Wednesday, August 22, 2007

commitment, sacrifice and faith

as sarah steed returned to her tent, her frost bitten feet barely moving the frozen snow, she shuffled forward, her little hands wrapped in canvas, she could no longer feel the small sticks and piece of sagebrush she had been able to gather for what surely would be her last night on earth.

Many of Sarah's companions had left england with such high hopes, their boat had been delayed in Liverpool as supplies were hard to gather, rough seas had slowed their voyage another week, arriving in Boston's harbor on June 30th. They hurried to the train station to catch the next train to Iowa, there they would meet up with other saints who had answered the a Prophet's call to gather in the Rocky Mountains.

sarah's family had heard of a new gospel of Jesus Christ, one that professed to have a modern prophet who had talked to God the Father and his Son, he translated a golden record of ancient scripture, the Book of Mormon... another testament of Jesus Christ. Her mother and father had read the book, had felt the conversion power of the Holy Ghost and desired for their family to live among the saints.

They were a poor family, not able to afford all the provisions and transportation costs, but had prayed and determined they could save enough to send one child each year, geoff her brother went last year and now it was sarah's turn. Mother and father would come next year and oh what a reunion that would be.

Arriving in Florence the middle of August, she had expected to see a town busy making wagons, loading supplies and alive with anticipation of the journey west. To her surprise, the town seemed deserted, many of the 500 log cabins empty, the sod huts which had once housed so many, barely visible having been turned into a corn field soon after the vanguard company had left in mid april.

there was a great amount of discussion about this set of emigrants and missionaries who had just arrived expecting to join one of the companies of mormon pioneers in their trek west. It was much too late to send anyone in late August they argued, you need to be to gone by July 4th, at the absolute latest, to have any chance of arriving in the valley before the snows came.

that night they had a meeting. a captain Willie and captain Martin seemed to be in charge, they were saying they could get them through, but would have to leave soon. All in attendance were anxious for the final vote to be taken when a Br. Savage, one of the missionaries returning from england spoke, he said they should wait, that yes, God would watch over them, but that God expected them to use good judgment... winters can be harsh across the plains, provisions were few and handcarts hand been made out of green timber, and they would be lucky if the carts would be able to hold up to the rigors of the journey. He suggested they wait through the winter and leave in the spring when conditions and provisions would be more favorable.

Captain Martin wanted a vote, each hand went up in favor of leaving now. God would provide, they had responded to the call of a prophet and were anxious to be numbered with God's saints, build his temple and receive his blessings. they would go, all would be well. Surprising, Br. Savage didn't hang his head, he said he would go, share in their labors, and die with them if necessary.. if that was the vote of the people. It was.

sarah was assigned to a Smith family, each handcart was to provide for 5 people, they were a sweet young family of 4, they were happy to receive her and said she could help by caring for their two small children, and gather wood for the fire at days end. this was great, sarah was lonesome for her family back in England and now she had a family here in America. Sarah had heard they were relatives of Joseph's brother Hyrum, they seemed like nice people and she looked forward to getting to know them better and taking care of their children as they journeyed across the plains.

They left on August 25th, nearly two months later than was recommended. with a prayer for an indian summer and a shout hurrah they were off.

All seemed to go well as they traveled across. the trail was well marked, worn and dry. they did experience equipment problems as the hastily thrown together handcarts, struggled over the rough terrain. Many needed repair along the way, a few of the 500+ who started with the martin company turned back, or would stop in settlements along the way, those going ahead would transfer their belongings to the better carts leaving the worst behind.

Each passenger was allowed 17lbs of personal belongings, most brought a few books, their bibles and Book of Mormon, a few small pieces of furniture or glassware, but mostly they brought clothing, blankets and supplies. Each was given a 100 lb bag of flour to haul in their cart. the company brought milk cows, a few chickens for eggs, and steers to slaughter along the way. they started on reduced rations the first week out, and then really had to cut back when a buffalo stampede came through and many of the oxen, used to pull the tent and supply wagons escaped. Men became weak as they shared much of their small ration with their families, pulling a 500 lb handcart is tough work, all able hands were required no one rested. Days were long and hard. Some nights they were too tired even to cook, choosing sleep over what little nurishment they might receive.

Real trouble began on Oct 19. The weather had been getting colder each day, the company was already worn out and had little clothing to keep themselves warm. Bitter winds cut to the bone and when an early blizzard greeted them the morning of the 19th, despair and discouragement could be felt within the entire camp. they had just crossed the last crossing of the north platt... every step became more difficult, many of the men cried out they couldn't take another step, but they did. setting their sights on the tree, stump or rock ahead, they would press foreward. they somehow made it to New Red Bluffs, no one knew how, some said they saw angels helping to push the wagons along... no matter, the weather had gotten worse and they were now snowbound. They could not move another inch, it was decided they would wait here for rescue or death, either being a welcome sight.

Six days later messengers from a small relief company finally arrived and convinced them to keep moving forward or they should perish. Their provisions were few, they shared what they had... but for most of the worn discouraged company, these messengers brought hope. Brigham would not let them parish, the Utah boys were coming with help.

a few relief wagons met them two days later, they had used up most of the provisions just getting to the company, but again they brought hope and to those struggling the most a ride!!

Sara and her newly adopted family made it past Devil's Gate, one of the many landmarks crossing the plains. whether you were with the Oregon, California or Mormon companies each had to pass by this landmark to know you were on the right trail. it was a welcome sight.

Piercing winds again forced them to seek shelter at sweetwater rocks. Continuing storms locked them down in their well worn tents, meger rations and limited clothing. the Utah boys had built fires and removed most the weight from their handcarts, storing them in a bunkhouse near where the camped. the bitter cold force the company back into a cove where rock mountains on both sides helped shelter the wind and block out some of the cold. there they stayed for 5 nights and 4 days.

when the weather finally broke on Nov 12, the company moved on, 2/3rds of the original company riding on wagons, the others walked until the final rescue teams arrived then all would ride. as they looked back on what now is called Martin's Cove, 56 of their number were buried having died during the 5 days they were there, 100's more if Brigham hadn't sent out the Utah boys to find them and bring them safely home. Numbered in the 56 was Br. Smith from Sarah's newly adopted family and one of the small boys she had been asked to watch along the way.

On Nov. 3o just over 300 of the 500+ who started, arrived in the Salt Lake Valley.

Sarah Steed was one of them.

i was not prepared to walk in Martin's Cove and feel the spirit there. As i took to the 5 mile trail, i had chapstick to protect my lips from the wind, sunglasses to shade the sun, and new nikes to protect my feet. as i walked i could feel the water bottle brushing against my leg, the weight of the camera slung over my shoulder and an annoying peeble that somehow got in my shoe. i can't imagine what they felt... or didn't feel, their starved bodies worn out, their feet bleeding, their hands, faces and bodies no doubt numb from the bitter cold.

i came hereout of curiosity, they had come heeding the call of a prophet, with a burning desire to be with his people, build his temple and receive the blessings promised therein.

it's a story of commitment and sacrifice, they are now my heros... everyone of them.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Winter Quarters... place to pause, to rest... to die

Lo, we have left all, and followed thee... Luke 18:28

Winter Quarters is a sobering tribute to some 2500 pioneers who settled in make-do shelters along the Missouri river and thousands more spread over 90 different settlements within a 40 mile radius of Council Bluffs and Omaha/Florence Neb.

The visitors center looks over a pioneer grave yard and the Omaha Temple erected in 2001. It is somehow fitting the the grave yard and Temple are linked together... both are tributes to a God fearing, obedient people... one living and one dead. The work done in the Temple provides eternal rest for those 400+ saints buried next store, over half under the age of 3. It was a sad but familiar sight, like the statue above, of parents burying their child, wife or husband who died of exposure in the bitter cold, or other diseases. It was an unbelievably hard time for the pioneers, one i cannot give justice to, but in the end they became a seasoned, durable people more than ready to take on the 1000 mile journey which lie ahead.

During those brutal months, Brigham Young and others carefully prepared for the final push over the Rocky Mountains; charting their path, gathering information, equipment and supplies. They also organize settlements for and made preparations for the winter ahead.

I am in total awe and have a renewed respect for Brigham's skills as an organizer and colonizer. this man had a plan/vision of how a settlement should be set up. Kanesville, the settlement now known as Council Bluff, is still set up exactly the way Brigham laid it out. i think when old Brigham spoke folks took notice and obeyed... Where Joseph was a magnet, Brigham was a hammer.

Winter Quarters consisted of neat, organized streets, 500 log cabins, 83 sod houses, other make shift shelters to protect the emigrants who just kept coming, all erected from mid July to October. they also: gathered and stored food to survive the winter, set up a grist mill, tannery and smoke house, 2 printing presses, wagon shop, blacksmith repair shop, shoe shop, make shift saw mill, set up corrals for all the livestock, gather grasses, plant seeds for the saints coming to harvest on their way through etc, etc. trust me if you had a skill which could help prepare the group, Brigham made sure there was a place to get it done.

Brigham always was looking ahead, planning for those who would follow. Over 30,000 pioneers would come through Council Bluffs... and over 70,000 through the surrounding areas, before the trans continental railroad was complete. this was an event and movement of people unparallelled in the history of the USA.,all lead by Brigham Young.... amazing.

couple other significant things which happened there:

The mormon battalion...
500 men called to the service of there country. can't see this going over too well, this was the same government which multiple times said they couldn't help or protect the saints and gave no restitution for the injust exodus. Again, it was Brigham who convinced the people that the $42 given to each for clothing supplies, boots and rifle would greatly add their cause. Most of the $42 went to the emigration fund, helping the many who were unprepared and ill equipped to go. at one point Brigham stated that the salvation of the church depended on raising that army.

Sustaining of Brigham as the new President of the church...
After Brigham made the first trip to the Valley he returned to Kayesville to see his family and eventually help them across. He also met with the leadership of the church to determine who should be named its new leader. By unanimous vote of the quorum of 12, and later the membership of the church, Brigham was named the 2nd Prophet of this dispensation. It was decided that a tabernacle should be built for the occasion, so the building was erected in 3 weeks, the statue of Brigham with the first presidency stands in front of a replica of the original building.

the 136th section of the DC...
outlining exactly how the company would proceed. For safety and efficiency they formed 2 large divisions, which were later divided into companies of 50 and 10, each with a leader, a code of conduct, and outline of daily activities along the trail. Another example of the Lord leading his people through his prophet.

set the course for others to follow...
this well-disciplined lead party would improve roads, set up trail markers every 10 miles, build ferries, and make detailed notes of camp sites, watering holes, treaties and partnerships with the indians, all part of the grand plan to aid those who would follow.

They were asked to give all they had, their homes, possessions, their families and for many... their lives to follow him. We are the rich recipients of their sacrifice and commitment.

i am again, humbled and grateful.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

trail of hope

tomorrow i will visit winter quarters the place the saints had to stop for the winter prior to their final push into the Salt Lake valley.

In February 1846, the first party of Mormon pioneers, WILLINGLY left their beloved city of Nauvoo. It was important to Brigham that the saints leave voluntarily demonstrating a desire to be a peaceful people in search of a safe place to worship freely.

articles in illinois newspapers editorialized on the injustice being shown the saints.

Great injustice inflicted by a lawless and irresponsible mob. Can these things be done in a republic and not be rebuked by an efficient expression of public sentiment? ... Bloomington (Illinois) Herald, October 30, 1846

The great body of Mormons removed voluntarily, but a small remnant of them were barbarously expelled with force, and in a manner which reflects but little credit on the state or its institutions... Illinois Governor Thomas Ford, December 7, 1846.

the initial plan was to leave in the spring of 46, or when the grass was high enough to feed the cattle, targeting late april or early may. Brigham however called for a hasty retreat in Feb. fearing the mobs were about to come upon the saints.. in an effort of good faith he called upon a selected few, including the leadership of the church, to evacuate immediately showing they were serious about the promised spring migration, hoping to deflect further attacks by the mobs. (Geoff, again i am sure the Steeds were numbered among that group, i just can't find a record which has their name on it. )

The first train of wagons ferried across the Mississippi on February 4 and then camped for nearly a month waiting for Brigham to finish business in Nauvoo, and allowing others to join them for the initial push. March 1, some 500 wagons left camp heading across Iowa toward the Missouri River, if all went well they would cross the river by late April and arrive in the Rocky Mountains by fall.

We all know the story too well. Wagons lined parley street for over 2 1/2 miles waiting to be ferried across the mile wide Mississippi. Each ferry would only handle one wagon and team at a time... thus the long wait to finally get started. Harsh weather, froze the Mississippi so more could cross... but many of the saints who left in a panic, were poorly supplied or equipped for the trek... failing to heed Brigham's instructions on what to bring.

Bad weather, heavy rains, early thaws and thick mud brought wagons to a halt. Families waited in miserable camps while men fanned out across the territory to work for food or pay hoping to build supplies for those who were so terribly unprepared.

the initial camp spent a month crossing the first 100 miles, a distance that should have taken 10 days. Eventually they would end up here, from Counsel Bluffs to Winter Quarters... a time to regroup, replenish, and prepare. By Winter, some 2500 Mormons would settle into make-do shelters along the east bank of the Missouri River. It was a long, hard, sad winter. More than 700 perished of exposure, malnutrition, scurvy, pneumonia, malaria and other diseases. "Scarcely a family escaped sickness and very few where death did not make an inroad, stated Lorenzo Snow....the rest pressed forward.

Heber J. Grant said of Winter Quarters, " There are times and places in the life of every natiion when great spiritual heights are reached, when courage becomes a living thing, when faith in God stands as the granite mountain wall - firm and immovable - while hardships, want, hunger, sickness , sorrow, and death beat down to crush. Winter Quarters was such a time and place for the Mormon people.

Somehow these pioneers comforted and helped each other along; those who had food, bedding, and shelter shared with those who had none; those with musical or literary talent used them to try to comfort and inspire others. As Pres. Grant indicated their hardships brought the people together, forging their faith and identity. I've heard about the refiners fire, but with all they had already endured??? the Lord wanted a solid foundation on which to build his church in the latter days. He DID NOT make it easy.

These early pioneers became a Zion people, relying on the strengths of each other, relying on their new leader and newly sustained prophet of the church, Brigham Young, relying on the Lord to take them to a safe place a top the rocky mountains.

On a cold winter night in south central iowa, William Clayton, penned the now famous hymn celebrating the birth of his son and showing courage and good cheer to the saints around him... "Come, come ye Saints, no toil or labor fear; But with joy wend your way. Though hard to you this journey may appear, Grace shall be as your day... All is well, All is well.

i look forward to tomorrow..


top left... brigham and joseph overlooking the mississippi with maps of the trail they would take.

leaving Nauvoo

a couple days back Karen asked who the two guys on horseback were... the plaque tells the story, but as Paul Harvey would say, "and now, the rest of the story..."

the night before this trip to Carthage and the final ride depicted here, Joseph, Hyrum and Willard Richards took a skiff across the Mississippi to begin their flee to the Rocky Mountains. Tensions and hatred against the prophet has risen so high that he felt it best to leave that night.

Early the next morning a posse arrived in Nauvoo to arrest Joseph and Hyrum with a message that Governor Ford was so determined to apprehend the prophet that he would send troops to "Guard the city until they were found, if it took three years to do it."

About one that afternoon, Emma sent Orrin Rockwell and Reynolds Cahoon with a letter to Joseph requesting him to return to Nauvoo and give himself up. When they met with Joseph, Reynolds and others accused Joseph of cowardice for leaving the people... it was then that Joseph uttered the now famous quote... "if my life is of no value to my friends it is of none to myself." he asked Hyrum what he should do, "Let us go back and give ourselves up, and see this thing out," to this Joseph replied "if you go back i will go with you, but we shall be butchered." Hyrum disagreed, and indicated they should put their trust in the God that they would not be harmed. it was the strong persuasions of Reynolds Cahoon, Lorenzo D. Wasson and Hiram Kimball, who were carrying out Emma's instructions, that induced Joseph and Hyrum to return to Nauvoo.... and now you know the rest of the story.
top left... the mansion house, Joseph and Emma's second home in Nauvoo... this only shows about half the actual house, because the Smith's entertained so many outside guests they added an entire hotel to the back half of the house... there were multiple sleeping rooms, a large meeting room or hall and another kitchen and serving facility added on back. after Joseph was martyred he and Hyrum's bodies lay in state in the lower hall, it was said over 10,000 people came to the viewing to pay their respects to the Prophet and his brother Hyrum.

top middle... the original log cabin of the Smiths... It was added onto 3 different times, the white section on the left became a living room and parlor as well as a new wing to the front with additional bedrooms and a summer kitchen.

top right... main street which passed between Joseph's original log cabin and the Mansion Home. it is said to be the longest continuous street in the USA. Nauvoo jets out into the bend in the mississippi river... Main street dissects Nauvoo connecting the Mississippi on both sides, with a circular driveway at both ends, making it one continuous street. Main Street was also the main street of commerse in town.

bottom left.... just to the side of the cabin home near the Mississippi River is the Smith family grave yard. Joseph's parents, other family members and as shown the final resting place for Joseph, Emma and Hyrum.

bottom middle... looking back at the temple from parley street. It is a breathtaking sight.

bottom right... one of the 13 boot and shoe shops in Nauvoo. Nice to know i could have gotten work there.

consider the following:
- the population of Nauvoo grew from 1000 to 12,000 in the 7 years the saints lived there
- they were a learning people with 20 schools and 1 university
- they erected 2500 homes
- there were 7 brick manufactures
- every manner of artisanship was there
- gristmills and bakerys
- a gunshop
- 3 or 4 sawmills
- a cultural center
- the assembly hall
- 3 newspapers and printers
- 2 libraries
- a majestic Temple, which was a landmark for all who traveled the Mississippi
- it grew from an unpopulated, undesirable swap, to become the second largest city, (chicago was the largest) in 7 short years... just a few of the facts i remember.

this is for Karen... the grounds around the visitor's center are filled with flowers, trees and grasses. they'd love to have you as their gardener.


the trip to carthage

walking on the grounds of the carthage jail leaves one to ponder how such a barbaric, cowardice act could happen in this sleepy little town, on this quiet and peaceful setting. Joseph knew he would not return to see his family, he knew his martyrdom was necessary in order for the church and its people to grow; he knew he had done all that was required, as on the afternoon of his death he wrote to his sweetheart Emma, " i am satisfied with the work i have done, give my love to the children and may God bless you."

The mob, which some reports say numbered over 100 men, some with blackened faces rushed the jail with one thought in mind... kill the mormon leader, old Joe Smith and his brother Hyrum. just after 5:00 pm, the deed was done, first Hyrum was hit, leaning all of his 6' 2" frame against the door taking a bullet in the cheek and died instantly, John Taylor fell next taking a bullet in the hip, falling back toward the window, then Joseph taking two bullets in the back through the window and two in the chest... then he fell, " Oh my Lord, my God."

the prophet Joseph was dead.

i went through the tour of the jail twice, once by a senior missionary from outside Boise and once by a sis. missionary from New Zealand. both had been on the property all summer long giving countless tours and no doubt knew the script and story by heart. i would have thought, that after all this time on the site, they would be numb or somewhat guarded about their true feelings toward the prophet, masking their appreciation, their love and feelings toward him... how wrong i was.

both got emotional as they bore their testimony of the prophet, Br. Gale broke down at least 4 times during the course of a 20 minute presentation often pausing to contain his emotions before being able to go forward. One of the CD's i bought on the trip, (and i've bought a few) is titled, "they knew the prophet" which has over 100 accounts of people's feelings for the Prophet Joseph... " i am unable to discribe my sensations when in the presence of this wonderful man... i have never heard any human voice, not even my mother's, that was so attractive to me." Even his bitterest enemies, if they had the privilege of hearing him speak, became mollified, and forgot their anger... "General Wilson rode with Joseph to his trial in Missouri and said, " He was a very remarkable man. I carried him into my house a prisoner in chains, and in less than 2 hours my wife loved him better than she did me." some were for him, some against, yet all seemed to come away with a sense of awe... he carried the mantle of authority and calling of a prophet well.

John Taylor stated, "Joseph Smith, the Prophet and Seer of the Lord, has done more, save it be Jesus only, for the salvation of men in this world, than any other man that ever lived in it... and like most of the Lord's anointed in ancient times, has sealed his mission and his works with his own blood." I believe that, his people believed that, satan and his followers believed that and today thousands upon thousand throughout the world believe that.

this trip has given me a much deeper testimony, a greater gratitude and appreciation for the prophet Joseph. other than the Savior, there is no other man i desire more to meet, to listen to, talk with, and personally thank. i have a feeling he would welcome the conversation, invite others to come along and we'd end up in some sporting or service activity, enjoying each others company not wanting it to end.

you feel his spirit, innocence and desire to know the truth in Palmyra, you feel his love for family, hard work and integrity on the Smith farm; you marvel at the industry and dedication of the people in Kirtland; you feel Joseph's spirit and preparation of his people on the grounds of the "land beautiful" Nauvoo; you feel of his love and calling, in the testimony of those who walk where he walked and tell his story, the story of the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

i thank Br. Gale for bearing his testimony and letting his feelings for the prophet come to the surface over and over again, i too love the Prophet, A Man of God... Joseph Smith

a view from inside the jail... the stairs the mob came up, the upstairs window the prophet fell from, the actual bullet holes in the door and if you look close by the lock.

The prophet and 10 others who came in support of Joseph and Hyrum, stayed in three different rooms in the jail. the first was the barred room upstairs, the temperatures rose to over 110 degrees in the jail that first day, so the jail keepers, knowing they weren't hardened criminals, moved them to the downstairs debtors cell on the main floor where it was cooler and the open windows would let the afternoon breeze pass through. after a day of getting to know the prophet, and fearing for his safety, the jailers felt compelled to give up their own room , as the mob could easily see and shoot through the downstairs window, moving down to the parlor to sleep, so the prophet and his associates would be more comfortable.

the conspiracy to kill the Prophet ran deep. the bar on the outside door at the bottom of the stairs would normally have a cross bar to reinforce it... as you can see below it was set aside and the door left unlocked. the nauvoo greys who were sent to protect the prisoners were issued guns with only powder... no bullets. it was said the greys guarding the door simply shot their muskets in the air and moved aside to let the mob through as none of them were injured.

after the prophet fell from the window, the mob rushed downstairs to see if he was dead. Someone in the crowd yelled, "the mormons are coming" and the cowardice mob fled, fearing the Nauvoo legion was coming or revenge. by morning the next day, the entire town of carthage was evacuated, fearing the mormon's would burn the town, yet the mormon's didn't come following the counsel of willard richards to "keep the peace," as he had given his word to the leaders of carthage as they returned to Nauvoo with the bodies of Joseph and Hyrum.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

a little surprize in Nauvoo

i am tired...

ten days; just over 2000 road miles; 4 road games; a committed attempt to take in all the exhibits, history and shows each historical site has to offer; and of course my nightly blog... six o'clock wake up, lights out about 12:00, and i'm beat.

soooo, this will be short.

one of the restored buildings in Nauvoo is the Assembly Hall. this building was suggested to joseph, funded and built by the 70's of the church. a little background:

- of the 5000 original saints who settled Nauvoo 490 were 70's
- there were 1000 seventies in 1844, and 15 quorums of seventy at the time they departed.
- the leadership of the 70's felt they needed a place of learning... here they could study scriptures and instruct each other, practice their speaking skills, a little teaching of the geographys or countries they may be called to, a museum of artifacts brought back by missionaries from around the world, a library of books donated by the citizens of Nauvoo etc.
- they also kept a record of each and every 70 who lived in Nauvoo

one of those was James Standing, son of John and Mary, husband to Nancy Varley, and our great, great, great relative... not exactly sure how it all fits together. he played in the Nauvoo brass band, (i guess Barney playing the flute was in the genes), was a stonecutter listed on the temple records, and a body guard of the prophet Joseph.

now the good part... after i found James in the record of 70's, i went to the land and records building were they provide you with key information re: each church member that resided in the Nauvoo area... namely what they did, where they lived, activities, priesthood ordinances and blessings etc... they even give you a CD of all the records they find.

Nauvoo was laid out in 4 acre sections, each section consisted of four 1 acre lots. picture the way SLC is laid out... everything organized, neat and equal. when the saints came to Nauvoo each family was given a 1 acre plot of land to homestead, drain, build a home, business and garden. don't know how they passed them out but our boy James got a good one.

when i got the plot map, it showed James lived on lot 116, just off parley and main street. this address sounded familier as i had just walked down main street which was THE hub of activity in Nauvoo... (not counting the Temple) the printing press and paper, the post office, Jonathan Browning gun store, John Taylor's home to name just of few of the store fronts which have been restored on what was the busiest street in the city.

walking to the place i determined was lot 116 i was excited to find James kept pretty good company. just across the street, or so i thought, sits the home of Brigham Young... i was close, Brigham owned lot 123 which is still just across the street and kitty corner to Jame's, lot 116 sits behind the printing press, John Taylor's home and the post office. so it would seem if Jame's were to have a backyard bar-b-que, he could shout over the fence and invite the Taylors, stand on his front porch and wave in the Youngs, if it looked like a big social event the paper/printing press could open their back door and interview all in attendence. Jame's no doubt kept pretty good company including the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd presidents of the church. not bad.

point of interest... Geoff, i checked to see if any Steeds were registered in the record of 70's and couldn't find them. guess they changed their names when they got to the valley.

tomorrow is another big travel day as i go to omaha neb. for a view of winter quarters. plenty of time to ponder all that i saw and heard. a lot to talk about tomorrow night, Carthage jail visit, Jonathan Browning and the story of Quincy, senior missionaries and what they do in Nauvoo, as well as any parting thoughts i may have from Nauvoo. i'm treating this blog as if i were a reporter... one story a day... stay tuned.

just to see if you're paying attention i'd like a little input on the best traveling foods you'd take for a long trip.. i've got a few coming up in the next three or four days and would like your recommendation on what to snack on along the way... you name it, healthy, refreshing, keeps you awake, whatever... give me your best shot. thanks in advance.

good night


upper left... shot from behind John Taylors home. check out the red building in the upper left corner... Brigham's home
upper right... inside assembly hall
lower left... shot from Brigham's front porch
lower right... give some perspective to where the printing press is, John Taylor's home would be next, and then the post office.

Friday, August 17, 2007

the heartland of america

thought i would give you a look at the view between chicago and nauvoo... row after perfect row of corn... farm after farm, silo after silo and much to my surprize toll after toll... $2.90, $1.90, $.90, .80, $.50, again and again and then the big one $6.00 coming out of Ohio. good thing i cashed in my stock...

couple helpful hints for those of you who are considering making the trip.

1. as mentioned above, have plenty of change for tolls.
2. one day is really not enough for any of the sites... you can do it, but if you have the time plan two... it's worth it.
3. i've been lucky with the temperature... august is normally 85+, with lots of humidity... ask nina, i'd go spring or fall next time.
4. bring bug spray to nauvoo... misquitos, big black flies that sting upon landing, and funny little black things, draining the swamp didn't clear out the bugs... they're thick and they're everywhere.
5. go early to the sites... the senior couples are great and love the company... by getting to the sites early, i've been lucky enough to be alone and get my own personel tours.
6. read up on the sites before you go. knowing the history before you get there allows for better understanding and you can dig deeper with the guides to clarify the questions that will arise when you go through the tours.
7. i have appreciated the presentations by the Community of Christ church who owns the Kirtland Temple, and Joseph Smith property's in Nauvoo. They do a great job, but pale in comparison to the presentation the church does. Makes you appreciate the attn. to detail, upkeep of the properties, and sincerety & knowledge of the senior and lady missionaries. the spirit they bring to their presentations is infectous... they thoughtfully present the material and always close by bearing their testimony. there is a sweet and undeniable spirit at each of the churches sites seems to be lacking at the others.
8. take in the plays and musical groups, saw two today and both were great... even the senior missionaries get to perform.
9. talk with the other folks visiting the sites. most are LDS, but i got to tour with a community of christ gentlemen and had a great conversation with him re: the differences in the two churches, why he's there etc. good fun, get meet people and learn things from another perspective.
10. go with somebody, this has been great but would be even better to be able to share it in person with someone...