“What I Will (and Will Not) Tell My Children When We Visit the Priesthood Restoration Site,” Ensign, April 2016, 46–47
In July 2015 I was blessed to play a small part in preparing the Priesthood Restoration Site for the public. When I visit the site with my family—whether we go in person or experience it in this magazine and online1—I will be tempted to say things like this:
“I helped build that fence and hang that chandelier.”
“I scrubbed 200 years of mold off of that stone sink.”
“I helped put that stove together.”
Although it would be fun to talk about what I did there, I won’t do it. I’d rather talk about what Joseph and Emma Smith did.
Before we enter the reconstructed home of Emma’s parents, I’ll say, “One day when Emma was about seven years old, her father found her in the trees nearby. She was praying out loud—for him. He was so touched by her prayer that he began to believe more completely in Jesus Christ.”2
When we go inside that home, we will see that Emma’s family had a lot of nice things. I’ll say, “Emma left things like this behind when she married Joseph and served with him in the Church.”
When we visit the reconstruction of Joseph and Emma’s small home down the road, I’ll say, “Joseph translated most of the Book of Mormon in this spot. Emma worked for a time as his scribe.”
North of Joseph and Emma’s home, we will walk into a peaceful grove of maple trees. I’ll say, “One day Joseph and his scribe Oliver Cowdery walked into this grove to pray. They had questions about the authority to baptize. In answer to their prayer, the Lord sent John the Baptist to confer on them the Aaronic Priesthood. They baptized each other that same day.”3
Before we leave the site, I’ll say, “Not long after the Lord sent a message to Joseph and Oliver through John the Baptist, He sent a message to Emma through Joseph. He told Emma that she would play important roles in her family and in His Church.”4
Of course, when we discuss what Joseph and Emma did at this place, we will really be testifying of what the Lord has done to restore His gospel to the earth. So we will pause and read some of the truths the Lord revealed there:
“Now behold, a marvelous work is about to come forth among the children of men.
“Therefore, O ye that embark in the service of God, see that ye serve him with all your heart, might, mind and strength, that ye may stand blameless before God at the last day” (D&C 4:1–2).
“All those who receive my gospel are sons and daughters in my kingdom” (D&C 25:1).
“Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not.
After my children have experienced the Priesthood Restoration Site, I hope they won’t say, “Cool chandelier” or “Nice sink, Dad.” I hope they will, in their own teenage way, join President Gordon B. Hinckley (1910–2008) in exclaiming, “What hath God wrought through the instrumentality of His servant Joseph!”6