The Priesthood Restoration Site

    “The Priesthood Restoration Site,” Ensign, April 2016, 40–45

    The Priesthood Restoration Site

    While Joseph and Emma Smith lived in the area formerly known as Harmony Township in Pennsylvania, USA, Joseph translated most of the Book of Mormon, and the Lord restored the Aaronic and Melchizedek Priesthoods.

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    Nestled in the forests of a narrow Pennsylvania valley along the Susquehanna River is a small township once known as Harmony. Isaac and Elizabeth Hale started a farm there in 1790. In the autumn of 1825, Joseph Smith and his father, Joseph Sr., boarded on the Hale farm and worked briefly nearby. Here Joseph met 21-year-old Emma Hale and fell in love with her.

    After Joseph and his father returned home to Manchester, New York, Joseph could not forget Emma. Eventually they married on January 18, 1827, not far from Harmony in South Bainbridge, New York, against Isaac’s wishes. They moved in with Joseph’s family in Manchester. When Joseph received the golden plates on September 22, 1827, from the angel Moroni on the Hill Cumorah, Emma waited at the foot of the hill with the wagon. From the beginning, Joseph and Emma worked together to protect the golden plates from those who tried to steal them. Nevertheless, it soon became clear that they needed to move to find the peace that would allow Joseph to translate the Book of Mormon. In December 1827 they found that peace in Harmony, Pennsylvania.

    Today the area has been restored to look as it did during the time of the restoration of the Aaronic and Melchizedek Priesthoods and the translation of the Book of Mormon. Nearby is a new building housing both a modern-day visitors’ center and a Latter-day Saint meetinghouse.