Friday, November 18, 2016

Carthage Jail

After church on Sunday, we went to Carthage.  It was a perfect Autumn day.

As you walk up to the jail where Joseph Smith was martyred, there are several large placards with testimonials.
My bosom burned as I read the familiar words, now with renewed meaning.

The gospel Joseph taught was Christ's Gospel.

The story is tragic and, yet, triumphant. How can it be both?
Evil men, conspiring men, killed our prophet dear.
But the Kingdom of God was not removed from the earth.
Two were killed, but two were spared, 
to witness.

The shock and sorrow as a beloved and true brother was killed before his very eyes.
Another, friend and companion, shot multiple times and left for dead.

His desperate gaze turned to the window.

The mob below was too great, too angry.
Joseph was gone.

Hyrum, too, was gone.
Samuel, killed by the mob just as surely as Joseph and Hyrum, died a month later by injures sustained while being chased by the mob that moments before had killed his brothers.
 Willard Richards, miraculously uninjured, dragged a critically wounded John Taylor to the jail cell and flopped a mattress over him in case the mob returned.  They did not and Willard Richards and John Taylor both survived.

Stephen Markham was, along with Dan Jones, in the jail as a body guard to Joseph. When Stephen left the jail on an errand for Joseph, the mob would not let him back inside. Instead, they forced him onto his horse at the point of bayonets, stabbing his legs until his shoes were filled with blood. Gathering around him, they escorted him out of town, threatening to kill him if he returned. He lived and remained true to the gospel of Jesus Christ to the end.
Dan Jones was also sent on an errand. He avoided an ambush and was unscathed. He went on to serve a mission in Wales, baptizing thousands.

How disappointed the mobsters must have been when the Church of Jesus Christ did not fall apart with the prophet dead.  They didn't understand that, though Joseph was the prophet, Jesus Christ Himself is at the head of His Church.

Trying so hard to be reverent so Mom didn't have to miss out on this important tour.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

The Nauvoo Temple

The last time I was in Nauvoo, the temple that those early saints had worked so hard to build had been destroyed completely.  The only thing left on the temple site were the four exposed cornerstones and a sunstone behind protective glass.  
Now, it is rebuilt.  
It was built on the same footings, with the same dimensions.
It amazes me.

I worked for a long time to have family names to take with us when we went to the Nauvoo Temple. Because we have young children, we had to go a couple of different times.
Justin took Isaac, Eliza and Camilla in the evening to perform baptisms.

Then he and I went early the next morning to participate in sealings (since they only take an hour and I could leave my nursing baby that long).

The Nauvoo Temple was one of the highlights for me.  Here, in front of the temple, is a statue of Joseph and Hyrum on their way to Carthage where they would seal their testimonies with their blood.  As they left, they left an unfinished temple.  Joseph was a seer.  He knew what the church would become, but he was also probably keenly aware of the difficulties that would yet come to the saints.
Here we were, almost 200 years later, performing temple work in the fully functional temple they had to leave--that they all had to leave.  I know that Joseph is, what?  Happy seems too small a word.  Overjoyed to see that all was not in vein.  The stone cut out of the mountain continues its journey.  The Word is filling the earth!

One of the things that Justin pointed out was the the temple was built on the high point.  It didn't matter where we were in the old town of Nauvoo, you could see the temple sitting up there.  Look to the temple!

 It was a symbol of their faith and it is a symbol of mine. 

When you go to Nauvoo, carve out time to enter the house of the Lord.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Beautiful Nauvoo

We made it.
After driving all morning and a nightmare scene with our hotel, we had about two hours left in the day to spend in Nauvoo.

Without recapping the whole bad event, suffice it to say, the reservations I made in July were not being honored.  They were trying to put all nine of us in two single rooms.  Two beds for nine people was not going to work out and I really had to go to battle for my family. This kind of struggle is difficult for me, but we do what must be done, right?
When we got to the visitor's center, we came to this place called the Monument to Women Memorial Garden.  There are several statues depicting traits of righteous women. My husband had wandered through first, then came and pulled me to this statue.
"This is you," he declared.
It is called 
Joyful Moment

I was touched that he would have found me in this, of all of the statues in the garden, on that particular day.  

After the visitor's center closed for the day, we had a few minutes before the sun set to drive around the town.  When I was a sophomore in college, in the Spring of 1997, I spent a semester in Nauvoo.  Because I went to college in far away places, I've never been able to visit or bring my family to any of those places that are so dear to me.  This was my first chance to introduce my family to the where of my young adult days.  It was fun to tell the stories, some memories long dormant, and recount adventures and favorite friends.
This was my house.

When you go to Nauvoo, be sure to give yourself plenty of time--as in DAYS.  There is much more going on in the summer, but even in the off season there are lots of things to fill your time.  
A nightly play, in which senior couples play all the parts, is absolutely adorable.  Completely worth going.

There are narrated wagon rides and oxcart rides that are fun and a good way to see much of the town.

Plus, FREE!  

Nauvoo is full of homes and business that have been either restored or rebuilt.  Each one has a missionary guide who tells the story, bringing history to life.

 Once again, this guy was having a hard time in the tour we were taking as a family.  Dad took him out of that house and they went on their own tour somewhere else.  This sweet missionary gave a tour carefully tailored to our three year old.
With the rocking horse John Taylor rode back to save for his young son.
Our Lucy at Lucy Mack Smith's home.
 Every tour is a little bit different.  The tours highlight some general historical bits, but also tell about the lives of the home's previous owners. These were the pioneers we set out to honor.

Heber C. Kimball home.
 One of the points I tried to bring home was that the pioneers weren't just pioneers when they crossed the plains.  No, it started much earlier than that!  The heritage they passed down so that our parents and grandparents could learn about the gospel began the moment they dared to ask whether the church was true; the moment they had the courage to believe when the Spirit testified to their spirits that it was.
Brigham Young home.
 Some of the tours are fascinating even without historical context.  There is a working blacksmith shop, not as working as it would have been, of course, but they do heat and form metal!

Here is the pharmacist in the pharmacy.  The church was very careful in what they place in the stores--stocking shelves as closely as they can with preserved records. Super interesting to explore the old remedies.

It used to be set up quite differently, but now there is one giant building that shows many useful skills of the time the saints were in Nauvoo.  They show how to make candles, barrels, rope, rugs and more.  One thing I especially enjoyed was how a bustle oven was used.  It may not be terribly efficient, but it works!
Always trying to eat her whole fist.
We took one evening to walk down Parley Street.  When the saints were being expelled from their homes . . . again . . . this was the route they took to the river.  Once they reached the river, they crossed either on a ferry or, if it was cold enough and the river had frozen, they walked across.

There is a path along Parley Street with signs with quotes from pioneers who were taking the journey.

This was a personal favorite.  Strong women are a part of the culture of my church.

At the end of the path, is the Mississippi River.

It is very wide and would not have been easy to cross!

The muddy Mississippi.  We take our clear rivers for granted.
There is a gazebo with the names of the hundreds of pioneers who died crossing the plains to get to Salt Lake Valley.  
So many names.
There was even an Eliza Sanders who died on the journey.

But more lived!  They lived and prospered.  They lived the gospel and taught their families.
They served missions and trusted their lives to the Lord.
Because of that faith, dedication, trust, and hard work,
I know my Savior, Jesus Christ.

 Now it is my turn to carry on that tradition.
It is my turn and I am teaching my family.

To the very best of my ability.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

President Lincoln

Since Springfield, Illinois is right on our route from one church history site to another and since Abraham Lincoln is one of my favorite presidents of the United States of America, stopping at the Lincoln sites in Springfield was required.  If you plan to do this trip with your family, I humbly suggest that you put this on your list of things not to miss.  Give yourself the whole day.

Not so sure of the wax figurine of the young Abraham Lincoln.
The Abraham Lincoln Museum is comprehensive and engaging.  There are full sized replicas of the cabin where he was raised and the room where his body laid in state.  There are important artifacts such as his top hat, with warn marks where he would grab the brim to tip it to passers-by, and some of Mrs. Lincoln's wardrobe.  The natural course of the museum is carefully orchestrated, explaining the events of President Lincoln's life up to and including his time in office as well as the events leading up to and including the Civil War.  The video presentations are both excellent.

Seeking a peek at a train stop during a campaign tour.
A scene created with wax figures of a slave family being separated and sold at auction was troubling to everyone in the family.  It opened up dialog about slavery, racism, and human rights.  In addition to our experiences at the Henry Ford museum and the Rosa Parks bus, the deep-inside kind of learning about race issues in America will leave a deep mark on all of us, but especially our children.  These sites and the discussions afterword are life-changers.

Sweet girl, taking a turn holding our big baby.
In addition to the museum, there is a section of town that has been converted into a historical center.  It includes several houses and buildings, most notably, the home of Abraham and Mary Lincoln.  Much of the home is original and has been carefully preserved.

Mr. Lincoln's writing desk.
You can take an excellent tour of the home, then wander through some of the other homes with informational signs and displays.

Campaign wagon.

Finally, we visited the Lincoln Tomb.
It is a sacred site and feels reverent.

It was a full day of site-seeing and we were pretty wiped out at the end of the day.  There are several other things available that we just couldn't fit in because of time and the dynamic of our family.  I am so glad we saw what we did, though!

Funny girl and her giant souvenir penny.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Driving, Driving, Driving

All in all, we drove nearly 3,000 miles.  I tried to even out the driving, but there were two particularly long drive days.  The trip from Cleveland to Springfield, Illinois was nearly 500 miles . . . that we took on after the long morning at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.  We didn't pull into our cabin until really late that night.  Everyone mostly slept, but we did have some noteworthy moments.  This post also includes random roadside attractions that we hit along the way.

A quick, but worthwhile stop at the John Johnson farm.
Totally posed (I'm sure you can't tell) picture in the gorgeous leaves.
I kept TRYING to capture the colors.  It was always fruitless, but at least it will spur a memory.
Meal stop at McDonald's.
Provided for the family by Lucy!  Thank you, sweet girl!
There was a lot of this.  At least with a little boy we can pull off just about anywhere,
instead of having to constantly find a toilet!

Also, what a good big brother, amiright?
A teaching moment at Zelph's mound.  It is only a few miles off the road and was a worthwhile stop.  If you do make this trek, I'd suggest learning a bit about Zelph and how his remains were discovered, then make the visit.  I think it is terribly fascinating.

Hannibal, Missouri, home of Samuel Clemens.  I wanted to take the time to tour some of the places here, including the caves, but we decided to forego in order to spend more time in Nauvoo.  However, we did climb the 1 billion steps to the memorial light house.  If we didn't have to buy so many tickets, I would have liked to have taken a spin on a riverboat. Next time.
Sweet baby.  She traveled so well,
for the most part, though it was a team effort to keep her entertained sometimes!
We got to be pros at packing the van!
Tomorrow we will see Lincoln's Springfield!