Nauvoo Week 19 (18 – 24 April 2016)
Well, the first day of the spring Temple Closure and it seemed really strange to not get up and prepare to serve in the Temple. Tom and Elders Davenport and Massey went golfing at the Deer Run Golf Course in Hamilton and had a wonderful time. The rates are pretty good for seniors - $16 for 18 holes including the cart. Later that night we had a “farewell” Dinner for Elder & Sister Williams and Elder & Sister Allred at the Nauvoo State Park, it was a fun evening of potluck dinner, entertainment and testimonies from the departing missionaries.
On Tuesday, we attended the final lecture by Sharon Easton Black Durrant on the Nauvoo Exodus. She taught that in 1842 Joseph prophesied that the Saints would suffer much and be driven to the Rocky Mountains. The first session in the Nauvoo Temple was held on December 10, 1845; by the start of the exodus there were 5,595 endowments completed. Both the Wilford Woodruff and Heber C. Kimball homes were finished and dedicated to Joseph. The Music Hall (600 seats), Cultural Hall and Temple were standing when the saints departed. Of course, the Temple was the largest public works project…it was built with the “Tithing” of the saints (not only of monies, but all possessions including labor-laboring 1 day in 10, but many worked much more than this). Not everybody left in February 1846; it is reported that Brigham stated, “Flee Babylon.” There was a Spring Exodus, a Summer Exodus and a Fall Exodus following the Battle of Nauvoo. The miracle of the quails which fed the deprived saints as they crossed into Iowa (Sept 1846) and the Camps of Israel across Iowa as the saints trudged West. The people called the Nauvoo Temple Baptismal Font the 8th wonder of the world due to its size and design. The Temple was burned by an arsonist in 1848 and the remaining walls were knocked down by high winds in 1850 (leaving only one wall partially standing-later knocked down for safety reasons).
Once the saints arrived in the Salt Lake Valley Testimony Meetings were held on Thursday nights; the Bishop would speak first and only those who had personally known Joseph were allowed to bear testimony for a time. The Last Leaf, Mary Ann Garner lived to be 107+ years of age (she was the last person to have personally heard Joseph speak). In 1905, Lorin Farr brought the last 100 leafs to Nauvoo to recall their experiences with Joseph and to write their histories. Many of these people were amazed at the demolition of Nauvoo and called it “Nauvoo the Blight!” As we know, eventually property was purchased over many years, mostly by Wilford Wood and given to the Church. LeRoy Kimball, heart surgeon and grandson of Heber C. Kimball bought and restored the Heber C. Kimball home planning to live there, but so many people came to visit there was never a time when he could actually live there. Eventually, the Nauvoo Restoration Incorporated (NRI) was formed and property was bought and restoration began slowly on some of the homes. Then in 1999, President Gordon B. Hinckley announced that the Nauvoo Temple would be rebuilt (the members in Nauvoo went wild) and the temple was later dedicated in 13 Dedicatory Sessions beginning on June 27, 2002.
On Wednesday, we drove to Springfield, IL to visit the Land of Lincoln. About 11 couples visited Springfield and took tours over the next two days of the Lincoln Museum, Old Train Depot (where he left for Washington D.C. after winning the Presidency), New Salem and the Lincoln Tomb. It was a wonderful trip back into history and we learned a lot about this man and his family. The museum was filled with artifacts, short movies of his life and death and many mannequins where you could have your picture taken with the President.
Following these two days we traveled farther North and East to Hammond, IN (about 20 miles from Chicago). On Saturday, we attended a Chicago White Sox game vs the Texas Rangers (they Sox won in 11 innings). Tom had been to the old Comiskey Park several years ago, but this ball park was quite an improvement.
On Sunday, we went to Church in Hammond and then headed out to Notre Dame University in South Bend, IN. We had been there for the BYU vs ND football game in November 2013 but it was bitter cold and snowy at that time. This time we had wonderful weather and we enjoyed walking around the campus and enjoying the warm temperature.
We again saw the Grotto, the Basilica, Touchdown Jesus (Library), the football stadium, the basketball arena and many other interesting places. As I recall there are only about 12,000 students there with an average of $40,000 per year tuition/housing/books/etc. Many of the students were studying outside enjoying the warm temperature.
We returned home to Nauvoo on Monday to prepare to go on the Church History Tour in Missouri with Dr. Craig Dunn; however the tour was cancelled because of projected tornados, hail and bad storm directly on our route. Hopefully, we will be able to do this tour at a later date?
We are grateful for this opportunity to serve. We feel blessed to have been assigned here as we are experiencing many spiritual things. We are grateful for our ancestors and the sacrifice they made for us and the early church. We pray that each of you will feel the same spirit that we do when you visit this summer. We know God loves us and each of you, we are His children and He wants us to return to Him. We are proud to be your parents; we thank you for your patience, support and love. We pray the Lord’s choicest blessings to be with you now and forever.
Love,Mom & Dad/Nana & Papa/Elder & Sister Shaw