I’ve been coming to Harmony, Pennsylvania for the past 35 years. It has recently been completely transformed and is a must-see site in Church History. (Roll your mouse over the pictures and click on the white arrows to the right or left of the photographs to proceed forward or to reverse directions)
Joseph and Emma Smith bought a small cabin and 13 1/2 acres of land that had been divided off from the Isaac and Elizabeth Hale Farm. The original cabin was built by Jesse Hale, Emma’s brother.
Joseph Smith the Prophet had little time for farming, but his brother Samuel Harrison Smith spent time here helping.
Standing by Joseph and Emma’s Cabin one can look to the west and see the Isaac and Elizabeth Hale Home that has also been rebuilt.
Much of the translation of the Book of Mormon took place here (Mosiah – Moroni, inclusive) in the Joseph and Emma Smith Cabin. The feeling of the Spirit here in this sacred space is palpable.
Emma served as Joseph’s scribe for as many as four months, but because of all of her duties as a wife and homemaker there was no way she could be a full-time scribe.
Looking to the east from the cabin is the poignant proximity of the McKune Cemetery where Joseph and Emma buried their first child.
A place of great light: Fifteen revelations of the Doctrine and Covenants were received here in Harmony. The 116 pages of manuscript that would later be lost by Martin Harris were produced here. The Aaronic Priesthood was restored near this home. The Book of Mormon translation of Mosiah to Moroni took place here. Moses Chapter 1 (of the Joseph Smith Translation) was received here. “These were times never to be forgotten.”
The site has been restored with beautiful walking paths and rail fences. A visitor needs at least three hours to take in the experience.
The Isaac and Elizabeth Hale “mansion” has been rebuilt on the original site. The most significant and exciting thing to me about this home is the honoring of the birthplace of Emma Hale.
The contrast between the wealth and standing of the Hales and the simple cabin of Emma and Joseph is great.
One comes to understand so much more clearly those early scenes from the Restoration as one walks around Joseph and Emma’s farm and sees the Hale Home and the Susquehanna River–all in one small area.
Imagine young Joseph Smith boarding here in this home and meeting Miss Emma Hale for the first time.
There is a wonderful spirit in the rebuilt Hale home.
The box at the end of this table approximates the weight of the gold plates. Visitors are encouraged to heft “the plates” to get a sense of their weight. Isaac Hale, Joseph’s father-in-law, was allowed to pick up a similar box with the real plates, but he was never allowed to see them.
A beautiful trail has been groomed for visitors to walk down through the woods to the Susquehanna River.
There is much peace in this place. Joseph, Emma, Oliver Cowdery, Martin Harris, Samuel Harrison Smith, Hyrum Smith, Joseph Smith Sr., Lucy Mack Smith and many others would have known these very woods.
The first view of the “sacred” Susquehanna River is truly beautiful.
One could walk right down to the banks of the Susquehanna likely near the very place where Joseph and Oliver performed the first authorized baptisms in this, the Dispensation of the Fullness of Times.
Joseph and Martin used to take breaks from the translation process and come down to this very shore and skip rocks.
This beautiful sculpture depicts Joseph and Oliver kneeling before the heavenly messenger, John the Baptist, and receiving the Aaronic Priesthood.
A beautiful area that was originally part of Joseph and Emma’s small stand of Sugar Maples was referred to by the locals as the “sugar bush.” Based on the most recent research, it is now believed the Aaronic Priesthood was restored in this area (not right on the banks of the Susquehanna as traditionally believed or supposed).
Some benches have been added for visitors to rest and to ponder and pray in this sacred area.
Sunset behind the gorgeous sculpture depicting Joseph Smith receiving the Melchizedek Priesthood under the hands of the ancient apostles, Peter, James and John. Oliver Cowdery is depicted there to the right.
“We believe that a man must be called of God, by prophecy, and by the laying on of hands by those who are in authority, to preach the Gospel and administer in the ordinances thereof.”
Truly, this Priesthood Restoration Site with its visitor’s center, sculptures, groomed trails, rebuilt homes and lovely depictions, is worth every effort to visit.