Celebrating Harmony's history

Much goodwill generated in community

Historical sites from some of the earliest days of the Church formed the backdrop for the second annual "Celebration of Harmony," sponsored by the Scranton Pennsylvania Stake on June 29.

Exterior of the Oakland Township offices receives fresh coat of white paint.
Exterior of the Oakland Township offices receives fresh coat of white paint. Photo: Photo by Diane Poindexter

Events on a sunny Saturday in the Harmony, Pa., area included tours of Church history sites, service projects, games, demonstrations, displays and a musical stage production. About 600 people joined in the celebration, many enjoying a barbecue lunch provided by the Susquehanna Volunteer Fire Company.

Visitors, including family members and friends of those living in the stake, came from The Netherlands, Utah, Florida, West Virginia and Vermont, as well as from neighboring stakes.

Scranton Pennsylvania Stake President Bradley Mains said: "Members of the Scranton stake share a great affection for the Priesthood Restoration Site which lies within the boundaries of the stake and have done a marvelous work in telling the story of this sacred site through this celebration. Much good has been generated in the community as a result of the hours of service rendered there by our youth and their leaders. Truly, the stake united in a great, consecrated effort of time, talents and energies to bring this event together."

Members of the stake presidency and high council conducted walking tours of the Isaac Hale homestead and the site of Joseph and Emma Smith's first home where much of the Book of Mormon was translated from the gold plates.

Other points of interest included the monument commemorating the visit of John the Baptist and the restoration of the Aaronic Priesthood and the site of Joseph Smith's and Oliver Cowdery's baptism along the banks of the Susquehanna River. The privately owned McCune cemetery, where Emma's parents and Joseph and Emma's first son, Alvin, are buried, was also included in the tours.

The cemetery, along with Oakland Township, benefited from 200 man-hours of community service provided during the day by more than 80 youth and their Young Men and Young Women leaders from the Scranton stake, as well as missionaries from the Pennsylvania Harrisburg Mission.

Local members Paul Taylor and Laura Crossett portray Emma and Joseph Smith.
Local members Paul Taylor and Laura Crossett portray Emma and Joseph Smith. Photo: Photo by Diane Poindexter

The exterior of the Oakland Township offices was given a fresh coat of white paint and the local park was cleaned and park benches painted. The cemetery was thoroughly cleaned, headstones straightened and bare ground re-seeded.

Members of the community praised the efforts of the "army of Mormon youth."

Demonstrations and displays organized by the stake Relief Society for the celebration included quilting, spinning wool, butter churning, breadmaking and other homemaking tasks as done by early settlers in Susquehanna County. The stake Primary organized children's games.

At the conclusion of the day, visitors gathered on the Hale Farm in front of a stage for the one-hour musical production. The stage was newly constructed by a crew of volunteers led by Brad Hall of the Susquehanna Branch.

Under the direction of Laura Crossett of the Scranton Ward, members of the stake portrayed through word, song and dance events in the lives of Joseph and Emma from their early childhood through their courtship, marriage and the birth and death of their son Alvin. Scenes depicting the translation of the Book of Mormon, the baptisms of Joseph and Oliver, and the restoration of the priesthood highlighted the production. The cast was joined by full-time missionaries currently serving in the Scranton stake for the finale, representing the "marvelous work" now going forth among the children of men as spoken of in Doctrine and Covenants Section 4, given to the Prophet Joseph in Harmony.

John Machir of the Montrose Branch who composed, arranged and orchestrated much of the music, directed the Scranton stake orchestra organized for the event. Sister Crossett, who played the role of Emma in addition to adding direction to the production, also composed original music. Kerri Madsen of the Nazareth Ward composed an original song used in the show.

Pamela Burt of the Scranton Ward coordinated costumes for the cast portraying Joseph Smith Jr., Emma Hale Smith, Joseph Smith Sr., Lucy Mack Smith, Issac Hale, Elizabeth Hale and their families, as well as Joseph's employer Josiah Stowell, Martin Harris, Oliver Cowdery, Jesse Knight, members of a mob and heavenly messengers.

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