New Mormon Center To Showcase Historic Religious Site

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A part of Susquehanna County's history is going to be showcased in a big way and by an organization that may be a surprise: the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints!

The church says the Mormon religion was started in Susquehanna County, and the church is building a historic center on the site of its founder's home.

Despite the rainy weather on Thursday, the work was going strong, getting these structures off the ground in Susquehanna County.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, known also as Mormonism, is building a historic religious center on Route 171 near Susquehanna borough.

Folks in Susquehanna, they're impressed with how it looks already.

“It's great. We're really thrilled with the whole idea because they're doing a wonderful job on the business, really beautiful building,” said Joann Olivo, owner of Olivo's Pizza.

The main building will hold a visitors center and meeting house or chapel.

The church says the location it sits on is considered sacred ground since this where the church's founder, Joseph Smith, is believed to have lived during the 1800s.

The church says it was here in Oakland Township where Smith received the Priesthood from John the Baptist and started the Mormon religion.

Once the center opens, the church expects thousands of its members will visit the site yearly.

That's good news for area businesses.

“We're always looking for a lot of new people, the way the economy is these days you don't know from day to day how busy your business is going to be,” said Tara Burlingame at the Depot Restaurant.

“We need people to come in a see the little town and we're thrilled. We're hoping that there are more and more business come in with that influx of people,” said Olivo.

The church is also building a replica of home where Smith lived with his wife, Emma, during which time he transcribed a large portion of the Book of Mormon.

Some residents says they didn't know the Mormon religion began here.

They say showcasing the historic site with the new center will help to spread that story.

“I didn't know until a couple years ago, so it's just a little spot they had out there,” said Olivo.

The church says the center is expected to open in the late summer or early fall of next year.


  • David Wright

    I too say thanks to Channel 16 for the news report. At least they showed the sign in front of the construction while leaving Christ out of their reporting.

  • Scot Proctor

    Thanks for the reports from Channel 16. As a journalist, I just wanted to say that the two anchors kept referring to the Church as The Church of the Latter-day Saints. That is not the name of the Church. It is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I do appreciate their coverage, however as I have been coming to this site in Pennsylvania for the past 34 years. I’m sorry for the hatred expressed by Mr. Rovenolt below. He is, unfortunately mistaken and misjudging a religion he clearly knows nothing about. Oh, any by the way, I have been willingly and happily paying my Tithing (see Malachi 3: 8-10 in the Old Testament) for more than 50 years. If I did not pay it I would not face excommunication, I would only face a loss of the amazing blessings that come from offering it freely.

  • Jean Edwards

    Thank you for doing a news piece on the construction at the Priesthood Restoration Site. Kudos to Channel 16 for reporting on this exciting development in our little community!

  • John Rovenolt

    Mormonism is a cult of persons very willing to annoy, irritate, and pester non-Mormons into joining their repugnant, homophobic, and grandeur way of life.

    Time and time again, Mormon missionaries visit my apartment complex purposely ignoring the “No Solicitation” sign posted at the driveway entrance. Time and time again, property management must call local police to press charges for “no trespassing.” for they are ignoring this sign after numerous warnings have been issued to the local Mormon Ward. They purposely cannot respect other people’s faith and find the necessity to brainwash others with a mentally ill man’s story (Joseph Smith) of how gold tablets fell from the sky in Oneonta NY.

    Further, the un-election of Willard Mitt Romney was a blessing to America for he would have wanted to take his Mormon faith into the halls of Congress, nominate Mormons to the Supreme Court, and spread it across all fifty states. SIMPLY STATED: Mormonism is a cult of wealthy, repugnant, and uncharitable fat-cats who are MANDATED to give 10% of their income to their local church or face excommunication. That is big sign Mormonism is a cult!

    • Jessica Chyko

      Wow. I am so sorry to see the level of hate you have for people who are just trying to live their religion the best they can. Missionaries are sent into the world to share the gospel, they give up 18 months to 2 years of their time to serve full time at their own expense so they can serve others and bring them to Christ. You are free to accept or reject their invitation to come unto Him. There is no brainwashing whatsoever, as people are encouraged to seek answers and pray to receive confirmation of the truth. Nobody forces anyone to believe anything. The golden plates did not “fall from the sky” as you claim. An angel of the Lord led him to the hill where they were buried. They are record of the indigenous people of this continent who were led here from the old world thousands of years ago. If you believe that God created the world and all the people in it, then you would understand that he loves everyone, not only the ones living in a tiny strip of land in the middle east, and therefor would have had contact with his people throughout the ages in the same manner, ie through prophets, angelic ministration, etc. Jesus said in John 10:16 “And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.” Clearly, He Himself just told the world that He has other people to visit, and logic would state that there would be a testament to such a momentous occasion. Hence the Book of Mormon, brought forth not through the power of man, but through the power of God. If you were to actually read the Book of Mormon, you would see how it confirms the truth of the Bible and testifies as a second witness to the divinity of Jesus Christ as the one and Only Begotten Son of God. All Christians should rejoice that there is another witness to confirm this. As for being a cult of wealthy, repugnant men, etc, I’m sure you can say that about any religion or organization that has anyone wealthy, repugnant, etc as I’m sure you can find people to fit that description anywhere. It would be ludicrous to judge a whole group of people (numbering 15 million+) by the actions and status of one person. In case you were unaware, the concept of tithing (which literally means “a tenth”) goes back to Old Testament times. The Lord commanded it back then and it is still valid today, as He has not rescinded that commandment. If you were a true believing Christian that follows all His commandments, then that would be one which you should be following too. You will NOT be excommunicated from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints by not paying tithing.

      For anyone looking for accurate information reguarding The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I invite you to visit

    • A

      Very much like the Catholic Church that wants 10% of your income and allows you to sit and be told that no matter what you do you’re going to hell. I remember going to church and looking around at all the people with their noses in the air, despite the laundry list of sins and felonies that pull off each week. Homophobic? What church isn’t?
      It is nice to see something positive being done in any area.
      Would you also be complaining if they built a manufacturing facility and put people to work?

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