Hello, I'm Sister Sorenson, and I'm Sister Kelly.

We serve as missionaries of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

We are standing outside the historic home of John and Elsa Johnson in Hiram, Ohio, USA,

about 30 miles from the city of Kirtland.

Most of this structure is original, and the surrounding farmland is similar to the way it would have been when the Johnsons lived here in the early 1830s.

This home is a significant and sacred place in the history of the Church.

This is a place of conversion, charity, and service.

This is a place where the Lord revealed truth about preaching His gospel,

organizing His Church, life after death, and His Second Coming.

Let's go inside.

The interior of this home has been restored to look as it did when the Johnson family lived here.

The rooms are furnished and decorated according to careful research.

For example, here in the kitchen and dining area,

you've probably noticed that interesting designs on the woodwork. When historians studied this room,

they carefully removed layers of paint and stain on the wood until they came to the Johnson's original color.

In fact, this cabinet door shows what they found.

Historians and skilled artisans followed this pattern when they restored the woodwork throughout this room.

Other rooms feature vibrant colors on the wood trim and even on one floor, also restored to match the Johnson's original color.

But as beautiful as this restoration work is,

the real significance of this home is the Restoration of gospel truth that occurred here.

Elsa and John began learning about the Church of Jesus Christ in February of 1831

when their 19-year-old son, Lyman, told them he had joined a church led by a man named Joseph Smith.

Members of this Church believe Joseph Smith to be a prophet of God, and they had recently begun gathering in Ohio.

Elsa and John were a little concerned about their son’s decision, so they turned to their minister, Ezra Booth, for advice. Ezra was also concerned,

so he brought a Book of Mormon here to this home.

The three of them would have started reading it here together,

probably in this room right next to the kitchen. As Elsa, John, and Ezra opened the Book of Mormon and read

the testimony of Jesus Christ, their concerns melted away.

They stayed up all night reading as they read, Elsa became convinced that Joseph could heal her arm.

For the past two years, she had been unable to lift that arm higher than her head.

When Joseph arrived in Kirtland soon after,

the Johnsons went to visit him. By the power of the priesthood, Joseph healed Elsa’s arm.

But you can learn more about this experience in a virtual tour of the Whitney home and store.

As we said earlier, this home became a place of conversion. In March of 1831,

John and Elsa Johnson and Ezra and Dorkus Booth were baptized and received the gift of the Holy Ghost,

becoming members of the restored Church of Jesus Christ.

We also said this home was a place of charity and service.

You’ll see evidence of this as we go upstairs.

In September 1831,

John and Elsa learned that Joseph and Emma and their two twins—adopted twins— needed a place to live.

The Johnsons opened their home and their hearts to the Smith family.

When the Johnsons first built their home,

this space where we now stand was one large room for all the children. Elsa and John slept in the bedroom across the hall,

and Emma and Joseph moved here.

They hired a carpenter to install a wall into the space,

dividing it into two rooms,

one for the parents, and one for the children.

We see evidence of this in the corner of the room where the chair rail abruptly stops at the wall instead of continuing around the room.

John and Elsa invited Joseph to use their bedroom across the hall as an office,

knowing that the Prophet would need a private place to direct the work of the Church.

As we walk into this room, we are truly in a holy place here.

Joseph received inspiration to extend callings to new missionaries and welcomed missionaries home after they’d completed their assignments.

He taught priesthood holders.

He counseled with other Church leaders to review revelations he had received and select those that should be published.

We can now study those today in Doctrine and Covenants.

Joseph's principal work in this room was his inspired translation of the Bible, including the restoration of truths that have been lost from the New and Old Testaments. During the translation process,

the Lord blessed Joseph with profound revelations.

These revelations extended the Saints’ understanding of the Savior’s attributes, Atonement, Second Coming,

and millennial reign. On February 16, 1832, Joseph; his scribe, Sidney Rigdon; and about 12 men gathered here in this room.

Joseph and Sidney had been meditating on a passage in chapter five of the book of John.

This passage mentions the Resurrection of the dead.

As they pondered this passage,

the eyes of their understanding were opened,

and Joseph and Sidney saw a vision.

While in this vision, they described what they saw while the others listened.

The vision is now recorded in section 76 of the Doctrine and Covenants.

It includes Joseph and Sidney’s testimony of Jesus Christ.

They declared: “After the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the testimony last of all,

which we give of him: That he lives! For we saw him, even on the right hand of God; and we heard the voice bearing record that he is the Only Begotten of the Father—that by him, through him, and of him,

the worlds are and were created, and

the inhabitants thereof are begotten sons and daughters unto God.”

In this vision, Joseph and Sidney saw God the Father and Jesus Christ.

They conversed with our Savior, and they saw the heavens.

They learned that everyone except the most rebellious of God's children will be welcomed into one of three kingdoms of glory when they are resurrected.

These kingdoms are called the celestial kingdom, the terrestrial kingdom, and the telestial kingdom.

The celestial kingdom is reserved for those who are valiant in the testimony of Jesus,

those who are baptized, receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, and are made perfect through Jesus, the Mediator of the new covenant.

Not long after Joseph and Sidney received the vision,

their valiance in the testimony of Jesus was tested.

The vision had come at a time of adversity.

Ezraas with Booth and other members of the Church had turned against Joseph. Ezra had written a series of letters in which he criticized Joseph,

and a local newspaper had published these letters.

When some people heard about the revelation which challenged their ideas about heaven,

their anger increased.

Many members of the Church embraced the revelation,

while others rejected it and left the Church.

Some people were determined to do more than just reject the revelation; they sought to do harm to the men who received it.

On one evening in late March 1832, a group of men gathered at a brickyard about a half mile away from this home.

They built a fire and heated pine tar.

To continue the story of what happened that night,

we’ll visit a room downstairs.

Joseph and Emma and their adopted twins, Joseph and Julian Murdoch,

slept on the first floor of the Johnson home,

possibly in this room. On March 24 of 1832, Joseph was sleeping soundly.

The twins, who were suffering with measles, were finally asleep.

Emma was drifting to sleep when several men burst into the room.

The men dragged Joseph from this home, as Emma screamed and the babies cried.

Joseph fought his attackers until one of them seized and by the throat and he lost his breath.

He awoke in a meadow and saw Sidney Rigdon nearby,

half-naked and not moving.

Then the mob dragged Joseph deeper into the field where they stripped some of his clothes,

scraped his bare skin,

poured hot tar over him, and covered that tar with feathers.

When John Johnson, whose door had been barred during the attack,

came to help, the mob ran off.

Joseph and Sidney finally regained some strength and stumbled back to this home.

Elsa and Emma and several women in the neighborhood labored through the night to take care of them.

Emma and Elsa worked together to scrape the tar and feathers from Joseph's skin and loosen it from his hair.

Others did the same for Sidney.

The next day was Sunday. Joseph was weak, bruised, and scarred.

It is likely that he hadn't slept since coming home.

But he got dressed, he stood, and he preached.

Later that day, three people who had come to hear his

sermon were baptized.

There are many more details to the story, some of them tragic,

some of them triumphant.

We hope you remember this home as a place where Joseph and Emma and John and Elsa served one another and served the Lord.

It is a sacred place where the Lord revealed some of what he calls

the hidden mysteries of his kingdom and the wonders of eternity.

It is a place where Joseph Smith, the prophet of the restoration,

was valiant in the testimony of Jesus.

Thank you for joining us here today.

Johnson Home: Hidden Mysteries Revealed

Missionaries guide you through the home of John and Elsa Johnson in Hiram, Ohio. This home was a place of conversion, charity, and service. Here Joseph Smith received the revelation that is now recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 76.

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