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Historic

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What to Expect When You Visit the Church’s Historic Sites in New York and Pennsylvania

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints offers tours at five historic sites in New York and Pennsylvania. These sites bear witness of the beginning of the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ through the Prophet Joseph Smith. As you experience the sites, you can learn about Joseph Smith’s First Vision, the translation and publication of the Book of Mormon, the restoration of priesthood authority and power, and the establishment of the restored Church of Jesus Christ on the earth.

The Church’s five sites in this region are within about 140 miles (225 km) of each other. Three of the sites—the Smith Family Farm and Sacred Grove, the Hill Cumorah, and the Book of Mormon Historic Publication Site—are within a few minutes of each other. The sites are open all year, but they sometimes close because of inclement weather. Links to addresses, phone numbers, and schedules are included below.

The majority of the places at these sites are accessible for visitors who use wheelchairs or who walk with difficulty. However, the outdoor paths are not paved, and two of the historic homes offer tours of the upper floors but do not have elevators. Missionaries at these places will adapt their presentations to accommodate the needs of all visitors. All the sites include benches, drinking fountains, and public restrooms.

Remember that these are sacred places. Please stay on the trails, and be respectful of other visitors and local residents. Do not disturb trees, plants, headstones, monuments, artifacts, or any other element of the landscapes and exhibits.

To prepare for rich experiences at these places, visit the Church’s websites for New York historic sites and Pennsylvania historic sites.

Core Experience

1. Smith Family Farm and Sacred Grove

The Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ began at the Smith Family Farm. The farm includes the Sacred Grove, where Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ visited Joseph Smith. It also includes a reconstructed log home at the place where the angel Moroni first visited Joseph and the home where the family of Joseph Smith Sr. and Lucy Mack Smith later lived for a time. A welcome center provides an overview of the sacred events that occurred at the farm.

Tours begin at the welcome center. Missionaries will guide your tour of the two homes. Your tour of the Sacred Grove will be self-guided.

If you choose to experience all that the site offers, plan to spend between 1 and 2 hours there.

For the location and schedule of the welcome center, click or tap here.

2. Hill Cumorah

On the Hill Cumorah, Joseph Smith was tutored by the angel Moroni and obtained an ancient record containing the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ. From that record, he translated the Book of Mormon by the power of God. Today the site includes a visitors’ center at the bottom of the hill and a monument at the top of the hill.

The visitors’ center offers a self-guided tour including interactive exhibits and artwork that tell the story of the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Missionaries will be available to answer your questions.

Two paths lead to the top of the Hill Cumorah: a paved road for automobiles and a walking path if you prefer a short hike. Both paths are self-guided.

If you choose to experience all that the Hill Cumorah and the visitors’ center offer, plan to spend between 1 and 2 hours there.

The Hill Cumorah is about 3 miles (5 km) south of the Smith Family Farm. For the location and schedule of the visitors’ center, click or tap here.

3. Book of Mormon Historic Publication Site (E. B. Grandin’s Print Shop)

At E. B. Grandin’s print shop, now known as the Book of Mormon Historic Publication Site, the Book of Mormon was printed, bound, and first made available to the public. The site includes a restored print shop and exhibits.

Missionaries will guide you on an interactive tour of the print shop, including hands-on activities that help you learn about printing and binding books. At the end of the tour, you will be free to explore interactive exhibits, artwork, and artifacts that tell the story of the coming forth of the Book of Mormon.

If you choose to experience all that the site offers, plan to spend between 1 and 2 hours there.

The Book of Mormon Historic Publication Site is about 2 miles (3 km) north of the Smith Family Farm. For the location and schedule of the site, click or tap here.

4. Peter and Mary Whitmer Farm

In the home of Peter and Mary Whitmer, Joseph Smith finished translating the Book of Mormon and organized the Church of Jesus Christ. Today a visitors’ center and a representation of the log home occupy the site.

Tours begin at the visitors’ center. Interactive exhibits, artwork, and an 18-minute film tell the story of the Whitmer family and the organization of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The exhibits at the visitors’ center are self-guided. Missionaries oversee the showing of the film and guide the tour of the log home. For a preview of the film, titled A Day for the Eternities, click or tap here.

If you choose to experience all that the site offers, plan to spend between 1 and 1½ hours there.

The Peter and Mary Whitmer Farm is about 30 miles (50 km) southeast of the Smith Family Farm. For the location and schedule of the visitors’ center, click or tap here.

5. Priesthood Restoration Site

The Priesthood Restoration Site includes historic landscapes where the Aaronic Priesthood was restored and where the first baptisms of the Restoration were performed. It also includes reconstructions of two historic homes: the Isaac and Elizabeth Hale home, where Emma Hale Smith grew up, and the Joseph and Emma Smith home, where Joseph translated most of the Book of Mormon. A visitors’ center provides an overview of the sacred events that occurred in this place. The McCune Cemetery, not part of the official site, is a short walk from the Joseph and Emma Smith home. It contains the graves of Joseph and Emma’s firstborn child and Emma’s parents.

Tours begin at the visitors’ center. A 25-minute film, artwork, artifacts, and interactive exhibits teach about the translation of the Book of Mormon, the early revelations of Joseph Smith, and the restoration of the priesthood.

Missionaries oversee the showing of the film and guide the tour of the reconstructed homes. Tours of the visitors’ center, the priesthood restoration area, the Aaronic Priesthood Restoration Monument, the McCune Cemetery, and the baptismal site are self-guided. For a preview of the film, titled Days of Harmony, click or tap here.

If you choose to experience all that the site offers, plan to spend between 2 and 3 hours there.

The Priesthood Restoration Site is about 140 miles (225 km) southeast of the Smith Family Farm. For the location and schedule of the visitors’ center, click or tap here.

Other Places to Visit in Palmyra

1. Palmyra New York Temple

The Palmyra New York Temple is just a few minutes away from the Sacred Grove. It is open to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who hold current temple recommends. For information about attending this temple, click or tap here.

 

2. Alvin Smith’s Gravesite

Alvin Smith, the oldest son of Joseph Smith Sr. and Lucy Mack Smith, died in November 1823, years before he could be baptized a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. About 12 years later, the Prophet Joseph Smith received a revelation that his brother Alvin would be an heir of the celestial kingdom (see D&C 137). Alvin’s headstone is located in the General John Swift Memorial Cemetery, which is managed by the city of Palmyra. For a map to the cemetery, click or tap here.

 

3. Martin Harris Farm

In 1829, Martin Harris mortgaged almost half of this farm to guarantee the $3,000 printing cost for the first edition of the Book of Mormon. The Church now owns some of the property but does not offer tours. The home on the land is not original to the time when Martin and Lucy Harris lived there. For a map, click here.

 

4. Erie Canal

Excavation of the Erie Canal reached Palmyra in 1822. The canal played a key role in the development of the city, and it was the means for transporting the materials E. B. Grandin used to print the Book of Mormon. Today the canal features a walking and biking path. The path passes through the Pal-Mac Aqueduct County Park, which is less than a mile from the Book of Mormon Historic Publication Site. For a map, click or tap here.