Mormon Community Dedicated Site Where Church Began

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OAKLAND TOWNSHIP -- It was a historic day for the Mormon community in our area as the faithful dedicated the site where the church started nearly 200 years ago in Susquehanna County.

The priesthood site along Route 171 near Susquehanna Borough took more than a year to complete along with restoration of the former home of the founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The dedication ceremony Saturday. Video from the dedication came from the church.

The Mormons eventually moved to Utah, but church members say many of the key events in the organization of the church happened along the Susquehanna River in the early 1800's.

"It's absolutely delightful. To come here on a beautiful day like this and see the structure, see the trails, see the restored historic homes. It's a testament to what we believe," said Reid Neilson, church historian.

Church leader Ken Cooper said, "It allows for our church to have a vehicle where people can learn from our perspective, what it means. As well as even clearing up a lot of misconceptions that people have about our involvement here in the area back in the early 1800's."

There's a visitor's center which includes a chapel on the property along with both Joseph Smith's home and his wife Emma's.

Church members say the homes were built to the best historical accuracy as possible here in Susquehanna County.