Sacred Grove, Manchester, New York

The Sacred Grove in early spring, where young Joseph Smith, Jr. experienced the First Vision Photo courtesy of David C. Wadsworth
The Sacred Grove in early spring, where young Joseph Smith, Jr. experienced the First Vision
Photo courtesy of David C. Wadsworth

When Joseph Smith, Jr. was fourteen years old, he wanted to know which church he should join. Joseph was confused with the religious tumult of differing opinions. In his search for truth, he read in James 1:5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” Joseph decided that the only way that he was going to know which church to join was to ask God. On a spring morning in 1820, he went into a nearby woods, which has since become known as the Sacred Grove. Joseph describes his experience as follows:

“I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me. It no sooner appeared than I found myself delivered from the enemy which held me bound. When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other-This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!” 1

Key Events at the Sacred Grove

  • God the Father and Jesus Christ appeared to the 14 year old Joseph Smith, Jr. in 1820.
  • The grove was purchased in 1907 and is currently maintained by the Church.
The Sacred Grove. Photo (2009) by Kenneth Mays.
The Sacred Grove. Photo (2009) by Kenneth Mays.

Joseph was also told that he should join none of the churches because “they were all wrong; and the Personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight; that those professors were all corrupt; that: ‘they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof.2

Joseph left the grove with a personal knowledge of the existence of God and Jesus Christ. Through this and other experiences, he was chosen to help restore Jesus Christ’s church to the Earth. His experience in the Sacred Grove ranks among the most important events to have ever occurred.

The Sacred Grove. Photo (2006) by Kenneth Mays.
The Sacred Grove. Photo (2006) by Kenneth Mays.

The grove was purchased in 1907 from William Chapman and is currently maintained by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.3


SOURCES

 

1 Joseph Smith History 1:16-17.

2 Joseph Smith History 1:19.

3 Encyclopedia of Mormonism, 1-4 vols., edited by Daniel H. Ludlow [New York: Macmillan, 1992], 3:1248.

Map & Directions


View Larger Map

Hours of Operation:
November – March
Monday – Saturday: 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Sunday: 1:00 PM – 5:00 PM
April – May
Monday – Saturday: 9:00 AM to 8:00 PM
Sunday: 12:00 PM – 6:00 PM
June – August
Monday – Saturday: 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM
Sunday: 11:00 AM – 7:00 PM
September – October
Monday – Saturday: 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM
Sunday: 1:00 PM – 6:00 PM

Admission: Free

Ownership Status

The Sacred Grove is a Church Historic Site owned and maintained by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Visitors are welcome to visit the grove during daylight hours. Respectful behavior and dress are expected and appreciated. Admission is free.

Sacred Grove: LDS Church Link

Photos

The Sacred Grove. Photo (1985) by Kenneth Mays.
The Sacred Grove. Photo (1985) by Kenneth Mays.
The Sacred Grove. Photo (2001 ) by Kenneth Mays.
The Sacred Grove. Photo (2001
) by Kenneth Mays.
The Sacred Grove. Photo (2002) by Kenneth Mays.
The Sacred Grove. Photo (2002) by Kenneth Mays.
The Sacred Grove. Photo (2006) by Kenneth Mays.
The Sacred Grove. Photo (2006) by Kenneth Mays.
The Sacred Grove. Photo (2006) by Kenneth Mays.
The Sacred Grove. Photo (2006) by Kenneth Mays.

Articles & Resources

Joseph Smith, Jr.'s 1835 Account of the First Vision

Author(s): Warren Cowdery
Type: Third-person account
Source(s): Milton V. Backman, Jr., Joseph Smith’s First Vision: Confirming Evidences and Contemporary Accounts, 2d ed. rev. (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1980), 158-159.

Monday Nov. 9th … While sitting in his house this morning between the hours of ten an eleven a man came in and introduced himself to him calling himself Joshua the Jewish Minister. His appearance was something singular, having a beard about three inches in length which is quite grey, his hair was also long and considerably silvered…

Joseph Smith, Jr.'s 1842 Account of the First Vision

Author(s): Joseph Smith, Jr.
Type: First-person account
Source(s): Times and Seasons, Vol. 3, No. 9, (March 1, 1842), 707.

My father was a farmer and taught me the art of husbandry. When about fourteen years of age I began to reflect upon the importance of being prepared for a future state, and upon enquiring…

Sacred Grove, at LDS.org

Sacred Grove, at JosephSmith.net

Sacred Grove, at Doctrine & Covenants Revelvation Sites Website

James B. Allen, “Eight Contemporary Accounts of Joseph Smith’s First Vision – What Do We Learn From Them?” Improvement Era, 1970.

James B. Allen, “The Significance of Joseph Smith’s ‘First Vision’ In Mormon Thought,” Dialogue, 1966.

Richard Lloyd Anderson, “Circumstantial Confirmation of the First Vision Through Reminiscences,” BYU Studies, 1969.

Milton V. Backman, Jr., “Awakenings in the Burned-Over District: New Light on the Historical Setting of the First Vision,” BYU Studies, 1969.

Milton V. Backman, Jr., “Confirming Witnesses of the First Vision,” Ensign, January 1986, 34.

Milton V. Backman, Jr., Joseph Smith’s First Vision: The First Vision in its Historical Context, 1971.

Milton V. Backman, Jr., “Joseph Smith’s Recitals of the First Vision,” Ensign, January 1985, 8.

Richard L. Bushman, “The First Vision Revisited,” Dialogue, 1969.

Donald L. Enders, “The Sacred Grove,” Ensign, April 1990, 15.

Donald L. Enders, “Sacred Grove,” Encyclopedia of Mormonism, ed. Daniel H. Ludlow et al., 1992.

Dean C. Jessee, “The Early Accounts of Joseph Smith’s First Vision,” BYU Studies, 1969.

Anthon H. Lund, “Joseph Smith’s First Vision and Scripture Promises” Improvement Era, April 1920.

Orson Pratt, A[n] Interesting Account of Several Remarkable Visions, And of the Late Discovery of Ancient American Records, 1840.

John A Widtsoe, “Joseph Smith – The Significance of the First Vision,” Annual Joseph Smith Memorial Sermon, 1946.

Sacred Grove PDF