We stopped at a one acre pioneer cemetery in Mt. Pisgah, Iowa.
It was a stopping place about half way between
Nauvoo and Winter Quarters, Nebraska.
A wonderful farmer named Bob owns 12,000+ acres around it.
He taught us many things about the pioneers who lived there.
Over 800 pioneers died there.
There is a monument to the pioneers there within the acre the Church owns. The farmer showed us how to use these rods to mark out old cabin and grave sites. It was very interesting.
This plaque was heartbreaking.
Bob gave us a wagon ride on his property where the Mormon Trail was located. It was a great ride but were freezing!!! It was only October. I cannot imagine how the pioneers suffered through long, hard winters with no heat and limited supplies. We were cold to the bone and it lasted for hours after we left!
Many people have painstakingly mapped out where
the Mormon Trail went.
After another 2 1/2 hour bus ride, we finally made it to
Winter Quarters...AKA Omaha, Nebraska.
The temple is located right next to the
beautiful pioneer cemetery there.
Another touching monument to the pioneers.
We actually sang this song on the bus as we traveled
through Iowa near where the author composed it.
So many people died in Winter Quarters as well.
Sadly, most of them were children.
This room was in the Visitor's Center looking out over the cemetery. It was a very comforting place. The displays mentioned the hardships and deaths the pioneers suffered and taught the truth that those who died surely did not die in vain.
I took this picture of the temple from that same room. It is fitting that the temple is right next to the cemetery. Only because of the ordinances and sealing blessings of the temple can families live together eternally.
Our last stop of the trip was to the Kanesville Tabernacle
across the Missouri River in Council Bluffs, Iowa.
It had a small Visitor's Center to remember
the place where Brigham Young was sustained
as the next prophet after Joseph Smith.
I neglected to take the picture (or somehow lost it) of the statue that went with this plaque. I thought it was a fitting tribute to the contributions a mother makes to building an eternal family.
We arrived home at about midnight on the last day of our trip. We were exhausted by the time we got home but we felt extremely blessed to have had the opportunity to experience an amazing trip with so many wonderful learning experiences. The tour group we went with http://www.mormonheritage.com/ was superb. I can't vouch for every tour they do but I can unequivocally state that the tour we were on was amazing in every way.
I have a new appreciation for the Church history sites we saw. My already strong testimony has been strengthened, my love for the prophet Joseph Smith deepened, my gratitude for the early pioneers increased, and my gratitude for the missionaries who first taught me about the Church increased as well.
I asked our tour guide to take this picture of Jim and me in the Winter Quarters Visitor Center. It was near the end of the tour in the center. It represented the end of the trail for the pioneers. After so many struggles, trials, troubles, and staggering deprivations and losses including death...many finally made to the Salt Lake Valley where they could start all over again. The first thing Brigham Young did when he got there was to climb Ensign Peak and look over the magnificent valley. Brigham marked the site for the Salt Lake Temple to be built and it took 40 years to build it. Brigham never lived to see it completed. It is fitting that this is the last picture from my trip. I feel like a modern day pioneer in my own rite. I too traveled a long way from the east with my brand new husband to settle here. I have done all I can as a mother to help my husband as we try to establish our own eternal family. The gospel means everything to me as does my family. We built our home centered on the Salt Lake Temple as a reminder that our family can be an eternal family. I believe that with all my heart.
It is also fitting that this is the view I have of the
Salt Lake Temple from my dining room and kitchen.
Many pioneers never made it this far
to see this magnificent view.
to see this magnificent view.
I will treasure it for them. :)