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Palmyra, New York

The Sacred Grove

A field in which God and his son Jesus purportedly appeared to a young farm boy named Joseph Smith. 

The area of the Sacred Grove is located in Palmyra, NY, on what was once the boyhood home of Joseph Smith, Jr. In 1820, when he was 14 years-old, Smith had a vision while praying in the woods that God and his son Jesus Christ appeared to him in a pillar of light. This fact in itself may not make the location spectacular, except that Smith went on to become the founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, popularly known as the Mormons.

That night, in his “First Vision,” Smith said God prophesied to him that all churches were false and corrupt. Mormons believe this vision set Smith on his path to becoming a prophet. Smith had a series of visions, another one of which may have occurred in this grove, when Smith presented golden plates to the Eight Witnesses, eight people – mostly his family, including his father, brothers and brother-in-law – who signed a document saying they had handled and signed the golden plates which Smith says he found and which form the basis for much of Mormonism.

Today the Sacred Grove is on the Smith Family Farm, and is an important historical/religious site to Mormons. The Farm has a replica of the log cabin that Smith grew up in and maintains the forests around the house. Modern day visitors claim to have sacred experiences during their visit, including feeling the presence of the Holy Ghost.