Sacred Grove: Palmyra and Manchester, New York
The Sacred Grove in Palmyra, New York, is the site where Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, visited young Joseph Smith in 1820. That visit, often called the First Vision, was the founding event of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Sacred Grove was part of the farmland originally owned by the Smith family, and today it is a healthy and peaceful forest that is open to the public year-round. Winding paths provide many places for visitors to contemplate the event that occurred here. For information about visiting the Sacred Grove and Joseph Smith’s boyhood home, click or tap here. On a spring day in 1820, 14-year-old Joseph Smith went alone to this grove of trees and prayed. He was confused about the claims of different religions in the area, and he wanted to know which church he should join. Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ came in answer to his prayer. Their answer changed his life, and it continues to change the lives of millions of people throughout the world. To learn more about the events that brought Joseph Smith to pray in the Sacred Grove, click or tap here.
Joseph Smith Family Farm: Palmyra and Manchester, New York
The Smith Family Farm, in Palmyra and Manchester, New York, is open to the public year-round. This historic site is located on the 100 acres of land cultivated by the Smith family in the 1820s. Tours and markers on the site tell about Joseph Smith’s First Vision and his first visits with the angel Moroni. They also describe the Smith family’s life on the farm. Tours of the farm include a reconstruction of Joseph Smith’s boyhood home, a restoration of a larger home the family later built, and the stand of trees now known as the Sacred Grove. For information about visiting the Smith Family Farm, click or tap here. Several founding events for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints took place on the Smith Family Farm. Here God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ visited the 14-year-old Joseph Smith—an experience now called The First Vision. On September 21, 1823, the angel Moroni first visited Joseph Smith in the family’s small log home. Four years later, Joseph and his wife, Emma, lived in the larger Smith family home with his family when he received the golden plates on the Hill Cumorah. Eight individuals, now known as the Eight Witnesses of the Book of Mormon, were shown the golden plates while visiting the Smith Family Farm in the summer of 1829.
Book of Mormon Historic Publication Site (Grandin Building) Palmyra, New York
The Book of Mormon Historic Publication Site in Palmyra, New York, is the place where the first copies of the Book of Mormon were printed and bound in 1829 and 1830. It is also known as the Grandin Building, after Egbert B. Grandin, who owned and operated a printshop in the building. Today this historic site is open to the public year-round. It features restorations of the original bookstore, printer’s office, printing press, and bindery. It also features exhibits about Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon, and the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ. For information about visiting the Book of Mormon Historic Publication Site, click or tap here. E. B. Grandin agreed to print 5,000 copies of the Book of Mormon in June 1829 for a cost of $3,000. From August 1829 to March 1830, Grandin and his staff worked to typeset, print, and bind the Book of Mormon in this building. Copies of the book were first sold to the public at Grandin’s bookstore on March 26, 1830. Since then, more than 176 million copies of the book have been printed in more than 100 languages. For more information about the publication of the Book of Mormon, click or tap here.
What to Expect When You Visit the Church’s Historic Sites in New York and Pennsylvania
Find information that can help you plan a visit to the Smith Family Farm and Sacred Grove, the Hill Cumorah, the Book of Mormon Historic Publication Site, the Peter Whitmer Farm, and the Priesthood Restoration Site.
Hill Cumorah: Manchester, New York
The Hill Cumorah in Manchester, New York, is the place where Joseph Smith met annually with the angel Moroni from 1823 to 1827. On September 22, 1827, the angel allowed Joseph to obtain the golden plates from which the Book of Mormon would be translated. Today this historic site is open to the public year-round. The site includes trails to the top of the hill and a visitors’ center featuring exhibits, historical artifacts, and a film about the founding of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. A monument at the top of the hill commemorates the events that took place there. For information about visiting the Hill Cumorah, click or tap here. The events that took place at the Hill Cumorah were foundational to the establishment of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Directed by the angel Moroni, Joseph Smith found the golden plates deposited in the hill on September 22, 1823, approximately three miles from his home. Joseph met the angel there on the same date the next four years until he was finally allowed to obtain the plates. From those plates, he later translated the Book of Mormon by the gift and power of God. In the 1820s, the hill did not have a name. It later became known as the Hill Cumorah because Moroni, the Book of Mormon’s final author and the angel who met with Joseph Smith, wrote that he had hidden the golden plates in a hill called Cumorah (see Mormon 6:6). A monument designed by Torleif S. Knaphus was placed on the hill in 1935. To learn more about the events that brought Joseph Smith to the Hill Cumorah and about the translation and publication of the Book of Mormon, click here.
Peter Whitmer Farm: Fayette, New York
The Peter Whitmer Farm, located near Fayette, New York, is the place where The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was organized in 1830. This historic site is open to the public. A reconstructed log home and a visitors’ center commemorate events associated with the organization of the Church. The visitors’ center includes artifacts, a film, and interactive displays about the translation of the Book of Mormon and the founding and growth of the Church. For information about visiting the Whitmer farm, click or tap here. Peter and Mary Whitmer allowed Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery to live in their home in June 1829 so the two men could complete the translation of the Book of Mormon. Joseph’s wife, Emma, later joined them there. The Whitmer farm was also the place where the angel Moroni showed three men, now known as the Three Witnesses, the golden plates from which the Book of Mormon was translated. On April 6, 1830, about 55 people gathered in the Whitmers’ home, where Joseph Smith presided over the organization of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. On the 150th anniversary of the organization of the Church, President Spencer W. Kimball presided over a session of the Church’s general conference held at the Peter Whitmer Farm. On this occasion, President Kimball also dedicated the reconstructed log home. Today the Church’s membership is greater than 16 million. Latter-day Saints gather each Sunday in more than 30,000 congregations throughout the world.
Priesthood Restoration Site
The Priesthood Restoration Site in Oakland Township, Pennsylvania, is a place where several significant events of the Restoration occurred. Joseph Smith translated most of the Book of Mormon here, in the home he shared with his wife, Emma. John the Baptist appeared to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery in a nearby forest and restored the Aaronic Priesthood to the earth. Joseph and Oliver baptized each other in the Susquehanna River. This historic site is open to the public. The site features historic landscapes, three monuments, two reconstructed homes, and a visitors’ center with a film, artifacts, and interactive exhibits. The McCune Cemetery, where Joseph and Emma Smith buried their first child and where Emma’s parents are buried, is adjacent to the site. For information about visiting the Priesthood Restoration Site, click or tap here. Emma Hale grew to adulthood in this place, which was known as Harmony in the early 1800s. Later, she lived here with her husband, Joseph Smith. While Joseph and Emma lived here in 1828 and 1829, Joseph translated most of the Book of Mormon. Emma Smith served as Joseph’s scribe for a time, and later Oliver Cowdery received that responsibility. On May 15, 1829, in answer to Joseph and Oliver’s prayer about the authority to baptize, God sent John the Baptist, who conferred on Joseph and Oliver the Aaronic Priesthood. Joseph and Oliver baptized each other in the Susquehanna River later that day. In 1960 the Church placed a monument on the site commemorating the restoration of the Aaronic Priesthood. The monument was designed by Avard Fairbanks.
What to Expect When You Visit the Priesthood Restoration Site
Find information that can help you plan a visit to the site.
Joseph Smith Birthplace Memorial: Sharon, Vermont
This is a place of commemoration. Here, on December 23, 1805, Joseph Smith Jr. was born. Today a monument memorializes this man who is honored by millions of people around the world as a prophet of God.
What to Expect When You Visit the Joseph Smith Birthplace Memorial
Historic Kirtland: Kirtland, Ohio
In Kirtland, early Latter-day Saints received God’s law, were endowed from on high, and prepared to share the gospel among all nations. Historic Kirtland continues to inspire and uplift Saints today.
Historic John Johnson Home: Hiram, Ohio
As guests in John and Elsa Johnson’s home, Joseph and Emma Smith received revelation and comfort in trying times. Guests in the home today—in person and online—see that it is still a place of revelation and comfort.
What to Expect When You Visit the Church’s Historic Sites in Ohio
Independence Visitors’ Center: Independence, Missouri
The Lord has designated Independence, Missouri, as “the center place” of Zion (D&C 57:3). Amid various places of worship, a Latter-day Saint visitors’ center stands there now—a place to learn about faith, sacrifice, and Heavenly Father’s eternal plan.
Historic Liberty Jail: Liberty Missouri
For Joseph Smith and his imprisoned companions, Liberty Jail was a place of intense suffering and glorious revelation. The jail has been re-created today as a place of contemplation and learning.
Hawn's Mill Site, Braymer, Missouri
Hawn’s Mill was a bustling center of action and productivity until it became the site of a massacre. Now it is an empty field—a place of reflection.
What to Expect When You Visit the Church’s Historic Sites in Missouri
Far West Temple Site: Far West, Missouri
The Far West Temple Site does not house a temple, but it tells a story of dedication and faith. When early Apostles laid cornerstones there, they showed their determination to follow the Lord’s will in spite of persecution.
Adam-ondi-Ahman: Jameson, Missouri
A group of Saints settled briefly in the area in 1838. Spring Hill was named “Adam-ondi-Ahman” by the Prophet Joseph Smith, as indicated by the Lord in revelation (see D&C 116). Five weeks later, on June 28, 1838, the third stake of Zion was organized there. Today it is a place of beauty and quiet contemplation.
From 1839 to 1846, the headquarters of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was located in Nauvoo, Illinois. Under the prophetic leadership of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young, Latter-day Saints worked together to build a community and a temple there. The temple was a focal point in the landscape of the city and in the lives of the Latter-day Saints. Today Historic Nauvoo is open to the public. Visitors enjoy tours and activities in historic homes, shops, and other buildings. The temple has been reconstructed, and the temple grounds are open to the public year-round. Entrance into the temple is limited to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with current temple recommends. For information about visiting Historic Nauvoo, click or tap here. For information about entering the Nauvoo Illinois Temple, click or tap here. In Nauvoo, the Lord revealed truths and practices that continue to guide His Church today. His revelations to the Prophet Joseph Smith included the founding of the Relief Society, the practice of baptism and confirmation for the dead, and temple marriage. The Lord also inspired Joseph to confer priesthood keys on the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, preparing them to lead the Church if Joseph were to die. After Joseph’s death in nearby Carthage, President Brigham Young and other Apostles led the Church.
On June 27, 1844, the Prophet Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum were martyred—killed by a mob that attacked them in Carthage Jail. Joseph “sealed his mission and his works with his own blood; and so [did] his brother Hyrum. In life they were not divided, and in death they were not separated!” (Doctrine and Covenants 135:3). The original jail in Carthage, Illinois, has been carefully restored and is about a 30-minute drive from Historic Nauvoo. Missionaries lead tours there, where visitors learn about the ministry of Joseph Smith and the final days in the life of Joseph and Hyrum. For information about visiting Carthage Jail, click or tap here. At Carthage Jail, visitors also learn about two other men, Elders John Taylor and Willard Richards of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. They were in the jail when the mob attacked, and they survived. The Church itself also survived, as Apostles and others built on the foundation the Lord had established through His servant Joseph Smith.
What to Expect When You Visit Historic Nauvoo and Carthage Jail
At Historic Nauvoo and Carthage Jail, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints offers a wide variety of experiences—from guided tours to entertainment to quiet contemplation.
The reconstructed Kanesville Tabernacle and the visitors’ center in Council Bluffs, Iowa, is a historic site that commemorates the reorganization of the First Presidency in 1847. The visitors’ center also includes exhibits, historical artifacts, and a film about the Mormon Battalion, whose members enlisted about 10 miles south of the tabernacle. The Mormon Battalion was a group of about 500 Latter-day Saints who joined the United States Army in 1846, during the Mexican-American War, to help provide financial support for their families and other Mormon pioneers. For information about visiting the Kanesville Tabernacle, click or tap here. The original tabernacle was built in December 1847 in the Council Bluffs area of Iowa, which was later renamed Kanesville by the Latter-day Saints. On December 27, many Saints attended a meeting in the tabernacle during which they sustained Brigham Young as President of the Church and Heber C. Kimball and Willard Richards as counselors in the First Presidency. This marked the first time that the First Presidency had been organized since the deaths of Joseph and Hyrum Smith. The process of sustaining a new President helped establish the pattern of succession that continues in the Church today.
Mount Pisgah Monument
The Mount Pisgah Monument is located in a small cemetery on the route of the Mormon Trail near the town of Thayer, Iowa. The cemetery likely includes as many as 150 Latter-day Saint pioneers who lived in the temporary settlement of Mount Pisgah between 1846 and 1852. The original grave markers are long gone, but a 12-foot-high obelisk memorializes those who died at Mount Pisgah and provides the names of 63 of those interred there. Interpretive markers and a reconstructed pioneer-era log cabin can be found in an adjacent state preserve. For information about visiting the Mount Pisgah Monument, click or tap here. Mount Pisgah was one of three temporary way stations Latter-day Saints established in central Iowa during the exodus from Nauvoo. Between 2,000 and 3,000 pioneers lived in Mount Pisgah at its height, and thousands more stopped there briefly on their way west. Although the community provided refuge and a chance for the Saints to rest and prepare for their journey further west, illness was rampant and the death rate was high. Mount Pisgah and the other settlements in central Iowa were completely abandoned in 1852, when Church leaders called Latter-day Saints still residing in the Midwest to gather to Utah.
What to Expect When You Visit the Church’s Historic Sites in Nebraska and Iowa
Mormon Trail Center at Historic Winter Quarters: Omaha, Nebraska
The Mormon Trail Center at Historic Winter Quarters, located in Omaha, Nebraska, is a visitors’ center with exhibits about Winter Quarters, a major settlement for Latter-day Saint pioneers after they left Nauvoo, Illinois. The exhibits describe the Latter-day Saints’ westward migration to the Salt Lake Valley in Utah by wagon, handcart, sailing ship, and train. Next to the trail center are the Mormon Pioneer Cemetery and the Winter Quarters Nebraska Temple. The Mormon Pioneer Cemetery, which was a burial site for some of the pioneers who died at Winter Quarters, includes a monument called Tragedy of Winter Quarters, sculpted by Avard Fairbanks. For information about visiting these places, click or tap here. Winter Quarters was one of as many as 90 Latter-day Saint settlements along the Missouri River in Nebraska and Iowa. Although the settlements were temporary homes on the way to the Salt Lake Valley, many Saints worked and built as if they would stay there for decades. They established successful farms and businesses and even published a newspaper. Brigham Young and other Church leaders spent time at Winter Quarters, ministering to the Saints and helping them prepare to travel west. While there, Brigham received a revelation that helped the Saints organize themselves and prepare spiritually for the trek. That revelation became Doctrine and Covenants 136.
What to Expect When You Visit the Church’s Historic Sites in Nebraska and Iowa
Martin’s Cove: Alcova, Wyoming
Many members of the Martin handcart company died in Martin’s Cove, but many more were rescued. Today people visit the cove as a place of reverence, remembrance, and gratitude.
Sixth Crossing: Lander, Wyoming
Rescuers arrived just in time to save many members of the Willie handcart company at their sixth crossing of the Sweetwater River. Today the area features a visitors’ center.
Rock Creek Hollow: Lander, Wyoming
The Willie handcart company came to Rock Creek Hollow after a grueling hike over Rocky Ridge. This area now features a memorial honoring their faith and sacrifice.
Pioneer Journeys—More Than a Trek
Latter Day Saints often go to great lengths to honor Mormon Pioneers. Their appreciation deepens when they come to understand why the pioneers did what they did.
What to Expect When You Visit the Mormon Handcart Historic Sites
Find information that can help you plan visits to Martin’s Cove, Sixth Crossing, and Rock Creek Hollow.
Brigham Young Winter Home
From 1870 to 1877, President Brigham Young lived in St. George, Utah, during the winter months. Beginning in 1872, he and members of his family lived in the place that is now called the Brigham Young Winter Home. From this home, he directed the affairs of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Today this historic site is open to the public year-round. The home and adjacent office have been restored and furnished to reflect their 1870s appearance. Tours tell about Brigham Young’s family life in St. George and about his role in directing the settlement of southern Utah, including the construction of the St. George Utah Temple. For information about visiting the Brigham Young Winter Home, click or tap here. Brigham Young purchased this home in 1872. He remodeled it, doubling its size to more fully meet his needs. While living here, he continued his regular work of administering the Church, including overseeing the construction of the St. George Temple. As the completion of the temple neared, he built an office adjacent to the home. The office provide privacy for him to meet with selected Church leaders to reinstitute temple ordinances that had not been performed in a temple since the Saints left Nauvoo, Illinois.
St. George Tabernacle
The St. George Tabernacle in St. George, Utah, is a historic meetinghouse of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It has functioned as a place of worship and a place for community gatherings since 1869—before its completion in 1876. It is also open for public tours. Guided tours highlight features that illustrate the faith, unity, artistry, and industry of the Latter-day Saints in their efforts to create a holy building where they could worship God. Exhibits display artifacts used in the construction and ornamentation of the building. For information about visiting the St. George Tabernacle, click or tap here. Not long after the establishment of St. George, Brigham Young directed settlers to construct a building where they could worship. They began construction in June 1863, using local red sandstone and labor that was either donated or funded by their tithing donations. Settlers from all over southern Utah Territory either worked on or provided goods for the tabernacle’s construction. They completed the tabernacle in 1876. Concerts, community celebrations, Latter-day Saint and non–Latter-day Saint worship services, special conferences, memorial services, and other events have been held here. For more information about the history of the tabernacle’s construction and use over the years, click or tap here. The St. George Tabernacle is an example of 19th-century Latter-day Saint tabernacle building. Latter-day Saints no longer build tabernacles. Like modern stake centers, tabernacles served large geographic areas and multiple congregations and provided a large primary worship space. Unlike modern stake centers, tabernacles did not include smaller rooms for religious instruction. From 2016 to 2018, the St. George Tabernacle received structural updates, and the interior and exterior were restored to their 19th-century appearance.
Jacob Hamblin Home
The Jacob Hamblin Home, in Santa Clara, Utah, is the place where Jacob Hamblin, Southern Utah Indian Mission president, lived with his family from 1863 to 1868. Because of Hamblin’s service among the American Indians in the region, the home functioned as the headquarters for the mission. Today it is a historic site and is open for public tours. The home and furnishings have been restored to reflect their 1860s appearance. Tours of the home tell about Hamblin’s lifelong dedication to serving American Indians and about his family and their life on the frontier of southern Utah Territory. For information about visiting the Jacob Hamblin Home, click or tap here. In 1854 Brigham Young called about two dozen men, including Jacob Hamblin, to serve in the Southern Utah Indian Mission. Initially the mission was headquartered in New Harmony, Utah, but lack of water necessitated the move to Santa Clara. While in Santa Clara, Hamblin and other missionaries worked with Paiutes in southern Utah and Nevada. Hamblin’s missionary efforts required living among the Indians. As a result, he spent most of his time away from his family. He viewed his mission as a lifelong calling. In 1869 he and his family moved to Kanab, Utah, where he continued his proselytizing efforts among the Hopi in southern Utah and Nevada and among the Navajo in Arizona. The home provided accommodations for Hamblin’s large family. His wives Rachel Judd and Sarah Priscilla Leavitt accompanied him on his mission to southern Utah. At the time they moved into the home, the family included six children. Sarah bore three additional children while living in Santa Clara. Rachel passed away while the family lived here. Jacob married Louisa Bonelli in 1865. She bore one child while living in Santa Clara.
Cove Fort Historic Site: Cove Fort, Utah
What to Expect When You Visit the Church’s Historic Sites in Southern Utah
Find information that can help you plan a visit to these sites.
Mormon Battalion Historic Site
The Mormon Battalion Historic Site in San Diego is a visitors’ center that commemorates the Mormon Battalion’s historic journey from the Council Bluffs area of Iowa to San Diego, California. The Mormon Battalion was a group of about 500 Latter-day Saints who joined the United States Army in 1846, during the Mexican-American War, to help provide financial support for their families and other Mormon pioneers. The site features an interactive video tour, historical artifacts, and demonstrations on gold panning and brickmaking. For information about visiting this place, click or tap here. Serving under the direction of army officers from July 1846 to July 1847, the Mormon Battalion marched nearly 2,000 miles across the southwestern United States. Although the battalion never engaged in battle, 20 members died during the journey west. The soldiers of the Mormon Battalion made several contributions to the settlement of the American West. They improved trails as they moved west, others helped build Fort Moore in Los Angeles, and still others helped build Sutter’s Mill and witnessed the discovery of gold there, which prompted thousands of people to migrate to the West Coast. Most battalion members eventually reunited with their family members and friends in the Salt Lake Valley or in Iowa and Nebraska.
What to Expect When You Visit the Mormon Battalion Historic Site in San Diego
The First Modern Temple:
The History of the Cardston Alberta Temple
The St. George Tabernacle: United Effort in Southern Utah
Learn about a building that has been at the center of a Latter-day Saint community since the 1860s. Catch a glimpse of the Saints’ efforts to construct and renovate the St. George Tabernacle.
Tabernacle to Temple: Provo’s Legacy of Worship
The Provo City Center Temple incorporates materials and designs from the Utah Stake Tabernacle that caught fire in 2010. Learn about the houses of worship that have been built on this city block since the 1850s.
Why Historic Sites: Sacred Places Help Us Remember God's Hand
Discover why The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints goes to such great lengths to restore and preserve historic sites.