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Joseph Smith birthplace memorial.

Birthplace of the Prophet Joseph Smith

Field review by the editors.

South Royalton, Vermont

We're not Mormons, but we're inexplicably drawn to Joseph Smith landmarks along our trip routes. Vermont is one of the easternmost -- his birthplace, and where his trek westward into prophethood and martyrdom began.

Joseph Smith was born on the town line between Sharon and Royalton on December 23, 1805. The LDS Church owns 350 acres of pretty, landscaped forest and hilltop leading up to a memorial pillar.

Mormon Tabernacle Choir music is broadcast from speakers hidden in the woods (and tipster Philip Deslippe observed on his visit there were "plenty of tour guides in suits to make your experience as bizarre and uncomfortable as possible.")

The granite monument is 52 feet tall and the shaft is 38.5 feet high, commemorating Smith's age at his death in Carthage, Illinois in 1844. Dedicated on December 23, 1905, the 100th anniversary of his birth. Smith lived in Vermont until he was ten years old.

"Joseph Smith The Prophet" appears in every engraved mention. "Martyr to God" is sometimes included as well.

No mention of Smith's dozens of wives, or that his practice of polygamy, rather than his religion, may have motivated people to kill him (Also, the Mormon's anti-slavery beliefs were dangerously out of step with the times). After the mob got him in Carthage, Vermonter Brigham Young succeeded Smith as the Mormon's leader.

We noticed several courtesy umbrellas leaning against the gift shop wall. There are lots of benches for sitting, and spotless, excellent groundskeeping and lawn care.

Also see: Mormon Handcart Tragedy

Birthplace of the Prophet Joseph Smith

357 LDS Ln., South Royalton, VT
Off Dairy Hill Rd. between Sharon and South Royalton.
M-Sa 9-5, Su 1:30-5. Gated after hours. (Call to verify) Local health policies may affect hours and access.
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