church history with John Bytheway Header

June 22 – July 1, 2024


$2,300 per person (based on double occupancy)

$2,975 pp single occupancy

$2,200 pp triple occupancy

$2,100 pp quad occupancy

Hosted by John and Kim Bytheway

Tour Includes

Not Included:


Fly to Rochester, New York. Take the complimentary shuttle to your hotel to rest and overnight prior to beginning your exciting and informative Church History Tour.

Our tour begins by climbing the crest of the Hill Cumorah. As we tour the visitor center we hear from the missionaries of the local history. After the Hill Cumorah, we see the Grandin Press, this is where the first copies of the Book of Mormon were printed. Following, we visit the Martin Harris Farm before visiting Church history sites in Palmyra.

Church History Sites:

Hill Cumorah

A historic hill, it overlooks the final resting places of two entire civilizations that once inhabited this land, and whose history is found in the Book of Mormon. From here, the prophet, Moroni, wrote of the final destruction of his people before depositing their sacred history into a stone box atop this very hill. At the visitors center, you may reflect upon this monumental history, its implications, its importance and relevance in our lives. 

The Sacred Grove

Time is available here to reflect upon the significance of this event, including the personal influence it has had on you. In addition to the Sacred Grove, the Smith Family Farm includes other historic structures, such as the log home where the Smith family lived. Unfortunately, there are usually many mosquitos in this area, therefore we encourage guests to bring repellent for personal use.

The Grandin Press

Today this historic site is open to the public year-round. It features restorations of the original bookstore, printer’s office, printing press, and bindery. It also features exhibits about Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon, and the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ. E.B. Grandin agreed to print 5,000 copies of the Book of Mormon in June 1829 for a cost of $3,000. Copies of the book were first sold to the public at Grandin’s bookstore in 1830. Since then, more than 176 million copies of the book have been printed in more than 100 languages.

Overnight in Rochester.

In the morning we travel through the Finger Lakes region to the Peter Whitmer Farm. From there, we travel southeast, stopping for lunch at Taughannock Falls. At the falls we will have some time to reflect on Church history in New York and then continue our journey to Harmony. There, we will see the new Visitor’s Center, and replicas of both the Hale home, as well as Joseph and Emma’s first home.

Church History Sites:
Peter Whitmer Farm

Peter and Mary Whitmer allowed Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery to live in their home in June 1829 so the two men could complete the translation of the Book of Mormon. Joseph’s wife, Emma, later joined them there. The Whitmer Farm was also the place where the angel Moroni showed three men, now known as the Three Witnesses, the golden plates from which the Book of Mormon was translated. On April 6, 1830, about 55 people gathered in the Whitmer’s home, where Joseph Smith presided over the organization of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

Home of Isaac & Elizabeth Hale

About a year after Joseph and Emma Smith married, they lived with Emma’s parents, Isaac and Elizabeth Hale. The reconstructed Hale home, built at its original location, offers a glimpse into Emma’s life as a child and as a young woman. You will also see the place where Joseph began translating the Book of Mormon.

Joseph and Emma’s Home

After living in the Hale home for a short time, Joseph and Emma moved into a smaller home. This home has also been reconstructed at its original location. Emma gave birth to her first child here. Joseph translated most of the Book of Mormon here, with Oliver Cowdery and others acting as scribes. Joseph and Emma were living in this home when the restoration of the priesthood began.

McKune Cemetery

Before you return to the visitor’s center, you may want to spend some time at the McKune Cemetery. Joseph and Emma buried their firstborn child, a son, near other Hale family graves in this cemetery. Please be considerate and reverent in this place, especially during memorial services. It is a public cemetery, and many local residents have close family members buried here.

Overnight in Sayre.

In the morning we travel towards Kirtland, Ohio to see the Church history sites there. We will stop for lunch at an overlook of Lake Erie and then continue our travels. Once in Kirtland we will tour the historic Kirtland Temple owned by the Community of Christ. We will also take time to visit the cemetery in Kirtland, reviewing the lives of some of the saints who were buried there. 

Church History Sites:
Kirtland Temple

The Kirtland Temple was the first temple constructed after the restoration of the Church of Jesus Christ. Long-anticipated, the early church members made several sacrifices to see to the fulfillment of its construction. Following its dedication, heavenly visitations and important revelations occurred within the temple walls. Including events such as the appearance of Jesus Christ, Moses, Elias, and Elijah. Plus, the receipt of sections of the Doctrine and Covenants.

Due to financial difficulties and persecution in Kirtland, the Church eventually lost the ownership of the temple. Various religious denominations and other associations used the temple as a meeting house and other purposes. Eventually, efforts to restore and preserve the Kirtland Temple were made. Now, it is owned and operated by the Community of Christ. We will head east and stop along the shores of Lake Erie, one of the Great Lakes. 

Overnight in Eastlake near Kirtland.

Today we will visit the Isaac Morley farm before we tour the LDS Visitor Center. The guides there will take us to Church history sites such as the sawmill, the Johnson Historic Hotel, and the Newel K. Whitney store. At the store you will have the opportunity to sit in the actual room where the School of the Prophets took place. Afterwards, we continue our way south to the John Johnson Farm. This is where Joseph Smith was dragged from his bed and savagely tarred and feathered. 

Church History Sites:
Emma & Joseph Home

This home once belonged to Joseph and Emma Smith, while living in Kirtland. This home has only recently been restored, and as a result, is now open for guided tours of the property. 

Historic Kirtland

Including sites such as the visitors center, Newel K Whitney store, and downtown historic Kirtland. Missionaries guide us through each site, as well as introduce us to sites of revelation and spiritual guidance.

John Johnson Farm

One night a group of men broke into this home and ripped Joseph from his bed. They forced him outside and carreid him to a meadow some distance away, where they tarred and feathered him. The next day, after Emma nursed his wounds and cleaned the tar and feathers from his skin, he delivered a sermon.

In the evening we will enjoy a lovely dinner with the Amish in Charm, Ohio. We will stay the night at the Guggisberg Inn. 

We will spend some time on our motor coach this day as we travel across Ohio and Indiana to Illinois.

Dinner in Abraham Lincoln’s hometown and then overnight in Springfield.

Today we explore the sacred site of the prophet Joseph Smith’s martyrdom at Carthage Jail. After this, we will move on to Nauvoo, a trove of Church history.

Church History Sites:
Carthage Jail

Of course, this site is infamous for the martyrdom of Joseph Smith, the Prophet of the Restoration. Within the walls of the fated room, the bullet holes are still visible in the wooden door. Traditionally, the blood of Hyrum Smith and others in the room stayed on the wooden floor boards for more than 100 years. After which, the prophet chose to clean the bloodstains as a sign of respect for those who had fallen.

This heart-wrenching tale of Joseph and Hyrum’s final moments in mortality is certain to off us insight and appreciation of the sacrifices they had made up to that point. Ideally, this is a great time for self-reflection, as well as thanksgiving for the willingness of those men to serve God in a full capacity.

Old Nauvoo

Beginning with a bus tour of Old Nauvoo to acquaint you with the many sites where you can visit during your free time the following day. We’ll go back in time to Old Nauvoo and see the Browning gun shop, bakery and Family Living Center. At the Family Living Center we will be shown demonstrations of all the old crafts of Nauvoo. Guests will enjoy a special fireside presentation that evening.

Overnight at the Nauvoo Inn.

Our day will include sessions at the Nauvoo Temple. Guests will be able to do baptisms for the dead or a group temple session if desired. The remainder of the day will be free for guests to explore Church history sites in Nauvoo.

Sites to Look Forward to at Nauvoo:
Historic Homes

Impressively, the Historic Nauvoo District houses more than 20 historic homes for visitors to explore. For example, the William Weeks Home, homes of the early apostles, the Mansion house, including many others! Easily, we could spend days here, which is why we offer time for free exploration as well as group guided exploration. Altogether, have the experience at historic Nauvoo that you wish to.

Main Street Trades

Through working with tin, leather, and paper, tradespeople sustained the economy of this swelling city along the Mississippi. In addition to a print shop and post office, see the historic Browning Gun Shop. Also, take the time to see the Stoddard Tin Shop, Riser Boot and Shoe Shop, or even, the old Schoolhouse.

Nauvoo Temple

Originally, the Nauvoo Temple was built and dedicated back in the 19th century. However, after a great exodus of Saints from Nauvoo, there came mobs intent on destroying the sacred edifice. Tragically, the Nauvoo Temple burned to the ground with few remains. Fortunately, in the 20th century, the reconstruction of the Nauvoo Temple began, and is now fully operational. An iconic feature, the statue of Moroni on top, faces the West, symbolically representing the exodus of Saints, and commending their sacrifices.

Overnight at the Nauvoo Inn.

Today we will drive to Missouri, stopping in Hannibal to see the home town of Mark Twain. We will stop at Far West to view the temple cornerstone and learn the significance of the Lord’s Promised Land. After lunch we’ll explore the ancient past and foretold future. These instances collide at the lush valley of Adam-Ondi-Ahman. Next, we’ll pass by the tragic site of Haun’s Mill. A terrible massacre took place here October 30th, 1838.

Our day ends with a farewell dinner in Liberty where we will overnight.

We travel this morning to Liberty Jail. Here we will share in the despair and the exhilaration of the Prophet Joseph as he received some of our most hallowed revelations while incarcerated. 

Independence is the place prophesied as the location of the New Jerusalem in the final days of this earth. You will stand on the ground where these events will occur. We will visit the Community of Christ Temple. Finally we will end the tour with a visit to the empty lot where the magnificent temple will be built by the remnant of the House of Israel, and then tour the LDS Visitor Center.

Our Motor coach will convey us to the airport. Flights should leave from Kansas City, Missouri International Airport after 5:00pm.

Payment Terms: $300 pp deposit at time of booking. Final Payment due 90 days before departure.

**this tour is based off of a minimum of 20 passengers and a maximum of 40 passengers. 

Meet your hosts!

John and Kim Bytheway

John Bytheway was born and raised in Salt Lake City and served his mission in the Philippines. He earned a Master’s Degree in Religious Education from BYU and currently teaches courses on the Book of Mormon and New Testament at the BYU Salt Lake Center. 

He is the author of a few dozen books and audio programs, which he says, are effective non-prescription sleep-aids.

He loves to golf, write, read, and play the banjo and guitar. John is a founding member of the local chapter of the Andy Griffith Show Re-Run Watchers Club, and does a “spot-on” impersonation of Deputy Sheriff Barney Fife.

John and his wife Kimberly have six children and a completely full SUV which doubles in value when it’s full of gasoline. 

Want to know more? 

Legacy Tours and Travel, LLC reserves the right to alter the itinerary and/or substitute sightseeing and/or other tour features if deemed necessary.