At 'This Place in History' Executive Director of the Vermont Historical Society Steve Perkins takes us to Sharon, Vermont.
"We are at the monument, or the historical marker, of Joseph Smith's birthplace. Joseph Smith was the founder of the Church of Latter-day Saints, born right here in Sharon. About two miles that way is a monument and a whole visitor center maintained by the Church. Most of us know them as the Mormon Church. So we're going to go meet with them and learn all about Joseph Smith," said Perkins.
Elder David and Sister Karen Fuhriman joined us to explain the importance of Sharon, Vermont and Joseph Smith.
"This significance of this site for the LDS Church is that Joseph Smith was born here. We believe he was pre ordained to be the Prophet of The Restoration. So even though he was a toddler when he moved from here, nothing Church-wise happened, it is significant because of simply his birth. We believe the two most sacred sites on Earth are Bethlehem and Sharon, Vermont," introduced Elder Fuhriman.
"He was living in Palmyra, New York when he was young. So Joseph one day was reading in the Bible, just as a kid of 14, when we came across the passage in James 1:5. It says 'if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God.' So when he read that he decided that he could do that. He could pray to God and get an answer to his question, which was which church should his family join," said Sister Fuhriman.
"So with that decision he went to a grove of trees there by their farm and prayed to God. Jesus Christ appeared with God the Father. God the Father introduced Jesus Christ, called Joseph by name. He had the presence of mind to still ask the question, 'Which church should I join?' But he was told not to join any at that time, that there was work for him to do. Finally in September of 1823, let him take possession of what we call the Gold Plates, which was a historical event. It contains the Doctrine of Jesus Christ and he translated the Golden Plates into what now is the Book of Mormon, A Second Testament of Jesus Christ," explained Elder Fuhriman.
"Joseph Smith didn't really live to see the acceptance of The Church?" asked Perkins.
"Well when they were living in Nauvoo, Illinois, Joseph was brought up on charges and he needed to go to court. That was in Carthage, Illinois. So he and his brother Hyrum and two other men all went to Carthage to attend this court. But the mob did not wait for the court to be in session. They broke into the room where these men were waiting and that is when Hyrum and Joseph were both killed or martyred. So he did not go on to Utah. As you might recall, that was Brigham Young, that was after he was called to be the second Prophet. He took the Saints that wanted to go, to Utah," said Sister Fuhriman.
Joseph Smith, founder of a religion, born right here at 'This Place in History'!
In Part 2, learn about the monument erected in Smith's honor.
For more from our 'This Place in History' series, click here.
To view a map of Vermont's roadside historical markers, click here.
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