Our last stop before Vermont was Palmyra, New York. This is where the prophet Joseph Smith grew up and began the restoration of the gospel. It is a special place to both Caitlin and I. This is where I started to realize that Caitlin was the girl that I was going to marry, even if it took another month for me to really figure it out. Caitlin had a few spiritual experiences 10 years ago when she first visited Palmyra and we were both elated to return and feel the spirit there again.
We started off our visit at the LDS church visitor's center. We met a great sister missionary, Hermana Torres from Nicaragua/Canada. She was so great and really took an interest in our lives. She almost convinced Caitlin and I to go to Nicaragua for my practicum. We're still looking into a few places though. :) She took us around the visitor's center and explained a few of the sights that we could visit while in Palmyra. She was very personable and a very spiritual sister missionary.
After visiting with Hermana Torres for a little bit we went to the Hill Cumorah where they hold the Hill Cumorah Pageant every year. It has a monument built in dedication of the Book of Mormon and the angel Moroni.
We then went over to the publication site of the first Book of Mormon. We had a great Australian sister missionary who gave us a tour of the building and helped liken everything we learned there to our own lives. She was so great with the analogies.
After visiting the Book of Mormon publication site, we went to the Smith farm and to the sacred grove. The sister missionary that helped us there was Sister Amberlee Lovell, a girl that both Caitlin and I knew from BYU-Idaho. She was so happy to see us and it was so great to hear the facts about the Smith family from someone we knew. She was a great tour guide and was able to provide an equal amount of facts and testimony.
We loved spending time in the sacred grove as well. It is such a peaceful place and we walked around for nearly an hour. We spent a few minutes reading through Joseph Smith History where he tells the story of the First Vision.
After spending some time in the sacred grove we had about an hour and a half to "kill" before we attended the temple, so we had a little lunch outside of the Smith farm and took pictures making faces.
We knew that we wouldn't be able to attend the temple a lot while in New England (the closest temple is Boston which is about 2.5 hours away) so we made it a priority to attend the temple on our road trip. The Palmyra temple is beautiful and actually has a clear window that faces the sacred grove. It is behind us in this picture.
Our last stop in Palmyra was the Whitmer Farm. This is where the church was officially organized. The sister missionaries that helped us here gave us an overview of the vision of the church, both in the time of Christ and now. They did an amazing job at answering our questions and teaching us doctrine. We loved the sister missionaries all over Palmyra. They were for sure the best sisters that we encountered on our trip (although all the sisters were great).
And there it is - our road trip is nearly over. The only thing left to do is get to Vermont - which is about 5 hours from Palmyra. But just wait until you hear about the adventures we are having here. :)