Millions of Mormons Fete Founder's Birth
By JENNIFER DOBNER
The Associated Press
Friday, December 23, 2005; 3:55 AM
SHARON, Vt. -- On the eve of the 200th anniversary of Mormon church founder Joseph Smith's birth, church President Gordon B. Hinckley voyaged to the Vermont hillside where Smith was believed to have been born.
Looking up at the monument built in Smith's honor, he had just one observation: "Beautiful."
Records from Smith family diaries place his birth on Dec. 23, 1805 on the country hillside, near the New Hampshire border. A hearthstone and a moss-covered front step are all that remain of the original home where the Smith family ran a small farm.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints built and dedicated the 38 1/2-foot monument to Smith — one foot of granite for each year of his life — in 1905.
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