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[Seminary-Notes] CLUB


Sam visits Seminary classes
near church history sites

(Note: You may click on pictures to enlarge them.)

West Point, New York

Seminary Sam began his journey in September 2002 with Sister Sherilee Alford and the seven members of her Seminary class at the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York. The U.S. Military Academy, located in the beautiful Hudson River Valley just 50 miles north of New York City, was authorized by President Thomas Jefferson in March 1802. 

The picture above is taken in front of a Civil War monument that honors the members of the Regular Army who gave their lives during that conflict.

The West Point Branch consists of Military Academy cadets, faculty, and staff and a few families from the neighboring village of Highland Falls. This is one of the largest Seminary classes that the West Point Branch has ever had.


Topsfield, Massachusetts

After leaving West Point, Seminary Sam first visited Sister Mary Swenson's Seminary class in Georgetown, Massachusetts. Georgetown is near Topsfield, Massachusetts which was the home of Joseph Smith, Sr. The street sign above is of "Joseph Smith Lane" in Topsfield.

Students from Sister Swenson's Seminary class pose near a Smith family marker in the Topsfield, Massachusetts cemetery.

Seminary Sam is standing near the edge of Rock Pond. Many early members of the church were baptized here.

This is a picture of the home of Nathaniel Holmes. He was an early member of the church in this area. Joseph, Hyrum and other early members met here. (It was referred to as "Mormon Hollow".)


Sharon, Vermont

Seminary Sam next visited Sharon, Vermont -- the birthplace of Joseph Smith, Jr. The plaque above reads: 

Birthplace of
Joseph Smith
The Prophet
1805         1844

Seminary Sam with Brother Carl Hooker's enthusiastic Early Morning Seminary class in Barre, Vermont. (You may click on pictures to enlarge them.)

The text on this plaque reads:

Birthplace of
Joseph Smith     The Prophet
December 23, 1805 - June 27, 1844

This plaque marks the place in the old
Solomon Mack home where rested the family
hearthstone (27 x 54 inches) now preserved 
in the new Bureau of Information
200 feet south east from here.
Around this hearthstone and its glowing fireplace,
two days before Christmas 1805, the Smith family
washed, dressed, and cuddled the future
organizer of "God's Kingdom Restored"

-- December 23, 1963

The plaque above reads:

This stone was the front door step of the
Solomon Mack Home where Joseph Smith was born.
It was also the back doorstep of the cottage which
stood here from 1905 until 1959.


The Joseph Smith Monument (shown above) is located at Joseph Smith, Jr.'s birthplace.  The obelisk is one foot tall for every year of Joseph's life (38 1/2 feet tall).

The text (above) of James 1:5 is found on the four sides of the Joseph Smith Monument. 

The picture above shows one of the four sides of the Joseph Smith Monument in Sharon, Vermont.  It reads:


In the spring of the year of our Lord 1820,
the Father and the Son appeared to him in a glorious vision, called him by name, and instructed him.

Thereafter heavenly angels visited him and revealed 
the principles of the gospel, restored the authority 
of the holy priesthood and the organization of the 
Church of Jesus Christ in its fullness and perfection.

The engraved plates of the Book of Mormon
were given him by the angel Moroni. These he translated 
by the gift and power of God.

He organized the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
on the sixth day of April 1830, with six members.

He devoted his life to the establishment of this church,
and sealed his testimony with his blood.

In his ministry he was constantly supported by his brother Hyrum Smith, who suffered martyrdom with him.

Over a million converts to this testimony have been 
made throughout the world, and this monument has 
been erected in his honor, to commemorate 
the one hundredth anniversary of his birthday,
by members of the church which he organized.

They love and revere him as a prophet of God, 
and call his name blessed forever and ever. Amen.


Palmyra, New York

Seminary Sam next visited Palmyra, New York. This is a picture of the fence-lined path leading from the restored Smith home to the Sacred Grove.

This is a picture taken inside the Sacred Grove where Joseph Smith was visited by God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, "on the morning of a beautiful, clear day, early in the spring of eighteen hundred and twenty" (Joseph Smith-History 1:14). 

Sister Dana Jacobson's Seminary class from nearby Canandaigua, New York is pictured in front of the restored Palmyra log home of the Joseph Smith, Sr. family.

Seminary Sam is resting in the same space where Moroni first visited with Joseph. (The bed is an authentic period piece, but the home has been restored on the same ground where the original stood.)

Seminary Sam and the Seminary class are gathered at the base of the monument on top of the Hill Cumorah. It is "a hill of considerable size. ...On the west side of this hill, not far from the top, under a stone of considerable size, lay the plates, deposited in a stone box" (Joseph Smith-History 1:51).

Sister Jacobson's Seminary class stands at the front door of the Smith's frame home. (Sam is perched on the porch lamp.) Alvin, Joseph's oldest brother, built this home for his parents. It is down the road from the Smith's log cabin.

Sam is standing on the reconstructed hearth (using many of the original bricks) under which it is reported that Joseph at one point hid the plates to keep them from the mobs who searched the Smith's frame home.

Inside the Frame Home is an exact replica of the box Alvin Smith gave to his little brother, Joseph, for the express purpose of keeping the plates. The original box is in the possession of Eldred G. Smith, Patriarch (Emeritus) of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and a direct descendent of Hyrum Smith.

Sam is shown "hanging around" in front of the restored Grandin Building which is where the Book of Mormon was published.

Seminary Sam is relaxing on the Smith Patented Press (which was not named for Joseph or anyone in his family). Without this press, very modern in its day, the Book of Mormon could have taken years to publish. The fully functioning press in this photo was made from molds taken from the original press which resides in the Museum of Church History in Salt Lake City. This press was used to make the sheets hanging in the room. These sheets are folded into sixteen-page "pamphlets" called signatures. About 40 signatures were bound together to make each of the original 5000 copies of the Book of Mormon.

Sam is in what would have been the bookstore section of the Grandin Building (just inside the front door). Certainly Joseph would have spent time in this room talking with E.B. Grandin.

These are pictures of the images found on the four sides of the Moroni monument on the Hill Cumorah. The four sides depict: (1) Joseph receiving the Book of Mormon plates, (2) the Three Witnesses, (3) the Eight Witnesses, and (4) Moroni's promise (Moroni 10:4).

Sam invites his good friends from the Canandaigua Seminary class to join him in one last picture together in Palmyra, the Cradle of the Restoration. The Palmyra Temple is in the background. The tear-filled goodbye was not captured on film, but Sister Jacobson's class wishes Sam well on his future journeys.


Fayette, New York

Seminary Sam was also near Fayette, New York where the church was organized on the 6th of April in 1830.

This is the reconstructed farmhouse of Peter Whitmer. Many important events in church history occurred in the original log home that stood on this spot -- for example, portions of the Book of Mormon were translated and Joseph Smith, Jr. received Doctrine & Covenants sections 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 20, 21, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, and 40. 

The church was organized in a room much like this. (President Spencer W. Kimball conducted the Sunday morning session of General Conference from this room in April 1980.)


Seminary Sam's journeys are continued on page 2.


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Copyright 2003, by Kenneth L. Alford. All rights reserved.