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John Johnson Home

Hiram, Ohio

Introduction

Joseph Smith and his family moved to the home of John and Elsa Johnson in Hiram, Ohio, in September 1831. The Johnson's were recent converts to the Church and had become acquainted with the Prophet while in Kirtland.

During the year Joseph Smith stayed here, the Johnson home served as headquarters of the Church. Joseph received an outpouring of revelation within these walls, including a magnificent vision of the Father and the Son and the three degrees of glory. Several conferences were also held here. In November 1831, the conference voted to publish a Book of Commandments containing revelations received by the Prophet. The Lord confirmed His approval of this book, which eventually became the Doctrine and Covenants.

In March 1832, Joseph was attacked by a mob in the middle of the night and was tarred and feathered near the home. The next day, despite his injuries, Joseph preached as he often did to a large congregation gathered in front of the home and baptized three persons.

Eventually many of the Saints, including most of the Johnson family, left Hiram. The Church acquired the 160-acre Johnson Farm in 1956 and completely restored the home to its original condition in 2001.

Quotes

Joseph Smith Quotes

About his vision of the three degrees of glory received at the Johnson home, Joseph Smith observed: "Nothing could be more pleasing to the Saints upon the order of the kingdom of the Lord, than the light which burst upon the world through the foregoing vision. . . . The sublimity of the ideas; the purity of the language; the scope for action; the continued duration for completion, in order that the heirs of salvation may confess the Lord and bow the knee; the rewards for faithfulness, and the punishments for sins, are so much beyond the narrow-mindedness of men, that every honest man is constrained to exclaim: "It came from God." (History of the Church, 1:252–53.)

Of the mob attack on the night of March 24, 1832, Joseph recounted: "I found myself going out of the door, in the hands of about a dozen men; some of whose hands were in my hair, and some had hold of my shirt, drawers and limbs. . . . They had concluded not to kill me, but to beat and scratch me well, tear off my shirt and drawers, and leave me naked. . . . They ran back and fetched the bucket of tar . . . and they tried to force the tar-paddle into my mouth. . . . All my clothes were torn off me except my shirt collar; and one man fell on me and scratched my body with his nails like a mad cat." (History of the Church, 1:261–63.)

Witnesses

Luke S. Johnson, Early Member of the Church 

In the fall of 1831, while Joseph was yet at my father's [John Johnson home], a mob of forty or fifty came to his house, a few entered his room in the middle of the night, and . . . dragged Joseph out of bed by the hair of his head; he was then seized by as many as could get hold of him, and taken about forty rods from the house, stretched on a board, and tantalized in the most insulting and brutal manner. . . . The mob then scratched his body all over . . . and in attempting to force open his jaws, they broke one of his front teeth, to pour a vial of some obnoxious drug into his mouth.

The mob . . . poured tar over him, and then stuck feathers in it and left him, and went to an old brickyard to wash themselves and bury their filthy clothes. At this place a vial was dropped, the contents of which ran out and killed the grass. ("History of Luke Johnson," Deseret News, May 19, 1858, 53–54.)

Key Events

Revelations Received

  • D&C Section 1  — 

    Nov. 1, 1831. A committee was to draft a preface for a collection of revelations to be published as the Book of Commandments. When they made their report, they requested that the Prophet Joseph Smith inquire of the Lord about their work.

  • D&C Section 65  — 

    Oct. 1831. This section—designated by Joseph Smith as a prayer—was given during the period the Prophet was preparing to recommence translation of the Bible.

  • D&C Section 66  — 

    Oct. 25, 1831. William E. McLellin, a recent convert, asked the Lord to reveal His will for him.

  • D&C Section 67  — 

    Nov. 1831. At the conferences regarding the publication of the revelations that had been given through the Prophet Joseph Smith, some of the brethren felt that the language in the revelations was inferior. The Lord’s response was given through the Prophet.

  • D&C Section 68  — 

    Nov. 1831. Orson Hyde, Luke S. Johnson, Lyman E. Johnson, and William E. McLellin desired to know the mind of the Lord concerning them.

  • D&C Section 69  — 

    Nov. 1831. Oliver Cowdery had been appointed to carry the manuscripts for the Book of Commandments and some Church funds to Independence, Missouri. Because the wilderness was often hazardous, John Whitmer was called as a traveling companion.

  • D&C Section 71  — 

    Dec. 1, 1831. Ezra Booth had apostatized and wrote nine slanderous letters printed in the Ohio Star. The Prophet Joseph and Sidney Rigdon were commanded to go forth and preach to allay resulting unfriendly feelings against the Church.

  • D&C Section 73  — 

    Jan. 10, 1832. The elders of the Church desired to know what they should do while waiting for the next conference, to be held in Amherst, Ohio, on January 25, 1832.

  • D&C Section 74  — 

    Jan. 1832. This revelation was received during the translation of the Bible as an explanation of 1 Corinthians 7:14.

  • D&C Section 76  — 

    Feb. 16, 1832. The Prophet Joseph and Sidney Rigdon were translating the Bible. When they came to John 5:29, the heavens were opened and they received this revelation known as "the Vision."

  • D&C Section 77  — 

    Mar. 1832. During the translation of the book of Revelation, the brethren had many questions about the writings of John.

  • D&C Section 78  — 

    Mar. 1832. The Prophet Joseph instructed priesthood leaders concerning the law of consecration and establishing a storehouse for the poor.

  • D&C Section 79  — 

    Mar. 1832. Jared Carter had come to Hiram, Ohio, to inquire of the Lord’s will through the Prophet. He was called to serve a mission to the eastern countries.

Readings

Online Resources at LDS.org

Online Resources at BYU

  • "The Chronology of the Ohio Revelations" – 

    Analysis of the manuscripts, scribes, recording errors, and general history of the revelations received in Ohio.

     Earl E. Olson, Brigham Young University Studies 11, no. 4 (1971): 329–49