Joseph Smith Home Site, Harmony Pennsylvania
Shortly after Joseph Smith acquired the golden plates from Hill Cumorah in western New York State, he and Emma moved to Harmony, Pennsylvania. They lived in a small home on thirteen acres not far from the home of Emma’s parents for most of 1828-1830. In his Harmony home, the Prophet produced about 60% of the text of the Book of Mormon. Earlier, he had translated 116 pages known as the Book of Lehi. Those pages were subsequently lost by Martin Harris, who had served as scribe for that portion of the Book of Mormon.
It was just after Joseph had dictated the text of the 116 pages that Emma gave birth to her first child, a son named Alvin. He only lived a few hours. He was buried in the little cemetery situated near the Harmony home, now the McKune Cemetery. Emma’s parents were eventually interred there as well. The headstones of all three are still there.
Fifteen revelations that are now in the Doctrine and Covenants were received by the Prophet while he and Emma were living in that home. It is thought that Moses 1 in the Pearl of Great Price was revealed there as well.
In May 1829, John the Baptist appeared to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery and conferred the Aaronic Priesthood on them. This occurred near the Harmony home. Shortly afterward, the two men baptized each other in the Susquehanna River which flows close to the home site.
In 2015, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints completed construction of the rebuilt Harmony home of Joseph and Emma Smith on the original site. The home of Emma’s parents, Isaac and Elizabeth Lewis Hale, was rebuilt at the same time. Along with the two homes and a new chapel/visitor’s center, the entire site was likewise developed as the Priesthood Restoration Site. It was dedicated on September 19, 2015 by President Russell M. Nelson.
What was once the village of Harmony,Pennsylvania is now Oakland Township, Susquehanna County, PA. It is located in northeastern Pennsylvania a few miles south of the state’s boundary with New York. From Binghamton, New York, go south on I-81. Cross the border into Pennsylvania and exit a few miles later at Hallstead. Go east on SR 171 to the well marked Priesthood Restoration Site. It is under ten miles from Hallstead to the site. GPS coordinates of the visitor center: 41°57’07.74″ N; 75°38’15.18″ W.
The rebuilt home of Joseph and Emma Smith is part of the Priesthood Restoration Site, a Church Historical Site owned and operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Admission is free but visitors should be accompanied by a missionary guide. Tour begin at the visitors’ center.
Articles & Resources
Steven E. Snow, “Joseph Smith in Harmony,” Ensign, September 2015, 50-57.
Larry C. Porter, in LaMar C. Berrett, ed., Sacred Places Vol. 2, 262-276.
Brandon S. Plewe, et al., eds. Mapping Mormonism, 21.
William G. Hartley, Stand By My Servant Joseph, 36-57.