Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Meet me in St. Louis

This is the east side of the temple. I couldn't get any further back, so it didn't get the full grandeur, but it is a very beautiful temple. We went on an excursion sponsored by our mission president and his wife. They even bought us all lunch. We are truly spoiled in this mission.
We took two of these vans to St. Louis. This was a really exciting ride. The springs in the back lifted the two sisters almost to the ceiling when we went over a bump. I had to laugh at us, some were too hot, some were too cold, some wanted air, some wanted the windows closed. Oh brother, I wondered if there would be any pleasing anyone.

Our arrival at the temple. There were 12 single sisters, and 3 couples that went with us. It was a full session. In fact, the sister from St Louis that I was sitting next to, commented that she had not seen such a full session. When we walked in and the brother behind the desk saw my Nauvoo Recommend, he commented, "Your temple is almost as beautiful as ours". I decided it wasn't worth starting an all out war, so I responded, "All temples have their own beauty." But in my head I thought, "If you want to talk spirit, there's no comparison".

This is the Illinois sunrise. It is 5:50 AM. We left Nauvoo at 5:00 AM for St Louis. Believe it or not, I actually got up and got there on time, and didn't eat anyone for breakfast.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Day of the Program

The sisters arriving on the wagon. To the right of the picture are President and Sister Ludwig, mission president and wife. If I did nothing else for this program, the wagon was a great hit. The sisters loved that opportunity and it made things seems more real.
This is the shawl Donna made for me. It is so perfect to the syle of the day. The dress is the one I had made for my birthday, but it got done just in time for this program and so I had it special for the Relief Society Program. The stove is in the upper room of the red brick store. The day cap is typical of what the women would have worn in the 1840s.

Relief Society Program

This is still at the dress rehearsal. Elder Saville, serving as John Taylor, Elder Guymon, serving as Joseph Smith, Sister Guymon, serving as Emma, and Sister McMinn serving as Julie Beck. The shot just said volumes to me. Each leader has to step back and let the next take over, but offer her support and love.
This was one of the most touching scenes of the program. Sister Saville, who was portraying Elizabeth Ann Whitney, was thanking Emma for her service when they were suffering from malaria. She had just given birth to her ninth child and could hardly crawl, but Joseph and Emma gave up their home so Emma could care for Elizabeth. No longer were they missionaries playing the parts. It was as if Elizabeth and Emma were there in the room.

Sister Black rewrote Ye Elders of Israel to Bless the World with Love. She got permission to make the change for this program only from Salt Lake. Emma Smith (Sister Guymon in red by herself) is inviting the sisters of the first Relief Society to join in the service of the Lord. The sisters respond back, "We'll go to the poor as our Savior has told, and visit the weary, the hungry and cold. We'll cheer up their hearts with the news that He bore and bring them to Zion and life every more." Shades of my first mission have rolled over into this one.

This is at our dress rehearsal in the upper room of the Red Brick Store. This gives some idea of the production end of things. People are trying to figure out where to sit, and how to make the last minute changes that are being made. The blond lady in blue is Sister Black, the one with the scarf is Sister Williams, who played Eliza R. Snow. The other two sisters are Sister Hurley and Drebot. Both of them expressed such genuine gratitude for being a part. Sometimes you don't realize how something so simple can be so meaningful to people.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Joseph Smith Homestead

This is the famous Red Brick Store. For a time the prophet had his office in this building. Many members of the twelve received their endowments here. The Twelve were given the keys of the Priesthood here. The Relief Society was organized here. Many individuals received help from the Prophet Joseph here in giving them food and other essentials, as well as giving them employment so they could feel good about receiving the assistance they did.
Standing on the banks of the Mississippi,I couldn't resist this sunset.

This is in the Smith Family Cemetery. It's a full cover granite headstone. Emma is buried on one side and Hyrum is on the other. Over closer to the river are the graves of Lucy Mack and Joseph Smith Sr. Samuel is buried here, but in an unmarked grave. This is probably pretty dumb, but whenever I go over here, I always walk out whistling, "Praise to the Man".

This is a reconstruction of the log cabin in which Joseph and Emma first lived when they moved to Nauvoo. It was one of the original ten cabins. Joseph added on to it with time, thus the white parts you see around the cabin. The home had two levels,not just a loft

Many individuals slept in this home when they first came to Nauvoo with Joseph and Emma sleeping on the ground outside their home.

The Mansion House

This is the shed that was at one point the unknown grave of the prophet Joseph and his brother, Hyrum. Obviously the shed is not original, but the spot is where they were buried.
Obvously the Saturn Vue is not a part of Old Nauvoo, but the building behind it is the Nauvoo House. It was also built to house Joseph and Emma and people who came to Nauvoo. After the martyrdom of the prophet, Emma and her children were driven out of Nauvoo for a period of about 6 years. She returned with Lucy Mack, who was frail and ill, her children and her husband, Louis Bideman. They lived in this facility until Emma's death. It is now used by the Community of Christ as a place for groups to come in and stay. If they are not using it for their Church, people can rent it. It's pretty pricy, but in comparison to hotels, you can get a lot of people in here. It's wonderful for youth groups.

This home was built for Joseph and Emma so they could accommodate all the guest who came into town. In the back you can see a huge foundation that indicated it went back twice or three times the size of the current building. Joseph and Emma, along with their children lived in the very front of the home in a small space, with all the other space given to others who would come to visit, or needed a place to live. One interesting fact about the home, there is a "hidden closet", which allowed the prophet to crawl into the attic and hide from men who were here to do him harm. It would have been from this domicile that the prophet left for Carthage.
In the basement is where the official viewing of the prophet and Hyrum was held, and they were buried here for a very short time before being removed to an unknown grave.

Sidney Rigdon Home

This is the home that was occupied by the first counselor to the prophet Joseph, Sidney Rigdon. Sidney was with the prophet on many occasions when revelations were given including the 76th section of the Doctrine and Covenants. He was a powerful and persuasive orator. When he left the Church, all of his family left with him, including his wife and daughters who attended the very first Relief Society meeting.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Dickson Mounds

Dickson Mounds is dig site about 2 hours away from Nauvoo. There is another bigger site very close to St. Louis. It's always interesting to learn little pieces of history, both ancient and modern. 8 of us missionaries went there on our p-day and had a great day. Hope you enjoy this little travel through the barriers of time. Religion played a huge part in these early dwellings. They built temples (much like the pyramids of Mexico) and they had a high priest shown above. They also worshipped the fiery serpant, much like those in early Mexico. We found it most interesting how they also had a place of three earths. They described the one as being the sun, the moon and the stars. Our guide was not LDS, so he didn't understand why we found that so interesting. Even though many of the plain and precious truths were distorted, they none-the-less showed that they once had been taught the doctrines of truth.
At the dig, they found a preserved dwelling. I was amazed when I saw this replica that they could live in a straw house in the middle of the winter here, but our guide assured us that the homes were quite cozy. They had found fire pits in the middle of the home and it indicated they cooked and kept warm by those fires. They also found many that were burned out, which indicated that they weren't that safe.

This is a model, one of many at the museum. They actually have a canoe that was dug up from the early inhabitants, but I didn't get a picture of it, but this does give you some what of an idea of the method of travel. It wasn't the Mississippi River boats.

One of the men who was with the group made the comment, you notice that they added the idea of conflict when white men were introduced into the picture. They have a lot of pictures of what they think the society must have looked like based on what they have dug up.

I was hoping to get the explanation, but I didn't, as you look to the top of the photograph, you see a kind of hill. This is an Indian burial ground from the Mississippi Indians. This is a dig site where they are learning about the cultures that lived here in earlier days. We were hoping it had some evidences of the Book of Mormon, but it was dated about 800-1300AD. The higher the mound, the more important to the tribe the individual.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Relief Society Garden in winter

Sisters of the Relief Society were invited to donate to the development of a garden celebrating roles of womanhood. Although this is not all of the statues, one can see a goodly number of them. Beginning at the top, we see the very beginnings when Joseph handed Emma a five dollar gold piece and said, "All that I have to give to the poor, I shall give to this society." Whenever I see these statues, I think of the Proclamation on the Family. What a remarkable and prophetic document that is. This garden is one of the most beautiful places in Nauvoo in the summer. I'll try to remember to get a shot then for contrast.

The loveliest place

On their way to Carthage, the prophet and his brother rode past the uncompleted Nauvoo Temple of 1844. He took the opportunity to look out over the city, pondering the people who he loved so dearly. He said to Hyrum, "This is the loveliest place and the best people under the heavens, little do they know the trials that await them."

Frontier Prophet

This statue stands in front of the Mercentile Store, which is right across from the temple. One of the things that impressed me most about the prophet, Joseph, is that anything he asked others to do, he was right there, doing it too. My dad used to tell of a branch president in Florida who would exclaim, "Blisters on earth, but blessings in heaven, keep digging, boys." That's somehow appropriate to the prophet. He was also generous with everything he had. There were so many times that he did not have a bed on which to sleep because he and Emma had given it to someone else who needed it. There were even times that they slept out in the yard because their home was filled with people who were sick or homeless or in need. But he also had time to play with the children. What a remarkable example of Christlike service and love!

Temple Jail

After the Nauvoo Temple was destroyed, there were many stones left lying around. These stones were turned into a jail. These are some of the original stones of the temple. This jail was actually used for several years here in Nauvoo. As you can see, it it now protected from souvenier seekers who want to take a "chip off the old block". When I looked at this, I thought of how symbolic it really is. Those who do not have their temple work done, are as if they are in prison because their eternal progress has been stopped. The other thing I thought of was the Liberty Jail, and how symbolic that place is.