Joseph Sr. & Lucy Smith Log Home Transcript

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“My father… left the State of Vermont, and moved to Palmyra, Ontario (now Wayne) county, in the State of New York, when I was in my tenth year, or thereabouts” (Joseph Smith History 1:3).1

In Video Text: “We had a snug log-house, neatly furnished, and the means of living comfortably.” -Lucy Mack Smith 2

Lloyd Newell: This log home, built on the site of the original, is a replica of the Joseph Smith Sr. and Lucy Mack Smith family home.3

During the time that the Prophet Joseph Smith lived in the family log home in Palmyra, New York, events transpired that greatly influence the young boy and prepared the way for the restoration of the gospel. The young prophet Joseph Smith lived in the family log home at the time of the religious confusion that led him to a nearby grove of trees to ask of God which church he should join.4 In addition, it was in this home that the angel Moroni appeared to the young Joseph with instructions regarding the coming forth of the Book of Mormon. Joseph Sr. and his wife Lucy resided here in their Palmyra log home with their nine children for nearly seven years.5 Lucy later reported, “In two years from the time we entered Palmyra strangers, destitute of friends, home, or employment, we were able to settle ourselves upon our own land, in a snug and comfortable, though humble, habitation, built innately furnished by our own industry.”6

Stephen C. Harper: Joseph’s mother’s memoir is dominated by two themes. If we were trying to read her mind and understand what worried that family, what encouraged that family, we would notice that she is worried about how to pay the bills, how to make ends meet, how the family is going to get ahead, provide for the several children, provide for the parents as they get older; and we would also notice that a spiritual quest is a dominant theme that runs throughout her life and her husband’s life as well.

Lloyd Newell: Within these walls and in the nearby woods and fields, the Lord prepared Joseph for his role in the restoration of the gospel. The main room of the log home was the center for family activity, in addition to daily food preparation and other chores, the family met together here every morning and evening to join in prayer. William Smith recalled, “We always had family prayer since I can remember. I well remember father used to carry his spectacles in his vest pocket, and when we boys saw him feel for his ‘specs,’ we knew that was a signal to get ready for prayer.”7 Such a faithful family foundation serve well for the young Joseph Smith Jr. Father and mother Smith taught their children that worship and reverence for God was not restricted to Sundays and formal church meetings, but had a central place in their everyday home and family life. The Smith family witnessed many fascinating and joyful moments in this room, following Joseph’s first interviews with the Angel Moroni, the family would gather together to share and discuss those things Joseph learned concerning the coming forth of the Book of Mormon and their hope for further knowledge of the Plan of Salvation. Lucy recalled, “I think that we presented the most peculiar aspect of any family that ever lived upon the earth. All seated in a circle father, mother, sons, and daughters listening in breathless anxiety to the religious teachings of a boy eighteen years of age, the sweetest union and happiness pervaded our home, no jar nor discord disturbed our peace and tranquility reigned in our midst.”8

In-Video Text: “While I was thus in the act of calling upon God, I discovered a light appearing in my room, which continued to increase until the room was lighter than at noonday, when immediately a personage appeared at my bedside” (Joseph Smith–History 1:30).9

Lloyd Newell: Upstairs in the reconstructed Smith log home is a bedroom, it is likely that a larger upstairs bedroom was for the six sons in the Smith family Alvin, Hyrum, Joseph, Samuel, William, and Don Carlos. A smaller back bedroom was probably for Sophronia and Catharine, and it is likely that the youngest daughter Lucy stayed in the downstairs room off her parents’ bedroom. This upstairs bedroom is representative of the room where Moroni appeared to Joseph Smith three times on the evening of September 21 and 22, 1823 at the time Joseph was seventeen years old.10 Sometime after the family had retired to sleep, evidently around eleven or twelve that night, Joseph fervently prayed for a manifestation of his spiritual standing before God.11 “While I was thus in the act of calling upon God I discovered a light appearing in my room, which continued to increase until the room was lighter than at noonday, when immediately a personage appeared at my bedside standing in the air for his feet did not touch the floor.”12

Next to Joseph stood a glorious resurrected being sent from the presence of God, he informed Joseph that God had a work for him to do and that as a result Joseph’s name should be had for good and evil among all nations, kindreds, and tongues.13 This heavenly messenger was Moroni, and ancient prophet, who had previously lived upon the American continent over one thousand years earlier. He instructed Joseph that a record of the Lord’s people in ancient America was securely buried in a hill near the Smith home. The time had now arrived for their testimony of Jesus Christ and the fullness of his gospel, which was engraved on plates of gold, to come forth to the world. It appears that in about an hour or two’s time the angel set before the young teenage boy the span of the restoration of the gospel, and the part that Joseph would play in God’s work. Moroni returned to repeat the same message twice more that night, each time adding instructions.14 Joseph’s mission was to translate the record by the gift and power of God, in so doing God would bring to pass a marvelous work among the children of men.

1 Joseph Smith, “History Drafts, 1831—Circa 1847,” The Joseph Smith Papers: Histories, Volume 1: Joseph Smith Histories, 1832-1844, eds. Kern Lynn Davidson, David J. Whitaker, Mark Ashurst-McGee, Richard L. Jensen, (Salt Lake City: The Church Historians Press, 2012), 1:204.
2 Lucy’s Book, ed. Lavina Fielding Anderson (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 2001), 321.
3 Larry C. Porter, Sacred Places: New York and Pennsylvania, ed. Lamar C. Berrett, (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2000), 195-197.
4 Joseph Smith, The Joseph Smith Papers: Histories, Volume 1: Joseph Smith Histories, 1832-1844, 209.
5 Porter, Sacred Places, 197-198.
6 Lucy’s Book, 321. Spelling and punctuation standardized.
7 Interview of William Smith with E. C. Briggs and J. W. Peterson, Zion’s Ensign, 13 January 1894,; printed in Deseret News, 27:11 (January 20, 1894); also see B. H. Roberts, A Comprehensive History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, (Provo, Utah: Brigham Young University Press, 1965), 1:35.
8 Lucy’s Book, 345; spelling and punctuation standardized.
9 Joseph Smith Papers: Histories, 1:220.
10 Ibid, 336-341.
11 The Papers of Joseph Smith, ed. Dean C. Jesse, (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 1989), 50-51.
12 Joseph Smith, The Joseph Smith Papers: Histories, Volume 1: Joseph Smith Histories, 1832-1844, 221.
13 Ibid, 223.
14 Ibid, 223-231.