You are here

TitleHarmony, Pennsylvania
Publication TypeEncyclopedia Entry
Year of Publication1992
AuthorsChristensen, Horace H.
Secondary AuthorsLudlow, Daniel H.
Secondary TitleEncyclopedia of Mormonism
Place PublishedNew York
KeywordsEarly Church History; Harmony, PA; Restoration; Smith, Joseph, Jr.; Translation
Citation Key576

Show Full Text

Harmony, Pennsylvania

Author: Christensen, Horace H.

Harmony, Pennsylvania, is an important historical site of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on the Susquehanna River in northeastern Pennsylvania. Significant events occurred there during the periodic residence of the Prophet Joseph Smith from 1825 to 1830. Harmony was the home of Isaac Hale, father of Joseph Smith's wife, Emma Hale. Joseph Smith and his father boarded with Isaac Hale in 1825 while working on Josiah Stowell's mining project. In December 1827, Joseph and Emma moved to Harmony from Manchester, New York, to work on the translation of the plates of the Book of Mormon. Eventually they bought a small farm and house, where most of the Book of Mormon was translated between April 7 and early June 1829. Nearby, on May 15, 1829, Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery received the Aaronic Priesthood from John the Baptist and were authorized to baptize each other. The first convert baptism, that of Samuel H. Smith, took place there ten days later. Somewhere between Harmony and Colesville, New York, Peter, James, and John restored the Melchizedek Priesthood. After the Church was organized in 1830, Joseph and Emma returned to Harmony and lived there through that summer. Fifteen revelations now found in the Doctrine and Covenants were received in Harmony.

The Harmony in Church history refers to a township rather than the village of Harmony. The township boundary was changed in 1853, placing the Church site in present-day Oakland Township. The site of the Hale residence lies about a mile and a half west of present-day Oakland, Pennsylvania, in Susquehanna County, along the north side of Route 171.

Today the Church owns about 288 acres at the Harmony location. On a small landscaped triangular plot located between the highway and a railroad right-of-way, a granite and bronze monument dedicated in 1960 commemorates the restoration of the Aaronic Priesthood. The exact location of the restoration is not known (see Aaronic Priesthood: Restoration).

The house owned by Joseph and Emma Smith burned in 1919. The buried foundation is just west of the monument. The graves of Isaac and Elizabeth Hale and of an infant son born to Joseph and Emma are close to Route 171, in a public cemetery located east of the Church property.