Hello, my name is Sister Clifton. And I’m Sister Steele. We’re missionaries of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. We are surrounded by land that Joseph Smith Senior and Lucy Mack Smith and their family once farmed about 500 kilometers or 300 miles northwest of New York City. Perhaps you have already taken a virtual tour of the Smith log home and Sacred Grove. The Smith family lived in that home when Joseph Junior received the First Vision and when the angel Moroni appeared to him for the first time. We are now going to show you and take you inside the second home the Smith family built here in neighboring Manchester, just a few minutes walk away from the log home.

Alvin, the oldest child in the family,

oversaw the building of this home and probably did much of the work himself. In 1823 at the age of 25, he was engaged to be married, planned to inherit the farm, live in the home, and take care of his parents here.

Alvin became very sick in November of that year.

Knowing that he was going to die,

he called for his siblings and gave advice to each one of them separately. In his final conversation with his brother Joseph,

he emphasized the importance of an ancient record written on gold plates—the Book of Mormon. About two months earlier, the angel Moroni had led Joseph to those plates buried in a nearby hill.

The plates had remained buried in the hill until Joseph would be ready to obtain them and translate them by the gift and power of God.

Alvin said to Joseph, “Do everything that lays in your power to obtain the record. Be faithful in receiving instruction and in keeping every commandment that is given you.”

Today, we’d like to tell you about how Joseph and the entire Smith family worked to be true to Alvin’s dying wish and to the will of the Lord. This home played an important role in that effort.

The home was not yet finished when Alvin died, and the Smith family did not finish it and move in until 1825, about two years later.

The building has survived all of these years. In 2001,

the Church restored it to its original appearance. Let’s go inside.

This is the parlor, a gathering place for the family and their guests. In this room, we are surrounded by evidence of Alvin’s work.

Much of the original building remains: many of the vertical boards on the walls, some that still show the Smiths’ original whitewashing; floorboards and joists of the second storey.

The interior doors the trim around the doors and windows. Many of the bricks, the foundation, some of the flooring, and the cellar. Maroon paint on the doors and woodwork is the same color the Smiths used in this room.

This room also features a kind of example of the work that Lucy Mack Smith did.

The floor covering is oil cloth—linen coated with paint and linseed oil and used to cover floors, tables, countertops, and shelves in cupboards.

Lucy made and painted oil cloth and sold it to help support the family financially. We'll come back to the parlor in a few minutes, but first we need to continue with Joseph Smith and the gold plates.

To do that, we need to go to the kitchen.

This was a busy place, a place for cooking and other indoor chores,

and a place for the family to gather and eat together.

In January 1820, a new member of the Smith family moved into this house:

Joseph Junior's wife, Emma.

It was the first house where Emma and Joseph lived together.

Evidence suggests that Joseph Senior and Lucy gave up their bedroom, which doubled as a sitting room and work room during the day, so the newlyweds could have some privacy.

When Joseph and Emma came to live here,

Joseph still did not have the gold plates.

He’d met with the angel Moroni September 22 the last four years and at other times, but had not been ready to obtain the plates.

Now with Emma by his side, Joseph felt that he was ready.

On September 21, 1827, a little before midnight,

Emma and Joseph left this house.

Maybe you can imagine them quietly opening the door while most of the family was asleep. Only Joseph's mother was awake and hoping Joseph would finally be able to be permitted to obtain the plates.

Lucy said, “I spent the night in prayer, and at a reasonable time for arising, I went to preparing breakfast,

my heart fluttering at every footfall, for I now expected Joseph and Emma every moment.”

Joseph and Emma took the wagon of their friend, Joseph Knight, to the hill.

Joseph climbed the hill alone to meet with the angel Moroni. This time,

after four years of preparation, Moroni allowed Joseph to remove the plates from the stone box buried in the ground. Moroni also permitted Joseph to take other materials, including two stones and silver bows that were fastened to a breastplate.

God had prepared these stones, which are called “interpreters” in the Book of Mormon and are sometimes also called the Urim and Thummim, to help Joseph with the translation of the book. The angel promised the plates would be protected as long as Joseph did all he could to preserve them.

Joseph planned to keep the plates in a lockbox at home, but he didn't have such a box yet.

So before he came down from the hill,

he hid the plates in a hollow log and wrapped the breastplate and Urim and Thummim in a cloth and took them home with him.

The next 12 hours were full of excitement, danger, and rejoicing.

That morning, Joseph went to dig a well so that he could earn money for a lockbox. But when Joseph Senior heard that individuals were going to try to steal the plates,

Emma rode on a horse for more than an hour to warn her husband.

When Emma shared this news,

Joseph looked into the Urim and Thummim,

which he had brought with him. By revelation

he learned that the plates were safe, but he and Emma still decided to return home together.

Back at home, Joseph Senior was outside, pacing back and forth,

glancing down the road, waiting for Joseph and Emma to return.

Once they returned, Joseph refreshed himself a little and walked to the hill, removing the plates from the hollow log and wrapping it in a linen work shirt. On the way down, he was attacked by three different men who wanted to steal the plates from him.

When Joseph came inside, his 14-year-old sister, Catherine, helped them set the bundle on a table as the rest of the family crowded around, probably in this very room.

Joseph's father and younger brother, William, especially wanted to see the plates, but Joseph stopped them. The angel had commanded him not to show the plates to anyone at that time.

Joseph’s family had supported him in his preparation to obtain the plates, and now they supported him in his efforts to protect them.

Joseph asked his youngest brother, 11-year-old Don Carlos, to go fetch a wooden chest from their older brother, Hyrum.

Don Carlos ran down to the log home where Hyrum was living with his wife, Jerusha. Hyrum was at tea with Jerusha and her two sisters. When raising his cup to his mouth, Don Carlos touched him on the shoulder.

He knew exactly why his little brother was there.

He put his cup down and sprang from his seat,

grabbing the wooden chest and dumping out its contents. He hurried to the frame home, carrying the wooden chest on his shoulder.

The entire family was eager to help Joseph fulfill his calling and participate in the Lord's work. This often required faith and courage.

One night, Catherine heard an unusual commotion outside the house. She ran and opened the door. Joseph rushed in, hurriedly handed her the gold plates wrapped in a cloth and whispered, hoarsely, “Take these quickly and hide them.” He ran from the house into the darkness.

Catherine hurried to the bedroom where she and her sister, Sophronia, slept, probably this room right here.

Sophronia threw back the blankets on their bed and Katherine put the gold plates there. Then the two sisters got in bed themselves and pretended to be asleep.

Soon, a group of men arrived looking for the plates. Some entered the house to search, but they did not disturb the sisters or the sacred record they protected.

I love this story because it shows that the Smith family had a devotion to Joseph that knew no bounds without ever seeing the plates.

They did everything in their power to keep them safe.

Joseph and Emma didn’t stay here long after Joseph obtained the plates,

only about three months. During that short time, mobs and individuals came repeatedly to try to steal the gold plates.

Each time the Lord warned Joseph, and each time Joseph acted quickly,

often with his family's help.

One day, Joseph came running inside. He had received an impression that a group of men would come later that night and attempt to steal the plates.

So with his family's help, they removed the bricks from the fireplace hearth,

which was constructed without mortar and dug a hole there,

placing the plates in the hole and then covering the hole with dirt and carefully replacing the bricks back on top.

Very soon after they finished, armed men came up to the house,

Joseph threw open the door and sprung out, shouting as if he were in command of a large group.

All the men in the family, including young Don Carlos, rushed out with such energy and fury that the thieves ran away.

Soon after that, the Lord warned Joseph that the plates were in danger again.

So Joseph retrieved the plates from under the hearth and took them to the cooper shop outside, where Joseph Senior, Hyrum, and others made barrels for holding things like flour, beans, and maple sap.

Joseph wrapped the plates in a cloth and stuck them in the loft. Then he lifted some of the floorboards,

put an empty wooden box under them, and replaced them.

That night, a mob came and ransacked the cooper shop. They ripped up the floorboards and tore the box to pieces, but they did not look in the loft. The plates were undisturbed.

Rumors and persecution quickly became, as Joseph said, intolerable.

So he and Emma went to live with Emma’s parents in Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania, about 230 kilometers,

or 140 miles from here.

There, he began translating the Book of Mormon by the gift and power of God with Emma as his first scribe.

You can learn more about this experience by taking a virtual tour of the Priesthood Restoration Site.

Because of financial difficulties caused by poor business decisions and a few dishonest neighbors, Joseph Smith Senior and Lucy Mack Smith eventually lost their farm and their frame home. They and their five youngest children went back to the log home, where they lived for a time with Hyrum and Jerusha and their two children. All of the Smiths had moved from this place by the end of 1830. In early 1831, they gathered in Kirtland, Ohio, USA, with other Latter-day Saints.

Thank you for joining us today in a place where the Smith family worked to be true to Alvin’s dying wish and to the commandments of the Lord.

A place where the family participated together in the unfolding of the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Sacred Grove Historic Site, Part 3: The Smith Family and the Book of Mormon

Missionaries take you on a tour of the restored farm home of Lucy Mack Smith and Joseph Smith Sr. In this place, the Smith family worked together to support Joseph Smith Jr. in his calling to bring forth the Book of Mormon.

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