We started out the day by heading to the Hill Cumorah and seeing the Moroni Monument. It was really incredible to stand there on that hill (despite the freezing windy-ness of it) and just feel the history of the place and the strong spirit that was there. This is where the gold plates were kept safe and delivered to Joseph Smith to be translated so the true Gospel of Jesus Christ could be restored.
From there we drove past the Palmyra temple and on to the Smith family farm. This place was truly amazing.
First of all, it was amazing that they fit 10 people in that teeny tiny log cabin and felt grateful for their wealth! It made me realize just how much we have today that we are so ungrateful for. It was a great reminder at this very spendy time of year to live simply.
Second, and most obviously, it was amazing to be in the exact place where Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ appeared to Joseph Smith. Where the Angel Moroni visited Joseph. Where the gold plates had been hidden, translated, protected. Where it all began. We couldn’t help but wonder as we drove around that small town if those that live there now have any idea how sacred this place is—the incalculable impact it has had on the world. Being there made everything real. These aren’t just stories we have been told. Joseph Smith truly saw God the Father and Jesus Christ. The Book of Mormon is true. The Gospel has been restored!
Entering the Sacred Grove (Reese was fast asleep)
Wesley lacked wisdom and departed from the log home behind him to enter into the woods to pray
She slept through Niagara Falls and now the Sacred Grove...
Smith Log Home
The picture should lend a little perspective. The house was so small. The ceiling beams had a 6'2" clearance.
Here's the kitchen/living room/dining room. After the First Vision, Joseph came in and leaned over this fireplace where his mother was preparing breakfast. She asked him what was the matter and he replied that he was fine, but he now knew for himself that Presbyterianism wasn't true. From that moment on, the Smith family (and the world) would never be the same.
Carefully climbing the stairs up to the bedrooms
They were tricky! It made me a wee bit nervous to climb those with a sleeping baby in tow.
In the bedroom where Angel Moroni appeared to Joseph
The white building in the background is the welcome center, the trees to the left are the Sacred Grove, the cabin to the right is the Smith's log home.
Smith's land and the path leading to the frame home, the white house on the left.
I love this picture because of Wesley. So 2 year old. I'm walking ahead with our awesome tour guide, a senior missionary from Orem, UT. We met some really great missionaries on our tours!
Reese eventually did wake up and join the fun.
In front of the Smith's frame home, built much later.
This home is 85% original and underwent crazy amounts of restoration. The walls in this room had to have the plaster removed while retaining the original whitewash.
This is a replica of Alvin's toolbox where the gold plates were hidden or transported on a number of occasions.
The hearth, another hiding place for the plates.
Original floorboards in this room
The kitchen. The fireplace was the stove and this home had a fancy upgrade-- an oven. Can you see it? It's the tiny door to the right of the stove. They tested the temperature with their hand.
Behind me to the right is the breakfast table. It was here that Martin Harris broke the news to Joseph that he had lost the translated Book of Mormon manuscript. Right in front of me is where Joseph then spent the rest of the day pacing. I could feel his worry as I sat in that space!
Reesey enjoying the tour
2 year old + historical tours =
We passed through the Sacred Grove again and then headed on to the Book of Mormon Publication site where a wonderful sister missionary played with Wesley and gave us a great tour. We learned a lot about how the Book of Mormon came to be published and it was really neat to see where it all happened.
After all of our touring, this happened in about 20 seconds: