Friday, July 24, 2015

A Vignette on the Lawn - A Tribute to Emma and Joseph Smith

The vignette started out with a song performed by two members of the Nauvoo Pageant cast. 

They had clear beautiful voices. A guitar accompanied them as they sang about the love that Joseph and Emma had for each other. 

Then in the distance, "Emma and Joseph" came walking from the direction of their actual 1840's home. It was like stepping back in time. They strolled and talked and occasionaly smiled at each other. 

"Emma and Joseph" took turns speaking portions of letters that they had written to each other. 


Their love for each other ran deep even through the many trials and challenges they endured. It was a touching experience. You got to "know" and love them better.  

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Farewell Nauvoo 1846


Thirty markers contain quotes from journals and letters of early pioneers as they got ready to begin the great trek to the Rocky Mountains. 
At the edge of the river stands the Pioneer Memorial and “Exodus to Greatness” Monument. The Pioneer Memorial contains the names of many of those who died along the Mormon Trail and surrounds the “Exodus to Greatness” Monument.

These are the quotes down the Trail of Hope (Parley Street). These are on the plaques down the road where the Saints walked as they left Nauvoo in Februrary 1846. 

1. “Our camp resounded with songs of joy and praise to God -- all were cheerful and happy in the anticipation of finding a resting place
from persecution in some of the lonely, solitary valleys of the great interior basin whithersoever we might be led.” Orson Pratt
2. “How well I remember what a hard time (father) had breaking in the animals to draw the wagon. There were six cows and two oxen.
The oxen were well broken and quite sedate. But the cows were wild and unruly…while Father was breaking the cattle, Mother was
praying…many nights when we were in bed asleep…she would go out into the orchard…and there pour out her soul in prayer, asking the
Lord to open the way for us to go with the Saints.” Margaret Judd Clawson
3. “I stopped my carriage on the top of a rolling prairie and I had a splendid view. I could see the Saints pouring out & gathering like
clouds from the hills and dales, grove and prairie with their teams, wagons, flocks and herds by hundreds and thousands as it were until it
looked like the movement of a great nation.” Wilford Woodruff, 1846
4. “Last evening the ladies met to organize…Several resolutions were adopted…If the men wish to hold control over the women, let
them be on the alert. We believe in equal rights.” Louisa Barnes Pratt, June 7, 1846
5. “The thoughts of leaving my family (for the Mormon Battalion) at this critical time are indescribable. My family consisted of a wife
and two small children, who were left in company with an aged father and mother and a brother. The most of the Battalion left
families…When we were to meet with them again, God only knew. Nevertheless, we did not feel to murmur.” William Hyde
6. “So we have both suffered. We must help one another and the Great Spirit will help us both.”
Chief Pied Riche, Pottawattamie Tribe, June 1846.
7. “A large amount of labor has been done since arriving in this grove. Indeed the whole camp is very industrious. Many houses have
been built, wells dug, extensive farms fenced, and the whole place assumes the appearance of having been occupied for years….”
Orson Pratt, May 10, 1846
8 “He died in my arms about four o’clock. This was the second child which I have lost, both dying in my arms. He died with
whooping cough and black canker. We are entirely destitute of anything even to eat much less to nourish the sick.”
Hosea Stout, May 8, 1846
9. “There on the bank of the Chariton River, I was delivered of a fine son. Occasionally the wagon had to be stopped that I might take
breath. Thus I journeyed on. But I did not mind the hardship of my situation, for my life had been preserved, and my babe was so
beautiful.” Zina Huntington Jacobs Young
10. “My last act in that precious spot was to tidy the rooms, sweep up the floor, and set the broom in its accustomed place behind the
door. Then with emotions in my heart…I gently closed the door and faced an unknown future, faced it with faith in God and with no less
assurance of the ultimate establishment of the Gospel in the West and of its true, enduring principles, than I had felt in those trying scenes
in Missouri.” Bathsheba W. Smith
11. “We hurried to pack some food, cooking utensils, clothing and bedding, which was afterward unpacked and strewn over the ground
by the mob as they searched for fire-arms. Mother had some bread already in the kettles to bake. Of course she did not have time to
bake, so she hung it on the reach of our wagon and cooked it after we crossed the Mississippi River.” Mary Field Garner
12. “The fall of 1845 found Nauvoo, as it were, one vast mechanic shop, as nearly every family was engaged in making wagons. Our
parlor was used as a paint shop in which to paint wagons.” Bathsheba W. Smith
13. “Those of us who can remember when we were compelled to abandon Nauvoo, when the winter was so inclement know how dark
and gloomy the circumstances of the Saints were, with the mob surrounding our outer settlements and threatening to destroy us and how
trying it was to the faith of the people of God. The word was to cross the Mississippi and to launch out into an unknown wilderness-to go
where, no one knew. Who knew anything of the terrors of the journey thither, or of the dangers that might have to be met and contended
with? Who knew anything about the country to be traversed? Moving out with faith that was undisturbed by its unknown terrors. It was
by faith that this was accomplished.” George Q. Cannon
14. “I was in Nauvoo on the 26
day of May, 1846, for the last time, and left the city of the Saints feeling that most likely I was taking a
final farewell of Nauvoo for this life. I looked upon the temple and City as they receded from view and asked the Lord to remember the
sacrifices of his Saints.” Wilford Woodruff5. “Some had covers drawn over their wagons while others had only a sheet drawn over a few poles to make a tent. Sometimes these
rude tents were the only covering for them. While keeping the watchman post in the darkness of the night… I wept over the distressed
condition of the Saints. Toward the dim light of many a flickering lamp have my eyes been directed because of the crying of children, the
restless movements of the aged, infirm and mournful groan of many suffering from fever. These have made an impression on my mind
which can never be forgotten.” Gilbert Belnap
16. “With this advanced camp of the great exodus there had come a brass band, led by Captain Pitt. After encampment was made and the
toils of the day were over, the snow would be scraped away, a huge fire or several of them kindled within the wagoned enclosure, and
there to the inspiring music of Pitt’s band, song and dance often beguiled the exiles into forgetfulness of their trials and discomfort.”
B.H. Roberts
17. “As Sarah Leavitt and her daughters tried to comfort her sick husband, he began to sing, ‘Come, let us anew, our journey pursue…’
He sang the hymn as long as he had strength to sing it and then wanted Elisa (one of his daughters) to sing it. He died without a struggle
or a groan.” Sarah Leavitt
18. “The suffering and sadness of that camp I shall never forget. It is impossible to describe the cries of the hungry children, the sadness
of others for the loss of their loved ones. What a terrible night of misery. We didn’t even have a light, except a candle which flickered
out in the wind and rain as it was carried from one place to another.” Mary Field Garner
19. “Prepared for the night by erecting a temporary tent out of bed clothes. At this time my wife was hardly able to sit up and my little
son was sick with a very high fever and would not even notice anything that was gong on.” Hosea Stout
20. “…here we all halted and took a farewell view of our delightful city…We also beheld the magnificent Temple rearing its lofty tower
toward the heavens…My heart did swell within me.” Newel Knight
21. “I was five years old when we started from Nauvoo. We crossed over the Mississippi in the skiff in the dusk of the evening. We bid
goodbye to our dear old feeble grandmother, Lucy Mack Smith. I can never forget the bitter tears she shed when she bid us goodbye for
the last time in this life. She knew it would be the last time she would see her son’s family.” Martha Ann Smith
22. “Without fire, and something warm to eat, all would suffer through the night. Seeing no other way I emptied a large valuable chest,
highly prized, split it up with the hatchet, and soon had a warm supper; then in the freezing storm, we crowded into our wagon and
remained there through the night.” Benjamin F. Johnson, Recollections
23. “I was the mid-wife, and delivered nine babies that night.” Jane Johnston
24. “When a boat sank while attempting to cross the Mississippi, a number of Saints were tossed and sported on the water at the mercy of
the cold and unrelenting waves.. some climbed on top of the wagon…while cows and oxen were seen swimming to the shore from
whence they came.” Hosea Stout
25. “I had a small flock of sheep which I had not time to sell. These I left, together with my house and lot, the former containing my
furniture and books.” Priddy Meeks
26. “Early in February, multitudes of the people commenced to cross the Mississippi, and from their encampments in the forest of Iowa.
In regard to the terrible sufferings that followed, the terrible snow storms and rains that continued from February until May, causing such
floods and mire, distress and suffering and consequent sickness, as perhaps has never before been known to the lot of Man” Erastus Snow
27. “Unless the people are more united in spirit and cease to pray against counsel, it will bring me down to my grave. I am reduced in
flesh so that my coat that would scarcely meet around me last winter now laps over twelve inches. It is with much ado that I can keep
from lying down and sleeping to wait the resurrection.” Brigham Young
28. “We bade our children and friends goodbye and started for the west. Crossed the river about noon… I knitted almost a mitten for
Mr. Sessions while he went back to get some things we left.” Patty Sessions
29. “I was not large enough to keep out of the way of the wagon at all times and consequently had my feet and leg run over two or three
times when jumping out of the wagon to stop the team.” Gideon Murdock, age 6
30. “We had nothing to sweeten anything until the Lord sent honey dew, which we gathered from the bushes until we get all the sweets
we wanted. I also boiled maple juice and got cakes of maple sugar.” Jane Johnston

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Two Nights of Outdoor Productions - The British and Nauvoo Pageants!


The British Pageant tells the stories of some of the over 8,000 converts who joined the church between 1837 and 1840 in England. This man is the narrator and one of those converts.

People gained a testimony of the truthfulness of the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ by reading the Book of Mormon and learning about the Prophet Joseph Smith and the First Vision. 

The day the missionaries first arrived in Preston, England, it was Preston's election day- with banners and all. It seemed fitting that the truth of the gospel was about to be taught to this people.   

These actors portrayed real people and all had stories to tell thru song and narration. It was very well done. 

The British Pageant follows the sea travels of some those who immediately immigrated to America because they wanted to join with the Saints in Nauvoo, Illinois. Between 1840 and 1846, over 3,000 Saints immigrated Nauvoo. 

There were hardships along the way, but their faith in Jesus Christ and His restored gospel saw them through. The British Pageant ends with people arriving in Nauvoo, meeting the Prophet Joseph Smith, building their homes, and settling in. 

the next night...the Nauvoo Pageant...

There are 3,000 or so seats set up outside. 

The actors visit with people before the show begins. 

(more cast visiting)

A large fair happens before the performance begins. There are hot dogs, family history kiosks, wood burning booths, and kids games and activities. 

People can even get to learn how to dance like they did in the 1840s. 

I met a woman who is in the Pageant for the first time. She was loving it. She has only been a member of the church about a year. 

There were pipers too. (Mom, you would love it!)

The performing missionary with the flute is our neice Sister Jamie Walton. Her mission is for 3 months. She and her companion Sis. Tietjen play in the Nauvoo Brass Band are having a fantastic time. 

The Nauvoo Pageant starts with a grand entrance to "Praise to the Man" with bagpipe accompaniment. 

Then we all sing the "Star Spangled Banner". Notice  the Nauvoo Brass Band and pipers. 

Then the show begins. You may recognize some of the actors. The same people do both the British and Nauvoo Pageants. There are 20 core actors that stay thru the whole month of July for all the shows while 150-180 other cast members rotate thru each week. They rehearse week 1, perform week 2 and then go home. Meanwhile, the next cast arrives during the previous cast's week 2. The new cast practices for a week and performs the next week. And so it goes. The casts are made up of families including small children. 

This is the part of the show where some of the Saints arrive from England to Nauvoo. 

Joseph and Emma Smith welcome everyone.

The storyline follows several families and one is from Scotland. In this family, the mother's strong faith and testimony cause her to be baptized a member of the church while in England and her husband supports her desire to move to America even though he isn't a member. In Nauvoo, he helps build the Temple, gains a testimony of the truthfulness of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints for himself by reading the Book of Mormon and studying the teachings of the church.

At several points, there's lots of dancing and singing as the Saints have fun together.  

Here, the Saints are taught how we can be joined with our ancestors who have passed on thru ordinances done in the Temple. The people in white at the back represent the deceased relatives.

This was a powerful part just before Joseph and Hyrum Smith are martyred. 

The "building" of the Nauvoo Temple was really inspiring. 

The Temple goes up...and up...and up. 

Until it is completed! The original Nauvoo Temple is destroyed by arsonists after the Saints leave Nauvoo in 1846. Then a tornado takes down most of the walls with the remaining wall being taken down for safety.  

Then at the very end of the show, they put spotlights on the now-standing-in-real-life Nauvoo Temple built in 2002. What a thrill to see it. Then all the cast comes on stage, spreads out and sings the finale. I'm so glad we could see it and now you all have been able to "see" it too.