Saturday, September 8, 2012

Day 4 & 5: Nauvoo, Camping, & Carthage

After we left Des Moines, we made our way to Nauvoo, Illinois. Caitlin had been to Nauvoo before, but I had never been and didn't really know what to expect. Nauvoo was the last permanent Mormon settlement before their trek to Utah. We were blessed with sunny weather and decided to camp for the two days we would be in Nauvoo. Our first day we spent just a bit of time looking around. We got there in the evening and most everything was closed, but we did find a graveyard to explore.

Here we are with one of the original sunstones from the Nauvoo, Illinois LDS temple.

Here is the temple reconstructed. The last time Caitlin was in Nauvoo was 10 years ago for it's dedication.

This is a statue of Joseph and Hyrum Smith on their journey to Carthage, Illinois - where they were murdered by a mob.

When we found the cemetery just outside of Nauvoo, there was a gazebo full of names of those that had passed through Nauvoo. We decided to put our tripod to good use and snap a few pictures around the gazebo and the cemetery. 

The next day we got to explore Historic Nauvoo, which is basically a ton of buildings (original and replicas) that are filled with things from the 1800s. We took a wagon ride to see the entire town, then went from building to building learning about Nauvoo. We learned how to make rope, rugs, horseshoes, bricks, tin bowls, and many other things that were useful trades of the time.

Here we are learning how to make rope.

All of the buildings have senior missionaries that explain who used to live there, what role they played in the restoration of the gospel, and what trades they did from their homes. We got to sample cookies and breads from a few of the houses, and here Caitlin and I are posing in front of the brick yard where they taught us how they made bricks.

Nauvoo is also the burial sight of Joseph, Emma, and Hyrum Smith. We took a little bit of time to check out their graves and the burial sight of a few other members of the Smith family.

That night we were treated with a show by the senior missionaries where they sang, danced, and acted out things that transpired in Nauvoo. It was one of our favorite moments during the day. 

We were also able to attend the temple while we were there. The temple is an exact replica of the original one. The inside is gorgeous. There was a lot of woodwork and beautiful murals. 

We had to take a picture overlooking the Mississippi River before leaving Nauvoo forever.

After leaving Nauvoo, we went to Carthage Jail in Carthage, Illinois. This is where the prophet Joseph Smith was murdered. It was a humbling experience being able see the room where such a spiritual man was killed. I was grateful to have that experience and it made me even more grateful for the knowledge I have of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

This is the original door that was shot through by the mob. If you look closely, you can see the bullet hole.

The outside of Carthage Jail.

There is a statue depicting Joseph and Hyrum outside of the jail. I really admire both of these men. Going to Nauvoo and Carthage gave me a new understanding of the restoration of the gospel and helped solidify my testimony that Joseph Smith was a prophet. I'm grateful that Caitlin has such a strong testimony of this and encouraged that we visit these sights to learn more. She is really the spiritual one in our relationship.

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