Sunday, August 26, 2012

Joseph Smith in Pennsylvania

When people think of Joseph Smith and the Mormon church they're often closely associated with the state of Utah. Strangely enough the beginning stages of this religion were formed in the mountains of northern Pennsylvania.

 Founder Joseph Smith and his wife retreated to the hills of Harmony, Pennsylvania in December 1827. It was here, at his father-in-laws home that he began to translate the gold plates he received from the angel Moroni. During April 1828 and the spring of 1829 most of the plates had been translated and recorded, thanks in large part to his wife Emma, as well as several friends and family members. Together they helped record the transcripts, as well as maintain the farmland.

During his stay in this remote county, Joseph and his scribe Oliver commenced to the nearby woods to seek guidance. While praying for guidance a resurrected John the Baptist paid a visit to the men and instructed them to baptise each other in the Susquehanna river.

 Shortly after the two men relocated to Fayette, New York where the remaining manuscript for the book of Mormon was finished, and publication arrangements began. Joseph's wife Emma continued to stay in Harmony, Pennsylvania. Joseph returned back in June 1830, but his stay was short lived. After the Book of Mormon was released the family was threatened with violence and legal issues. In late August 1830 the family left permanently.

In 1919 the former home of Joseph and Emma burned down. The buried foundation is near a commerorative memorial remebering the works of Mr. Smith and his importance to the mormon religion. Today the Church of Jesus-Christ of Latter Day Saints owns approximately 288 acres surrounding the former homestead.

Traveling the byways of Susquehanna county it's not hard to see why Joseph chose this place to do his most rewarding work. The area has a peace and calmness not often found in other places. Even in 2012 the county seems to be trapped in a lost time, and that's a charming attribute you just can't create, it's gotta be natural.

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