More than three thousand years before Joseph Smith was born, the Joseph who was sold into Egypt prophesied about him and the restoration of the gospel: “And his name shall be called after me; and it shall be after the name of his father. And he shall be like unto me; for the thing, which the Lord shall bring forth by his hand, by the power of the Lord shall bring my people unto salvation.” (2 Ne. 3:15.) The Lord preserved America as a chosen land and designated it as the site where Joseph Smith would help usher in the Restoration. The following dates show when some of the early events of the Restoration took place. Most of these Church history sites may be visited today.
December 23, 1805 Joseph Smith was born in a log cabin in the township of Sharon, Vermont. In 1905 a nearly 100-ton granite monument was erected to mark his birthplace. Each foot of the 38 1/2′ (11.7 m) tall monument represents a year in Joseph Smith’s life.
Spring 1820 When the Smith family was living near Palmyra, New York, fourteen-year-old Joseph wondered what church he should join. After reading James 1:5, he left the log house to find a place to pray. While praying in a grove of trees, God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ appeared to Joseph and told him not to join any church.
1822 Near the Sacred Grove, Joseph, his older brother Alvin, and their father started building a frame house. Joseph was nineteen when the family moved into their new home.
September 21–22, 1823 While Joseph was living in the log house, Moroni appeared to him at least four times. During Moroni’s first visit, Joseph saw in a vision that the gold plates were hidden in the Hill Cumorah, which was about three miles away. Today a monument is located at the top of the hill, and each summer the Hill Cumorah Pageant is presented there.
January 18, 1827 Joseph Smith and Emma Hale were married. They met while Joseph was working and boarding in the township of Harmony, Pennsylvania. The couple moved in with Joseph’s parents in New York. Seeking a safer place to translate the Book of Mormon, they moved to Harmony (now Oakland), Pennsylvania, in December. They transported the sacred records there in a barrel of beans.
May 15, 1829 While Joseph and Oliver Cowdery were praying in the woods near Harmony, John the Baptist appeared to them and restored the Aaronic Priesthood. Joseph and Oliver baptized each other in the Susquehanna River. Later in May or in June, Peter, James, and John appeared to them and restored the Melchizedek Priesthood. Monuments commemorating these events in the Restoration can be found near the town of Oakland, Pennsylvania.
March 26, 1830 The Book of Mormon was published by Egbert B. Grandin in Palmyra, New York.
April 6, 1830 Twenty-four-year-old Joseph Smith organized the Church in the Peter Whitmer home in Fayette Township, New York. About sixty people witnessed this historic event.