Sam visits Seminary classes
near church history sites
(Note: You may click on pictures to enlarge them.)
West Point, New York
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.
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.
Sam is standing near the edge of Rock Pond. Many early members of the church were baptized here.
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
Seminary Sam next visited Sharon, Vermont -- the birthplace of Joseph
Smith, Jr. The plaque above reads:
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
Joseph Smith The Prophet
December 23, 1805 - June 27, 1844
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.
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).
text (above) of James 1:5 is found on the four sides of the Joseph
picture above shows one of the four sides of the Joseph Smith
Monument in Sharon, Vermont. It reads:
OF JOSEPH SMITH
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.
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.
engraved plates of the Book of Mormon
were given him by the angel Moroni. These he translated
by the gift and power of God.
organized the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
on the sixth day of April 1830, with six members.
devoted his life to the establishment of this church,
and sealed his testimony with his blood.
his ministry he was constantly supported by his brother Hyrum
Smith, who suffered martyrdom with him.
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.
love and revere him as a prophet of God,
and call his name blessed forever and ever. Amen.
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.
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).
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.
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.)
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).
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
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.
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).
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.)
Sam's journeys are continued on page 2.
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© Copyright 2003, by Kenneth L. Alford. All rights