Grove. (See Asherah).
Asherah (Ashtoreth, Astarte). A fertility goddess made of a tree trunk. Referred to in the King James Version as a grove, or groves (Deut. 16:21; 1 Kgs. 14:15; Isa. 17:8).” – Joseph Fielding McConkie
1 Kings 14:15; “For the LORD shall smite Israel, as a reed is shaken in the water, and he shall root up Israel out of this good land, which he gave to their fathers, and shall scatter them beyond the river, because they have made their groves, provoking the LORD to anger.”
The word grove was translated Asherah in the KJV. Throughout Mesopotamia the Canaanites worshiped a female fertility goddess (Asherah) who they believed was the mother of seventy gods, Ba’al being the most famous.
Asherah is simply a wooden object that could be carved into any type of symbol. The symbol varied depending on the local culture at the time. The cult object could be carved into a certain symbol or could literally be a grove in the trees.
Ironically (or not) Joseph Smith had his own grove of trees that he favored. On his parent’s 100 acre farm in Palmyra is where Smith claimed he had an epiphany. Depending on which version of his first vision you choose to believe someone or something appeared to Smith in this grove of trees when he was but fourteen years old.
The Church has ensured this will always be a memorial for its adherents by purchasing the property and naming it the “Sacred Grove”.
We find it interesting how the Church will point out in its teachings that groves are associated with fertility goddesses and yet they revere and honor a grove of trees his family once owned – and yes, they did practice witchcraft. And it’s also interesting that sex for salvation is the foundation of Mormon beliefs.
What are the odds?
Encyclopedia of Mormonism, pg 1247; “A grove of trees on the Joseph Smith, Sr., farm near Palmyra, New York, is revered by Latter-day Saints as the vicinity where Joseph Smith experienced his first vision, the divine manifestation of God the Father and his Son Jesus Christ that began the restoration of the gospel in this dispensation. For that reason, Latter-day Saints honor the place as sacred.”