Harmony (now know as Oakland), Pennsylvania is historically significant for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. In December of 1827 Joseph Smith Jr. and wife Emma moved to Harmony, Pennsylvania to escape persecution. It was here that Joseph began translating The Book of Mormon with Emma acting as scribe until Martin Harris arrived in April 1828. From April until June Martin acted as scribe to Joseph for the first 116 pages. The translation was interrupted for a time, but was resumed in February of 1829. Progress was slow because Joseph and Emma had a farm to work as well as working the translation. In April of 1829 Oliver Cowdery came to visit the prophet and soon became his scribe.
|Woods right next to the Susquehanna River||Location along the Susquehanna River believed to be where Joseph and Oliver were baptized.|
|Early 1907 picture of the Aaronic Priesthood Restoration site.|
While translating 3 Nephi 11, Joseph and Oliver learned about the Savior instructing the people on baptism and wondered about their own baptism. They decided to retire to the woods near the Susquehanna River to pray about the matter. Oliver later recounted what took place, "on a sudden, as from the midst of eternity, the voice of the Redeemer spake peace to us, while the veil was parted and the angel of God came down clothed with glory, and delivered the anxiously looked for message, and the keys of the Gospel of repentance." The angel was John the Baptist who place his hands on them saying, "Upon you my fellow servants, in the name of Messiah I confer the Priesthood of Aaron, which holds the keys of the ministering of angels, and of the gospel of repentance, and of baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; and this shall never be taken again from the earth, until the sons of Levi do offer again an offering unto the Lord in righteousness" (D&C 13). Once John the Baptist had conferred the Aaronic Priesthood on Joseph and Oliver, he then instructed them to baptize one another and then ordain each other to the Aaronic Priesthood. Later the Melchizedek Priesthood was conferred on Joseph and Oliver also along the banks of the Susquehanna River. The exact location of this event is not known.
Joseph and Oliver translated most of the Book of Mormon while in Harmony. Joseph also received 15 revelations which became part of the Doctrine and Covenants.