Joseph Smith Jr. was born on December 23, 1805, to Lucy Mack Smith and Joseph Smith Sr. At the time, the Smiths lived in a small home on a farm owned by Lucy’s father, Solomon Mack. On the 100th anniversary of Joseph Smith Jr.’s birth, a 50-foot granite obelisk was raised on the site. Today, the grounds at the birthplace serve as a contemplative space open to the public. A visitors’ center provides information about Joseph Smith’s life and his mission as the prophet through whom Jesus Christ began to restore His gospel to the earth.
Joseph Smith was the fifth of 11 children born to Lucy Mack Smith and Joseph Smith Sr. They lived on the Solomon Mack farm for three years while they worked to overcome previous financial setbacks. Eventually, Joseph Smith Sr. sought work in New York, and the family established a farm in Manchester, New York, near the village of Palmyra. On that farm, Joseph experienced the First Vision, in which God the Father and Jesus Christ visited him. This and other spiritual manifestations led to the publishing of the Book of Mormon and the establishment of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.