September 26, 2012

Palmyra Pageant

I realized yesterday that I never posted about my trip to Palmyra this summer! A group from my congregation took a trip to upstate New York (same trip as Niagara) to watch the Hill Cumorah Pageant and tour the LDS Church historic sites in the area. Upstate New York is where the Prophet Joseph Smith grew up, where he first saw God the Father and the Son, and where he received the plates to translate the Book of Mormon. (If any of that is confusing or unfamiliar to you, feel free to ask me questions! :) )

The first thing we saw in Palmyra was the Smith Farm, where Joseph and his siblings grew up (mostly):

The first home. So tiny!
Ceilings so low! In those days, taxes were determined by total area, so lower ceilings = lower taxes.

The home they upgraded to later. It was still small but definitely more spacious than the log house.
The barn.
Our tour guide was a sweet senior elder. Oh, how I love senior missionaries!
Then we made our way into the Sacred Grove. To the world, this place may be a grove of trees, but for members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, this ground is sacred. In 1830, Joseph Smith was only 14 years old, but he was very concerned about religion and which church to join. He read in the Bible (James1:5) that if he asked God a question, God would answer him, so we came here to pray and to ask God which church he should join.

God the Father and his Son, Jesus Christ appeared to Joseph in answer to his prayer. They told him to join none of the churches, and Joseph was called to be a prophet to restore the Church that Christ had left when He lived here on the earth 2,000 years ago. Joseph was truly a prophet of God, and he accomplished the work God intended him to do.

This I know to be true.

Sitting with Lee in the Sacred Grove.
Joseph said, "I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me. When the light rested upon me, I saw Two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name, and said, pointing to the other, '[Joseph,] This is my Beloved Son. Hear Him.' "

And so... Here is my requisite "pillar of light" shot. (As a lightning bolt strikes me...)

And a video I made to send to my missionary brother:

Some more pretty scenery from the farm:

After leaving the Sacred Grove and the Smith Farm, we headed into the town for a picnic lunch and to look at Main Street.

We stopped by the Grandin Press, which is where The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ was first published in 1830. Members of my church read the Bible and the Book of Mormon, together with two other volumes of scripture, and revere both as the word of God.

Then we saw the actual Hill Cumorah, which is where the plates were buried.

Next, we traveled to the Peter Whitmer Farm, where the church was first organized and Joseph completed the translation of the Book of Mormon.

And we made a quick stop in Seneca Falls, home of the Seneca Falls Convention (aka the first Convention for Women's Rights, held in 1848).

Then, it was finally time for the Pageant!


For dinner, we had chicken, coleslaw, rolls, and the famous NY salt potatoes.

The costumes were fun to look at.

Some of our group, with the actors who played Joseph Smith, Jr., and Lehi (a Book of Mormon prophet)

I know that doesn't do this justice at all (sorry, Camille!), but you know... :)

I randomly ran into a few people I know at Pageant!
Jaclyn, one of my sorority sisters from the U. I literally hadn't seen her in years!
Elder Navarro (Now known as "Andrew." Weird!), from my mission!
Elder David Cook (recently released from the 70) and his cute wife. Elder Cook was a great mentor and career counselor to me when I needed one.
The pageant was great, and I'm so glad I made the trip! (I almost didn't due to school, finances, and whatnot, but I figured... what the heck. Why not? Ha ha.)

And finally, a quick stop at the Palmyra Temple before heading back home on Sunday.

Oh, like you've never eaten beef jerky while standing in front of a temple?
If you've never made this trip, I 100% recommend it!

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