Friday, June 19, 2015

Day 3: Nauvoo

Our third day was Sunday.  We attended church with the missionaries and the Spirit was so strong.  I was especially impressed by a talk by a Sister Heninger from Utah.  She was also the sister missionary that guided us through Carthage (but I will get to that shortly).  She spoke about missionary work and our need to share the gospel with our brothers and sisters.  It's a topic that we, of course, have heard before and will hear again, but the spirit was strong as she spoke.

After church, we walked around the grounds of the Nauvoo Temple.  It is so beautiful.

After walking around the Temple, we walked around the Women's Garden.  Such a beautiful, peaceful garden filled with statues depicting the roles and worth of women.  Truly, having walked through this garden and had many other wonderful experiences, I personally feel so grateful to be a woman in this church.  I feel cherished and beloved and feel that my role is important.

I especially love the statue of the mother and daughter with the daughter holding a violin.  Each statue contains a verse of scripture.

Then Michelle and I headed to Carthage.  We got there before it opened, so we walked around the grounds and talked with one another.  To begin the tour, we watched a 20 minute video describing Joseph and Hyrum Smith's arrest and imprisonment.  I cried as Joseph bid goodbye to Emma and his children.  They had already suffered so much.  Michelle and I were listening to a talk on CD entitled Emma Smith:  An Elect Lady.  She endured so much.  Then Sister Heninger took us on a tour of the actual jail...which interestingly had been used as a home from a number of years.  Sister Heninger explained that it was a low security jail and so the jail warden and his family lived at the jail.  In fact, the warden was so impressed by Joseph Smith and his companions that they were invited to eat dinner with the warden's family.  

We went upstairs and first went into the cell room.  The actual cells had been removed when this was used as a family home, so this was a recreation of what it would have looked like.  Small, especially when you consider that there were a number of men sleeping in this small room because several men accompanied Joseph and Hyrum to Carthage even though there weren't charges against them. Most of the men were ordered to leave so their lives were preserved, as Joseph had previously prophesied they would be.  The cell room was dark.  The warden had actually feared for Joseph's safety and  had moved Joseph to his own bedroom.  That day, Joseph, Hyrum, Willard Richards and John Taylor were together in the bedroom.  John Taylor sang, "A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief."    About 100 men, members of the mob, attacked the jail.  They  ran up the stairs and began trying to force their way in.  Joseph, Hyrum, Willard and John barred the door and tried to protect themselves, but there were too many members of the mob.  Hyrum was shot in the face with a ball...the hole is still in the door (see below).  He was hit by 3 other bullets.    John Taylor moved toward the window, hoping oto jump to safety.  He was hit and started to fall out of the window, but a bullet from outside hit his pocket watch and pushed him back into the room.  He was hit by 3 more bullets, crawled under the bed and hid.  Joseph moved toward the window.  He was hit by two bullets from within and one bullet from outside...and he fell out the window.  Sister Heninger explained that after the mob attacked, they ran downstairs to ensure that Joseph Smith had indeed been killed.  Willard Richards knew he needed to escape or he would be killed.  As he was standing to leave the room, he heard John Taylor say, "Take me with you."  John was badly injured, so in order to protect him he carried him next door to the cell room.  He laid John down on the straw and then covered him with a mattress to hide him.  Willard Richards was not injured at all, fulfilling a prophesy that Joseph Smith had made a year earlier.   The mob was about to return inside the jail when someone shouted, "The Mormons are coming!"  The mob dispersed...even though the Mormons did not know what was happening and were not coming.  
The dank cell 

 This is the window Joseph fell from.  Below is the door where you can still see the bullet hole from the ball that struck and killed Hyrum.

My testimony of Joseph Smith was already strong, but the spirit was there bearing testimony to the truthfulness of this account (and if there are any errors in my recounting of the events...then the errors are mine, errors of  my imperfect memory).

After Carthage, we headed back to Nauvoo.  We toured more of the homes.  Brigham Young's home was one of our first stops.  I am a descendant of Lorenzo Dow Young, Brigham Young's brother, so Brigham's home held some special significance for us.  The missionaries that led us through Brigham Young's home showed us some of his dishes that had been found.  They were broken and had been painstakingly put back together.  They pointed to a plate that was whole and never broken.  They explained that this is how we come to Earth...whole and pure.  But through our choices, we become broken and hurt and in need of healing.  And the Atonement can heal us.  But unlike the plates where we can see where they were glued back together, the Atonement has the power to heal us make us new again like the unbroken plate.

This table was in Brigham Young's home and was where the Quorum of the Twelve would often meet.
 We toured the beautiful Seventies Hall.  This was like the MTC where missionaries received instruction before setting off to preach the gospel.  The amount of missionary work that happened at the time, despite so much opposition, is pretty remarkable.  So many husbands/fathers left their families to proclaim the gospel.  It is a sacrifice to send a child on a mission, but to me it seems it would be even harder to send a spouse on a mission, often for 3 years, and be left behind to care for the family alone.  Such tremendous faith these men and women had!

In the Seventies Hall, upstairs they have some of the items that were found as the Church was restoring Nauvoo.  There are also records of the Seventies that lived in Nauvoo and you can look to see if you can find any ancestor's names.

 On Sunday, we also visited Heber C. Kimball's home.  He only lived in the home for 4 1/2 months before he had to leave Nauvoo to head west.  It was a beautiful home.  I read a biography of Heber C. Kimball while I was in college...and even all these years later I feel a great love for him.  He was a remarkable man, a magnificent missionary and a wonderful husband and father.  I could feel the spirit as I walked through the halls of his home.  

Michelle liked these series of drawings.  I am pretty sure they were displayed in Heber C. Kimball's home, done for him by a local artist if I remember correctly.

And these next few pictures, I can't honestly remember which house they were taken in.  I know that the drum actually belonged to the person in that home.  I know that most of the other pieces are just period pieces...but they give you a nice idea of what these homes might have looked like back then.

We also saw the gunsmith shop and the shoe shop and the silversmith shop and several others.  In the silversmith shop, one of the young sister missionaries said I looked familiar.  She looked vaguely familiar as well. After they taught us about silversmithing (one cool fact...they designed each lantern holder to be unique for each family so that you could recognize which family was approaching as you walked down Nauvoo in the evenings) and told us about William Huntington's conversion, Sister Anderson and I started trying to figure out how we knew each other.  It turns out that she lived in our ward when Alfredo and I first moved into our home...nearly 13 years ago.  I remember her mom quite well even though I haven't seen their family in many years.  But Sister Anderson was only 8 when they moved up to Bountiful, so I am surprised she would have any memory of me at all.

I know I have already said this, but the spirit was strong as we toured these homes and learned more about these early pioneers.  My gratitude for them increased exponentially.  This was a truly sacred experience and so special to share it with my daughter.  I am so thankful I was able to have this experience.