Monday, July 27, 2009

The Nauvoo Experience

Last week I had the opportunity to go to Nauvoo with our Youth for our Stake Youth Conference. It was amazing! Coming from pioneer stock, I knew that some of my family had been through there. I will warn you all now that I took over 150 pictures. I'm sharing all of them, but there are a lot (about 25 or so). I'll tell the story of the experience with each of the pictures. It will be easier to remember.
We got there on Thursday afternoon. We immediately went to watch the Joseph Smith Restoration movie at the Visitors Center. It was such an uplifting way to start the week. After that and dinner we headed over to watch the Pageant. I was able to talk with the actor that had spent time with some of my step-cousins the week previously. He was very nice and thought provoking. The whole production was incredible and I can't wait to go back next year with Hubby.
This is a sunset picture of the Temple while we were waiting for the pageant to start.I think this was everyone in the cast. I think they said there was over 400 in the cast and crew.This was near the end when they were finishing building the Temple after the martyrdom of Joseph and Hyrum Smith.They dropped the one they build to reveal the real one that was restored in 2002.This was a cool fence post by the starting point for the handcart trek. We were there at 9am and they split us up with the kids from another ward. Myself, our Bishopric Leader, and three of our girls were in one group with about 6 kids from the other ward. We accidentally ended up missing the turn around for the 1 mile hike, and went all 3 miles. It was a rough 3 miles, up and down steep hills, mud, cow pies, water up to our thighs (for those that didn't manage to avoid it). Now I"m not in very good shape, it's more round than fit, and I really wasn't looking forward to even doing 1 mile. With a prayer constantly in my heart and help from my fellow ward members, we all managed to make it to the end without giving up. Amazingly I'm not as sore as I thought I'd be, more stiff than anything. It was a great experience, and I'm glad I did it, because I probably won't be doing it again, until I'm in much better shape. Here are our girls pulling the handcart the last 3/4 of a mile. They were awesome troopers.After the trek we went to Carthage to tour the jail. We got to watch a video and then go into the jail. The yard was beautifully landscaped (pictures to come), and it was so overwhelming to be in the same place where the Prophet and his beloved brother were killed. The picture above is a statue of them together.This is the door to the room they were in. You can see the bullet holes at the lock and the one in the middle from the bullet that killed Hyrum Smith.This is the outside of the window that Joseph Smith fell out of after he was struck twice in the back and front by four bullets. This is the top of the well that was next to the area that Joseph landed after he fell.This is one of my favorite pictures. To me it represents a ray of hope in the darkness that clouds us. After we got back from Carthage and lunch we got to go to the Temple. Above, and the following are a few of my favorites.The House of the Lord.I loved the fixtures they had outside the front doors.This is my favorite Temple picture. You can kind of see the Angel Moroni in the clouds and blue sky.From the side.After dinner and some shopping on main street, we hit the Expedition to Greatness Memorial. It has over 2000 names of faithful saints that died on their way to Utah. I have two family names. Newell Knight, and his father Joseph Knight, Sr. who were great friends to the Smith family, and a integral part of getting the church restored.This is where they crossed the Mississippi when it had frozen over that winter.All along the river are these lily pads and flowers. They only grow in 20 inches of water, so you can tell where the river gets deeper.We then stopped at the Smith family Cemetery. The above picture is of the brick pathway into and down the middle of the cemetery (it fed my love of abstract angels).
This is a view of the river from the Cemetery. The pictures below are the grave sites of Joseph, Emma, and Hyrum Smith who are buried here along with Joseph and Hyrums parents.And lastly this is the Mississippi river as we took a ferry on the way home. It was a first for may of us to ride the ferry, and a pretty neat experience.
It was a great trip and a great motivation for me to want to learn and understand my ancestors more. I've been doing research and I feel better about my own personal relationship to Newell Knight, his wife Lydia Goldwaithe Knight, and his father Joseph Knight, Sr. I look forward to much more information, and also going back to Nauvoo and getting to feel the wonderful spirit the penetrates everything there.