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Historic

Sites

Sacred Grove

Manchester, New York (near Palmyra)

Introduction

The Joseph Smith Sr. family moved to this 100-acre property in western New York around 1818. Joseph Smith Jr. labored with his father and brothers to remove trees and prepare this heavily forested land for farming.

"On the morning of a beautiful, clear day, early in the spring"1 of 1820, young Joseph went into these woods to pray, to a place where he "had previously designed to go."2 Here, God the Father and His resurrected Son, Jesus Christ, appeared to Joseph Smith to commence the Restoration of the gospel in the latter days.

Joseph Smith's family moved away from this farm in 1830. The Church acquired the land in the early 1900s. The exact location of Joseph Smith's First Vision is unknown, but it occurred somewhere within a 10-acre forest on the western boundaries of the farm. This forest has been referred to as the Sacred Grove since 1906.

Quotes

Joseph Smith Quotes

I was enwrapped in a heavenly vision, and saw two glorious personages, who exactly resembled each other in features and likeness, surrounded with a brilliant light which eclipsed the sun at noon day. They told me . . . that the fulness of the Gospel should at some future time be made known unto me. (History of the Church, 4:536.)

I had actually seen a light, and in the midst of that light I saw two Personages, and they did in reality speak to me; and though I was hated and persecuted for saying that I had seen a vision, yet it was true. . . . I knew it, and I knew that God knew it, and I could not deny it. (Joseph Smith—History 1:25.)

The best way to obtain truth and wisdom is not to ask it from books, but to go to God in prayer, and obtain divine teaching. (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sel. Joseph Fielding Smith [1976], 191.)

Witnesses

Mary Isabella Horne, Early Member of the Church 

I heard him relate his first vision when the Father and Son appeared to him. . . . While he was relating the circumstances, the Prophet's countenance lighted up, and so wonderful a power accompanied his words that everybody who heard them felt his influence and power, and none could doubt the truth of his narration. I know that he was true to his trust, and that the principles that he advanced and taught are true. ("The Prophet Joseph Smith," Relief Society Magazine, Mar. 1951, 160.)

Gordon B. Hinckley, 15th President of the Church, 1995–present 

I believe, without reservation, in the reality of the vision [Joseph Smith] described. From that wellspring of communication between the God of heaven, the resurrected Redeemer of the world, and a boy pure in heart and unschooled has grown this magnificent and wonderful and true church which is spreading over the earth to bless the lives of all who will hear its message. ("I Believe," Ensign, Aug. 1992, 2.)

Key Events

Revelations Received

Readings

Online Resources at LDS.org

Online Resources at BYU

  • "Joseph Smith Jr. 'The Wentworth Letter'" – 

    Account of the First Vision printed in the March 1, 1842, Times and Seasons.

     Joseph Smith Jr., Brigham Young University Studies 9, no. 3 (1969): 295–96