Saturday, August 21, 2010

Church history extravaganza!

Geez it's been almost a month...I better blog about this already!  My mom and I were able to take a little road trip to Nauvoo, Illinois and Council Bluffs, Iowa at the end of July, mostly to see the dramatic productions at each location.  Nauvoo does an outdoor production, which is creatively named the "Nauvoo Pageant".  It tells the story of the Church while it was headquartered in Nauvoo, which it was from 1839-1846.  In Council Bluffs is a production called "Come Home to Kanesville", a story of the early Saints who lived in Kanesville (present-day Council Bluffs), a stopover on the Mormon Trail to the Salt Lake Valley.  Across the river from Kanesville in present-day Florence (a northern suburb of Omaha) was another Mormon settlement known as Winter Quarters.  Anyway, history lesson aside, we were able to visit some friends at each location, plus get a another dose of Church History.  On top of our trip to New York in May, This is Kirtland! from May-July, coming out to Nauvoo and Kanesville, and my visit to Utah in April, I've been to pretty much every major Church History site except for the ones in Missouri.  The only other one I missed is one I have never been to: the Priesthood Restoration sites in northwest Pennsylvania.  Our trip took us first to Carthage, Illinois, site of the martyrdom of Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum in 1844.
Statue of Joseph and Hyrum Smith at Carthage Jail with the Jail in the background
Front of Carthage Jail
Mom getting a picture in front of the jail

Mom in the martyrdom was a HOT day that day!

A view of the martyrdom room where Joseph and Hyrum were killed.  John Taylor and Willard Richards were also present when the mob came in.  Joseph fell out the window on the left.

Next we went down the road to Nauvoo, the city where the Saints lived from 1839-1846.  They transformed it from a dismal swamp to a charming little city that rivaled Chicago for size in the 1840s (which was then less than 20,000 people).  Today Nauvoo is a very small town of about 1,100 people but is still a beautiful place right on a bend of the Mississippi River.
Sunstone from the original Nauvoo Temple, which was completed in 1846.  It was eventually destroyed first by an arsonist's fire in 1848 and later by a tornado in the 1850s.  Another Sunstone is at the Smithsonian American History Museum in Washington, DC (right as you walk in on the left).  This one is in a glass case right outside the LDS Visitors' Center.

Christus statue in the LDS Visitors' Center

Nauvoo Temple on the hill overlooking the old town.  The temple was rebuilt to look exactly as the original on the outside (new sunstones visible at top of each column).  

Statue of Joseph and Hyrum across the street from the Nauvoo Temple.  It is in reference to them leaving to go to Carthage and looking back at Nauvoo one more time.  You can see the Mississippi River in the background.
In front of the Nauvoo Temple from the Joseph and Hyrum statue and the little plaza around it
In front of the Joseph and Hyrum statue and the plaza
Mom near the Joseph and Hyrum statue plaza across from the temple
Nauvoo Temple.  Such a cool temple!!
View of the Joseph and Hyrum statue plaza with the Mississippi River in the background
Nauvoo Temple.  When we used to visit Nauvoo in the 1990s I always hoped it would get rebuilt (it used to just be an open area with the original foundation visible).  I never thought I'd get to see it so soon!

Monument at the end of Parley Street at the official beginning of the Mormon Trail along the Mississippi River. 
At Carthage was hotter than Hades!
Getting my pictures of Carthage Jail and trying not to melt

In front of the Nauvoo Temple...this picture was quite eyes could barely stay open!
Checking my pictures at the Nauvoo Temple
TINA!!!  One of my best friends from the mission.  Hard to believe it's been 7 years since I served in her branch in Alamogordo, New Mexico.  She and her family are now in North Dakota and this was the first time I'd seen her or her daughter Melissa (who is camera shy!) since I visited them in England in 2007. 
Classic Tina
This pretty much sums it up
Waiting for the Nauvoo Pageant to start
Our last part of the trip was to Council Bluffs, Iowa to see a performance of Come Home to Kanesville, an original musical production about the early Mormon settlers in Council Bluffs (originally known as Kanesville) who settled there temporarily while heading west from Nauvoo to the Salt Lake Valley.  We went because our friend Gretchen Brockett Edwards was the costume designer (and a cast member with her family).  She grew up in our home ward, so it was nice to see her again and meet the rest of her family.  She's also been trying to get me to defect from This is Kirtland! 
Meeting with Gretchen Brockett Edwards and her husband after "Come Home to Kanesville" at the Kanesville Tabernacle in Council Bluffs, Iowa. 

1 comment:

Granny J said...

Love the photos of church history sites. The picture of the 4 churches in Palmyra center...brought home to me the struggle of Joseph and his family.

Did you know the Cusolito's are serving in the Nauvoo Temple until Sept.?