Thursday, February 25, 2010

Bonaparte, Iowa

This home belonged to one of the mill owners in the town, one of the original founders. I loved it so I took a picture of it. We were coming up the street and there it was atop the hill, like it was overlooking the city. There are many lovely homes in this city, some of which were built by early Saints who Brigham Young left behind to help others along their way. I think that's one of the most incredible things about the exodus west is how the people coming behind them were planned and cared for.
This is one of many churches in Bonaparte. This one is unique because it is the "unified" church, which has about three different groups meeting in it. I loved the picture of the Savior as the good shepherd. The picture does not do the stained glass justice, but you can at least get a glimpse of the beauty of the church.

This is the Old Mill in Bonaparte. It has been converted into a resturaunt now. We were too late for lunch but we've been told it's very good food. Right next to this store is a great antique store. They have about anything you could possibly imagine, including some of the best fudge I have ever eaten. Their best seller is "Elephant Fudge". No, it's not made out of elephants like the elephant stew in the cookbook I gave the family members, but out of peanuts, marshmellows, carmel and other very fattening, but very tasty stuff.

This is the DesMoines River crossing. Obviously, the Saints made many river crossings. This is about an hour out of Nauvoo by car, but checking the date, it was a month out of Nauvoo for the early Saints who traveled by wagon on freezing cold ground that had an early thaw that year and every footstep truly took faith. I can't even imagine what it would have felt like to travel and struggle all day long only to turn around and see the fire still burning from your campsite the night before, because you had made less than a mile's progress from the day before.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Nauvoo Temple in a storm

This picture hangs in Lands and Records. It was taken a top the old Joseph Smith Academy, the place I stayed my first two years here. Notice the lightning all around it. I have seen that lightning surrond the pageant, but it did not come over the pageant site until the show was over and the boys were down out of the light towers. It also reminds me of the peace that comes with the temple and that it stands as a refuge from the storm, not just the physical, but the emotional spiritual storms. I think this is about the fifth or sixth picture of the temple I have posted, but I've decided each view of the Nauvoo Temple has its own magnificence. I'm still amazed that it stands outside my window as a reminder that we are members of the Church of Jesus Christ, led by living prophets.

Lands and Records

These are the files that need updated. I have had the opportunity to update about 10 files so far. Some of them are my own family. It's been tough finding information on some of them. I have concluded that I need to be more diligent in the work of Elijah. My heart hurts when I can't find anything, especially birth, death, marriage, or information that would allow the temple work to be completed for these dear people. I have come to love them, even those who aren't family members. They have become a part of me.
Membership records 1839-1846 of Nauvoo. These were compiled by Susan Easton Black.

To the left is the Miller File, which records things like people who worked on the temple, people who paid tithing, or other donations to the work of the Lord. It also has hand done geneology records, some of which are just on notebook paper. This is a room about the size of my bedroom at home and it's full of information about people who lived here.

These filing cabinets are full of records that have been scanned into the computer, and a person coming to Nauvoo can ask for a cd of the information contained herein concerning their family members. On top are records of those buried in the Nauvoo Cemetery, membership records of those who joined the RLDS faith (now Community of Christ), and indexes to books in the back room where many stories are found.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Valentine's Dance

Last year the Single sisters did a dance for the couples of the mission for Valentine's Day. We decided we couldn't be outdone by last year's sisters, so we dug in and made it happen. The only place big enough is the Visitor's Center, so we moved the furniture out of the way, aside from the statue of Christ and of Joseph Smith, brough in some folding chairs, used the sound system from the visitor's center, set up some tables and used all sorts of creative things to make this work.
One of the couples here belongs to a square dance group, so we asked them to put some music together, and the rest of the evening, we put together. We baked over 600 cookies, decorated 12 cakes for door prizes, put together a floor show, and I was mistress of ceremonies. So many of the couples have come up today with sincere gratitude. It was a nice service project.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Scovil Bakery

This is where I spend three days of the week mostly. It's the busiest place in Nauvoo, except for the public restrooms just up the street. People stop by to get a cookie. Lucius and his wife, Lury Snow (cousin to Lorenzo and Eliza R), joined the church in Kirtland Ohio, with the prophet Joseph Smith being the one who baptized them. They traveled with the Saints to Far West, to Quincy, to Nauvoo, and then he traveled on with the Saints to the Great Salt Lake. She, and three of their children are buried here in the cemetery at the top of Parley Street.
The plate at the top is his legacy to all of us. This is an original of the 150 dozen that he commissioned to be made while serving on a mission to Great Britain. We only know of about 20 in existence now, but there are some replicas available.
The thing that I love most about Lucius and Lury is that they followed the prophet in all his callings to them, and they helped others to follow, as well. They were remarkable people.

Old Jack Frost

This is the Nauvoo Grove. In the summer it is full of leaves, and shade, and even a friendly little mole who weaves in and out. But today, it is full of frost. In a grove such as this, the Saints would have met to have the prophet, Joseph, preach to them. It was in a grove like this that he gave the King Follett Sermon, given in honor of his good friend, King (not to be confused with a title). He shared with us many important doctrines in that sermon. In the grove you can also read many people's diary entries of experiences they had hearing the prophet speak. My personal favorite comes from Eliza R. Snow, who recorded the thought that if we want others to be tolerant of our weaknesses, we need to be tolerant of theirs. I can't begin to count how many trips around this grove I've made strolling babies to sleep, or comforting a toddler who wanted their mom, or playing with ten year old boys who were bored stiff during rehearsal. It's a magical place, and holds many fond memories for me in the summer time. Right now, it just looks cold.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Broken Down

On my way home, I saw this wagon, and I had to take the picture. It said so many things to me. It reminded me of the talk, To them of the Last Wagon. The Rank and file of the church who faithfully follow a prophet of God don't always lead out, don't always get the recognition, but they are they there. I love the Lord and pray to be found worthy to be called his servant, his daughter, his friend.

Wagons lined up on Parley Street

Just as the early Saints, our wagons lined up on Parley Street. The early Saints would have been waiting to load their wagons onto the ferry, or when the river froze completely over, to drive their teams across the river. It gave me a great sense of awe. I started whistling, "Hope of Israel rise in might" because the words caught in my throat and I couldn't sing, but I rejoiced in great love for these beloved Saints. We knew, as the Nauvoo Pageant line says, "When you're here, we're here." They were here this morning.

And should we die...

These are our family members who did not make it across the plains, but died as they traveled.

Farewell to our beloved temple

I can only imagine what the saints would have felt as they turned to look back at their beloved temple--one for which they had sacrificed so dearly to build, and now they had to leave it behind. But they knew that they had been endowed with Power from on High, so they were determined to make that journey knowing that they had received the necessary ordinances to enter the Celestial Kingdom. Many of the couples were sealed eternally in that early temple, so their children born along the trail belonged to them under the new and everlasting covenant. It wasn't until much later that children who were not born under the convenant were sealed to their parents. I still look up that beautiful temple and marvel that it's there. I get to attend a session in it tonight. WOW! Am I blessed!!!

Oxen in Waiting

Like the morning that the Saints left, there were those who were left behind, because they were not yet ready, or they had not enough provisions, or they had been asked to stay and help others prepare, or there were also those who chose not to go. These are the oxen that give rides during the summer. They turned and watched us walk down Parley Street, just like those who were left behind would have done so many years ago.

The line up to walk out

I thought how appropriate that we stood behind the flag! Although the Saints were leaving the United States (or what was then the United States), they still maintained a love of Country. Carrying the flag, although you can't see them, are representatives of the Nauvoo Legion. Their charter was revolked by the country they loved. Their guns were removed by a government that was intended to protect the very freedoms that were denied the early Saints, yet they stepped up in her defense when the call came for them to serve.

Brigham and Mary Ann

If I haven't made it clear before, I love Mary Ann Young! What a faithful devoted daughter of God she was and continues to be. Mary Ann raised Brigham's children from his first marriage after his wife had died. She joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints with full intentions of keeping her covenants. She married Brigham and followed him where ever he was called to go. When he served missions, she stayed at home in a swampy half built cabin, making trips across the Mississippi in freezing temperatures to obtain food for her children. She planted gardens, built things and supported Brigham in all that he did. She was an amazing woman.
This is much like the carriage Chancey Webb, Wainwright made for the Prophet, Brigham Young. Sitting in the carriage are great grandchildren of his who would lead our exodus to the Mississippi River.

Our experience with the exodus

Unlike the early Saints, we met this morning in a nice warm building, the Family Living Center, where we feasted on breads, muffins, cinnamon rolls, orange juice and hot chocolate. We each put on the name of a relative or someone who made the walk (notice the pink card on the sister behind the table). I represented my third great grandmother Hannah Workman Chadwick. We sang "Come Come Ye Saints" although it hadn't been written yet when the Saints left their beautiful Nauvoo and then we put on our coats, gloves, hats, boots and headed out to make the "long walk down Parley Street". It was once called the Trail of Tears, but President Hinckley, being the man of optimism and vision that he was, called it the Trail of Hope. As I started to leave, I thought of the great anticipation they must have felt. Yes, they were sad to leave their beautiful homes and especially the temple for which they had sacrificed, but they must have felt some joy knowing that Heavenly Father had selected a place for them, where they could worship in peace and build another temple. (I'm sure they had no idea how many temples would be built)
And we stepped off into the cold (albeit, not as cold as they did--it was 30 degrees this morning).

Memorial to the Saints

Although not the greatest picture, it depicts the long journey across the plains and the map of their journey as they traveled. Obviously, this is from Winter Quarters west and not from Nauvoo west becasue they left in midst of bitter cold from here.

Memorial on Parley Street

In this memorial are listed the names of those who did not make it all the way across to Utah. They had lived here in Nauvoo, and they died somewhere along the way. This morning, I had the opportunity to stand in behalf of our family members and read their names, and remember the faith and heritage from which I have come.

Joseph and Brigham

At the end of Parley Street facing west, stands Joseph and Brigham. Joseph was giving Brigham as much instruction as he could. I placed a picture earlier of the map Joseph drew on the floor of the cultural hall, which Levi Hancock copied. In Brigham's hand is a representation of that map. I met a man once at Winter Quarters who had made the 1997 re-enactment trek. I asked him why the pioneers would have done that. (He was not a member of our faith). His response was, "They were persecuted." I asked him about all that followed later, and then I told him, "They came because they were called by a prophet of God."

Preparing for the Exodus

This may say like a dumb picture, but it was a very necessary part of the Exodus. When word came from Brigham Young that the Saints must prepare to leave, these shops were among the most important in Nauvoo. They prepared the wagons to leave. But there were other spots that were turned into wagon shops--the Cultural Hall for example. Even homes became wagon shops. George A. Smith and his wife, Bathsheba, used their living room as a place where wagons wheels were made. The 6000 sq. ft. tarp that was to be used as a tabernacle soon became covers for wagons. When a prophet said go, these people not only listened, they hearkened.