Tag Archives: palmyra

No more asking for referrals at Church historical sites?

In the summer I wrote about our trip to Palmyra. You can read about it in the following posts:

If you’ve been to a Church historical site, you are aware that after sharing the message with you, the missionaries usually hand out a card of some kind and ask you to consider friends that you feel inspired to have the missionaries visit.

On Friday and Saturday we went back to Palmyra (the tours are usually much better when it is “off-season”) and had some great visits. I’ll write about those separately and post some pictures. The point I wanted to share was about the referrals…

On Friday at the Hill Cumorah Visitors Center, the senior missionary told us that rather than ask for referrals, they were asking for our own email address. He said he would send us some links to some sites that explain a bit of the history of the area. The next morning the email came in with the links he had mentioned. He suggested that we could invite someone over for a family home evening to learn more about the sites.

Then on Saturday at the Peter Whitmer Farm, the sister missionary there started to mention the same thing. Her little spiel about it actually used the word “creepy”, as in “it was kind of creepy to have a stranger call them up” and ask them if they wanted to learn more about a place they had never visited. We let her know that we were happy to give her an email address, but that we had already given it to the other missionary. She said that if we had already done that, then that was fine.

I don’t know if this is now the norm, but it was kind of nice. I appreciated the suggested links, and we didn’t feel the pressure that often accompanied one of those referral cards.

“…he began to tell of a book, a STRANGE BOOK, a VERY STRANGE BOOK!”

I am the Stake Institute teacher, and this school year (we started in September), we started studying the Book of Mormon. I’ve read the Book of Mormon lots in my time in the church, but I’ve never gotten more out of it than I have this time. It has been fantastic.

This past Sunday, I also taught a High Priest lesson about the Book of Mormon.

With those two things in mind, I wanted to post the famous quote by Parley P Pratt about how he first came across the Book of Mormon and how it made him feel.

We visited an old Baptist deacon by the name of Hamlin. After hearing of our appointment for evening, he began to tell of a book, a STRANGE BOOK, a VERY STRANGE BOOK! in his possession, which had been just published. This book, he said, purported to have been originally written on plates either of gold or brass, by a branch of the [p.19 consists of pictures.] tribes of Israel; and to have been discovered and translated by a young man near Palmyra, in the State of New York, by the aid of visions, or the ministry of angels. I inquired of him how or where the book was to be obtained. He promised me the perusal of it, at his house the next day, if I would call. I felt a strange interest in the book. I preached that evening to a small audience, who appeared to be interested in the truths which I endeavored to unfold to them in a clear and lucid manner from the Scriptures. Next morning I called at his house, where, for the first time, my eyes beheld the “BOOK OF MORMON” that book of books-that record which reveals the antiquities of the “New World” back to the remotest ages, and which unfolds the destiny of its people and the world for all time to come; that Book which contains the fulness of the gospel of a crucified and risen Redeemer; that Book which reveals a lost remnant of Joseph, and which was the principal means, in the hands of God, of directing the entire course of my future life.

I opened it with eagerness, and read its title page. I then read the testimony of several witnesses in relation to the manner of its being found and translated. After this I commenced its contents by course. I read all day; eating was a burden, I had no desire for food; sleep was a burden when the night came, for I preferred reading to sleep.

As I read, the spirit of the Lord was upon me, and I knew and comprehended that the book was true, as plainly and manifestly as a man comprehends and knows that he exists. My joy was now full…

Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt, ed. Parley P. Pratt Jr. (1938), 36–37.

That is a fantastic quote. It makes you think about so much… Do I feel that way about the Book of Mormon? Has anything in the church ever made me feel like sleep was a burden? Does my knowledge of the Book of Mormon make me feel that my joy is full? I feel strong in the gospel, but I still have a long way to go!

181st Annual General Conference – Priesthood Session

After the afternoon session, while the kids were eating dinner, we watched Joseph Smith The Prophet of the Restoration. It was very well done. My kids seemed to enjoy it. We live close enough to some of the sites (Palmyra and Kirtland) that we told them we’d visit the sites this summer.

I go to Church a little before 8 pm. A YM has just returned from his mission. While he was away, his parents moved, so he won’t be staying in the area. Tonight was the only chance to catch up with him.

Afterward, my father and I continued a tradition we’ve had for probably 20 years… We went out for food. We went to Boston Pizza where I got a Buffalo Chicken Sandwich and a smoothie. Great times!


The Priesthood Choir was made up from Ogden and Logan Utah Institutes

President Henry B Eyring conducted

The choir sang See the Mighty Priesthood Gathered

Elder Rafael E Pino offered the invocation

The choir sang Guide Me to Thee

Elder Neil L Andersen

  • Spoke to 12 to 25-year-olds
  • These are your days
  • Told story about a 19 year old future rugby star, Sid Going, in New Zealand served a mission instead of joining the All Blacks. He felt that sharing the gospel was more important
  • Sid Going The sun never sets on missionaries sharing their testimony In the years before your mission, consider the sacred assignment ahead of you

Elder Steven E Snow

  • Hope is an emotion which brings richness to our lives
  • Hopes brings a calming influence
  • Our hopes leads us to dreams, which inspires us
  • Don’t let hope be displaced by despair
  • The spiritual journeys today require great hope

Brother Larry M Gibson

  • Went over responsibilities of a Deacon
  • Go to the scriptures and discover what your duties are

The choir and congregation sang Redeemer of Israel

President Dieter F Uchtdorf

  • Are we living below our priesthood privileges?
  • In our daily lives, our actions indicate our understanding is little more than a rehearsed definition
  • Set your “Do it” switch to “Now” not “Later”
  • Read the owner’s manual, the scriptures and handbooks
  • Re-read sections 20, 84, 107, and 121 of the Doctrine and Covenants
  • Become an expert in the doctrines of the gospel
  • Seek the revelations of the Spirit
  • Find joy in priesthood service
  • Our religion is a joyful one

President Henry B Eyring

  • 3 aids to growing in the priesthood
    1. Listen and council together
    2. Have love for each other
      • Discord inhibits the Spirit
    3. Labour for the salvation of men

President Thomas S Monson

  • Wants to discuss a few personal worthiness things
  • The moral compass of the masses has shifted to an almost anything goes direction
  • There is a wide chasm between us and the world
  • Do not subject yourself to the filth that is found
  • Do not do anything that you wouldn’t be proud of
  • Avoid pornography, alcohol, tobacco
  • A strong testimony will help see you through to safety
  • Don’t postpone marriage
  • The saddest thing he has to do is a cancellation of sealings
  • Be fiercely loyal one to another
  • “Choose your love. Love your choice”
  • A happy marriage isn’t so much because of marrying the right person, but in BEING the right person
  • We are married for time and all eternity, and then must put forth the effort to make it so
  • The gift of the priesthood is priceless

The choir sang For the Strength of the Hills

Elder Joseph W Sitati offered the benediction


Read the recaps and other notes from the 181st Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:

Paying Tribute to Mormon Church’s Ohio Roots

The New York Times has a nice article about the Church’s “Historic Kirtland”. It quotes some locals, as well as people from both the LDS and CoC churches.

Tim Powell remembers when the “Utah Mormons” first came to town with their plans in the early 1990s.

The Mormon faith’s first temple has stood for 174 years in Kirtland, Ohio, the site of the church’s headquarters in the 1830s.

They wanted to recreate a historic village that would explain the role this city played as the Mormon Church’s headquarters in the 1830s and celebrate the fact that the faith’s first temple is here…

Mr. Powell, who has lived in Kirtland all his life and been on the City Council for 14 years, and some others did not like the idea. He had read how Mormons had swept into two other towns that played significant roles in the church’s founding — Palmyra, N.Y., and Nauvoo, Ill. — resulting in conflicts with non-Mormons.

“In other places you could see the Mormons were taking over those towns,” said Mr. Powell, 55.

Mr. Powell fought the church’s project every step of the way, worried, he said, about allowing such a relatively large tourist development in the middle of town.

But now, eight years after it was completed, Mr. Powell concedes that he was wrong. “I was a skeptic,” he said. “But now that the dust has settled, I think people are pretty happy with it.”

I’ve never been to Nauvoo, but if I had to choose between Palmyra and Kirtland, I’d choose Kirtland in a second. I love going through the temple, and walking around the “Historic Kirtland” area. I also love the quarry. I know what you see isn’t from the same time frame, but you can still get a pretty good idea of what they had to do to get stone for the temple.

Hill Cumorah crew: A voluntary labor force

From MPNnow.com:

When the Latter-day Saints come to town, much work gets done — beyond Hill Cumorah.

During their stay, cast members from the pageant provide more than 1,800 hours of volunteer labor in Wayne and Ontario counties. They do everything from pull weeds and mulch gardens to clean high school lockers and paint picnic pavilions.

On an related note, last week I posted about how I wondered if the new passport laws would affect how many people from Ontario went to the Hill Cumorah Pageant. There were several members of my ward who went last week, and they said the place was only half full. However, there was the normal group of protestors yelling crazy things at the visitors.

Pageant season has started

The LDS newsroom recently posted about upcoming pageants:

Every summer in locations across the United States, thousands of volunteers from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints perform in pageants open to the public. These large outdoor productions highlight stories from the history of the Church and from the scriptures through music, theatrical dance and dramatic spoken word. All actors are volunteers, and the admission is always free.

I work in Niagara Falls, and since June 1 when the new Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) rules came into effect, business is down significantly. A lot of people don’t have passports. I’m curious as to whether this same thing will affect the Hill Cumorah Pageant in Palmyra, NY. This is only two hours away from our area, and every year dozens of members go. This year, I’ve only heard of a few.

173rd anniversary of dedication of Kirtland Temple

I am located near the Ontario/New York border, and am 2 hours away from Palmyra and 4 hours away from Kirtland. Since we are so close, I’ve been to both places many times. I love visiting them. The Church does an incredible job in restoring the sites, and making them quality destinations. I’ve always been a fan of Church history (the “wacky” stuff doesn’t bother me at all), and there is something special about visiting these early Church locations. The early saints had such faith in Brother Joseph. They walked with him and talked with him. He must have been quite the charismatic leader.

Today (March 27) marks the anniversary of the dedication of the Kirtland Temple. The Kirtland Temple itself is a great example of what they would do for their leader. An announcement of a temple today is almost boring. It seems like every General Conference has a couple of them announced. But back then, hearing that they were going to build a temple must have been exciting and terrifying at the same time. They built it at great cost, and were only able to enjoy it for a brief period of time. One of my favourite things is going to the quarry up the street. You can see marks in the rocks where previous people were working. These are NOT marks from the early saints, but it gives you an idea of what they had to do to get the stone out. You can imagine Brother Joseph working shoulder to shoulder with the others to make the vision become a reality.

The prayer offered at the dedication of the temple is contained in D&C 109. The prayer is beautiful, but I particularly appreciate verse 22:

And we ask thee, Holy Father, that thy servants may go forth from this house armed with thy power, and that thy name may be upon them, and thy glory be round about them, and thine angels have charge over them;

I do enjoy my time at the temple, and do feel more “powerful” after attending. Those words seem applicable to all temples.

You can see some pictures of one of trips to Historic Kirtland (taken several years ago) here and here, pictures of the Kirtland Temple here, pictures of the Newel K. Whitney store here, and the John Johnson farm here.