Priesthood Restoration Site, Susquehanna River, Harmony, PA
In 2015 the Priesthood Restoration Site at Harmony, now Oakland, PA, was completed. This project included two rebuilt homes, a visitors’ center, statuary, new pathways, and an underpass under the local highway. The entire complex was dedicated by President Russell M. Nelson.
The Susquehanna River lies a few hundred yards south of the rebuilt home of Joseph and Emma Smith. On May 15, 1829, while translating in 3 Nephi of the Book of Mormon, the Prophet and Oliver Cowdery read about the necessity of baptism, and thus inquired of the Lord.
After praying, John the Baptist appeared unto them and said, “Upon you my fellow servants, in the name of Messiah I confer the Priesthood of Aaron, which holds the keys of the ministering of angels, and of the Gospel of repentance, and of baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; and this shall never be taken again from the earth, until the sons of Levi do offer again an offering unto the Lord in righteousness.”1
After having the Aaronic Priesthood bestowed upon them, they were commanded to baptize one another. Joseph first baptized Oliver and then Oliver baptized him. They were then instructed to ordain one another to the Aaronic Priesthood, again Joseph ordaining Oliver first and then Oliver ordaining Joseph.2
Oliver described his feelings about the occasion as follows:
“I shall not attempt to paint to you the feelings of this heart, nor the majestic beauty and glory which surrounded us on this occasion; but you will believe me when I say, that earth, nor men, with the eloquence of time, cannot begin to clothe language in as interesting and sublime a manner as this holy personage. No; nor has this earth power to give the joy, to bestow the peace, or comprehend the wisdom which was contained in each sentence as they were delivered by the power of the Holy Spirit!” 3
Soon afterwards, Joseph and Oliver were ordained to the Melchizedek Priesthood, although the exact date and location is not known.
1 Doctrine & Covenants 13.
2 Joseph Smith, History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 7 vols., introduction and notes by B. H. Roberts (Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1932-1951), 1: 39.
3 Messenger and Advocate, Volume 1, (October 1834), 16.
Map & Directions
Hours of Operation: Daylight to Dark
This small section of land adjacent to the Susquehanna River 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 it is recommended that visitors begin their tour at the visitors’ center.
Articles & Resources
Joseph Smith's Account of the Restoration of the Aaronic Priesthood
Author(s): Joseph Smith, Jr.
Type: First-person account
Source(s): Joseph Smith, History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 7 vols., introduction and notes by B. H. Roberts (Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1932-1951), 1: 39.
We still continued the work of translation, when in the ensuing month (May, 1829), we on a certain day went into the woods to pray and inquire of the Lord respecting baptism for the remission of sins, that we found mentioned in the translation of the plates. While we were thus employed…
Priesthood Restoration Site, at JosephSmith.net
Bank of the Susquehanna River, at Doctrine & Covenants Revelvation Sites Website
C. E. Grant, “Along the Susquehanna River,” Improvement Era, 1960.
William G. Hartley, “‘Upon You My Fellow Servants’: Restoration of the Priesthood,” The Prophet Joseph, ed. Larry C. Porter and Susan Easton Black, 1988.
Larry C. Porter, “The Priesthood Restored,” The Pearl of Great Price, Robert L. Millet and Kent P. Jackson, 1985.
Larry C. Porter, “The Restoration of the Priesthood,” Religious Studies Center Newsletter, 1995.
Larry C. Porter, “The Restoration of the Aaronic and Melchizedek Priesthoods,” Ensign, December 1996, 30.