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Taking You Inside the Sacred Grove in Palmyra New York

Taking You Inside the Sacred Grove in Palmyra New York

We took our family back east on a Church History trip in 2018 and one of the sites we visited was the Sacred Grove in Palmyra, New York. This is one of my all-time favorite places and I was so happy to be able to bring my children there so they could experience it for themselves.

The Sacred Grove was located on property that the Smith family owned, and is where Joseph Smith Jr. received a vision of God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, after his first attempt at praying vocally.

the sacred grove palmyra new york joseph smith first vision

I came to the conclusion that I must either remain in darkness and confusion, or else I must do as James directs, that is, ask of God.

Hopefully, these pictures and videos will give you a better feel for what it is like in the Sacred Grove. Please know that it is a sacred and holy place. I wish I could have spent the whole day there.

We were there on a cloudy day, and that was the only sad part. Usually, the sun is bursting through the grove and you feel as if God is right there with you. The wind was blowing softly through the trees and it was so peaceful and serene. This clip below shows a view of the trees moving softly in the wind with the sound of birds singing in the background.

We walked the trails for about thirty minutes and were soaking in the wonderful spirit that could be felt.

the sacred grove palmyra new york joseph smith first vision

Even though it was cloudy, we went back for a second visit later in the day and I got this one shot of the sun trying to break through the trees.

Sunlight in the Sacred Grove

There are numerous benches along the trail and you’ll find people reading scriptures, pondering, and praying. (We even saw someone taking a nap on one of the benches this time). I had to snap this picture because it was so touching.

the sacred grove palmyra new york joseph smith first vision

This shot was so beautiful to me. I grew up back east and miss all the trees. The forest is truly a sacred place, and it was a place where Joseph and his family would go to pray. Joseph didn’t just get this idea on his own. His mother would often retire to this grove to pour our her soul to God.

the sacred grove palmyra new york joseph smith first vision

“There are places in the world where you somehow know that you are walking on sacred ground. I have felt such feelings on occasion as I have stood before nature’s beauty. So pristine and pure, I know that this is a moment to absorb and remember.” – Jon McNaughton 

Here is another beautiful shot of all the green that is there. This photo almost looks fake because of how green it is!

the sacred grove palmyra new york joseph smith first vision

I retired to the silent grove…

As you can see below, there is a collection of rocks that were used as property lines which the Smith family potentially made. Above these rocks, they would have built fences. It was incredible to see these rocks and realize whose hands put them there. There is also a short video clip below showing the rocks in more detail.

the sacred grove palmyra new york joseph smith first vision

If you’ve never been inside the Sacred Grove before, I shot this little video of a small portion of the trail so you could get a feel for what it is like there. This truly is a sacred place. If you have the chance to make a trip to New York to visit the Sacred Grove, do it!


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Charlie Reitze

Monday 13th of January 2020

What time in the spring when everything is in blossom is the best time to visit.

Saturday 6th of July 2019

We visited the sacred grove many years ago and we were the only two people there. It was awesome, truly awesome! I can still remember how peaceful and tranquil it felt there and I felt the same way viewing your pictures. Thank you!

Tuesday 23rd of April 2019

Ben, thanks for your tour of the sacred Grove. I was a missionary there in the mid 60’s. Your tour brought tears and beautiful memories.

Doris Williams

Friday 29th of June 2018

Your pictures of the sacred grove touched me deeply, Ben. It's been many years since we were there, but through your pictures, it was even more sacred and beautiful as we were there with many other people on a tour. Your videos touched my heart too. Thank you for sharing your experience with your awesome family.


Monday 25th of June 2018

I am so thankful for that. I will never come the America to see that in real but this Video. It calmes me really down in These days were I struggle again so hard. Thanks for that.

Ben Arkell

Tuesday 26th of June 2018

You are so very welcome! That is why we shared this article, we are hoping to help others see what they can't only because of being so far away.