Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Beautiful Nauvoo

Leaving Carthage, we drove into Nauvoo, found a hotel and began the search for food. new 006058  Bernerd was much happier in this room,  our last room smelled so bad of cigarette smoke I dreamed I had taken up the habit.  After driving down the  one street in town, that in off tourist season was totally shut down after 5:00, we decided to eat at our hotel which offered a buffet.  It was basically a salad bar for one price with a meat and potato add on for an additional cost.  Since dessert was included with the salad bar part, and we know I only eat dinner so I can have dessert, I was fine.  What we didn’t know however was that the lady sitting in the corner all by herself, would get 3 take out boxes and totally fill them up with all the desserts except for the store bought cookies.  Welcome to small town USA! 
Before we left Arizona, Jessica had got a recommend to do baptisms at the Nauvoo temple.
new 009  What a wonderful experience.  Arlon was able to do both the baptism and the conformation for her and several other kids.  Even knowing that this is a rebuilt Temple the history and heritage behind it and the memories of those who worked so hard to finish the original temple so they could perform these same ordinances for themselves was truly a testimony of the hand our Father has in our lives.  Arlon and I returned later that day to do a session.  My cup was full.new 010 It was cold and I forgot my camera (I must have had my heart where it was suppose to be instead of on the temporal things of life)  so I made Jessica go back the next day to take a picture in front of the temple
. new 011 new 008 Then it was on to visit old Nauvoo.new 001 First we went to the old cultural hall to find out what time the Missionaries preformed their show called the “Rendezvous in old Nauvoo”  and then it was off to the visitors center to get the tickets.  The Center is beautiful, lots of old artifacts and information.  We watched a really good film on life in early Nauvoo and the exodus that followed.  You could defiantly tell it was off season, we were the only ones there.new 014 new 019 This is as close as I will come to shaking The prophets hand in this life.
new 021 We walked the “trail of hope” down to the rivers edge, where the saints crossed to the other side leaving Illinois behind.  It was a little chilly but not as cold as the morning the pioneers left,  it was hard to read all the plaques along the way and then look back at all they had to leave behind and not feel some of the feelings they must have felt.  new 022 This was one of my favorites…LDS women are are not sheep!new 038 We toured lots of the old houses.  It was amazing to see that even the big houses still had small rooms and low ceilings.  This building is not part of the original Nauvoo, but still one of our favorites :)new 036
The Red brick store, Mansion house and cemetery where Joseph and Hyrum are buried, are owned by the community of Christ church (formally the reorganized church), most of the other homes, the LDS Church has purchased.  
new 041Elder Jeffery R. Holland had been there the day before to attend a stake conference, he had written his name in the book of Descendants of the seventy’s.  new 035
This building was Arlons favorite.  When we serve our mission, this is where he wants to work.
new 044 he didn’t even laugh at the missionary who was doing the demonstration that day, but you could tell he wanted tonew 048help him out a little… new 047 new 050 we did get our prairie diamond rings though!
So just a little funny before we leave Nauvoo and travel on to Chicago… We really pretty much ate soup and sandwiches most of our stay, being the off season most of the eating establishments were closed or operating on shorter hours,  We had decided to try this
 new 007
establishment for dinner our last night.  Just as we were about to go in, one of the couple missionaries we had met during our stay was just leaving with his wife and a rather large take out box.  He pulled Arlon aside and told him that this was not the best place to eat,  “As they served Hard Liquor there”    Hhmmm, so we ate soup and sandwiches down the street and wondered what was in his take out that was not good enough for us.

Sunday, March 28, 2010


Leaving Hannibal, we decided to go straight to Carthage.  For me it set the stage.  Seeing Nauvoo from the end to the beginning gave me a beautiful conformation of the spirit and truth of Joseph Smith.  We were greeted at the visitor center by Bro Despain, such a small world, he was from Taylor, my hometown, and Jessica is friends with his granddaughter at Gilbert High.  He and his wife are serving their mission in Nauvoo.052
As we entered the Jail…which was really just a house with a cell build in the upper floor, you feel great power at walking in the footsteps of our first great prophet.  042 As Bro Despain led us up the stairs, all the stories that I have heard since childhood come to mind.  The stairs are narrow, which make you wonder about the men who would climb them in hate and ignorance.  Did they push and shove so as to be the first to the top, did the noise of their shoes on the hardwood steps bring a sense of dread to the men in the upper room. 
Joseph and Hyrum went to Carthage, and on 25 June 1844 they were falsely accused of rioting and treason (working against the government). They and several of their friends were put in the Carthage Jail, where mobs threatened and cursed them. In jail the brethren prayed and read the Book of Mormon. The Prophet bore his testimony of the truth of the gospel to the men guarding them.

Dan Jones was one of the brethren in jail with the Prophet. On the morning of 27 June 1844 one of the prison guards told him:

“We have had too much trouble to bring Old Joe here to let him ever escape alive, and unless you want to die with him you had better leave before sundown; … and you’ll see that I can prophesy better than Old Joe, for neither he nor his brother, nor anyone who will remain with them will see the sun set today” (History of the Church, 6:602).

Dan Jones reported this threat to Governor Ford, but the governor replied, “You are unnecessarily alarmed for the safety of your friends, sir, the people are not that cruel”.  Then the governor left Carthage, leaving some of the Prophet’s worst enemies in charge of the jail. That day most of the Prophet’s friends were ordered to leave the jail.

Only four men remained in Carthage Jail: the Prophet Joseph Smith; his brother Hyrum; and John Taylor and Willard Richards, two of the Apostles. These four men had two guns that had been given to them by friends who visited them. Elder Taylor and Elder Richards also had walking canes.050

Because the governor had left Carthage and had put some members of the mob in charge of the jail, the four men knew their lives were in danger. That morning Joseph had written a letter to his family telling them that he loved them and that he was innocent. In the letter he also pronounced a blessing on his family and friends. In the afternoon John Taylor sang “A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief”.   (As Bro Despain played this for us, I couldn't stop the tears, I knew Joseph was thinking of his wife and children, and all the testimonies that would be tested as a result of this day) This beautiful song about the Savior comforted the men greatly, and the Prophet asked Elder Taylor to sing it again.

Around five o’clock in the evening a mob of about one hundred men attacked the jail. Many of the men had blackened their faces with mud and gunpowder so they would not be recognized.The guards at the jail were friends of the mobbers and made no serious attempt to stop the attack. Some members of the mob shot at the windows of the jail, and others ran up the stairs to shoot into the room where the Church leaders were.045

The brethren tried to bar the door shut and use their few weapons to drive off the mob. Joseph Smith fired a pistol and John Taylor used his heavy cane to try to knock down the guns of the mob as they were pushed into the room through the door, but there were too many people in the mob for the brethren to defend themselves.

Hyrum Smith was shot in the face by a bullet fired through the door.  049He fell to the floor, crying out, “I am a dead man!” As he fell he was hit by three other bullets. Joseph cried out, “Oh dear, brother Hyrum!” .

John Taylor moved toward the open window, hoping to jump to safety. A bullet fired from inside the jail hit his leg and he started to fall out the window, but a second bullet from outside the jail hit his pocket watch with such force that it pushed him back into the room, saving his life. Elder Taylor was hit with three more bullets as he crawled under the bed.

After Hyrum and John Taylor were shot, the Prophet moved to the window. He was hit by two bullets fired from the doorway of the room and a third bullet fired from outside the jail. He cried, “Oh Lord, my God!” and fell out the window.046

The mob inside the jail ran out to see the Prophet’s body,055 (a view from outside the house, the window he fell from is the upper window on the side.) and Willard Richards hurried to the window. After seeing the Prophet’s lifeless body, Elder Richards ran for the door. He stopped when he heard John Taylor cry out from under the bed. He knew he would not be able to carry Elder Taylor out right away, so he hid him under an old mattress, saying, “If your wounds are not fatal, I want you to live to tell the story” Elder Richards expected to be shot as he left the jail, but before the mob could make sure they had killed all four men, someone mistakenly shouted, “The Mormons are coming!” and the mob members fled into the woods.

Elder Richards had not been injured in the attack. This miracle fulfilled a prophecy made a year earlier by Joseph Smith, who had told Elder Richards that there would be a time when “the balls [bullets] would fly around him like hail, and he should see his friends fall on the right and on the left,” but he would not be hurt.
Carthage is a very powerful place to visit.  It’s hard to imagine how intolerance can lead to hate which can lead to violence.  My testimony of the truthfulness of this church was strengthened by the spirit which you feel by walking here Joseph walked, touching the bullet hole in the door, and looking out the window where he fell.  What a wonderful place this would be to serve a mission some day.

Welcome to Hannibal, Missouri

Boyhood home of Samuel Langhorne Clemens - the famous Mark Twain!  Well I was excited anyway. As a young girl (not so long ago), one of my favorite books was Tom Sawyer.  It was one of my first Romance novels, Tom And Becky, lost in a cave, it was dark, Indian Joe was after them…well anyway I loved it.  So while perusing maps for this trip and seeing that Hannibal was on the way to Nauvoo, we were of course stopping.  It will not be at the top of  “vacation spots we want to return to’’ but it had its moments.  The town is pretty run down, and since it wasn’t tourist season, alot of the tourist traps were closed, but I had done my research and after convincing Jessica that this tour would not be televised, we set off!005 First stop the Museum to get our tour of the town tickets.  The Museum was the best part (and really the only stop that cared that we had tickets)  007 It had lots of  Tom and Huck memorabilia, and a self guided tour complete with 006  a Styrofoam grave yard that told you how to get rid of warts…008 a fake river…there was a real one outside…010 a really cool stage coach, that showed old western clips on screen inside (Arlon enjoyed the old westerns)…
012 and Jessica even found a good looking man or two, to sidle up to.013 014 (Dreams of being a debutant)017One of the best parts of the museum was all the original Norman Rockwell prints.  018 During tourist season they have a booth by the fence that sells straw hats and will take your picture painting the fence…Jessica was so sad it was off season…NOT!019 To give her strength to continue our tour…we stopped in at the local ice cream parlor…Had Huckleberry ice cream of course.  020 and a picture of Arlon’s hero Barney,  (Jessica and I had more fun with that than Arlon).  Then we saw it…the lighthouse on the hill.   THE CHALLENGE…who could make it to the top first…Arlon said he would opt out so not to embarrass us.025 I took off like greased lightning…it was alot of steps, the altitude gave me breathing issues, I forgot my depends, the beauty overwhelmed me and I had to keep stopping to take it all in…needless to say Jessica won!023 022 and mocked me just a little in doing so!  Not a very gracious winner.027 and she cheated on the way down.029 where she patiently waited for me.  So I made her pose in the butterfly garden…which was still dead because it was winter.030 That will teach her to gloat!032 I think she liked being a gang member more than a butterfly…but whats a mom to do.
033 my favorite description in the travel book was the one for Lulu Belles dining emporium…in the day a working brothel, delicious lunches and dinners, and if your LUCKY, breakfast.  Now…just lunch.  034 so after strolling along the Mississippi river, we bid Hannibal a fond farewell and headed off to Nauvoo!038

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Lions and Tigers and Bears…OH My!

First the disclaimer…I am not a zoo person.  Wandering around a zoo, looking at caged animals, or not looking at caged animals, depending on how hot or cold or the feeding schedule or myriads of other reasons the animals hide from the huddled masses, is not as high on my list of “how I spent my summer vacation”.  That being said…the St. Louis Zoo is FREE…and you never turn down free.  So off we go to the zoo.  We had just a little trouble, Maggie (our wonderful GPS) took us on a side trip, she could not find the Zoo.  She found a lovely park, a cemetery, and lots of side streets but no zoo,(I’m sure it was not user error), but when an alternative site was typed in she led us there with no problemo.  085 086Bernerd was REALLY excited…Jessica on the other hand was just humoring us at this point! 089 Luckily Arlon consented to posing for me.  This is his “I am so fascinated by all this” pose

090 Jessica…still humoring me, and not to convincingly.  Even the shark wanted to bite her head off.

103 Hmmmm so these are Elephants…interesting.101 Keep in mind…its free!

115 Hmmm… so this is a monkey, nope its an orangutan…got ya!

Great minds think alike!127113

Yep their in there!!!

119 This is the one that Jessica actually enjoyed…I just think she liked saying it!095The hippo exhibit was the only one that really made me a little sad… they had two (hippos not exhibits)and they were HUGE… They swam in a tight circle (because that's all the room they had) the entire time we watched them.  They just seemed really caged to me.096 Bernerd was glad he was on the outside looking in though…they were really big! 098

She's got the whole Zebra in her hand…come on sing along!


Jessica practicing her kissing skills! 

099 It is a nice zoo though.  I bet its beautiful in the summer, lots of trees and grass and the bulbs were starting to come up all over, I would probably visit again, did I mention…its FREE!