August 28, 2012

Carthage + Nauvoo

After our missionary opportunity (aka the gas incident), we drove on (and on and on and on... cue this song, but swap "drove" for "walked" and "pioneer children" for "Y & M") to Carthage and Nauvoo.

Unfortunately, we didn't make it early enough to tour the Nauvoo sites, but we made it to Carthage just in time to tour the Carthage Jail, where the Prophet Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum were martyred in June of 1844.

The floors are original. Joseph, Hyrum, etc walked on these same floors. So crazy!
The holding room
Where they spent their first night.
The time on this clock is still set to the time the shooting happened.
When the mobs came, they fired through this door. Hyrum died first. He was shot in the face and died almost instantly. His last words: "I am a dead man!"

This is the original door, which means this is the bullethole through which Hyrum was shot.  

It really IS awkward to smile here, but... how else do you pose??
Joseph died next. He was shot from outside, and then he fell through the window (they were on the second floor of the jail). :(

Yep, this is the window.

View of the window from outside.

Joseph (front), Hyrum (back)

I really liked this sentiment on sharing the gospel. I think it's especially applicable today:

Joseph and Hyrum, with the Jail in the background

Joseph's testimony of Christ.

The spirit at Carthage is strong and real and vivid. Joseph and Hyrum gave their lives for the cause of the Gospel of Christ. In Section 135 of the Doctrine and Covenants, John Taylor recounts the martyrdom of Joseph and Hyrum. He said of Joseph,

Joseph Smith, the aProphet and bSeer of the Lord, has done more, csave Jesus only, for the salvation of men in this world, than any other man that ever lived in it. In the short space of twenty years, he has brought forth the Book of Mormon, which he translated by the gift and power of God, and has been the means of publishing it on two continents; has sent the dfulness of the everlasting gospel, which it contained, to the four quarters of the earth; has brought forth the revelations and commandments which compose this book of Doctrine and Covenants, and many other wise documents and instructions for the benefit of the children of men; gathered many thousands of the Latter-day Saints, founded a great city, and left a fame and name that cannot be slain. He lived great, and he died great in the eyes of God and his people; and like most of the Lord’s anointed in ancient times, has sealed his mission and his works with his own eblood; and so has his brother Hyrum. In life they were not divided, and in death they were not fseparated!

I truly know with all my heart that Joseph really was a Prophet called of God, and I feel grateful to know that we have a living prophet today.

After a beautiful experience at Carthage, we drove along the banks of the Missisippi River towards Nauvoo. Our timing could not have been more perfect (sunset!).

Our first sighting of the Nauvoo Temple (from the car)!

The bells were ringing at the temple when we were there. Here's a video:

It was a little overwhelming to think of the sacrifice and work that went in to building the original Nauvoo temple. It was heartbreaking to remember how the pioneers were persecuted and driven out of their "City Beautiful." The temple stands in tribute to all of the pioneer faithful and as a testament that truly, "no unhallowed hand will stop the work from progressing."

I am totally a sunset kind of girl.

Across the street from the temple, there's a statue of "The Prophet's Last Ride":

Sun stones and other details.
Lit up at night.

We were bummed that we only had time to see the temple and got to Nauvoo to late to even go inside, but we felt the Spirit there and at Carthage. These are sacred places, made so by the sacrifices of those who gave everything to follow God.

Driving away from Nauvoo.
We crossed over the Mississippi, to the Iowa side, via this bridge. I remembered the pioneers who had to cross this river in frigid temperatures via horse and buggy and reflected on how much of a difference this simple bridge makes. I am grateful for their sacrifices and their example of faith.

Once we were in Iowa, we stopped at the only place to eat for miles and miles! Thank you, little gas station/diner in Denmark, Iowa for the pulled pork sandwiches and side salad!

In conclusion: we LOVED Carthage and Nauvoo. I want to come back to Nauvoo and actually see the town and historical sites (and the temple!). Also, middle-of-nowhere diner food ROCKS!

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