~ Liberty, MO~
~Inside Liberty Jail~
~Inside Liberty Jail~
~Sat. Independence, MO Outside Visitor's Center~
Saturday our little family began a trip back in time. We are in the 1830's. Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints came to Independence, MO from IL to build a place of peace together. Peace & happiness was theirs only for a short time. In 1833 the saints were told/forced (putting it politely) to leave & fled to Clay County to a place they called "Far West." Unfortuately, they were not there long before they were driven out of MO again. This is a very brief synopsis of our church's history while the saints were in MO.
We rolled in to Independence, MO at about 7pm Saturday. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' Visitor Center was a welcome sight after driving about 6 hours. We were warmly greeted by the missionaries there and took a church history tour. They had a replica of a log cabin inside. Journal entries were recited of how TEN families shared the very small cabin, but they were HAPPY. It was a real eye opener for our kids. The sweet missionary then relayed how they had only 15 minutes to pack and get out of Jackson County. How sad it was and is that they were persecuted for their beliefs in our country. There was also a replica of one of the printing presses used to print The Doctrine And Covenants. It is a compilation of revelations Joseph Smith received from The Lord. The actual press was ran sacked and burned to the ground.
What impressed me the most, was how I felt when got out of our car. When we began to just walk to the visitor's center from the parking lot, I felt peace. I felt joy. It grew with intensity each step I took. I was somewhat surprised, as this is how I feel when I attend one of our Temples. For us, the Temple is the House of The Lord. It is a very reverant and sacred place. It is a place of quiet reflecting, learning, peace, joy and well, "Be still and know that I am God." says it all. Many times when I am feeling God's Spirit I tend to become "weepy." I just can't seem to hold in my emotions and I am overcome. This happened on our visit. As usual, it is embarassing. But it is not embarassing to FEEL God's love so intensely. It is beautiful...so much, so that it is difficult to describe or put into words. My youngest said, "I don't want to leave, I like this place. Can we come back again tomorrow?" I know she felt Him too. :)
Joseph Smith dedicated a plot of land for a temple to be built there (caddy corner accross from the visitor's center.) Above is a picture of my oldest next to the very place that he set apart.
Sunday we visited Liberty Jail. The church has rebuilt the jail from the dungeon up. The dungeon is the ACTUAL dungeon where prisoners were held. Joseph Smith, his brother, Hyrum and 4 other church members were taken from Far West to this prison because of the "Extermination Order" by Governor Boggs. I was astonished to see where they were kept. It was basically a very small basement with no heat. They were kept there unjustly from December 1838 to April of 1839. The significance for saints is the revelation that was given to Joseph Smith while in Liberty Jail. It is not remembered as a place of suffering, but rather, a sacred spot where faith was tested and found sufficient. A place where the voice of God was heard again as he spoke to a living prophet. (2 photos above of us there. 1 outside and 1 inside in front of the prison) I will place a link on the right hand side of my blog of the actual revelation given if you are interested in reading it. It is found in The Doctrine & Covenants that I spoke of earlier.
Today, Monday, we visited "Far West." What took us only about an hour to drive to from Independence, took the early saints days to walk there. It is very humbling. We saw another Temple Site that was dedicated there and visited a wonderful little bookstore close by. It is getting late, so I will have to post a few of those photos tomorrow.
I turly marvel as I hear stories of the early saints and their hardships, but moreover, their unwavering faith. I am deeply grateful for thier dedication and devotion to bringing forth this beautiful truth-bearing church. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints exudes love and goodness as it bears the name of whom we believe is our savior and redeemer. I am honored to be a member.
Striving to be at One Heart & One Mind,