Saturday, March 27, 2010

Nauvoo Recap- My thoughts on this beautiful City

As one can tell from the prior posts, our trip to Nauvoo was great. When you are in the actual space of an event, history seems more relevant and close by. And there is a lot of history in Nauvoo. All of it dutifully recorded in personal journals and public history books.

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.

The families of Nauvoo were all centered on the Temple. The men had weekly or daily shifts to help work on the Temple, or women were making items in their homes that contributed to the Temple. How they must have rejoiced when it was finished, to partake of the covenants and ordinances therein, that they'd worked hard for years to accomplish.

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.

The sealing rooms in the Temple are on the top floor. And in that room, listening to the Sealer talk about eternal marriage, and looking at the happy couple dressed in white, it does seem very close to Heaven. Holly and Braden walked in single, and came out a new entity. Joined together, for eternity, no longer seperate, but a new marriage and a new life and a new family was formed in that moment.

The other central theme of Nauvoo was that the Saints were only temporary residents of this city. As persecution mounted, Joseph and Hyrum Smith were killed. As the Saints tried to live in peace, and eventually could not, they moved all the belongings and food they could fit into a wagon, and left their city behind.

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.

1 comment:

lindygirl said...

Well said. Thank you. For many things.

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