Thursday, March 25, 2010

now this.this is what i'd been looking forward to the most

On American soil, going where we wanted to, sunny weather, eating what we were used to. . . now it was feeling like a vacation!  We had a leisurely morning (morning of leisure?) and breakfast and I don't mind admitting I think I got addicted to bagels and cream cheese on this trip.  Then we headed out for Palmyra, which is one of the most historial LDS church history spots.  In fact, it's the original-it's where the church got it's start and where it all began. (and again, Thanks to Becky for sharing her pictures-mostly the ones with me in them)


This was my favorite day of the whole vacation.  It was so peaceful, so restful; there was no rush, just quiet and reverence and Spirit.  We started our tours at the E.B.  Grandin's Print Shop where the very first 5000 copies of the Book of Mormon were published in 1830, as the sign says.


I don't think any of us were planning on having guided tours through our visit at Palmyra, but that's what we got.  :)  The tour guides were all missionaries, serving in 'Historial Missions' as they are called.  As this wasn't really tour season, I'm sure they were eager to give us the full treatment, but we only had one day to visit 5 sites, so we tried to keep things brief.


This sister and her hubby were from Utah and she was so sweet, and so excited about her mission in the Palmyra area.  This is where the goosebumps started for me.


It was a lovely little shop-and this room was built on the actual site, actual flooring, brick walls, etc.  The rest of it was recreated to look correct for the period.


An example of what the printing process would have been like.  The process to make a Book of Mormon back then was really quite a thing!  Inking and hammering out each individual letter on the page, printing a full sheet, folding and cutting it, binding and sewing them all together, sawing off the rough parts, binding with leather-I had no idea it was such an undertaking to hand-bind a book!



Bible and Book of Mormon from the early 1830s.  What wonderful artifacts.


Next we went to the Martin Harris Farm, but the lovely house that stood there is not the original house-it had burned down years ago.  It was just the site of an important person's home in church history. Remember that he mortgaged his farm to pay for the initial printing of the Book of Mormon.


From there we moved on to the Joseph Smith Sr. farm and homestead.  This is a re-creation of the little log home (on the actual site) that the Prophet Joseph Smith Jr. grew up in.


I love all the attention to detail that was put into making these homes look as correct as possible.  The homes were constructed with tools that would have been used back then, with the correct wood and techniques, etc.


11 people in this one little cabin/house that had what.2 bedrooms?  3?


Opening up their backdoor, you can see the Sacred Grove behind the house.  This is where Joseph Smith had what we call "The First Vision", where he saw God the Father and his Son Jesus Christ.  We always imagine it a bit more lush and green during that April day though.  :)


I'd imagine that at least 2 or 3 siblings shared each bed.


Our tour guide for this portion was a young single sister from Montreal.  She was awesome, especially with the cameras!  She would zoom in and out, use different angles, knew all the proper camera terminology and just generally knew what was up. 


The Smith Farm where they would plant wheat, next to the apple orchards (wayoff to the left).


From this vantage point you can see the Palmyra Temple that has since been built.  From it's windows one can see the Sacred Grove.  I love that thought.


The cooper shop near the Frame Home.


Up there in the loft you can see one of the hiding spots for the Golden Plates when Joseph had to hide them from wanna be marauders.


This is the frame home where Joseph's family moved (from that itty bitty log cabin!), where they had 2 stories and lots more room.


This home was 80% the original structure; of course the furniture and details were added for tours later.  Because of that we were pretty excited to enter!  But it was also a very humbling thought to think that Joseph walked and lived here.


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The actual hearthstone that again, hid the plates for a time when robbers searched the house.


A tree that was planted back in the 1820s for the older brother Alvin who had passed away for unknown reasons.


Gotta get in the self-portrait!


On our way now to the Sacred Grove.


Now I think I was the only one in our group who had been here before-back when I was 9 I think?  And I remember the Grove the most out of all the other places we visited that summer.  Course it was likely July so it was green then, but this visit was no less inspiring and beautiful.


I know, right?  It just looks like a bunch of trees.  But the history, the significance of this bunch of trees. . . fills me with reverence.


We stayed about an hour there and that was so awesome.  We all took some private moments to sit and think, ponder, pray.


After all, Jesus spoke to Joseph in these very woods.  I've been reading the Book of Mormon, 10 pages a day (and at this point, for the past 40 days or so), and to be standing in this site where everything got started was a very spiritual experience.  It kind of made everything just that much more real to me, reaffirmed things in my mind, helped my testimony grow.  It was good for me.  :)


It was such a nice quiet day.  We had a nice leisurely picnic and then we drove 45 minutes to the Peter Whitmer Farm where the church actually was organized.


This is the church building built on the original farm.  Gorgeous, right?

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This is the missionary couple (I think from Utah again) who led our tour here.  The history of the involvement of the 5 Whitmer brothers was pretty interesting.  It was good and complete, but went on way too long.  Again, I think they were starved for some good tourists!


Not the original building, but built on the original site.

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The church now owns the hundreds of acres that the farm consists of.


Then onto the Hill Cumorah, where Moroni buried the plates hundreds and hundreds of years ago.  This statue was outside the visitor's center.



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It doesn't look like much from this viewpoint, but climbing up that hill was really tough-however for a P90Xer such as myself, it was nothing I couldn't handle.  This is the site of the Hill Cumorah Pageant that's held every year.  My parents said we saw it one year, but I don't remember.


The view from the top was spectacular-what a neat piece of history!


It felt so nice to just lay down and relax in the nice lush and cool grass.  It's been a busy 5 days!  The weather was perfect all day long.  We wore light sweaters and were very comfortable.


Next, on to the Temple site at sundown.

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Pretty stained glass windows.


The drive back was stressful again (I'm so sick of driving and navigating and getting snapped at by Danny-too close quarters for too long, ha.  We need time apart to miss each other)

We kept all reminding each other that we LOVE the USA!  Down with Canada and the dumb chicken feet (not really, Canada, we forgive you).  We did make it home after some more turn arounds, and Uncle Frank had a nice dinner ready for us.


Teri said...

wow how long did it take you to post that many pics?? Love all the pics..I want to move into those old houses right now!! beautiful... this trip look s amazing!!!

Anonymous said...

That is some cool and interesting stuff. I remember the Hill Cumorah Pageant, how can you not?


Christine #2 said...

Thank you for the pictures, and the nice thoughts you posted. I felt the spirit while reading your blog, how cool is that?

Monica McCoy said...

I love this stuff. I imagine the grove looked like that actually when he was there, I am sure it was not warm given the seasons. What awesome pictures. I want to take Justin there sooo bad.

Jenna said...

How cool would it be to serve a historical mission?? those are great photos, thanks so much for sharing. I hope to make it back there someday.

Jennifer ♥ said...

Sounds like you had a great time!! I love taking tours :)

jinxi~ aka angi said...

Beautiful photos! I think that it is awesome that you had such a powerful experience. So happy for you that you got to be in that place for a bit.. it looks truly peaceful!

Liz said...

Wow amazing.. I like the picture of you looking at DH..Fabulous thanks for sharing your trip

Mark and Jessica said...

This is another place I want to visit - these church history sites are fascinating. When I was 12 I did the Nauvoo tour, but would love to go back.

But since you were so thorough in your post, maybe I'll just visit vicariously. Thanks for the tour!

Mike & Kenia said...

what a nice trip you guys had!! I'd love to go someday too!! I'm glad you enjoyed it..

Courtney said...

Thanks for sharing all of those great pictures. I hope to visit there someday!