Hello, my name is Elder Fosset,

and I'm Sister Fosset.

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

Today we are here in historic Kirtland, Ohio, USA,

a place where the Lord commanded early members of our Church to gather. Through the Prophet Joseph Smith, the Lord promised Latter-day Saints that in Ohio He would give them His law, endow them with power from on high,

and send them forth among all nations to share His

restored gospel.

On a wintry day in February 1831,

Joseph Smith and his wife Emma arrived in Kirtland for the first time just to stop their sleigh in front of this building, the N. K. Whitney and Company Store. Joseph stepped out of the sleigh and onto the street

and waited outside close to where we are right now.

Joseph entered the store,

went straight to the counter, and reached out his hand to the man who was working on the other side.

“Newell K. Whitney,” he said,

“thou art the man.” Newell shook Joseph’s hand

but admitted that he did not recognize him.

Joseph replied, “I’m Joseph, the Prophet.

You have prayed me here. Now what do you want of me?”

Newell quickly left his shop and took Joseph and Emma over to his home,

which is located just on the other side of the street.

You see, Newell had prayed Joseph to Kirtland,

but he hadn't done so alone.

He had prayed with his wife, and their prayers had already led them to find and join

the restored Church of Jesus Christ.

We'll tell you more about that in just a moment.

After joining the Church, Ann and Newell continued to pray,

seeing that they and their fellow Saints needed further guidance.

The arrival of their Prophet was the answer to those prayers.

Newell wanted to talk with Joseph,

but he wanted Ann to be part of the conversation.

Let’s go together to the place where that happened, the

original Ann and Newell K. Whitney home, restored to look much as it did in the 1830.

Ann was certainly happy to meet Joseph Smith,

and I'm sure she was attentive to Emma,

who was almost seven months pregnant.

Perhaps Emma and Joseph warmed themselves by the hearth while Ann and Newell ministered to their needs.

Then they have even admired the fireplace with this mantle and cabinet, which are original to the home.

The Whitneys love and hospitality, warmed Joseph and Emma more than a fire in a hearth ever could.

They invited the Smiths to live with them and their three children until they could find a place of their own.

Ann and Newell even moved to the upstairs bedroom

so that their guests could have the room downstairs,

which was more comfortable and convenient.

Joseph and Emma lived in the Whitneys’ home for about four to six weeks.

During that time, the home became less private than it had been before; it became the center of a new and growing Church in this little home.

The Prophet Joseph conducted church meetings

and received revelations from the Lord.

Those revelations guided the Church in the 1930s,

and they continue to guide the Church today.

Soon after Joseph and Emma arrived, the Lord gave Joseph a revelation, which is recorded in Doctrine Covenant section 41.

And this revelation, he called a man named Edward Partridge to serve as bishop,

the first bishop in the Church of Jesus Christ.

And not long after that,

the Prophet Joseph was here when he received the revelation that is now recorded in Doctrine Covenants

section 42. The Lord introduced this revelation as the law He had promised to give his people. In this law,

He gave commandments to guide the people's daily walk as His disciples. One thing He commanded them was to remember the poor by giving money and goods to the bishop to help those in need.

That commandment would directly impact Newell K. Whitney and his family in the years to come.

One of the first miracles of the young Church occurred here in the home. John and Elsa Johnson, who lived 30 miles away,

came to Kirtland when they heard that Joseph was here.

Elsa was convinced that Joseph could heal her disabled arm.

For two years, she had not been able to lift one of her arms even as high as her head.

When Elsa saw Joseph, she asked him to heal her.

He asked her if she believed that the Lord could make him an instrument to heal her arm. She said she did.

Joseph did not heal Elsa immediately,

but he met her and a few others in this home the next day.

I like to imagine Elsa sitting here.

At one point, Joseph took Elsa by the hand,

prayed in silence for a moment, and pronounced her arm whole in the name of Jesus Christ. He turned to leave the room.

Elsa straightened her arm and announced that it was as good as the other.

She and her husband, John, were baptized shortly after this experience.

Before we leave the home, we would like to tell you about two other things

that happened here.

The first happened in the fall of 1830,

a few months before Joseph and Emma arrived. Ann and

Newell were faithful Christians, and they wanted to be part of

a church like the savior’s Church, as described in the New Testament. One night,

Newell and Ann had this remarkable experience.

Ann described it this way:

“It was midnight, as my husband and I, in our house at Kirtland, were praying to the Father to be shown the way. The Spirit rested upon us, and a cloud overshadowed the house. It was, though, we were out of doors.

The House passed away from our vision.

We were not conscious of anything but the presence of the Spirit,

and the cloud that was over us.

We heard a voice out of the clouds saying, ’Prepare to receive the word of the Lord,

for it is coming.′ At this we marvelled greatly. But at that moment I knew that the word of the Lord was coming to Kirtland.”

Soon after this vision,

missionaries from the restored Church of Jesus Christ came to Kirtland. Ann was baptized a member of the Church,

and Newell soon followed her.

Now, let’s fast-forward to January 1836.

By that time, Joseph and Emma had a home of their own near the temple. The Whitneys’ home was no longer the center of Church administration,

but it continued to be a center of Christlike living, a place where the Whitneys followed the law of the Lord. Newell and Ann hosted a three-day feast for people in need.

They invited the poor, the disabled,

the sick, and the elderly from all around Kirtland to their home.

Much of the activity likely occurred in this room. Emma Smith worked by Ann’s side to care for the guests who crowded this lovely home.

I imagine that this room was full of people

and full of happy noises,

conversation, and the clinking of knives and forks on plates full of delicious smells and full of love and gratitude. Joseph Smith participated in portions of this event. He said the Whitneys acted after the Order of the Son of God, that they followed

the example of Jesus Christ.

To continue our story of Newell and Ann Whitney,

we need to go back to 1831 and back to the N. K. Whitney and Company store. Our friends. Elder and Sister Monch will guide you in your experience there.

Welcome back to the Newell K. Whitney store.

This is the original building, restored to look much as it did in the 1830s. ,

It was a thriving business in those days.

People came here to shop.

The items on the shelves here today are based on Newell’s, careful record of the things he bought and sold.

People came here to enjoy each other's company,

to gather around the warmth of the wood stove, or to play a game of checkers. They also came here to send and receive letters. And as Elder and Sister Fosset told you,

this is the very place where Joseph Smith came and introduced himself to Newell K. Whitney. At that moment,

Newell had no idea how his relationship with Joseph would change his life. It would change the way he oversaw his business,

and it would transform the building where we stand right now.

Elder and Sister Fosset told you that the Lord called Edward Partridge to be a bishop in Kirkland.

Several months later,

the Lord called Edward to go to Missouri to serve with the Latter-day Saints there.

And now the Saints in Kirkland needed a new bishop to oversee the effort to care for the poor.

The Lord extended that call through the Prophet Joseph Smith to Newell K. Whitney. Once again, Joseph’s inspiration took Newel by surprise and said: “I cannot see a bishop in myself, Brother Joseph. But if you say it’s the Lord’s will, I will try.”

Joseph suggested that he take the matter to God in prayer.

When Newell asked the Lord if this calling really came from Him,

he heard a voice from heaven saying, “Thy strength is in me.”

A good reminder to all of us in our lives.

Newell accepted the call and served with devotion. It's likely this room, a trading room and a work room,

took on an additional purpose when Newell accepted the call to be a bishop.

This probably became the bishops’ storehouse,

a place where members of the Church would come to donate goods

and where people could go to the bishop for help in times of need.

Bit by bit, this building became more than just a store;

it became a place to help those in need.

And in late 1832, it became a home and the center of Church administration. Once again,

Joseph and Emma needed a place to live, and once again, the Whitneys opened their hearts to them.

This time, Newell hired a carpenter named Levi Hancock to build living spaces in this store here, tucked away from the public areas is a kitchen.

And up these stairs, the Smiths had a bedroom and a parlor.

One of the rooms upstairs was a bedroom for Emma and Joseph and their adopted daughter, Julia Murdoch.

It was a retreat from the busyness of the store and the Church. Here, Emma gave birth to Joseph Smith III, the first child born to the couple who would live to adulthood.

The parlor is just around the corner. In

this room, Joseph and Emma would often gather with friends when they fed their guests. They probably brought food up from the kitchen.

This was also Joseph's office here. He would counsel with other Church leaders about how to conduct the Lord’s work.

Here, he completed the inspired translation of

the Bible. In this room, Joseph received revelations about how to organize the Church and about priesthood authority.

He received revelations about Jesus Christ and His redemptive power. Here he learned that the Lord wants parents to bring up their children in light and truth.

Joseph also received revelations about the need to build a temple where the Lord would manifest Himself to His people

and endow His servants with power from on high.

The Lord said that the temple would be a house of prayer,

a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning,

a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God.

Joseph had never seen a temple,

but the Lord promised to show three men

the manner in which He wanted it built. That happened right here.

Joseph Smith and his counselors in the First Presidency, Sidney Rigdon and Frederick G. Williams, met in this room.

They knelt in prayer and asked for guidance.

As they prayed, they saw a vision of the temple the Saints would build.

They saw the outside of the temple,

and then the building passed right over them

so they could see all of the details of the interior.

It was unlike any building they had ever before seen,

with large rooms on two main floors and a series of pulpits on both sides of each room.

The Kirtland Temple still stands today,

built according to the instructions the Lord gave here in this sacred space.

In one revelation, the Lord commanded some of the elders to come together and teach one another.

This experience will help prepare them to share the restored gospel,

an early version of the Church’s missionary training centers today.

This group of men, called the School of the Prophets, would eventually meet in the temple.

But for a time, they met here in the Whitney store and a little room that became a house of God and a sanctuary.

Let's go to that room now.

The members of the first School of the Prophets met, according to instruction now recorded in the eighth section of the Doctrine and Covenants.

Most of their teaching was about scriptures and about the doctrine of the gospel.

But they also learned about other subjects.

In the first meetings, most of the men either smoked pipes or used tobacco.

Sometimes Joseph Smith found himself in a cloud of smoke, as he taught. Although most of the men used tobacco,

some of them had questions about whether they should.

Besides, Emma did not appreciate the task of cleaning the tobacco and spittle off the floor after their meetings.

So Joseph prayed for direction and received a revelation from the Lord at the next meeting.

He read the revelation called the Word of Wisdom.

The Lord declared that His people should eat healthy foods

and avoid tobacco, alcohol, coffee, and tea.

He promised to bless those who obeyed this council with physical health, protection and wisdom, and great treasures of knowledge.

When the men heard the words of this revelation,

they immediately threw their pipes and tobacco in the fire.

Since that day, the Word of Wisdom has brought great physical and spiritual blessings to all who have followed it.

Before we conclude our time with you,

we would like to share one more thing about this room.

It is a sacred place.

Each time we come here,

we feel it is truly a sanctuary because the Lord made it holy with His presence.

Some of the members of the School of the Prophets recorded experiences when they saw God the Father and Jesus Christ in this room.

One of them, John Murdoch, said: “In one of these meetings, the Prophet told us if we could humble ourselves before God

and exercised strong faith, we should see the face of the Lord.

And about midday, the visions of my mind were opened,

the eyes of my understanding were enlightened,

and I saw the form of a man most lovely.

The visage of his face was sound and fair as the sun.

His countenance was most penetrating and yet most lovely.

And while I was endeavoring to comprehend the whole personage from head to feet, it slipped from me.

But I left on my mind the impression of love

for months that I never felt before to that degree.”

Thank you for joining us and a few of the sacred places at the Church’s historic sites in Ohio.

These places truly testify of our Savior and of the Restoration of his gospel and His Church in the latter days.

Whitney Home and Store: People and Places Transformed by the Gospel

Missionaries recount sacred events that transpired in Ann and Newel K. Whitney’s home and store, including the arrival of Joseph and Emma Smith to Kirtland, a vision of the Kirtland Temple, and the organization of the School of the Prophets.

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