Saturday, April 26, 2014

Nauvoo Rendezvous

Last Saturday we marked off the last item on our "Before We Move Bucket List".  So . . . now we can move, I guess.  We live just three hours from Nauvoo, Illinois but have never taken the trip up there to show our children where early members of our church settled long ago.  We were grateful to have a beautiful Easter weekend free to take a road trip.

From the Historic Nauvoo website:
In 1839, early members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints—called “Mormons”—established this place of peace and beauty on a great bend in the Mississippi.  Today, Nauvoo is one of America’s premier historic communities. Visitors can explore more than 40 historic sites from the 1840 time period.

The first thing we did was take a wagon tour all over the town.  The missionaries there work as tour guides (among other duties) and had wonderful stories to share.

After the tour, we took a look around the Monuments to Women where Jeff inserted himself into as many statues as possible.  

It was both inappropriate and hilarious. (Just like Jeff.)

This statue is called "Preparing Her Son."  I like it.

Our next stop was Scovil Bakery, because we heard there were cookies.  In the summertime, many pageants and theatrical productions are performed in Nauvoo and it's usually very crowded.  All of that excitement had not yet started, so we pretty much had the place to ourselves.  That meant that the sweet missionaries who sit in these old houses all day were starved for company and ready to talk our ears off.  We learned a lot about the bakery.

Then the kids wanted to jump in the well.  We said no.

At the Family Living Center we had our choice of making rope, learning to bake bread, learning to make pottery, and . . . other stuff I can't remember.  The kids chose making rope.

They used that large do-dad to spin the individual strands of sisal into one rope.  Then they spun it some more and tied it off.  The missionary in the cool cap said that families are like rope: the tighter they stick together, the stronger they are.

Our family rope really helps us stick together.

Jeff thought of some alternate uses for our family rope.  (This was unfortunate timing on Miles' part.  I promise Jeff doesn't want to hang his son.)

I was there, too.

After the rope making, we went to the brick yard where were heard some lovely stories and a sweet testimony from the elderly elder giving the tour.  Then we got a free brick!

Our last stop in Nauvoo was the temple.  When the Latter-day Saints were forced out of Nauvoo, they had to leave their beautiful temple behind.  Later, a mob came and burned it and then a storm came and swept the rest away.  When I was a teenager, my family and I visited Nauvoo and there was a big empty hole in the ground where the temple had been.  At the beginning of this century, the temple was rebuilt in that same spot.  

I always thought it was so sad that the Saints had to leave their temple and that it was destroyed, and it is.  But, as we were taking our wagon tour and we came to the Trail of Hope where the Mormons would have looked back one last time at their town and their temple, the tour guide pointed out that the people had already partaken of the blessings of the temple.  So even though they were sad to leave it, the temple had served its main purpose for them.  Not as sad.

This statue is called "The Prophet's Last Ride" and depicts the prophet, Joseph Smith, and his brother, Hyrum, as they left Nauvoo and headed to Carthage where they would be arrested and jailed.

We drove to Carthage where we saw a video about the life of Joseph Smith with quotes from people who actually knew him.  Then we were led to the jail where the events of Joseph and Hyrum's last days were explained by the missionary there.

On June 27, 1844, a mob stormed the jail and shot Joseph and Hyrum Smith.  Hyrum died instantly and Joseph fell out of this second story window and died.  Chloe and Harrison both said this was their favorite part of our trip.  It's a sobering, but strangely inspiring place.  Despite the efforts of the mob that day, the Mormons continued to grow in their faith and in their numbers.  Today there are over 15 million members of the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints worldwide.

I am blessed to be one of them.

7 Wisecracks:

Ted said...

Wow, definitely not the same as when we visited Nauvoo back in the day. We might just have to get there.

Also Jeff is funniest always.

Chelsea Dyreng said...

Great post, Melissa.

Nicole said...

You are rocking that scarf, btw. Such a great post. Irreverent Jeff is my favorite Jeff. (Could it be more obvious that a stranger took that family photo at the end?! Hahahaha! Next time go on vacation with me and your whole family will be in focus.)

melissa said...

Secretly that last photo was taken with the self timer on my phone. I forgot to tell it where to focus first.

allyn said...

I took so many pictures of that temple when we visited and it is probably because it wasn't there that first time we went there in '92. It was so inspiring to have it there the next time we visited. It is nice to not have a crazy crowd around in sweltering heat.

Emily said...

Lovely friend.

Patti said...

What a great trip! And Jeff's poses made me laugh. What a funny guy!