This is the part of the trip Mark has been looking forward to. We have been working chronologically backward through his church history. A couple years ago we visited Temple Square in Salt Lake City. Last Spring we visited Nauvoo, IL where Joseph Smith was killed. Today we visited Palmyra, NY where Joseph Smith reportedly had his vision and received the golden plates.
When we first arrived at the visitor center near the Smith farm and the Sacred Grove, there was a group of high schoolers there. Someone suggested we visit the Sacred Grove first so that the group would be gone by the time we went through the rest of the buildings.
Mark at the entrance to the Sacred Grove
We saw a sign that said these stones that are lined up were part of the original rock fence the Smith’s built to pen in their animals and keep wild animals out.
Mark found a bench to sit on and soak in the peace of the grove. There was a fairly strong wind blowing through the trees and occasionally leaves would come drifting down. I think this is the most at peace I’ve seen Mark.
This is kind of like the time I wrote my name in the guest book at the National Cathedral, knowing that it would be there for perpetuity. I don’t know if the folks who carve their names on the tree trunks in the Sacred Grove think of it that way, but I like to think so.
The peace and quiet affected me too.
It began pouring rain while we were in the grove.
I had a rainproof jacket with a hood that protected me, but Mark went into the grove bare-headed out of respect. He got soaked!
The visitor center loaned us an umbrella and a tour guide. Inside the first cabin the Smith’s built, Mark’s head almost touched the beams!
The Bible on the table is opened to James 1:5 – If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
This is the passage Joseph Smith read as a teen when he was wondering which church was right. This inspired him to go to the grove and pray about it.
An LDS temple has been built within sight of the Smith farm.
Joseph Smith’s oldest brother began building this frame house for his wife and parents, but he died before it was finished. The guide said this house is 85% original. Some work had to be done to it later.
The guide said that when Joseph Smith was given the golden plates, neighbors heard that he had gold and several times mobs tried to take it by force. One time Joseph dug a hole under this hearth and hid the plates there.
Our guide showing us the kitchen in the frame house
The bedroom that was built for Joseph’s parents.
The guide told us that another time Joseph had hidden the golden plates in a tool box under the floor in the cooper’s shop. Something told him he needed to move the plates so he took them out of the tool box, which he left under the floor. A mob came and tore up the floor and found the box, but nothing was inside. They left angry.
Meantime, Joseph said he’d set the plates in the loft in plain sight and the mob never saw them.
The threshing barn
Mark leaning on a wagon wheel
This is the type of fence the sign in the grove was describing…piles of rocks lined up with wood fencing over the top to keep the livestock in and the wild animals out.
After we finished the tour, we drove some little distance to the Hill Cumorah. This is where the LDS church teaches that Joseph received the golden plates and where he returned them after he finished translating them into the Book of Mormon.
A statue at the entrance to the Hill Cumorah visitor center.
This is one of the first edition Book of Mormon scriptures that was printed.
A statue of Christ inside the visitor center
You can either walk or drive up the steep hill. We opted to walk, but I did have to rest for a couple minutes on the way up.
This is how steep the hill was. On the way down Mark and I speculated about the possibility of rolling down it, sitting down and sliding down, or sledding down in the winter. It’s very steep!
This is a monument with a statue of the angel Moroni at the top.
A closeup of the statue
It was so windy at the crest of the hill that it was difficult to stand up. You can see how windy it was by the way the flag is flying.
I took a few pictures on our way back to our campsite.
When we left the historic sites and drove into Palmyra, we found this one corner where there is a church on every corner. Mark said it’s no wonder Joseph was confused about which was right.
A swirly cloud formation
A barn quilt of sorts
…and another barn quilt