Hello, my name is Sister Levine.

And I’m Sister Martins. We are missionaries of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Today, we are happy to welcome you to the visitor center at the historic Whitmer Farm, located near Fayette, New York, USA.

Mary and Peter Whitmer moved to this area from the state of Pennsylvania sometime between 1807 and 1809. They acquired this land of 40 hectares or 100 acres. The land was already a developed farm with a log home, a barn, and other structures. None of these original structures exist today.

Peter and Mary were the parents of eight children.

At least two of their children were born after the family moved to this farm.

One, a daughter, died just a few months after she was born.

The Whitmers were of Swiss descent and they spoke German. And they worshipped in the local German Reformed Church not too far from here.

When they moved to this place, they certainly expected to run a successful and productive farm to support their families needs. They had no idea their farm, their home, and their family would be supporting the needs of a new church,

the restored Church of Jesus Christ.

Today, we would like to tell you about some of the miracles that transformed this place into more than just a farm.

Because of these miracles, the Whitmer Farm has sacred significance for members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints throughout the world.

In 1828, Mary and Peter’s son David met a man named Oliver Cowdery in Palmyra, New York. David and Oliver became friends,

and they discussed a man in the area who had found gold plates that contained ancient writings.

The next spring, in 1829,

Oliver stopped at the Whitmer Farm on his way to Harmony, Pennsylvania.

He was going there to meet Joseph Smith, the man who had supposedly found those gold plates.

Oliver thought there was some truth to this story, and he wanted to investigate the matter himself.

He promised to write David and report on what he found.

True to his word, Oliver sent two letters to David.

He said that Joseph did indeed have the book of gold plates, the Book of Mormon, and that he was translating the words on those plates into English.

Oliver was serving as Joseph’s scribe and living with Joseph and his wife, Emma. In one letter, he copied a few lines from the record and said that the Lord had revealed to him that the book was true.

David shared the letters with his parents and siblings.

Soon after that, David received another letter from Oliver. With this letter, the translation of the Book of Mormon became more than just an interesting story;

it became part of their lives and part of the story of this place.

Oliver asked David to go to Harmony and bring Joseph and Oliver back to the Whitmer home to work on the translation. Most of the translation work was complete, but people in Joseph and Emma's community had become increasingly hostile toward them because of the work Joseph was doing.

Let's go outside and take a look at the farm.

Peter, Mary, and their children agreed to let Joseph, Emma, and Oliver come to live with them and work on the translation;

however, Peter pointed out that David had urgent work to do on the farm. In preparation to plant wheat seed,

he needed to plow 20 acres or 8 hectares.

Then he needed to enrich the field with plaster of Paris, which would act as a fertilizer and break up clay in the soil.

Peter advised David to ask God if it was necessary to leave right away. This led to one of the miracles on the farm.

David took his father's advice and prayed for guidance.

He felt inspired to finish his work on the farm before going to Harmony.

The next morning, David walked out to the field and found that several acres had already been plowed.

The plow was standing in one of the furrows ready for him to finish the work. Today we are here at a time in the year when the crops are almost ready to harvest,

but maybe you can picture this place just before planting season.

It's a little bit cold outside with dew on the ground.

David Whitmer is standing at the edge of a field,

looking out at newly plowed rows in awe of what happened while he slept.

When David returned home and shared this experience with his father, Peter said, ’There must be an overruling hand in this.

I think you better go down to Pennsylvania as soon as your plaster of Paris is sewn.”

That is exactly what David did. And soon after that, the Whitmer family welcomed Joseph, Emma, and Oliver into their home.

The home on this land today is not the home where the Whitmers lived.

It was moved to this location in 1980, long after the original home was dismantled and its logs rotted away.

Evidence shows that the Witmer home was a double log house about twice the size of this building. But we can still get a sense of the miracles that occurred on this farm and that continue to influence people throughout the world today.

Let's go inside.

In a minute or two, you will meet with our friends, Elder and Sister Keller, on the second floor of this home.

But first, we invite you to take a look around this space. In a place like this, Mary Whitmer worked tirelessly to take care of many of the needs of her large family and their three guests Emma, Joseph, and Oliver. Mary believed Joseph was doing the work of God in her home, so she didn't complain about the extra work she had to do, but she was tired.

One day, when she was outside near the barn,

a gray haired man approached her. He carried a knapsack.

She was frightened at first, but her fear left her when she heard his kind voice.

He said, “My name is Moroni.”

He acknowledged that she was tired and that she had been very faithful and diligent. He said that it was proper that she should receive a witness to strengthen her faith.

Then he opened his knapsack and removed the gold plates.

He held them in front of her and turned the pages.

He asked her to be patient and faithful and promised that she would be blessed for her efforts.

Moroni vanished, leaving Mary alone, but strengthened and comforted.

Later, three others, including Mary's son David, would see the gold plates on this farm.

Elder and Sister Keller will tell you more about that later

As you visit with them upstairs, you’ll learn about more of the miracles that occurred on this farm.

Hello. We are so pleased to welcome you here today. As we have served at the Whitmer Farm, we have sensed the sacredness of this place more and more. One reason it is sacred is because this is the place that Joseph Smith finished translating the Book of Mormon. Evidence suggests that it was in one of the Whitmer's upstairs rooms that he translated the first part of the Book of Mormon as we know it today, from

First Nephi to the Words of Mormon.

Joseph and Oliver often worked on the translation for many hours in a day. Members of the Whitmer family sometimes came upstairs to listen to Joseph read the words of the book for the first time and to watch as Oliver wrote those words.

They must have been inspired as they heard passages like this:

“And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ,

we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins.”

The translation of the Book of Mormon was one of the miracles that occurred here on this farm.

It was a work that could only be done by the gift and power of God.

If you would like to learn a little bit more about the process of translation, we would invite you to take a virtual tour of the Priesthood Restoration site.

Joseph and Oliver had to trust in the Lord and draw near to Him so they could accomplish this work. As they did the work, they drew even closer to Him and increased in their faith in Him.

After all, the book that Joseph translated was written to persuade all people to come unto Christ.

This was evident to a young woman who worked for the Whitmer family.

Her name was Sarah Conrad.

She was often in the kitchen when Joseph and Oliver came downstairs after a day of translating.

Sarah noticed that there was something different about these men when they came downstairs, and she asked Mary Whitmer why. At first Mary was unwilling

to explain. She was concerned because almost everyone who heard about the work opposed it. But Sarah insisted. She finally said that if she couldn’t know what was happening upstairs, she would stop working for the family.

Mary relented and told Sarah what Oliver and Joseph were doing.

She explained the power of God was so great in the room, they could hardly endure it. At times,

angels were in the room in their glory, which nearly consumed them.

Sarah believed and embraced the restored gospel of Jesus Christ and

was later baptized.

Sister Martins and Sister Levine mentioned that we would tell you about people besides Mary Whitmer

who were allowed to see the gold plates. As Joseph Smith was translating the Book of Mormon, he was grateful to learn that the Lord would allow three other witnesses to see and testify of the plates.

Oliver Cowdery, Martin Harris, and David Whitmer pleaded with Joseph for this privilege. Joseph prayed for guidance, and the Lord said they could be witnesses if they would rely on Him and commit to testify of the truth.

And so one day, probably late June, 1829, Joseph and these three friends walked into the woods on the Whitmer farm.

There they had a miraculous experience.

First David and Oliver saw the plates.

And later Martin was permitted to see them.

The Lord commanded them to bear record of it. In obedience to this command,

they went back to the Whitmer’s home and wrote their testimony. That testimony, the Testimony of the Three Witnesses,

is included in every copy of the Book of Mormon.

David Whitmer, Oliver Cowdery, and Martin Harris were true to their testimonies throughout their lives.

Even at times when they wavered from the Church,

they never wavered from their testimonies of the Book of Mormon.

About a month after the three witnesses saw the gold plates,

the Lord allowed eight additional witnesses to see the plates at the Smith family farm in Palmyra, New York.

Four of those eight were David’s brothers, Christian, Jacob,

Peter Jr., and John.

Since then, millions of people have testified of the Book of Mormon. And it’s not because they’ve seen the gold plates; it's because they've read the words of the book and received a witness of its truthfulness. I count myself as one of those witnesses.

I am so grateful for the Book of Mormon because in its pages, I have found peace. I have found direction and safety and security

and purpose that keeps me on the covenant path.

In its pages, I have found answers to questions, but the thing that is most precious to me, is I have found my Savior.

Joseph completed the translation of the Book of Mormon in late June or early July, 1829, and published it in March 1830.

While he was translating the book, he and Oliver asked the question which led to the restoration of the priesthood, the power and authority of God, through which all people can receive ordinances

and enter into covenants that will prepare them to return to His presence after this life. You can learn more about the Book of Mormon and the restoration of the priesthood in virtual tours of the Hill Cumorah, the Grandin Building, and the Priesthood Restoration Site.

With the priesthood restored and the Book of Mormon translated and published, the Lord had another work for Joseph to do.

It was time to organize the Church of Christ as it had existed during the Savior’s mortal ministry.

The Lord guided Joseph to know exactly how to organize His Church, even the exact day on which it should be organized.

He commanded that Joseph organize the Church of Christ on April 6, 1830. That solemn event occurred here on this farm in the Whitmer’s log home.

About 50 women and men gathered in the home,

six of whom had previously been baptized. About a quarter of those who gathered in the home spoke English as a second language. They opened the meeting with prayer.

Then Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery, in obedience to a commandment of the Lord, asked if those present would accept them as leaders in the Kingdom of God. All consented by unanimous vote.

Joseph laid his hands on Oliver’s head and ordained him to the office of Second Elder of the Church.

Then Oliver laid his hands on Joseph's head and ordained him to the office of First Elder of the Church.

All present partook of the sacrament.

Then Joseph and Oliver laid their hands upon the heads of baptized members and bestowed upon them the gift of the Holy Ghost.

After the meeting, a few others were baptized, including Joseph’s own parents.

Lucy Mack Smith, Joseph’s mother,

wrote about what she saw when her husband was baptized. She said, “Joseph stood on the shore when his father came out of the water, and as he took him by the hand, he cried out, ’Oh my God, I have lived to see my father baptized into the true Church of Jesus Christ.′

And he covered his face in his father’s bosom and wept aloud for joy.”

The Lord revealed to Joseph, “Whosoever repenteth and cometh unto me,

the same is my church.” On April 6, 1830, the Church of Jesus Christ was organized.

On that same day, the Church started to grow as individuals humbled themselves before the Lord and came unto Him.

And the Church has been growing ever since.

It is growing as people all over the world come unto Christ through covenants and ordinances of His gospel.

I’m amazed as I think of all that has happened since that meeting on April 6, 1830. I am grateful for my membership in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints because of the complete love and joy that I feel as I come to know my Savior, Jesus Christ, through living His gospel.

And I'm grateful that everyone throughout the world can feel their Savior’s love and come onto Him.

Thank you for joining us today at the Whitmer Farm.

Whitmer Farm: A Place of Miracles

Missionaries welcome you to the farm of Peter and Mary Whitmer. They share stories about the Whitmer family’s conversion, the translation of the Book of Mormon, and the organization of the restored Church of Jesus Christ.

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