Thursday, March 31, 2016

Nauvoo Week 15 (21 - 27 March 2016)

Nauvoo Week 15 (21 – 27 March 2016)

Another fantastic week in Nauvoo!  Time is passing so quickly, it seems like we are writing a new blog every other day.  This week began with all of the Temple Missionary sisters attending a special Reenactment of the organization of the Relief Society in the Red Brick Store that was originally formed on March 17, 1842.  All of the “Site” Missionary sisters had participated in the reenactment on the 17th, but the Temple sisters were serving in the Temple that day.  All of the sisters and brothers portraying Joseph and other Priesthood leaders were dressed in Nauvoo era dresses and suits.  The event was held in the upper room of the store and Sharon said, was very well portrayed with the formation and sustaining of the first Relief Society Presidency; Emma Smith (an Elect Lady)-President, Sarah Cleveland and Elizabeth Whitney as Counselors and Eliza R Snow as Secretary.  Later in the week we attended a lecture by Susan Easton Black Durrant that stated the Relief Society was the formal organization which grew out of the “Straw Hat Association” which later became known as the Benevolent Society (constitution written by Eliza R. Snow) and later was organized through the Priesthood and revelation as the Church’s Relief Society.  The original Straw Hat Association was formed by the Nauvoo sisters out of their desire to be like other ladies organizations throughout the east that gave/performed service in their respective areas.  During the Nauvoo era the Relief Society was not taught by sisters to the sisters but by Priesthood brethren; Joseph, Willard Richards and John Taylor.

During this sister activity, a few of us men played golf at the local golf course in Hamilton.  Later that evening we traveled to Burlington, IA to see the movie “Miracles from Heaven.”  We are sure many of you have seen it and agree that it had a wonderful message; again showing that God is not dead and that He loves His children.

On Tuesday, we served in the Temple in the evening and then were able to catch the last 25 minutes of Sister Durrant giving a lecture on the Business Associations in Nauvoo (1839-1847).  It is surprising to hear that there were so many businesses/occupations in Nauvoo during this time, of course there were many thousands of people living here by now.  The following numbers of shops/businesses were located in Nauvoo: 4-Architects (including William Weeks of the Temple), 20-Shoe/Boot makers, 11-Hotels, 11-Mills, 4-Quarries, 12-Dentists, 12-Midwives, 12-Doctors (usually by name only; not necessarily fully trained), 12-Drug Stores, 38-Dry Goods & Grocery Stores, 9-Steamboats, 24-Tailors, 4 Ports of call (all but one charged a “Port Tax”) and 0 (ZERO) Banks.  Most all the shopping was done by men because they were considered better “Barterers.”  Payment for goods/services was: preferred, but not likely CASH (remember no Banks), 2nd Traded Services, 3rd Traded Products, 4th Short Credit (purchase, pay later), and lastly 5th Long Credit (purchase…usually never paid).  By the way, this was how much of the land was purchased in Nauvoo by the Saints.

Wednesday was a normal day in the Temple, serving in the evening and was Scott’s and Jeanne’s Birthday.  We spoke with both of them and wished them a Happy Day and Year.

Thursday, again served in the Temple and also attended another lecture by Sister Durrant on Brigham Young.  In 1847, Brigham was 46 years old, was leader of the Church and leading the saints to the Rocky Mountains.  Of course, on 24 July 1847 Brigham arrives in the Valley of the Great Salt Lake.  On 26 July, Brigham and the Apostles hike to Ensign Peak and plant a Banner, Joe Hills Johnson was there and later penned “High on a Mountain Top.”  On 28 July 1847, Brigham puts his cane in the ground on the Temple Spot and states that here we will build a Temple to our God.  Interestingly, many object to this notion and prophecy saying, “Every time we build a Temple (Kirtland, Far West-cornerstone laid, and Nauvoo), persecution rages and soon we are driven out.”  Brigham stated that time would be different, this Temple will have 6 spires (3 Melchizedek and 3 Aaronic Priesthood) and it will last into the millennium.  People still object and are fearful that only bad things will happen if they build this Temple.  Finally, on February 14, 1853 Brigham himself starts to build the Temple, eventually the people rally around him and the foundation is dug from 1853 until 1857; red sandstone is quarried from a nearby quarry and the foundation is being laid.  In July 1857, the saints hear the US Army is coming to find out what is happening…a Council on War is formed by Priesthood leaders to determine what they should do…here is a Temple coming out of the ground.  They decide to cover up the last 4 years of work and plant a garden.  The saints form “prayer circles” in their homes and pray the Army will come and go and that they can build their Temple…saints are now firmly behind Brigham.  When the Army leaves the saints again begin to work on the Temple, when they uncover the foundation they see the foundation is cracked by the weight of the earth…how will it ever support the walls and last into the millennium?  They begin to remove the foundation stones and (later build the City and County Building) begin to quarry granite from the nearby canyons.  The huge stones were transported to the Temple site (with each arrival of a stone there is a big celebration and parade) with much difficulty.  Eventually a railroad spur is built up the canyon and the huge stones are transported in this manner decreasing many, many difficulties with the wagons and oxen.  Stone cutters opened each huge rock if it was good (grain, no cracks) they used it on the Temple; if not as good discarded and later used on the Assembly Hall.

The Temple is progressing slowly; Brigham and John Taylor die and still the Temple is not completed.  Wilford Woodruff is the Prophet when the outside is completed 6 April 1892 (Moroni is placed on top) and they have a huge celebration; they sing “The Spirit of God like a fire is burning” and Wilford prophesied, “If the interior is completed in one year, persecution will end!”  The Temple was dedicated exactly one year later on April 6, 1893 (40 years in construction).  The dedication lasted three weeks.  During the first dedicatory session, Sister Bennett gave birth to a screaming son; he was delivered in a room in the Temple.  She returns 8 days later to bless him, his name was Joseph Temple Bennett.  An interesting note concerning the design and construction of the angel Moroni; Wilford wanted Cyrus Dallen, a sculptor living in Springville to make the angel.  He refused the offer to do so stating “He did not believe in angels,” Wilford even called him into his office to plead with him, his answer again was “No, I don’t believe in angels.”  Wilford wanted an upright angel, not the horizontal one that was placed on the Nauvoo Temple.  In order to get Brother Dallen to do this he (Wilford) had to resort to using Cyrus’ mother to influence him to do so.  She said to him, “Cyrus, do you think I am an angel?” He replied, “Yes,” she then said, “Please build an angel for me.”  He eventually built her an angel and it was given to the Church, not because he believed in them, but because his mother was an angel.

Friday and Saturday provided more special experiences in the Temple; miracles happen here every day.  There is always something that shows us that this is the work of God and that He is in charge.  When things seem impossible; almost immediately there is a solution and things proceed as if there never was a problem.

Sunday was Easter and we along with Elders & Sisters Gammell & O’Brien were in charge of the Temple Missionary dinner.  It was originally scheduled to be in the garage of President & Sister McArthur, at the last hour it was changed to the Arrival Center (where families come to prepare to go to the Temple or single adult groups await their turn to go to the Temple-we believe this is a unique feature of the Nauvoo Temple).  We moved the furniture, brought in the tables and all other couples brought food assignments.  It turned out very nice, the food was excellent and we, as a family of Temple Missionaries, loved being with our family.  Of course, we missed being with our own families, but this was a special one-time experience that we will long remember.  Following dinner President & Sister McArthur spoke briefly about Easter and some of their favorite memories and testimony of the Savior and the Plan of Salvation…it was a very touching evening.

We want each of you to know that we love you with all of our hearts.  We are privileged to be your parents, grandparents and friends.  We depend so much on your love, support and understanding to help us do the things that the Lord would have us do at this time of our lives.  We pray the Lord’s choicest blessings to be with each of you now and forever. 

Mom & Dad/Nana & Papa/ Elder & Sister Shaw

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Nauvoo Week 14 (14 - 20 March 2016)

Nauvoo Week 14 (14-20 March 2016)

We had a great week with a lot to talk about.  Monday we had family home evening with the Temple missionaries.  One of the temple workers, Robert Wright, who lives here in Nauvoo talked to us about symbols of/on the Nauvoo Temple. 
He has actually written a book about it.  William Weeks who was the architect of the temple proposed that the windows should be half round.  Joseph Smith told him that they must be round as he had seen them illuminated in vision.  William told him that they would have to add ten feet to the temple to do that, and Joseph said then do so.  The temple sits in the heart of Nauvoo; 1 mile to the North is the Mississippi, 1 mile to the West is the Mississippi and 1 mile to the South is the Mississippi.  They were also going to build a canvas Tabernacle (tent) on the West side of temple.  It was going to be 225 feet by 150 feet-same size as the Tabernacle on Temple Square in Salt Lake City.  The canvas had been ordered but when it came, due to the persecution, it was instead used as covering for the wagons going west.  The cornerstones for the original Nauvoo Temple were laid by the following: Southeast-Joseph Smith, Southwest-High Priests, Northwest-12 Apostles and Northeast-Presiding Bishopric.  The cornerstones for rebuilt Temple were laid by the following: Southeast-President Hinckley, Southwest-Presiding Bishopric, Northwest-Nauvoo Stake President Durrell Nelson and Northeast-12 Apostles.  The Jewish people used the moon to designate when they would have their feasts while many others used the Sun.  They were governed by the full moon.  There are thirty pilasters on the outside of temple. On each pilaster there is a sun, the moon and stars.  The hands holding the trumpets above the sun is spreading the gospel to the world.  The sun’s face personifies us and the gospel going to the world.  The marble stars with the elongated downward pointing ray represent the condescension of God.  The star colored windows with five points with twelve surrounding stones.  Twelve symbolizes perfect government.  The beautiful colored windows have special meaning; the blue signifies water and baptism, the white signifies the Holy Ghost, and the red signifies the Atonement of our Savior. 
These are my favorite windows.  I love to look out of them when I am in the Temple.  They are beautiful and are much bigger than they appear on the outside.  The eight spoke wheel is a symbol for Christ.  I haven’t included everything he talked about but it was really interesting.

On Friday, we had another speaker, Reed Moon.  His parents work at the Temple.  He lives in Provo and was visiting to speak at the Women’s retreat for the reenactment of the organization of the Relief Society.  He has found and collected several very important documents and books throughout his life.  He had “History of Joseph Smith” by Lucy Mack Smith printed in 1853-original copy.  Scriptures of Joseph F. Smith; he had marked 1Cor. 3:18, and 4:6.  He had a Book of Mormon; 1st Edition, 588 pages which did not have 3rd and 4th Nephi designated.  Orson Pratt, in 1879 designated 3rd & 4th Nephi. Samuel Smith the 1st convert and 1st missionary went on mission and gave Book of Mormon to Phineas Young, who then gave it to Brigham Young, who gave it to Heber C. Kimball.  The Book of Mormon 1st Edition had 5,000 printed.  The testimonies of the witnesses were in the back of the book, it also contained a preface which spoke of the lost 116 pages.  In 1888 the first large edition was printed.  So, from 1830 to 1888 all Book of Mormon’s, 3rd Edition were pocket size. There was a Nauvoo edition in 1840.  In 1841 the 4th Edition was a European made copy.  There were several “deluxe bound” copies made of this edition; Joseph, Hyrum, Samuel and some others.  In 1842 the 5th Edition was printed in Nauvoo, only 600 were printed (most prized of all the editions).

Phebe W. Carter lived with her parents and had joined the church against their will.  They did not want her to go west and she honored there request for a couple of years.  The opportunity arose for her to go and she took it.  She left a letter to her parents expressing her love and thankfulness for their care and told them that she needed to leave.  Brother moon has that letter she wrote to her parents.  She married Wilford Woodruff in 1837.  He served a mission where Phoebe had been raised.  After their marriage he went on another mission to England.  Before he left they had had a child, while he was away the child died.  She was having such a hard time coping so she went back to where her parents lived to spend time with them. 
Wilford and Phebe were writing to one another but of course she was not receiving his because she was not at their home.  She kept asking how he felt about their child and kept asking as she didn’t have his letters.  Before he returns home Phebe becomes very ill and just as he arrives home she has died.  He blessed her and through the Priesthood brought her back to life.  Some had said they did not think that she had died, but she relates of how her spirit left her body and how she could see her body and everyone there.  She was told she had two choices; she could stay or she could come back as long as she would promise to always stand by her husband and take care of him.  She promised she would and that’s when her spirit came back and was brought to life.  She lived forty more years.  All of these experiences are recorded in Wilford Woodruff’s journal which he kept faithfully from 1834 to 1898.  In 1840, he went on a mission to England.  He wanted to buy something for her and he decided upon an earring holder made out of Wedgewood pottery. 
They were to inscribe her name and his on the one side but misspelled them both.  So he asked them to change it but Phebe’s name was still not totally right.  He had no more time, he had to send it.  He wrote a little note explaining what had happened.  Brother Moon has this little jewelry box.  He never did tell us how he acquired these things and when asked how valuable they were he said at least seven digit amounts.  In 1841, the European edition had several deluxe copies made.
He had Joseph’s, Hyrum’s, and Samuel Smith’s original copies.  He had a copy of Joseph’s first vest pocket Bible, which is approximately 1 inch by 2 inches.  He had a copy of D&C section 11; the original revelation written by Hyrum dictated by Joseph.  He had Wilford Woodruff’s scriptures he used as a Prophet; he had 400 scriptures marked.  It was an 1835 1st Edition of Book of Commandments which was the name until it became Doctrine and Covenants.  He also had a poem taped in the front of his scriptures to remind him to treat Phebe well.  His stories and books and artifacts were fascinating.  He also had Thomas Payne’s original copy of “Common Sense, These are the times that try the souls of men.”  This copy had the greatest saturation of any book sold in the USA.  I hope some of this makes sense. 
I wish you all could have been here to hear and see it. 

We have had a lot of visitors in the Temple this week as many schools were on spring break.  We had the Baptistry on Tuesday evening and we were quite busy.  We had some special families come from Texas and Arizona.  One of the sons in a family was 6 ft. 9 in.  His parents were tall but not that tall and everyone was glad that his Dad was there to baptize him!  We love this work and the experiences we are having here.  We can’t wait to share it with all of you as you come to visit. 

We love you so much,
Mom & Dad/Nana & Papa/Elder & Sister Shaw

P.S.  We want Ashtyn to know how proud we are of her and know she did an outstanding job in the play.  We have seen some sweet pictures, Love you

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Nauvoo Week 13 (7-13 March 2016)

Nauvoo Week 13 (7-13 March 2016)

This was an exciting and busy week!  On Monday, we went with Elder & Sister Moon (Layton, UT) to visit some nearby places.  We headed out to Iowa to the city of Farmington where Brigham Young and his company traveled along the northeast side of the Des Moines River, camped at Reed’s Creek, and then crossed the Des Moines River downstream at Bonaparte.  They had difficulty crossing the shallow river during high river water, which caused long delays...due to the thick and very sticky MUD.  Axles broke and wagons upset; ox teams were doubled to pull the loads.  After crossing the river some of the Pioneers traveled 12 miles to camp on the banks of a small stream called Indian Creek.  Others made it seven miles and had to stop because of the mud; conditions were very poor, mileage for the day was the best so far, nearly 16 miles.  Later parties took a more northerly route along the Dragon Trail into Keosauqua, crossing the river at Ely’s Ford and then on to Richardson’s Point Camp. 
While camped at Richardson’s Point, March 7-18, 1846, to await an improvement in weather conditions, the first and second of hundreds of deaths on Iowa Mormon Pioneer Trails occurred-James M. Tanner (15 months) and Edwin S. Little (nephew to Brigham Young).  Some 2,000 saints waited at this point.  The area is marked with a “Family owned” gravestone and is very near to a current day, hog farm (the smell was something else)!  We then traveled further on the trail through Bentonsport and Keosauqua to view the historic towns.  We entered Amish Country and stopped at a couple of their stores (furniture & saddle shop).
We saw the horse drawn buggies and met a couple of Amish in the furniture store (their furniture is very well built).  We noticed the topography of the land; a lot of little ups and downs where stormy weather could and did make it very difficult for the wagons and handcarts to travel.  We proceeded on to Cantrill and there visited the Dutchmen’s Store run by the Amish and Mennonites.  It was a really interesting store that had a little bit of everything.  They seem to have some great prices on many things-we understand many people in the surrounding areas make several trips there a month for supplies.  We ate a sub sandwich there that would put the best Subway has to offer to shame!

Later that day we went with Elder & Sister Lyman (Family History Missionaries) to the home of Brother & Sister Tukuafu on the far end of Nauvoo.  It is a unique home that is fairly rounded in shape; with a beautiful view of the Mississippi River.  There is quite a history behind the home and its’ construction.  Much of the wood was from another home (most of the outside logs are oblong in shape-12-14” in height, 6-8’ in length and 6-8” in width).  There are three beautiful arched windows facing the river, the floor is laid out much like a compass (with due north (North Star) holding a picture of the Lord and the Prophet Joseph Smith).    The loft is for the grandchildren (they had 14 of their own children); by the way, 5 of her granddaughters are starting to perform with Gladys Knight in Las Vegas…they are all very musically inclined.  The bedrooms and kitchen areas are beautiful (as a matter of fact the outside bedroom wall was moved during construction to accommodate their unique bed).  Outside is a wood shop; Sister Tukuafu makes harps (74 to date) and sells them.  She also makes and sells several other types of string instruments.  They gladly gave us a concert of hymns and other songs; she plays the various string instruments and he plays the autoharp.  They both play by ear and it is beautiful!

Tuesday, we went to Quincy, IL to get some hair coloring for Sharon, shopped at Sam’s and ate a late lunch.  We then returned and served in the afternoon/evening shift at the Temple.  We are coordinators in the Baptistry on Tuesdays and we had our first big group come in from Indiana.  It was a bit tense for a few moments, but all went well.  We then hurried over to the Nauvoo Visitor’s Center and heard the final 20minutes of Sharon Eastman Black and husband, George Durrant.  They spoke on Brigham Young’s influence on the Church.  They are here for two months and will give various lectures on Tuesday and Thursday evenings.

Wednesday, we worked the evening shift at the Temple and had another marvelous experience. 

Thursday is our double day at the Temple (morning and evening shifts) plus today we had a special fireside on the trains that continually run just across the river in Iowa.  They are the coal trains hauling material 24/7; they are constantly blowing their air horns to warn of their danger.  A brother who had been an Engineer for 42 years gave us the briefing.  It was very interesting to know what wakes us up at night.

Friday we worked the morning shift, then had a farewell dinner for Elder & Sister Anderson (they depart for home next week).  Elder & Sister Ludwig hosted the evening; others invited were Elder & Sister Peterson, Elder & Sister Baker, Elder & Sister Droste.  We all brought some food and had a wonderful evening with a slide show of the Andersen’s and their experiences.

Saturday, we served during the morning shift then went to Burlington, IA to eat lunch and see a movie.  We saw “Eddie the Eagle,” based on a true story of the ski jumper from Great Britain.  It showed that nobody in the country thought he was “Olympic caliber” and they tried everything in their power to stop him; even upping the required minimum distance to qualify for the Olympics.  He met and overcame every obstacle in his way; participated in the 1988 Olympics in Calgary, Canada and won the hearts of the fans and even the skeptic British Olympic Committee.

Sunday, we traveled to Mt Pleasant for Church; it was their Branch Conference (not too many were there-remember it was the day we moved to Day Light Savings Time).  Everybody was tired so after Church we returned directly home.  Later that day we had been invited to Brother & Sister Swing’s home for dinner along with Brother & Sister Spurgeon.  We had a great afternoon and evening, sharing stories of conversion, building of the Temple and so forth.  Sister Swing is a professional Genealogist and took Sharon under her arm and showed her some amazing things that could be done.  We came home with about 30 Shaw names that need to have work accomplished.  We will save some of these for when our children/grandchildren come to visit us this summer.

We testify to you that we are where we need to be at this time!  We know each of you is being blessed more by the Lord than we could do if we were home!  We are grateful to hear that Ashtyn did a great job in the school play of the “King & I.”  She will be and is a star in our eyes!  We love each of you with all of our hearts; we know the gospel of Jesus Christ is true; Heavenly Father knows and loves each of us, we have a living Prophet to guide us in these latter days.  This is the kingdom of God on the earth.  Take good care of yourselves, stop to smell the roses during your busy lives and remember who you are and what you are becoming.

Mom & Dad/Nana & Papa/Elder & Sister Shaw

Monday, March 7, 2016

Nauvoo Week 12 (29 February - 6 March 2016)

Nauvoo Week 12 (29 February – 6 March 2016)

Monday was great day weather wise; in the sixties and so we went golfing.  We played nine, or should I say Tom did.  I played seven holes, because I forgot to use my inhaler and I was huffing and puffing by then! It was nice to enjoy the weather on a preparation day.  Tom hopes to be able to play with the guys as it gets better weather.

On Tuesday we had the Baptistry on our own.  It was very slow as we only had two patrons come during the entire shift.  They keep telling us that things will be so different in the summer!

Wednesday, I went to one of the local souvenir stores.  Kristy had told me about one of her good friends who had moved here and she works at the store.  Her name is Jen and she was there so we had a great talk.  Kristy and Miles had become good friends with Jen and her husband.  When Scott was their Bishop he performed the wedding to her second husband.  When I told her that Tom was a Sealer she said, “hum, maybe he could Seal us when we are ready.” I also got to meet her Mom and Dad who live here; he is one of the security guards that work at the Temple.

On Thursday evening we were trained to be coordinators in Initiatory.  It was quite busy that night.  So next Thursday we will be the coordinators.  They are trying to train all of us to perform some of these positions before the end of April, when we will have around thirty more couples come to serve in the Temple for six months.  That afternoon, we had a fireside for the Temple Missionaries about things people said about Nauvoo and pictures from then (1840’s) until around 1860’s.   Some were not very complimentary; others were exactly opposite and were amazed at what the saints had built.

Friday, we went to a viewing in Mount Pleasant for Deborah Akers, the wife of the 1st Counselor (Dale Akers) in the branch.  She had been very ill for quite some time with cancer.  There was great support from the branch.  She was loved by many.

We had Stake conference this weekend.  The seventy who came was Elder Spackmen and his wife, Flora.  He talked about Missionary work.  He said that generally a person has had seven contacts with the church before listening and or converting to the church.  We had learned that in our training in the Marshall’s.  He said that we may never know what number we might be along that scale of progression, and how important it is for us to open our mouth.  He said that when he and his wife travel, they sit on the aisle seats across from each other so that they can both have the chance to talk to someone.  He said that his wife has no problem opening her mouth as she loves to talk to everyone and anyone!  She was quite the character.  He talked about the importance of the Book of Mormon in Sunday’s session.  He told a story about a family (Jewish) they lived next to in New York when he was a Mission President that they became acquainted with and did some things together.  He said they (friends) took them to the Knicks game; they (Spackmen’s) took them to a church activity.  They (friends) took them to the Opera; the Spackmen’s took them to another church activity.  They said they were not interested in converting, but that they loved their religion.  This couple also had a son in high school; he would come over at times when the Elders would be outside shooting baskets, while they were waiting to be interviewed.  Apparently they had some church discussions and he was very interested.  So he came over and said I want to know more about your church.  President Spackmen said have you talked to your parents about that?  He said no of course not they would not understand. So he gave him a Book of Mormon to read, and he came back and said that he had a plan.  He was going to college the next year and he would take the discussions then.  He would be eighteen then so he would not need his parent’s approval.  Have you told your parents yet, no?  He goes to college takes the discussions and calls to tell the Spackmens that he has been baptized.  They told him how happy they were for him, and of course asked, have you told your parents yet?  No, will you please go tell them!  So they went to them and told them the whole story about their son’s desire to be a member of the church.  They definitely were not happy but somehow by the time they left they were still friends.  We enjoyed the conference and the fact that we only drove two minutes over to the Nauvoo stake house.

Later that day, we had a “Break the fast” dinner that we have each month and this time we went to President McArthur’s house.  They divide the Temple Missionaries up into different groups each month and we are able to get to know each other a little better. 

We still can’t believe how BLESSED we are to be serving here.  We love the history that we have learned and the great spirit that abides here.  We hope Malia will have a super Birthday tomorrow.  We want Ashtyn to know that we will be praying for her, as she will be performing in the school play this week. 

Love to all of you,
Mom & Dad/ Nana & Papa/Elder & Sister Shaw