Calling it “a place which will have the mark of immortality in the history of this people,” President Gordon B. Hinckley dedicated the John Johnson home in Hiram, Ohio, on 28 October. The home, a historic site located on the Church-owned Johnson farm, was recently restored, as closely as possible, to how it appeared when Joseph and Emma Smith lived there in the early 1830s.
“So long as this Church lasts, so long as it goes across the earth, so long as its history is written and known, the John Johnson home will have a prominent place in that history,” President Hinckley said in his remarks at the dedication ceremony, held in a Church meetinghouse near the farm. The meeting was also broadcast to other Church units in the area.
The Prophet Joseph Smith lived in the Johnson home, located 25 miles from Kirtland, Ohio, for about one year beginning in September 1831. During this period, Joseph received 15 revelations of the Doctrine and Covenants, including section 1, which became the book’s preface. At the home in February 1832, Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon beheld a vision of the Son of God on the right hand of the Father. This vision, along with revealed doctrine about the three degrees of glory, is recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 76 [D&C 76]. It was also while living in the Johnson home that Joseph Smith completed a significant portion of his translation of the Bible.
“The power of God that was expressed here and known here … has gone over the earth, and we have scarcely seen the beginning of it, my brothers and sisters,” said President Hinckley. “It will go forward, and whereas there are 11 million [Church members] now, there will be uncounted millions.”
Although this period was marked by many marvelous revelations, it was also a time of severe persecution. On a cold night in March 1832, a mob dragged Joseph and Sidney from their beds, beat them, tried to poison them, then poured hot tar and feathers on their bodies. Joseph and Emma’s infant son, exposed to the cold when the mob entered the home, died five days later.
In his dedicatory prayer, President Hinckley said, “We dedicate and consecrate the John Johnson home as a place sacred unto Thee and unto us, as a place in which Thou didst reveal Thyself with Thy Beloved Son, as a place in which the Prophet lived and translated the Bible, as well as brought forth under the direction of Thy Son many revelations, and as a place where he suffered so terribly. …
“May this home continue now as a reminder to our people from far and near who may come to visit us, that Thou dost live; that Thou dost speak; that Thy Son lives and dost speak; and that a Prophet has recorded the things which Thou hast spoken on these premises and held them sacred unto us who live in this favored time.”