build a temple. This is the history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints from 1820 to 1847.
Joseph Smith read the Word of Wisdom for the first time to a bunch of men in a smoke filled rooms. Their reaction is remarkable and stands as a witness to each of us that with God, all things are possible.
I’ll take you from the First Vision to Carthage Jail in one hour, giving you the chance to see all of Church History in chronological order. I’ll tell the history of the Church in a story-like fashion to keep things entertaining, but to allow you to see how the events of the Restoration fit together.