Monday, February 27, 2012

Things To Do - Go To Nauvoo

Go to Nauvoo - I went in July 2010

One of the first things I added to my list was "Go to Nauvoo". I knew one of the things I wanted to do for my birthday was to take a trip with friends. I LOVE to travel, but don't get to do much anymore. My favorite kind of vacation is anywhere with an all-inclusive hotel and a beach, but those were a little out of our price range. We talked about going to Las Vegas, but since I don't drink or gamble anymore, that kind of limits the kind of fun you can have there.

Then the idea of Nauvoo came to me. I figured I have made so many changes in my life that have led me to such a great place, why not celebrate my birthday by being in one of the best church history sites in the country? I also happen to love road trips, and I can't tell you how excited I was that I got friends to agree to go with me.

I also decided to take a full week off of work for my trip, something I hadn't done in years. The drive to any location is half the fun. The girls put up with me and let me take them to random roadside attractions like the worlds largest ball of stamps and the worlds largest concrete bull (it weighs 45,000 lbs).

While in Nebraska, we also got to see Winter Quarters, it turned out to be one of the highlights of the trip for me. It's hard for me to imagine what those pioneers went thru or how difficult it would have been to see so many of those around you pass away. I am so thankful for those people who had such amazing faith in the Gospel and opened so many doors for us. If anyone is in the Omaha area, don't miss visiting this site.

We spent two full days in Nauvoo. The first day July 7th was my birthday. I scheduled for us to do Baptisms for the Dead that morning (for any of my non-member friends reading this blog, it's not as weird as it sounds. Ask me about it sometime) then in the afternoon we did an endowment session in the Nauvoo Temple. The temples baptismal font is absolutely beautiful. Pictures don't do it justice. And the spirit in that room is beyond words.

I had only been to the Denver temple, so getting to do a session in Nauvoo was so exciting. You move to different rooms during a session which I wasn't used to, and each of the rooms had amazing hand painted murals. It was a beautiful experience and I am so thankful that I got to be there.

I was inactive for a long time and when I finally decided to come back to church (or to take my head out of my butt as my brother in law says) I had a lot of work to do before I could be temple worthy. It was a long road, but every time I go to the temple I think of how thankful I am for what I had to go thru to get there. I would never have had a strong a testimony as I do now if it hadn't been for my past life.

That evening we got to see the Nauvoo Pageant. The pageant is a 90 minute musical that is performed outside, down the hill from the temple. It is the story of how Nauvoo came to be, and the early days of the church, along with when Joseph and Hyrum Smith were martyred. It rained thru the whole show, but I didn't want to budge. The spirit was so strong it was almost overwhelming. I can't tell you how many times I had my testimony confirmed that trip.

The next day we went thru all the buildings in Nauvoo. We saw a few other musicals during the day and toured all the buildings we could. That night, we got to see the pageant again, this time without the rain.

On the drive home, we were able to stop at several more church history sites, including Carthage Jail. As you walk up to the jail, there are several granite markers, each with a quote from Joseph Smith or a scripture. The photo I posted is one of those. It is a quote I have never heard before and it moved me more than I can say. I think it is so important to not judge others of a different religion, or try to force them to believe the same things I do. I thought the way he said it was beautiful.

Hands down, this was the best birthday I have ever had! Now, time to check another item off the list....

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