Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Camping and Palmyra

(I have to warn you, this is a super long post. I wanted to share some of the thoughts and scriptures that came to mind as we visited some of the sites from the Book of Mormon and from the restoration of the Gospel)

Last weekend we took a mini family vacation to upstate New York. We had so much fun!

We left Friday morning and drove up to Newfield which is in the Finger Lakes region. Its so beautiful up there. We stayed at Pinecreek Camp grounds and camped out for the night. Quinn was still recovering from being sick and so we didn't do everything we wanted to like swimming but we had fun trying to get our campfire started (it took us two little books of matches), a blast cooking hot dogs over a campfire (I had never done this before) and spending time together. Quinn thought that putting up the tent was pretty great and had fun running in and out. We were lucky enough to borrow a six man tent from a family in our ward which was big enough to fit a queen blow up mattress and a pack n' play with plenty of room to spare.

This was luxury camping compared to what I am used to: A two man tent, no mattress or pad, rain soaking through the tent and waking up in a couple of inches of water. Am I crazy to still love camping? We even had a fan this time which was a necessity what with being 9 months pregnant and with all the humidity.
After the Moose went to bed we set out by the campfire cooking a yummy pot roast hobo dinner and reading. It was really relaxing.

The next morning we woke up pretty early and let Quinn play on the old McDonald's play equipment that was at the campsite. Then we had some breakfast. While we were eating we noticed some dark clouds rolling in fast so we decided to pack up before the rain hit us. Well, it moved right on past us while we were still taking down the tent and there was no rain but we decided we would keep packing up and head up to Palmyra.
Quinn did an awesome job being in the car so much. He loved playing with the Ipod and changing the music. He loved plugging it in even more!

On the way up to Palmyra we stopped at Denny's to get some more breakfast which was yummy, then we headed over to the Sacred Grove.

This was a really neat experience. The grove is full of a quiet peaceful spirit. Even though we don't know exactly where Heavenly Father and the Saviour appeared to Joseph Smith, it was really neat to be in the same area and to reflect upon what happened there almost 200 years ago.

The following is taken from the account Joseph Smith gave of his experience in the Sacred Grove.

aI was born in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and five, on the twenty-third day of December, in the town of Sharon, Windsor county, State of Vermont . . . My father, bJosephSmith, Sen., left the State of Vermont, and moved to Palmyra, Ontario (now Wayne) county, in the State of New York, when I was in my tenth year, or thereabouts. In about four years after my father’s arrival in Palmyra, he moved with his family into Manchester in the same county of Ontario—
4 His family consisting of eleven souls, namely, my father, Joseph Smith; my amother, Lucy Smith (whose name, previous to her marriage, was Mack, daughter of Solomon Mack); my brothers,bAlvin (who died November 19th, 1823, in the 26th year of his age), cHyrum, myself, dSamuel Harrison, William, Don Carlos; and my sisters, Sophronia, Catherine, and Lucy.
5 Some time in the second year after our removal to Manchester, there was in the place where we lived an unusual excitement on the subject of religion. It commenced with the Methodists, but soon became general among all the sects in that region of country. Indeed, the whole district of country seemed affected by it, and great multitudes united themselves to the different religious parties, which created no small stir and division amongst the people, some crying, “aLo, here!” and others, “Lo, there!” Some were contending for the Methodist faith, some for the Presbyterian, and some for the Baptist.
6 For, notwithstanding the great alove which the converts to these different faiths expressed at the time of their conversion, and the great zeal manifested by the respective clergy, who were active in getting up and promoting this extraordinary scene of religious feeling, in order to have everybody converted, as they were pleased to call it, let them join what sect they pleased; yet when the converts began to file off, some to one party and some to another, it was seen that the seemingly good feelings of both the priests and the converts were more bpretendedthan real; for a scene of great confusion and bad feeling ensued—priest contending against priest, and convert against convert; so that all their good feelings one for another, if they ever had any, were entirely lost in a strife of words and a contest about opinions.
7 I was at this time in my fifteenth year. My father’s family was proselyted to the Presbyterian faith, and four of them joined that church, namely, my mother, Lucy; my brothers Hyrum and Samuel Harrison; and my sister Sophronia.
8 During this time of great excitement my mind was called up to serious reflection and great uneasiness; but though my feelings were deep and often poignant, still I kept myself aloof from all these parties, though I attended their several meetings as often as occasion would permit. In process of time my mind became somewhat partial to the Methodist sect, and I felt some desire to be united with them; but so great were the confusion and astrifeamong the different denominations, that it was impossible for a person young as I was, and so unacquainted with men and things, to come to any certain conclusion who was bright and who was wrong.
9 My mind at times was greatly excited, the cry and tumult were so great and incessant. The Presbyterians were most decided against the Baptists and Methodists, and used all the powers of both reason and sophistry to prove their errors, or, at least, to make the people think they were in error. On the other hand, the Baptists and Methodists in their turn were equally zealous in endeavoring to establish their own tenets and disprove all others.
10 In the midst of this war of words and tumult of opinions, I often said to myself: What is to be done? Who of all these parties are right; or, are they all wrong together? If any one of them be aright, which is it, and how shall I know it?
11 While I was laboring under the extreme difficulties caused by the contests of these parties of religionists, I was one day reading the Epistle of aJames, first chapter and fifth verse, which reads: If any of you lack bwisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
12 Never did any passage of ascripture come with more power to the heart of man than this did at this time to mine. It seemed to enter with great force into every feeling of my heart. I reflected on it again and again, knowing that if any person needed bwisdom from God, I did; for how to act I did not know, and unless I could get more wisdom than I then had, I would never know; for the teachers of religion of the different sects cunderstood the same passages of scripture so differently as to destroy all confidence in settling the question by an appeal to the Bible.
13 At length I came to the conclusion that I must either remain in adarkness and confusion, or else I must do as James directs, that is, ask of God. I at length came to the determination to “ask of God,” concluding that if he gave wisdom to them that lacked wisdom, and would bgive liberally, and not upbraid, I might venture.
14 So, in accordance with this, my determination to ask of God, I retired to the awoods to make the attempt. It was on the morning of a bbeautiful, clear day, early in the spring of eighteen hundred and twenty. It was the first time in my life that I had made such an attempt, for amidst all my anxieties I had never as yet made the attempt tocpray dvocally.
15 After I had retired to the place where I had previously designed to go, having looked around me, and finding myself alone, I kneeled down and began to offer up the desires of my heart to God. I had scarcely done so, when immediately I was aseized upon by some power which entirely overcame me, and had such an astonishing influence over me as to bind my tongue so that I could not speak. Thick bdarkness gathered around me, and it seemed to me for a time as if I were doomed to sudden destruction.
16 But, exerting all my powers to acall upon God to deliver me out of the power of this enemy which had seized upon me, and at the very moment when I was ready to sink into bdespair and abandon myself to destruction—not to an imaginary ruin, but to the power of some actual being from the unseen world, who had such marvelous power as I had never before felt in any being—just at this moment of great alarm, I saw a pillar of clight exactly over my head, above the brightness of the dsun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me.
17 It no sooner appeared than I found myself adelivered from the enemy which held me bound. When the light rested upon me I bsaw two cPersonages, whose brightness and dglory defy all description, estanding above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other—This is My fBelovedgSon. Hear Him!
18 My object in going to ainquire of the Lord was to know which of all the sects was right, that I might know which to join. No sooner, therefore, did I get possession of myself, so as to be able to speak, than I asked the Personages who stood above me in the light, which of all the sects was right (for at this time it had never entered into my heart that all were wrong)—and which I should join.
19 I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all awrong; and the Personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight; that those bprofessors were all ccorrupt; that: “theyddraw near to me with their lips, but their ehearts are far from me, they teach for doctrines the fcommandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the gpowerthereof.”
20 He again forbade me to join with any of them; and many other things did he say unto me, which I cannot write at this time. When I came to myself again, I found myself alying on my back, looking up into heaven. When the light had departed, I had no strength; but soon recovering in some degree, I went home. And as I leaned up to the fireplace, bmother inquired what the matter was. I replied, “Never mind, all is well—I am well enough off.” I then said to my mother, “I have learned for myself that Presbyterianism is not true.” It seems as though thecadversary was aware, at a very early period of my life, that I was destined to prove a disturber and an annoyer of his kingdom; else why should the powers of darkness combine against me? Why the dopposition and persecution that arose against me, almost in my infancy?

After we had walked through the Sacred Grove we headed over to our hotel in Syracuse. Our room had a kitchen, living room and seperate bedroom. It was really nice! They even had free laundry, a pool, and board games After we got settled in we went down to the pool and swam for a little which was so much fun. Then we came back and Quinn had a nap. I drove through town to try and find some food to make for dinner that night. I finally settled on making frozen Chicken Cordon Bleu and veggies. This was the best chicken cordon bleu I have ever had. I was pretty impressed as they were frozen and only cost a dollar each.

Our plan was to head back to Palmyra for the Hill Cumorah Pageant but Quinn had definitely had enough for the day so we ended up just chilling at the hotel; playing games and watching tv. We fell asleep before 10...I know, kinda lame but what else can ya do when there is a super comfy king bed just begging to be slept in.

The next morning we woke up and had the best breakfast. Instead of just having cold cereal and maybe waffles like most hotels have they had a full breakfast buffet. Quiche, waffles, cereal, sausage, fruit, juice, danishes, bagels and more. It was a beautiful crisp morning so we ate outside by the pool.

After breakfast we headed back up to Palmyra and walked up the Hill Cumorah.

Its kinda hard to see this picture but this is Quinn and I at the top of the hill next to the monument with the angel Moroni on the top.
The view from the top was pretty neat. You could see really far. I found myself thinking not about when Joseph came to retrieve the plates from the hill but about what I had been reading about recently in the Book of Mormon.

The following is the 6th Chapter of Moroni

1 And now I finish my record concerning the adestruction of my people, the Nephites. And it came to pass that we did march forth before the Lamanites.
2 And I, Mormon, wrote an epistle unto the king of the Lamanites, and desired of him that he would grant unto us that we might gather together our people unto the aland of bCumorah, by a hill which was called Cumorah, and there we could give them battle.
3 And it came to pass that the king of the Lamanites did grant unto me the thing which I desired.
4 And it came to pass that we did march forth to the land of Cumorah, and we did pitch our tents round about the hill Cumorah; and it was in a land of amany waters, rivers, and fountains; and here we had hope to gain advantage over the Lamanites.
5 And when athree hundred and eighty and four years had passed away, we had gathered in all the remainder of our people unto the land of Cumorah.
6 And it came to pass that when we had gathered in all our people in one to the land of Cumorah, behold I, Mormon, began to be old; and knowing it to be the last struggle of my people, and having been commanded of the Lord that I should not suffer the records which had been handed down by our fathers, which were asacred, to fall into the hands of the Lamanites, (for the Lamanites wouldbdestroy them) therefore I made cthis record out of the plates of Nephi, and dhid up in the hill Cumorah all the records which had been entrusted to me by the hand of the Lord, save it were ethese few plates which I gave unto my son fMoroni.
7 And it came to pass that my people, with their wives and their children, did now behold the aarmies of the Lamanites marching towards them; and with that awful bfear of death which fills the breasts of all the wicked, did they await to receive them.
8 And it came to pass that they came to battle against us, and every soul was filled with terror because of the greatness of their numbers.
9 And it came to pass that they did fall upon my people with the sword, and with the bow, and with the arrow, and with the ax, and with all manner of weapons of war.
10 And it came to pass that my men were hewn down, yea, even my aten thousand who were with me, and I fell wounded in the midst; and they passed by me that they did not put an end to my life.
11 And when they had gone through and hewn down aall my people save it were twenty and four of us, (among whom was my son Moroni) and we having survived the dead of our people, did behold on the morrow, when the Lamanites had returned unto their camps, from the top of the hill Cumorah, the ten thousand of my people who were hewn down, being led in the front by me.
12 And we also beheld the ten thousand of my people who were led by my son Moroni.
13 And behold, the ten thousand of Gidgiddonah had fallen, and he also in the midst.
14 And Lamah had fallen with his ten thousand; and Gilgal had fallen with his ten thousand; and Limhah had fallen with his ten thousand; and Jeneum had fallen with his ten thousand; and Cumenihah, and Moronihah, and Antionum, and Shiblom, and Shem, and Josh, had fallen with their ten thousand each.
15 And it came to pass that there were ten more who did fall by the sword, with their ten thousand each; yea, even aall my people, save it were those twenty and four who were with me, and also abfew who had escaped into the south countries, and a few who had deserted over unto the Lamanites, had fallen; and their flesh, and bones, and blood lay upon the face of the earth, being left by the hands of those who slew them to molder upon the land, and to crumble and to return to their mother earth.
16 And my soul was rent with aanguish, because of the slain of my people, and I cried:
17 aO ye fair ones, how could ye have departed from the ways of the Lord! O ye fair ones, how could ye have rejected that Jesus, who stood with open arms to receive you!
18 Behold, if ye had not done this, ye would not have fallen. But behold, ye are fallen, and I amourn your loss.
19 O ye afair sons and daughters, ye fathers and mothers, ye husbands and wives, ye fair ones, how is it that ye could have bfallen!
20 But behold, ye are gone, and my sorrows cannot bring your return.
21 And the day soon cometh that your mortal must put on immortality, and these bodies which are now moldering in corruption must soon become aincorruptible bodies; and then ye must stand before the judgment-seat of Christ, to be judged according to your works; and if it so be that ye are righteous, then are ye blessed with your fathers who have gone before you.
22 O that ye had repented before this great adestruction had come upon you. But behold, ye are gone, and the Father, yea, the Eternal Father of heaven, bknoweth your state; and he doeth with you according to his cjusticeand dmercy.

Looking out across the fields I could just picture all of these people waiting by the Hill Cumorah, knowing that they were facing death. Feeling fear as the could see the Lamanites coming to battle.

After the Hill Cumorah we went and looked around the visitors center they had there. We were able to watch some of a movie about Joseph Smith but had to leave because Quinn was getting tired.

We hurried over to the Old Smith farm house which is located right next to the Sacred Grove. It was neat to see this historic building and to think about the family that lived here.
Eleven people lived in this tiny house! Their whole living area was about the size of our kitchen.
The following is taken from the Joseph Smith History

27 I continued to pursue my common vocations in life until the twenty-first of September, one thousand eight hundred and twenty-three, all the time suffering severe persecution at the hands of all classes of men, both religious and irreligious, because I continued to aaffirm that I had seen a vision.
28 During the space of time which intervened between the time I had the vision and the year eighteen hundred and twenty-three—having been forbidden to join any of the religious sects of the day, and being of very tender years, and persecuted by those who ought to have been my afriends and to have treated me kindly, and if they supposed me to be deluded to have endeavored in a proper and affectionate manner to have reclaimed me—I was left to all kinds of btemptations; and, mingling with all kinds of society, I frequently fell into many foolishcerrors, and displayed the weakness of youth, and the foibles of human nature; which, I am sorry to say, led me into divers temptations, offensive in the sight of God. In making this confession, no one need suppose me guilty of any great or malignant sins. A disposition to commit such was never in my nature. But I was guilty of dlevity, and sometimes associated with jovial company, etc., not consistent with that character which ought to be maintained by one who was ecalled of God as I had been. But this will not seem very strange to any one who recollects my youth, and is acquainted with my native fcheery temperament.
29 In consequence of these things, I often felt condemned for my weakness and imperfections; when, on the evening of the above-mentioned twenty-first of September, after I had retired to my bed for the night, I betook myself to aprayer and supplication to Almighty God for forgiveness of all my sins and follies, and also for a manifestation to me, that I might know of my state and standing before him; for I had full bconfidence in obtaining a divine manifestation, as I previously had one.
30 While I was thus in the act of calling upon God, I discovered a alight appearing in my room, which continued to increase until the room was lighter than at noonday, when immediately a bpersonageappeared at my bedside, standing in the air, for his feet did not touch the floor.
31 He had on a loose robe of most exquisite awhiteness. It was a whiteness beyond anything earthly I had ever seen; nor do I believe that any earthly thing could be made to appear so exceedingly white and brilliant. His hands were naked, and his arms also, a little above the wrist; so, also, were his feet naked, as were his legs, a little above the ankles. His head and neck were also bare. I could discover that he had no other clothing on but this robe, as it was open, so that I could see into his bosom.
32 Not only was his robe exceedingly white, but his whole person was aglorious beyond description, and his countenance truly like blightning. The room was exceedingly light, but not so very bright as immediately around his person. When I first looked upon him, I was cafraid; but the dfear soon left me.
33 He called me by aname, and said unto me that he was a bmessenger sent from the presence of God to me, and that his name was Moroni; that God had a work for me to do; and that my name should be had for cgoodand evil among all nations, kindreds, and tongues, or that it should be both good and evil spoken of among all people.
34 He said there was a abook deposited, written upon gold plates, giving an account of the former inhabitants of this continent, and the source from whence they sprang. He also said that the bfulnessof the everlasting Gospel was contained in it, as delivered by the Savior to the ancient inhabitants;
35 Also, that there were two stones in silver bows—and these stones, fastened to a abreastplate, constituted what is called the bUrim and Thummim—deposited with the plates; and the possession and use of these stones were what constituted “cseers” in ancient or former times; and that God had prepared them for the purpose of translating the book.
This is the outside of the house.

While we were waiting to go see the house Peter realized that one of the volunteers there was the wife of his previous boss at the copyright office. It was neat to meet her and when she found out who we were pointed Carl out to us and so we got to see him too! Completely random but we are so glad we had the opportunity to bump into them. They are in Ireland right now. I'm jealous.

There was so much more we wanted to see and do but there just wasn't time. It was so nice to go on vacation and to spend time together. I especially liked having Peter around for 3 days straight. Quinn was a trooper even though he had to be in the car so much.
What a sense of humor this kid has! I love it!

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