THE ISAAC MORLEY FARM
Under the direction of Sidney Rigdon, Isaac Morley created an "All Things Common" group called "The Family" or "The Big Family" out on his farm located one mile north of the Newel K. Whitney store in Kirtland. Here they tried to pattern their cluster of people after that which was practiced in New Testament times. (Acts 4:32-37) There were between fifty and one hundred men, women, and children who brought little more than themselves to the colony. A short time after the Prophet Joseph Smith arrived in Kirtland on February 1, 183 1, he acknowledged that the branch of the Church in this part of the Lord's vineyard, which had increased to nearly one hundred members, were striving to do the will of God, so far as they knew it, though some strange notions and false spirits had crept in among them. "With a little caution and some wisdom, I soon assisted the brethren and sisters to overcome them." The plan of "common stock," which had existed in what was called "the family," whose members generally had embraced the everlasting Gospel, was readily abandoned for the more perfect law of the Lord, and false spirits were easily discerned and rejected by the light of revelation.”
In the fall of 1830, the Lord called Parley P. Pratt, Oliver Cowdery, Ziba Peterson, and Peter Whitmer Jr. to serve a mission among the Lamanites. Their journey brought them through this area. After preaching the gospel to Sidney Rigdon they came to the Isaac Morley farm where they taught them the gospel and introduced the Book of Mormon. Isaac Morley and the entire colony became members of the Church.
The Morley farm then became a gathering place and strong hold for early members of the Church arriving in Kirtland.
On about March 1, 1831, the Prophet Joseph and Emma moved in with Isaac Morley while a small home was being built for them on Isaac's farm.
On April 30, 1831, Emma gave birth to twins who died three hours later. That same day, twins were born to John and Julia Murdock. Sister Murdock died after the birth of her twins, and a short time later the twins were given to Joseph and Emma.
Mary Elizabeth Rollins Lightner describes one of the meetings held at the Morley farm where Joseph got up to speak. He began very solemnly and very earnestly and all at once his countenance changed and he stood mute. He turned so white he seemed perfectly transparent. "Brothers and sisters, the Savior has been in your midst this night. I want you all to remember..." He then knelt and prayed. I felt he was talking to the Lord, and the power rested upon us all. I shall remember and see it in my minds eye as long as I remain upon the earth.
From the little fourteen square foot log schoolhouse on top of the hill overlooking the farm, came some of the Church's strongest roots. It was there where the Prophet Joseph made his astounding missionary prophecy that the Church would fill both North and South America, and the world. He also told the brethren that the Saints would go to the Rocky Mountains where they would build temples and raise up their posterity. This was later related by Wilford Woodruff.
The Morley farm was also the location of the fourth General Conference of the Church and the site of the first conference held in Ohio. One of the meetings of this conference was held in the little log schoolhouse where the first twenty-three High Priests were ordained. Among the leaders assembled were Joseph Smith, Jr., Hyrum Smith, Joseph Smith, Sr., Oliver Cowdery, Martin Harris and David Whitmer. According to accounts of the meeting, Satan appeared and the Prophet commanded him to depart. The heavens were then opened and the Lord poured out His spirit upon His servants. Joseph and others saw the Father and His Son Jesus Christ sitting on the right hand of God. After witnessing this manifestation of power, members of the conference left the meeting with a greater knowledge of the divinity of the Father, His Son, and the Church.
The Isaac Morley farm has been referred to as the second sacred grove. The spirit of the Lord is felt as one spends time at this special location that was once owned and operated by a faithful servant of our Heavenly Father.