Joseph Smith Birthplace Memorial

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The obelisk in May 2009

Joseph Smith Birthplace Memorial is a granite obelisk on a hill in the White River Valley near Sharon and South Royalton, Vermont[1] that marks the spot where Joseph Smith, Jr. was born on 23 December 1805. The monument was erected by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), which recognizes Smith as its first president and founding prophet. The LDS Church continues to own and operate the site as a tourist attraction.

History[edit]

In 1884, LDS Church leader Junius F. Wells visited Smith's birthplace and conceived a plan to build a monument to the Mormon prophet.[2] Under the direction of church president Joseph F. Smith, Wells oversaw the construction of the monument in 1905. The Joseph Smith Birthplace Memorial was dedicated by Joseph F. Smith on the 100th anniversary of Joseph Smith, Jr.'s birth, on December 23, 1905.

Description[edit]

The monument stands 50 feet tall and weighs approximately 100 tons. The 40-ton shaft of the obelisk is 38½ feet long: one for each year of Smith's life. The obelisk was quarried in Barre, Vermont, and is often cited as a "remarkable engineering feat"[3] and "one of the largest polished shafts in the world".[4]

A visitors' center and an LDS Church meetinghouse sit on the same property as the memorial. Admission to the visitor's center and tours of the memorial site are free.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ The monument itself lies just within the corporate boundaries of Royalton, Vermont. However, the foundations of the cabin that it is believed Smith was born in lie just over the boundary line in Sharon, Vermont.
  2. ^ Susa Young Gates, "Memorial Monument Dedication", Improvement Era, Feb. 1906.
  3. ^ See, e.g., Keith A. Erekson, "The Joseph Smith Memorial Monument and Royalton’s 'Mormon Affair': Religion, Community, Memory, and Politics in Progressive Vermont", Vermont History 73:117–151 (2005) at p. 118.
  4. ^ See, e.g., Joseph Smith Birthplace Memorial.

References[edit]

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]