Upper Floor of the

Newel K. Whitney Store


(Photo taken by Bruce K. Satterfield)

Translating Room 

This is the upstairs living room of the Newel K. Whitney store, sometimes called the translating room.  This was the headquarters of the Church until the Temple was built.  It was here that Joseph worked on the translation of the bible while living in the Whitney store.  Here many revelations were received including the command to build a temple.

(Photo taken by Bruce Satterfield)

From the translating room, a door led to a small hallway.  The first door on the immediate right opened into the room where the first session of the School of the Prophets was held.


(Photo taken by Bruce Satterfield)

This is a photo of the room in which the School of the Prophets was held.  Brigham Young gave this description of the room:

The first school of the prophets was held in a small room situated over the Prophet Joseph’s kitchen, in a house which belonged to Bishop Whitney, and which was attached to his store, which store probably might be about fifteen feet square. In the rear of this building was a kitchen, probably ten by fourteen feet, containing rooms and pantries. Over this kitchen was situated the room in which the Prophet received revelations and in which he instructed his brethren. The brethren came to that place for hundreds of miles to attend school in a little room probably no larger than eleven by fourteen. (Journal of Discourses, 12:158)

Prior to its use as a school room, the room, which actually measured 10 x 14, served as a porch for Joseph Smith and his wife. Levi Hancock, who attended the first session of the School, was given the job of remodeling. In his autobiography, Hancock (1803-1836) remarked: “After I finished the school room Joseph offered to let me trade out of Whitney’s store. I told him I would pay for all I purchased and I did do it” (p. 51).



(Photo taken by Bruce Satterfield)

This is a photo of the front part of the room of the school of the prophets.  It was into this fireplace that those who were using tobacco through their tobacco products in after the revelation known as the Word of Wisdom was given.  Brigham Young explained the circumstance of this revelation:

When they assembled together in this room [where the School of the Prophets was held] after breakfast, the first they did was to light their pipes, and, while smoking, talk about the great things of the kingdom, and spit all over the room, and as soon as the pipe was out of their mouths a large chew of tobacco would then be taken. Often when the Prophet entered the room to give the school instructions he would find himself in a cloud of tobacco smoke. This, and the complaints of his wife at having to clean so filthy a floor, made the Prophet think upon the matter, and he inquired of the Lord relating to the conduct of the Elders in using tobacco, and the revelation known as the Word of Wisdom was the result of his inquiry. (Journal of Discourses, 12:158)


Zebede Coltin, who attended the first session of the School of the Prophets, gives this description of that event:  “Those who gave up using tobacco eased off on licorice root, but there was no easing off on Tea and Coffee; these they had to give up straight off or their fellowship was jeopardised”. Again, Coltrin recalled:  "When the Word of Wisdom was first presented by the Prophet Joseph Smith (as he came out of the translating room) and was read to the School, there were twenty out of the twenty-one who used tobacco and they all immediately threw their tobacco and pipes into the fire."