Nauvoo Week 6 (18-24 January 2016)
Another great week in Nauvoo! It was mentioned last update that we would be attending a Temple Missionary Report Meeting and then would have a Fireside Speaker (Dr. Craig Dunn). It was entitled “Nauvoo Temple-Then and Now.” It was a great presentation-I will include my notes at the end of the update; we will be traveling with him in April for a couple of days through Missouri on a Church Tour. We will be visiting Adam-Ondi-Ahman, Far West, Richmond, Liberty Jail, Independence and the Kansas City Temple. Then again with him on a tour called “Martyrdom Trail Tour” which follows the life of the Prophet Joseph/Hyrum going from Nauvoo to Carthage. There is so much Church history here it is unbelievable.
On Monday, we served in the Temple (Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday), it was pretty busy with people who had the day off. We then drove to Burlington, IA to look at their Mall, see a movie and eat dinner. We found a very good Mexican Restaurant.
Tuesday night and Wednesday we saw some measurable snow and cold temperatures. Received about 2-3 inches; Nauvoo is incredible covered with snow. This week we started our new schedule; our full day at the Temple is now on Thursday instead of Wednesday. We had a special Temple Missionary Meeting on Thursday between shifts where Elder (Dr.) Chapman spoke about our health giving many tips for eating, exercise, etc.
Both Friday and Saturday were fairly busy in the morning with patrons. There were a lot of people desiring Sealings to be completed, so it was a long day of speaking…but very spiritual. We had some people from our assigned Branch (Mt. Pleasant) come to complete some Sealings: Sisters Sanchez & Argueta-(Branch President’s mother and mother-in-law) and Brother & Sister Kearns.
Sunday both us of had the opportunity to speak in Sacrament Meeting in the Mt. Pleasant Branch. There was a great spirit and all seemed to go well.
Weather permitting, we hope to travel to visit Scott, Malia, Corban and ? this next weekend following our shift Saturday morning in the Temple. We would spend the weekend and return to Nauvoo on Tuesday prior to our night shift. They are a little more than 220 miles north of us (about 4.5 hours by Google).
Here is a capsulized version of the Nauvoo-Then and Now presentation that we attend last Sunday evening.
Nauvoo Temple…Then and Now
In 1839 the Prophet Joseph was given two priorities, 1) buy land for the Temple which he did on credit and 2) Get the saints better from all of their sicknesses which he did by rising from his sick bed and going to all the people and giving them blessings. Elijah Fordam was miraculously healed by Joseph (he later designed, created and built the baptismal font and oxen upon which it stood (made from wood)).
His second priority was to build a Temple where the eternal ordinances could be given to all worthy members. Kirtland Temple was built for the purpose of receiving keys and for education. Later, the saints were commanded to build a Temple in Adam ondi ahman, but there was too much persecution and also at Far West where a site was actually dedicated but not built due to persecution. Nauvoo was the first place where a Temple could be built to provide the saving ordinances to the saints. Joseph had been told that he would only be in the hands of his enemies for another 5 years so he knew his time was short to complete his Lord given priorities.
In 1840 Joseph was speaking at a funeral of a friend “Seymour Brunson” when he announced that “Baptisms for the Dead” was a commandment of the Lord. Immediately there was a free-for-all and the saints were baptizing in the Mississippi River anyone and everybody (males for females, children, etc.) all without a recorder or any fashion of order. This continued until about Oct 1841 when Joseph put a stop to all such actions, stating that these baptisms must be performed in the Temple.
In December 1840 the Charter for Nauvoo (created from the city of Commerce) was given by the Legislature. This included creation of the Nauvoo Legion (Joseph liked the sound of legion versus militia) and the University of Nauvoo.
In January 1841 the revelation was received to build the Temple and the Nauvoo House (D&C 124); if the saints built a Temple many people would come and they needed a place to stay. The Temple lot was selected and as it turns out was the “Center of Nauvoo.” The land was purchased from Daniel H. Wells for $1,100…Wells Fargo and other buildings in SLC were named after him.
In April 1841 the cornerstones were laid SE corner by Joseph Smith (representing 1st Presidency), SW placed by high Priests, NW by High Council and NE by the Bishops. Thomas Sharp (journalist/antagonist/editor of the Warsaw Signal Newspaper from nearby Warsaw) was invited to attend along with 10,000 saints. It was a grand affair with the Nauvoo Legion leading the procession. William Weeks was chosen to be the architect and built a home just to the northwest of the Temple lot where he could keep a close watch on the progress.
On 9 May 1842 the first endowment was given on the top floor of Joseph’s little Red Store (room was divided into smaller rooms for the progression of the endowment by curtains). Only men received their endowments at this time. Later, from SLC, Bathsheba Smith (wife of George A. Smith) and Wilford Woodruff testified that they had received their endowment from the Prophet Joseph Smith. There was a “Quorum of the Anointed” created, those that had received their endowment.
By 1844 there were 50-60 who had received their endowment and could administer the endowment for others. Joseph and Hyrum were killed on June 27, 1844 (the Temple was not completed.
Brigham Young Era: He had 2 years to complete the Temple (persecution was rapidly increasing). In December 1844 the Nauvoo City Charter was repealed by the Legislature. All rights were taken away. Brigham renamed Nauvoo the “City of Joseph.” Those that policed the city were known as the “Whittling & Whistling Brigade.”
In June 1845 Porter Rockwell was sent to help the saints come to Nauvoo. He was given a promise by Joseph that as long as he didn’t cut his hair he would not be felled by an enemy. He was also made a Deputy by the acting Sheriff.
By 1846 the workers on the Temple were out of food and were quickly losing ability to continue work on the Temple. Joseph Toronto shows up with $3,000 dollars wondering how he can help in the work. His money is used to buy food for the workers, the Temple must be completed.
The Temple was dedicated and used in several different parts. First of all, the Baptistery was dedicated and baptisms for the dead recommenced. In May 1845 the Apostle Orson Hyde dedicated the last portion of the Temple.
The Temple was opened for endowments Dec 10, 1845 through Feb 7, 1846 (7 weeks). An ad was placed in the newspapers that the Temple was “For Sale.” During this period over 2,500 saints received their endowment; slightly less than ½ of all that received the endowment in Nauvoo. There were two sisters that basically lived in the Temple during this time taking care of many of the daily preparations. There were heaters on each of the five levels and they would be started at 2:00am to heat the Temple and to dry the clothes from the previous day’s work.
On February 3, 1846 the saints received notice from the US Government that they were not to leave Nauvoo at this time, but the mobs wanted them out now and were persecuting with all vengeance. The US Government did not want the saints to leave for two reasons, 1) they were just entering a war with Mexico and they didn’t want a lot of people spread out all over the country and 2) they were contending with the British about the Oregon Territory and knowing that many of the saints were British were afraid they would go to the aid of Britian.
During all of this, on February 3, 1846, Brigham arrived at the Temple to see a long line of saints waiting for their endowments. He approached and told them that they were going to leave before the government could stop them. He then departed the Temple area, he looked back and saw the people were not leaving, so he returned, opened the Temple and 600 people received their endowments on that day. They worked long into the night…remember there was no film at that time and the endowment took approximately 3.5-4 hours.
The saints then began leaving Nauvoo for their own safety, leaving most everything they owned. Saints that arrived after they had left found notes written that said “Sorry we’ve gone, do your best to follow us.” As the saints were leaving (crossing the frozen Mississippi) the agitators were firing cannon balls (for three days) at them trying to add insult to injury. Some were gathered up and presented to the governor of Iowa saying that Illinois had declared war on Iowa…nothing happened.
The Temple was burned by an arsonist in 1848. Thomas Bagwell claimed responsibility. The outer walls were left standing then in 1850 a tornado destroyed most of the standing walls. In 1865 or 1866 the one remaining partial wall was torn down. Townspeople gathered many of the stones and used them in their building. Many are still visible in Nauvoo today.
The last Apostle left Nauvoo on February 22, 1846, Washington’s Birthday…for many years they had been ringing the Liberty Bell on his birthday in Philadelphia, PA on this day the Liberty Bell cracked as they rang it. A coincidence or a message from heaven (total lack of support from the US Government in their persecutions and amends)?
In 1948, Vern Thacker was serving a mission in California when he knocked on a door of William Weeks’ relative; he was not interested in the gospel but said he had something that he thought he might be interested in. He in turn gave it to the Church, what follows is a restoration of great importance in the history of the United States and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
We pray the Lord’s choicest blessings to be with each of you. We love you all!
Mom & Dad/Nana & Papa/Elder & Sister Shaw