What to Expect When You Visit the Priesthood Restoration Site

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The Priesthood Restoration Site, located in Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania, welcomes visitors year-round. Joseph and Emma Smith lived in this area from 1827 to 1830. Events associated with the translation of the Book of Mormon, the restoration of the priesthood, and many of the early revelations received by Joseph Smith took place here.

Guided tours of reconstructed homes, landscape features, and interactive exhibits invite visitors to contemplate the significance of the things that happened here. Plan to spend from 1½ to 3 hours visiting this site.

Trained service animals are allowed at the Church’s historic site in Pennsylvania, including inside historic buildings. However, emotional support, therapy, comfort, or companion animals and pets are not allowed. Please refer to the Church’s Service Animal Guidelines for more information.

Places to Visit at the Site

1. Visitors’ Center

Your visit begins at the visitors’ center. Here you can relax and enjoy artwork, artifacts, and hands-on activities. Missionaries will invite you to watch a brief movie about the restoration of the priesthood before leading you on a tour of the historic homes and grounds.

2. Sculptures and Underpass

Along the walking path to the historic area, you will see sculptures by Avard Fairbanks depicting the restoration of the Aaronic and Melchizedek Priesthoods. The path leads under a highway. This path and all others on the site meet ADA requirements.

3. Home of Isaac and Elizabeth Hale

About a year after Joseph and Emma Smith married, they lived with Emma’s parents, Isaac and Elizabeth Hale. The reconstructed Hale home, built at its original location, offers a glimpse into Emma’s life as a child and as a young woman. You will also see the place where Joseph began translating the Book of Mormon.

4. Home of Joseph and Emma Smith

After living in the Hale home for a short time, Joseph and Emma moved into a smaller home. This home has also been reconstructed at its original location. Emma gave birth to her first child here. Joseph translated most of the Book of Mormon here, with Oliver Cowdery and others acting as scribes. Joseph and Emma were living in this home when the restoration of the priesthood began.

5. McKune Cemetery

Before you return to the visitors’ center, you may want to spend some time at the McKune Cemetery. Joseph and Emma buried their firstborn child, a son, near other Hale family graves in this cemetery. Please be considerate and reverent in this place, especially during memorial services. It is a public cemetery, and many local residents have close family members buried here.

6. Aaronic Priesthood Restoration Area

You may also want to walk the wooded path to the west of the visitors’ center. In a place near this path, John the Baptist appeared to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery. He restored the Aaronic Priesthood and conferred priesthood authority on Joseph and Oliver. Please protect the forest ecology by staying on the path and not disturbing the vegetation, rocks, and wildlife.

7. Susquehanna River

You can drive a short distance from the visitors’ center to visit the Susquehanna River and a spot that commemorates the baptisms of Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery. A map is available at the visitors’ center.