(In the collage: top left- Smith Family Farm and Log Home, below- Peter Whitmer home, bottom left- Palmyra temple, bottom center-E.B. Grandin printing room, bottom right- Smith cooper shop where the gold plates were hidden for a time, top right- the Sacred Grove.)
Last weekend we went up to Palmyra to see the Hill Cumorah Pageant. We got to Palmyra early and saved our seats (even though the website says your not allowed, everyone does it). Then we headed into Rochester to see Ryan and Rachel, who graciously let us stay with them for the weekend, and went out for BBQ. I was glad we got to stay the whole weekend because it gave Julia and Liam lots of time to play.
Then we got back to our seats and had a little less than an hour to wander around and see all the cast members in their costumes. Julia's new favorite phrase this week has become "What's that Mommy?" or (I like this far less) "What's that Mom?" and she used it a lot during this time. Robert's favorite moment of the night was during the pageant as I was explaining what was going on in the pageant to Julia I told her, "Look, there's Jesus!" and she repeated "There's Jesus!" then, "I want to see Jimmer!"
The next day we went back to the Hill Cumorah and climbed up to the top (it's not all that big, it is a "hill" after all). Our seats from the night before were right on the front of the second section, smack in the middle. Not too shabby.
But I'm getting a little ahead of myself. The next day the first place we went to was actually the Smith Farm. Julia had a bit of a meltdown at the Smith Farm and Sacred Grove because she wanted me and only me to carry her and I told her she needed to walk or let Dad carry her. I didn't expect her to be so upset, but then it sort of became a thing of principle to not give in to her tantrum. So here she is between the Smith Log Home and the Smith Frame House crying for me...
And here she is at the Smith Family Frame House crying and running away from Dad. I think it will be fun someday to tell Julia what she was like when we visited the place where the Restoration began. This home is actually the original home, unlike most of the other buildings that are replicas built on the spot where the originals used to be. This is the home the family lived in when Joseph and Emma brought the plates back from the Hill Cumorah.
The Smith Family Farm. In the distance you can see the Smith Family Log Home, where the Angel Moroni appeared to Joseph in the upstairs room three times. This picture is taken around where Joseph stopped and saw the Angel Moroni again after Joseph was working in the fields the next day and his father, seeing how tired he was, told him to go back home.
On the path up to and in the Sacred Grove.
After the Smith Farm we stopped by the Palmyra temple and improvised a family picture.
That's when we went back to the Hill Cumorah like I mentioned before.
Afterwards we drove into Palmyra to see E.B. Grandin's print shop where the Book of Mormon was first printed. The church has done a really good job of preserving the building and making it look just like it might have looked in the 1820's. It was bigger than I thought too. I was expecting a one room setup, but it was a three story building with a bookstore, a couple offices, a printing room, and a binding room. Plus, the church bought the building next door as well and combined the buildings, so the part that used to be next door is all information displays. After seeing all that went into making the books, not to mention all the translating that went on before, I can better appreciate how the early Saints must have been ecstatic to finally be able to read the Book of Mormon.
Julia fell asleep on the five minute drive to the printers and amazingly stayed asleep when we transferred her to the stroller, and then stayed asleep through the whole tour of the building. Not only that, afterwards we went and ate lunch at a little Chinese takeout place nearby and she stayed asleep. Then we transferred her back to the car and drove half an hour out to Waterloo (formerly Fayette), NY to the Peter Whitmer farm and she still stayed asleep! She must have been really worn out.
Do you know how Joseph knew the Whitmers? I had to ask, but when the sister missionary told me the story it did sound familiar. David Whitmer and Oliver Cowdery had met in Palmyra after David Whitmer visited for a business trip. When Oliver went down to Harmony, PA to meet Joseph for the first time he stopped at the Whitmer farm and told David Whitmer where he was going and that he would let him know if there were any truth to the stories about Joseph. Not too long afterwards Oliver wrote to David Whitmer and told him he was convinced that Joseph was telling the truth, that he really did have an ancient record he was translating, and it was God's will that Oliver be the scribe for the translation.
This is the Peter Whitmer Farm, where Joseph finished translating the Book of Mormon, the Angel Moroni showed the plates to the three witnesses, and the church was organized on April 6, 1830.
I'm so grateful we got to make this trip and see all these places. The things that happened in these places have changed our lives and the lives of millions of other people and have eternal significance. And we got to see where it all happened, that's pretty cool!