History of the Church Series | BYU Studies

History of the Church Series

Harmony, Pennsylvania
March 21, 2018
History of the Church Series
Harmony, Pennsylvania
Author Horace H. Christensen,

This daily feature is an introduction to a full article by Horace H. Christensen. Each Wednesday we focus on an aspect of church history, beginning in New York in the early 19th century and progressing throughout the year to Utah in the 20th century. To read the full text of this article, follow the link below.

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.