As the world around us gets further and further from the beliefs that we have James and I feel very strongly that it is important for our kids to know more of who we are and where we come from. There are many who aren't aware of the religious persecution that the early members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints or Mormons faced. Religious freedoms are hanging by a thread in our nation now and I want my kids to know that their very own ancestors have faced trials and hardships to stand firmly in their faith. Unless you have had the opportunity to go to Nauvoo and see and feel the strength of the pioneers it is difficult to put it into words. We had a fantastic time walking the streets of Nauvoo and seeing how the early Latter-Day Saints lived before they were driven from their homes in the dead of winter and forced to leave everything they owned behind just to worship freely. We took the opportunity to participate in a family handcart trek. We had signed up for the two mile route but because of weather and safety issues that route was closed. So we set out on the 1 mile route and before we knew it we were pushing a handcart through a stream and up a muddy embankment. It took about 10 minutes before Holli and Mark jumped out of the handcart because the trail was so muddy their weight made it too difficult to push/pull. Which was fine since they both wanted to help anyway. By the time we finished everyone was muddy, sweaty and tired it was everything I hoped it would be for the family.......a small glimpse at the struggles of those who paved the way for us.
Blacksmiths, tin shops, bakery, printing press, gun shop... Nauvoo has it all along with real life accounts of what it was to live in the early days of our Church. Not only did we get to see and experience all of that but we were able to watch the Nauvoo Pageant and the British Pageant both which tell the stories of early Latter-Day Saints.
We felt the faith of those who had lived there and left behind a legacy of courage and faith. Our kids are lucky enough to have living examples of loved ones who have joined our Church against the odds but this trip was to focus on Church History. We stood by the very jail cell in Liberty where Joseph Smith and others were held for months. We saw the very same door that bullets ripped through in Carthage jail as the mob martyred Jospeh and Hyrum Smith. This was much more than a family vacation, it was a chance to see and feel what our ancestors went through in order to worship our Father in Heaven. I truly believe that the time is coming where we will be tested and tried and I hope my kids can look back to this trip and remember that others have faced tremendous hardships and trials but those are the moments that define us and that we can get through them by relying on our Savior, Jesus Christ.