As many of you know, we dropped Katelyn off at the MTC and decided to drive on to Nauvoo. It has been a long time since we toured Nauvoo. We had a family reunion there when Kyle was about 18 months. I had been planning the trip, but couldn't solidify anything because Katelyn decided to go on a mission and we had to wait to see when she was going. Sadly she was not able to come because her mission call was for 5 weeks later. My sister Susie said that the pageants only ran until the end of July. So we made plans in a hurry and got there just in time. We had never seen the pagaent.
a small world.
After I found out that Jeff was not coming out for a while, we got on the carriage ride that we had tickets for, but they were with Jeff. They still let us on and we put soaked polar fleece blankets on us and went on this 50 minute ride through the country part of Nauvoo. It turned out great and we learned a lot. It's kind of incredible how they tell different parts of stories throughout your stay. Then by the end you know the whole story. The Carriage story teller did an amazing job and was funny as well. When Jeff came to meet us at the end, we found out that he was one of Jeff's clients in Idaho Falls.
We had a little bit of time, so went down Parley Street and took a look at the Mississippi River. It is so incredible to imagine all of those people being forced to cross the river in the middle of the winter.
Next we were waiting to watch "The Promise." It was another musical about Nauvoo. It was about two hours long and was done by the cute performing missionaries. It was great, maybe a little long for Kyle, but the girls loved it.
Right before we went to the play, we heard about a vignette that was called the "King Follett Sermon." So Kyle, Anna, Kris, Nat and I went to this grove of trees and sat on these halved log benches. I saw some bagpipers there and started talking to some of them. They are also missionaries. One of the drummers was 15 and there was a bagpiper about 11.They were accompanied by their families, but still serving a mission.
We were sitting on the front row. I think this was one of my favorite things that we did.When the bagpipers came in they were playing, Come Thou Fount, then, If you Could Hie to Kolob, Amazing Grace, Praise to the Man and Abide With Me. They were right in front of us and it was so powerful.
Then a man depicting Joseph Smith gave his sermon. The cool part was that on the carriage ride they had talked about King Follett, who was a convert that lived in Nauvoo and built wells. He was good friends with Joseph Smith. He was crushed in a well and Joseph was asked to speak at his funeral.
The sermon was very powerful because he revealed new doctrine about the nature of God. He did such a good job and I just loved it. Then at the end he bore his own testimony, the actor. Later we found out that he was the man who played Joseph in the pageant.
After the play, we ate in Nauvoo and went to the country fair. It was pretty great.They had all the old fashioned games that might have been played then. This game required a crochet ring and two sticks. It's harder than you think. Then of course the stilts were a hit.
Kyle felt like he had put in enough hoedowning on our ward trek and was not volunteering.
Luckily I found the best looking guy there and he was willing to dance with me.
I can't remember if we were allowed to take pictures at the pageant, but we didn't for some reason. Friday night was a special treat. They performed the British Pageant. I guess this was performed in Europe last year and they brought it to Nauvoo for the first time this summer. Some of the actors were also from Europe. It was more stories of the Saints from Europe and how they got to Nauvoo. The fun thing about it was that when we did our trek I studied a lot of stories about the British Saints and their conversions, because a lot of them were in the Martin or Willie Handcart companies. So as they are telling their stories, I felt very familiar with them, like I knew them.Then to top it off, one of the family stories that was depicted was about my fourth great grandma, Anne Cannon. It was pretty cool.
The first two nights we stayed in the Comfort inn in Fort Madison, which is across the river and takes about a half hour to get to Nauvoo. The third and fourth night, we stayed in the Motel Nauvoo, which is very old and old fashioned, but decorated vintage. We lucked out with the suite, which must have been the motel manager's home because it was great with two bedrooms a hide-a-bed in the family room, a kitchen and dining room. We really loved it and could just walk down main street to the temple.
We snuck in an oxen ride with no lines. The ride was about a 5 minutes.
Then Susie was prepared and brought a ton of food from home because she knows how there is no food in Nauvoo or very few places to eat.
We went to the Bakery, the Rifle Shop, the Blacksmith's Shop and got the nail rings. Then there was an activity area kind of behind the bakery. This was one of Livvy's favorite places. In her own words, "There was all these fun games and pottery and you were sewing a blanket and making rope and you gotta keep it." The performing missionaries were also there singing hymns to the guitar and the ukelele. She also loved the country fair.
We spent time in the Visitor's Center and the Relief Society Gardens. Kristen loved the visitor's center.
Then we spoiled ourselves and went to the buffet at the Hotel Nauvoo. It is a home cooked buffet that was so delicious.
Jeff took the girls to the country fair again.
Everyone else including the Johnsons went to Sunset by the Mississippi. It was a variety show that included the elderly missionaries,the young performing missionaries and the band. There was this elderly lady who sang "You can't get a man with a gun." She was a serious performer. It was funny too.The elderly missionaries were dancing and singing like they were young again. I was thinking that my parents would love to be in that show.
Sunday turned out to be a great day. We went to church at 10:00am with 1500 other people. I was impressed with how the Nauvoo ward manned the meetings. We had primary classes and everything. It got less after sacrament, but still they were awesome. The fun thing was that a lot of the missionaries were also attending our ward. The night before we got custard and behind us in line were two actors, one from England and one from Scotland. I hadn't recognized them, but we talked. Then the next day in church this girl's mom sat behind me in Relief Society. She talked about how her husband had died and then she was called as the Relief Society President. Many people from all over the world and country shared their stories. They all had the same faith and the same peace that comes from their testimonies. It was very cool.
Next we went to Carthage Jail. There is good and bad to coming at a busy time. The bad is the lines and having a hard time getting tickets. The good is that all that they offer so much more. At Carthage they had a tour and a Vignette. When we came out of the tour, the band was playing hymns. This was the interesting thing I learned about Carthage. As a child I always wondered how Joseph and Hyrum got killed with no place to hide and how John Taylor and Willard Richards escaped. Seeing the jail explains a lot because it is a house and the room is very small, but throughout the days of activities I learned that there was an organized mob of 300 who had devised a plan. It wasn't just a group of people that decided to torment the prophet. When Joseph was arrested he had other men with him too. One man, Dan Jones was there the first day when they were shot at through the lower room. As they are on the floor. Dan said something like," Is this it?", and Joseph gives his last prophecy, that Dan would live to preach the gospel in his homeland which was Whales. The next day he sent Dan and a few others to go see what was going on. They were not allowed back in. Even Joseph's brother, Sam tried to get to him, but they had blocked off the road. He tried many ways and never passed. So when the shooting started, they were outside the door and shooting through the window. When Joseph fell out of the window, all of the mob ran downstairs to see if he was dead. That is how Willard and John were able to be spared. The mob had one goal and that was to kill Joseph Smith.
That night they had a special fireside at the pageant site where they sang inspirational Broadway songs. The theme was eternal families. It was really good.