Sunday, August 17, 2008

Home at Last

We visited the Joseph Smith Historical Site operated by the Community of Christ (formerly called The Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints). The site includes the Nauvoo House (never finished or occupied during Joseph's life), the Smith family homestead (block house originally built in 1805 and already there when the saints arrived - doubled in size by Joseph Smith III for his family later), and the Mansion House which was operated by the family and others as a hotel. Emma lived in the Mansion House until she died in 1879.

The Red Brick Store contained an office that Joseph used and was the site for the creation of the Female Relief Society in 1842. The Community of Christ operates a gift shop on the first floor that is very nice - they sell really good cold root beer and other nice things.

Friday evening we sat in the Outdoor Theater to watch "Sunset by the Mississippi," a variety show put on by senior and young performing missionaries - a little corny, but a lot of fun. Great to see these elderly people singing and dancing and really having a good time. The EFY kids were all there for the show, so we got to see Jessi. The variety show was followed by Vocal Point, the BYU Men's Accapella chorus (9 guys). They put on a great show.

We drove home through Missouri and stopped for the night in North Little Rock, Arkansas. When I was putting luggage in the car this morning, I held the door for a lady, and it was Judy Roberson. We have known her, Ray, and their family for years. They were on their way to Indiana and just happened to stay the night in the same hotel. Is that amazing?

We got home about 7PM tonight, and it is good to be home where we can sleep in our own bed. I'm off to Houston Tuesday for one night, and have a lot to do this week. Then we are headed to Provo next Sunday afternoon after our stake conference. Wow, this feels like a busy month.

Carthage Conspiracy a Fascinating Book

Carthage Conspiracy: The Trial of the Accused Assassins of Joseph Smith Carthage Conspiracy: The Trial of the Accused Assassins of Joseph Smith by Dallin H Oaks

My review

Meticulously researched and an interesting window into the past of frontier American justice and the travails of the latter-day saint community that led to their migration westward.

View all my reviews.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Nauvoo, Thursday Aug 14

We walked about 5 miles this morning. We left the hotel and walked south to Parley Street and walked out into the country to the Old Nauvoo Burial Ground. It was early morning, and we were alone in the beautiful cemetery where many early saints are buried. Many of those buried in his lovely place were children, and we felt a quiet reverence for the place as we wandered the shaded grove and looked at the old limestone tombstones.

After clean up and a light breakfast, we toured more of the sites in Historic Nauvoo, including the Riser Boot Shop where we saw a demonstration of shoemaking (soles held to the shoe with small wooden pegs). We enjoyed the demonstration at the Webb Blacksmith Shop and came away with a ring made from a horseshoe nail (everyone gets one). We also visited the brickyard, but for some reason we didn't take any pictures. This was a shame, because the missionary actually took us into the kiln building and the elder there walked us through the process they use today to make the small souvenir bricks that are given to each family. The industry required of those early residents or Nauvoo was amazing. There were 350 brick buildings when the saints left, and only 49 remain from that period. They made as many as 4 million bricks in a season. And the walks of the homes and other buildings were generally made only of brick stacked three deep - lumber was scarce for framing. Anyway, the three layers of brick made for fairly tornado proof homes.

The Seventies Hall is on Parley Street and it was used for training missionaries who left from here to take the gospel to many countries. It's a beautifully restored building, and we particularly warmed to the older sister who was our tour guide. I got to stand at the podium for a moment, and imagined being there to hear men like Brigham Young, Parley Pratt, or Joseph Smith.

Down Parley Street are placques which record the comments of saints who were involved in the exodus from Nauvoo to the west. At one point in February, 1846, there were 4,000 wagons lined up on Parley waiting to cross the ice choked Mississippi to Montrose, Iowa.

We stopped for a visit with Gabe and Gary, the two oxen, and rode the wagon around the grove. At the end of Parley is a monument to the exodus - Joseph Smith and Brigham Young gazing west across the river, holding a roughly drawn map in hand.

We drove to Carthage and visited the jail where Joseph and Hyrum were assassinated. This is a very sobering experience and leaves one feeling a little melancholy.

We love you. The last few pictures are of an old stone bridge that was built just after the saints left Nauvoo and cross a drainage that was constructed by the saints to rid the swamps or water and make the land habitable.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Wednesday, August 13

We spent the day visiting sites in Historic Nauvoo. The missionaries are charming and share so much, including their personal convictions and testimony of the gospel. The demonstrations are great, too. We learned about rope making, barrel making, spinning, weaving, baking (in what is called a "bustle oven"), candle making, tin-smithing, and printing. We even went to school - I had a little trouble with the slate. We finished the day by driving across the Mississippi to Fort Madison, Iowa, for dinner. The sunset on the river as we waited for the drawbridge going back to Illinois, was breathtaking.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Vacation to Nauvoo Aug 10-12, 2008

We just wish all of you were here with us. This is truly what the early saints called Nauvoo the Beautiful. The spirit here is peaceful and sweet. Jessi is having a wonderful time at EFY, and Mom and I are enjoying the time together. We attended the temple this morning and drank in the peace and tranquility of the beautifully restored building. I sat for some time in the celestial room of the temple with sun streaming in a window in my face. Mom and I ate on the patio of Zion's Mercantile across the street from the temple and had it all to ourselves. This afternoon we went to the Lands and Records building and got hundreds of pages of information related to Ormus Ephraim Bates, my great-great-grandfather. Ormus was married in the temple here in January, 1846, just before the saints abandoned Nauvoo and the lovely temple they had labored so hard to construct. His brothers and sisters owned or leased lots in the city and outside in Hancock County, Illinois. I'll share it all with anyone interested when we get back. I tagged the pictures in the slideshow I'm posting, but I'll have to explain some of them later. Love to all. See you soon.