Saturday, March 5, 2011

Exocus Commemoration 2011

Each year on February 4th, the missionaries of the Illinois Nauvoo Mission, along with community members and people who travel to Nauvoo specifically for the commemoration make the walk down Parley Street. They think of those early Saints and the sacrifices that they made and take one last longing look at the temple. There's no way to describe all the emotions that occur, but I am including a few pictures and some of the journal entries in hopes that some of those feelings may be conveyed to the hearts of all who read. The Nauvoo Legion led us down Parley Street. They also raised the American flag at the end of Parley Street and led us in the pledge of allegience. Although the early Saints were not given the full rights and protections of this country, they loved America, and it was hard to leave the country they loved. What a great blessing when they were once again allowed to call themselves citizens of the United States!!!
The man in the red cap is President Condie, president of the Nauvoo Temple, and an emeritus member of the Seventy. How appropriate to capture him as there were about 2000 seventies that left Nauvoo during 1846--men called to proclaim and declare the message that the Church of Jesus Christ had once again been restored to the earth with the Priesthood authority to administer all the ordinances in the name of Jesus Christ.

Coming down Main Street getting ready to turn on to Parley Street. We only had about 250 people participate in this event. During the months of February, March, April and the beginning of May more than 5000 left Nauvoo and camped at Sugar Creek, Iowa. In 1846 it was the largest city in Iowa. In fact, just before the Saints left, it was bigger than Nauvoo in population.

One of the things I have repeatedly pondered since our commemoration was the fact that we left from warm and comfortable circumstances, walked down a cold and snowy Parley Street, stood in the cold for about 30 minutes, then went back to our nice warm houses or sites where we had plenty of food and water. They, on the other hand, crossed the river, and stayed by a campfire for the only warmth they could find, crawled into the wagons or slept on the cold, hard ground. Jane Johnston Black recorded in her journal when she left there were 9 babies born that night and she was the midwife that delivered them.

My part of the Exodus was to get the names prepared that people could wear in representation of their ancestors, and for those who did not have ancestors, to represent someone who left Nauvoo sometime in 1846. I represented my fifth great grandmother Hannah Workman Chadwick. As I prepared the names, I saw many who died along the way, others who suffered much loss. There was a man who lost two wives--one died, he married another to help raise his child, she had two children and died and he also had three children die, but he continued faithful all the days of his life. These were not just names on a card to me, but real people with real stories of faith as they followed a prophet of God.

Although we used horses on our re-enactment, most of the Early Saints used oxen. They were must cheaper, they were stronger, they could eat a variety of grasses without becoming bloated, and if they died along the way, they could be used as food. They also walked slowly enough that a person could walk alongside them and keep them on track. There wasn't much room for people to ride with everything they had to take on their journey.

I'm sure the early Saints would have loved the feast we enjoyed as we commemorated their exodus. Mary Field Garner recorded in her journal that her mother had just mixed up bread, but didn't have time for it to rise, so she put it in the pot and let it rise along the trail. Just so you know, they didn't leave in February, but their sacrifices were great nonetheless.

Brigham and Mary Ann Young as portrayed by Elder and Sister Layton. Their driver was President Kirkman from the mission presidency. I told him it took someone important to take Brigham on the trek. He laughed.

1 comment:

Mr C said...

LOVED the red hat! And the spread of rolls, donuts, goodies, etc.... Sorry I haven't checked in lately. You've been busy. I actually had given up on you--all too soon. Great pictures.