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Picturing history: Isaac Morley farm in Kirtland, Ohio

When Joseph and Emma Smith arrived in Kirtland, Ohio, they stayed with the Newel K. Whitney family for a few weeks. While there, the Prophet Joseph received a revelation instructing him that he “should have a house built, in which to live and translate” (see Doctrine and Covenants 41:7).

This required Joseph and Emma to move to the nearby farm of Isaac Morley. Morley allowed and helped build that home on his farm. Joseph and Emma lived there for about six months.

Significant events unfolded while they were staying at the Morley farm. Perhaps as many as 13 sections of the Doctrine and Covenants were received while Joseph was living there; a conference of the early members of The Church of Jesus Christ Church of Latter-day Saints was held at the farm June 3-6, 1831; Joseph resumed his translation of the Bible while living there; and a log schoolhouse on the property was the site of important meetings and gatherings.

A number of Saints had remarkable spiritual experiences there. Emma bore twins who both died within a matter of hours. A few days later, Emma and Joseph adopted the infant Murdock twins whose mother, Julia, had passed away on the day of their birth. Those twins were named Joseph and Julia. Little Joseph died less than a year later at the time the Prophet Joseph was tarred and feathered in Hiram, Ohio. Julia lived to adulthood. She passed away near Nauvoo, Illinois, in 1880.

The Morley farm also became an unofficial gathering place for many new converts who moved to Kirtland to be close to the church.

The home seen in these images is situated on what was once part of the Morely farm, but it postdates the Latter-day Saint period of Kirtland’s history. Presently, it is owned by the LDS Church and used as housing for missionary couples.