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The home of Joseph and Emma Hale Smith in Harmony, Pennsylvania, from 1827 to 1830. The lower center portion is the original home, where Emma gave birth to their first child, Alvin, who died the same day, June 15, 1828. Here Joseph received at least fifteen revelations (D&C 3- 13, 24- 27) and translated the lost 116 pages and a large portion of the Book of Mormon.
by Horace H. Christensen
Harmony, Pennsylvania, is an important historical site of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on the Susquehanna River in northeastern Pennsylvania. Significant events occurred there during the periodic residence of the Prophet Joseph Smith from 1825 to 1830. Harmony was the home of Isaac Hale, father of Joseph Smith's wife, Emma Hale. Joseph Smith and his father boarded with Isaac Hale in 1825 while working on Josiah Stowell's mining project. In December 1827, Joseph and Emma moved to Harmony from Manchester, New York, to work on the translation of the plates of the Book of Mormon. (See Book of Mormon Translation by Joseph Smith) Eventually they bought a small farm and house, where most of the Book of Mormon was translated between April 7 and early June 1829. Nearby, on May 15, 1829, Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery received the Aaronic Priesthood from John the Baptist and were authorized to baptize each other. The first convert baptism, that of Samuel H. Smith, took place there ten days later. Somewhere between Harmony and Colesville, New York, Peter, James, and John restored the Melchizedek Priesthood. After the Church was organized in 1830, Joseph and Emma returned to Harmony and lived there through that summer. Fifteen revelations now found in the Doctrine and Covenants were received in Harmony.
The Harmony in Church history refers to a township rather than the village of Harmony. The township boundary was changed in 1853, placing the Church site in present-day Oakland Township. The site of the Hale residence lies about a mile and a half west of present-day Oakland, Pennsylvania, in Susquehanna County, along the north side of Route 171.
Today the Church owns about 288 acres at the Harmony location. On a small landscaped triangular plot located between the highway and a railroad right-of-way, a granite and bronze monument dedicated in 1960 commemorates the restoration of the Aaronic Priesthood. The exact location of the restoration is not known (see Aaronic Priesthood: Restoration).
The house owned by Joseph and Emma Smith burned in 1919. The buried foundation is just west of the monument. The graves of Isaac and Elizabeth Hale and of an infant son born to Joseph and Emma are close to Route 171, in a public cemetery located east of the Church property.
(See Daily Living home page; Church History home page; 1820-1831 home page)
Porter, Larry C. "A Study of the Origins of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the States of New York and Pennsylvania, 1816-1831." Ph.D. diss., Brigham Young University, 1971.
Encyclopedia of Mormonism, Vol. 2, Harmony, Pennsylvania
Copyright © 1992 by Macmillan Publishing Company
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