Sunday, October 27, 2013

Carthage to Iowa-Day 5

After visiting some pioneer graves on the outskirts of Nauvoo, we headed to Carthage Jail. It was deeply moving to pull up at this sight as our anticipation was high for a solemn experience.
As with all of the other Church sites we visited, the Carthage Jail site is meticulously kept. This statue of Joseph and Hyrum is very moving.
 There are wonderful portraits of both of them
 just inside the Visitor's Center.
 This tender rendition of the events of Joseph and Hyrum 
as they passed the unfinished Nauvoo Temple
on the way to their martyrdom is also moving.
We heard a moving presentation in the room
 where they were both killed.
This is the window Joseph fell from when he was shot.
A bullet hole that came through the door at them.
We were reminded of the sad realization that
when Joseph fell out the window after he was shot
onto the ground below, the mob continued
 to shoot him to make sure he was dead.
The clock marking the time of his death is still in the room.
Fittingly, next to the clock is this simple lantern and a few
copies of the Book of Mormon and some pamphlets of the 
testimony of the prophet Joseph Smith.
I did not know what to expect when I went into the room of the martyrdom. I have a strong testimony of the prophet Joseph and his mission. Surprising to me, instead of shedding tears, I felt great joy and peace because of all he did for us. I asked someone to take this picture of me in that room. I was converted to this Church in the few minutes it took to read this pamphlet 35 years ago. It is fitting that this picture be taken in that room. I have the same overwhelming testimony of Joseph Smith the prophet today that I had 35 years ago when I read the pamphlet. (I was obviously having a bad humidity hair day here-sorry). 
The upper window is the window Joseph fell from.
There are some wonderful plaques
 outside the Visitor's Center.
I loved this statue.
I like this one.
This had a profound effect on me
 the first time I read that pamphlet.
 The entire experience at Carthage was unforgettable.
That afternoon, a few of us took our tour bus to be 
dropped off in uptown Nauvoo 
but our guide decided to make this
 out of the way stop first. I am very glad he did.
It's a beautiful old cemetery 
of many pioneers who died in Nauvoo.
Most of them were children.
This inscription really got to me:
"Sweet child the breeze that fans thy tomb,
 shall bear our love to thy heavenly home."
 And this one.
We went back to Nauvoo for a few more quick stops.
In preparation to leave from the end of Parley Street,
our guide asked to to leave a half hour
 to read the plaques along the way.
 There were quite a number of them, 
all very touching.
All inspiring.
It must have been so hard to walk that street
looking at the temple over their shoulder
as the members were forced out 
of their beloved Nauvoo.
This is a statue at the end of Parley's Street
 at a little gathering place.
It's Joseph and Brigham Young pointing west.
Those poor pioneers had to cross this frozen river to get to 
Iowa on the other side where nothing awaited...
 nothing but  frozen ground.

I have deep, deep respect for the early pioneers
 and all they sacrificed for us.

End of day notes:
"I am sitting on the bus traveling through Iowa.  It's been another long but wonderful day.  I never imagined this trip would have been planned out like this. Our guides make sure we have readings about the people and places we are visiting most of the time whenever there is empty drive time on the bus. Either participants or the guides do them; it has been like a week long Sunday school class. I have learned so much!

This morning on the way to Carthage, we stopped at a pioneer burial ground. We learned about a few people who died in Nauvoo that sacrificed everything for the sake of the gospel. Then we headed to Carthage.

On the way, our guide reviewed with us all the history surrounding the martyrdom. He talked about the events right before Joseph was murdered and how John Taylor sang "A poor wayfaring man of grief" for Joseph.  Joseph asked to have it sung a second time. Then over the bus speakers we heard the best rendition of that song I have ever heard, a male acapella version. The singer sang it twice. It was on tape. I will never forget hearing it in that setting. He had an amazing voice.

We visited Carthage Jail which was a tender and sacred experience. The Spirit was very strong. I asked someone to take a picture of me in the room of the martyrdom holding a Joseph Smith pamphlet of his testimony which is how I was converted.

We had lunch in the park again and headed off for an afternoon in Nauvoo. We visited the small shopping district. We went to the temple again and then caught he tour bus to old Nauvoo again. Everything is pretty close but the bus pick up and drop off places helped.

Dad and I went to Brigham Young's house for a minute and the back to he land and records building. We got many more pages of ancestors on a CD. 

We headed down the Trail of Tears or the Trail of Hope that leads down Parley's Street to the Mississippi River where the saints crossed to Iowa in the freezing winter of 1846. There were plaques along the way.  Very touching.

We had a small devotional and we are now on a long bus ride through Iowa for our night time stop in Osceola. 

GREAT day today. Wagon ride at Mt. Pisgah tomorrow and Winter Quarters tomorrow afternoon.

Love you all. Joseph really was a prophet... of this, I have no doubt.

Love, Mom

PS We stopped at dinner on the Mormon Trail in Garden Grove, Iowa. We saw endless rows of corn. Iowa is all corn!! Now I think I know what Gregory's mission consisted of. :) The people were great and they gave us a history of the pioneers who came through there and how they rediscovered their trail in the late '90's."

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