When you visit Nauvoo, be prepared to learn about the way the city lived, interacted, developed. And be prepared for personal stories. Every house, no matter what profession or role it was displaying, had stories about the townspeople that lived there and what happened to them after they left Nauvoo.
The center of Nauvoo, and the center of our trip, was the Temple. Built originally during the 1840's, dedicated in May of 1846, and destroyed by man and natural elements, after the Saints left Nauvoo. Rebuilt and dedicated in 2002.
That feeling was echoed in our reason for coming to the Temple, to see John's sister Holly get married. I can say, on her behalf, that she full appreciates the covenants and ordinances of Eternal Marriage- because she's worked hard for years to accomplish that goal. It's not easy to be a single woman in today's world, to persevere, keep hope, keep dating, keep working, and keep your chin up when dating doesn't turn into marriage. But Holly did it with faith rather than doubt. She never gave up on the idea that somewhere there was a man that was as righteous and smart and funny and loving as she was. And there was. He just lived in San Francisco at the time.
We walked along the Trail of Tears, read all the quotes, and thought about how heavy their footsteps must have been to leave a city behind, and their Temple.
Click to see larger image and to see the quote more clearly.I know God had a plan for these Saints and I know the journey was not easy. I also know the end from the beginning, that some Saints made it to Winter Quarters and Utah with their lives. Others did not make the whole journey and lay in peace along the trail to Utah. I know what lies ahead of them. But they did not.
Did they know the magnitude of the journey ahead? Did they just want to rest away from persecution and hatred? Did they think it would be easier than what they'd endured so far? Or did they fear the worst and think that no place would ever be like Nauvoo again? Did they have pure faith in Brigham Young, nothing doubting, this trip he was asking them to take?
I rejoice in these Saints. They had courage and conviction and faith to go beyond their comfortable homes and follow a Prophet even farther into the wilderness, away from the world they knew.
I've never been asked to walk across the United States. But I have been asked to keep my home pure from the world. To teach my children to love each other and not hate. To love a dozen Young Women not of my family and help teach them how to be strong women of Faith. I've been asked to grow a child inside me and give of my body for it's growth. I've been asked to cleave unto my husband and none else, to be a supportive wife, to build a home that invites the Spirit to dwell. Sometimes these tasks feel quite daunting, and I don't know the end from the beginning.
But I do know there is a prophet on the earth, President Thomas S. Monson, that will give wise counsel this coming weekend. I do know that I have the Lord on my side, and I've welded myself to him and my husband through eternal covenants. And for this I rejoice, even though I don't know what my journey through this life entails.
Nauvoo was wonderful. You should visit. Contemplate the many blessings you enjoy, what you could have endured, and what joy there is in a life full of Service, and a life centered on Temple covenants.