A Prophet Is Born

“A Prophet Is Born,” Friend, Dec. 2012, 22–23

A Prophet Is Born

On a snowy winter day, Aubreelyn, Tyler, and Suzannah visited the quiet, peaceful woods of Vermont. Their grandparents, Elder and Sister Schuck, are missionaries at the Joseph Smith Birthplace Memorial. They give tours in the visitors’ center and on the beautiful grounds of the site where the Prophet Joseph Smith was born on December 23, 1805.

The site used to be a farm belonging to the Prophet Joseph’s grandfather. The family lived in a small clapboard home, which used to stand not far from where the visitors’ center is now. The historical site is a special place because the first prophet of the Restoration was born here.

Elder and Sister Schuck teach their grandchildren about the granite monument that was dedicated on December 23, 1905—the 100th anniversary of the Prophet Joseph’s birth.

The monument stands 38 1/2 feet tall (11.7 m). That’s one foot for every year of the Prophet’s life. It took seven weeks to transport all the pieces of the monument—first by train, and then by a special horse-drawn wagon—from the granite quarry where it was made to the place it stands today. The monument honors the life of the Prophet Joseph and represents the love and reverence members of the Church have for the beloved Prophet.

The children stand on the front step of the Smith home. The home fell down long ago, but it once stood in this clearing. Shivering in the snow, the kids imagine how the Smiths might have welcomed the baby Joseph into their family on a cold winter day.

Aubreelyn enjoyed learning about cooking utensils and tools like the ones Joseph’s family used. The large stone in front of the fireplace was part of the hearth, or fireplace. Joseph’s mother cooked many meals over this stone.

Tyler, 8; Suzannah, 6; and Aubreelyn, 11; stand next to a statue of Joseph Smith. To make the statue realistic, the sculptor studied plaster masks taken of Joseph’s face shortly after he died.

Elder Schuck shows the children a topographical map of the site as it was in 1805, the year Joseph was born.

Photographs by Hilary Watkins Lemon