Journal of Book of Mormon Studies


David F. Boone


Modern Church, Hill Cumorah


After nearly three-quarters of a century, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints sought to reestablish its presence in the Palmyra area by sending Willard W. Bean and his family to live in the newly acquired Joseph Smith Sr. home in Manchester, New York. Bean soon discovered he had a difficult task set before him because Joseph Smith and Mormonism were held in derision in Palmyra. During the twenty-four years that the Bean family lived in the home, they overcame ostracization through cultivating friendships and preaching the gospel. Willard Bean was instrumental in the acquisition of additional properties of historical significance, including the Hill Cumorah. He restored and improved the Hill Cumorah and nearby acreage. Having completed their assignment to make friends for the church in Palmyra and to build up the church there, the Beans were released from their mission in 1939.