Monday, March 16, 2009

Palmyra, New York, 2009

Crisis of the day: Left the camera card at the hotel. Crisis averted by Rite-Aid!

First off, a couple of great heel clicks!
At the Martin Harris farm. She really didn't want to do this one, because the building is actually a private residence. But I'm pretty persuasive! This one is at the local mall. We needed one here, because it brought us such joy to see a cookie nook named "Brad's!"

Inside the newly built and dedicated Smith log home. We saw Cumorah, the Grandin Press, the Martin Harris Farm, and the Smith Homestead. It was a great day here, 59 degrees, sunny, snow melting, a few crocus and tulip starts nosing their way through the thawing ground.
It is the off-season, so we saw very few people (although we did run into Elder and Sister Brim from Downey, ID, in Walmart while we were buying our lunch supplies). It surprised both of us how friendly the LDS people seemed after all the other Easterners.
Tidbits learned today:
Books in the early 19th century were almost always softcover. If you read the book and loved it, then you would take it to the bindery and have a hard cover put on it. Joseph Smith paid $3000 for 5000 copies of the Book of Mormon and had them hardbound because the Bible was always hardbound, and he wanted people to automatically make the association with the word of God.
The Grandin Press offices contain the originals of a few famous LDS works of art. The paintings of Mormon and Moroni often found in the blue editions of the Book of Mormon? There. The painting of Moroni appearing to Joseph in his bedroom? There. Christ appearing to the Nephites with the temple in the background? Also there. Don't know why this was so surprising to me. I guess I thought they'd be archived somewhere in SLC. Also more original copies of the Book of Mormon than I even thought existed.

The Palmyra temple is built on the property originally owned by the Smith family. The stained-glass windows are covered with trees, but the middle window is clear, and it looks out over the Sacred Grove.

The temple was closed today, but we walked around the grounds for a while. The above picture shows how close the temple is to the homestead. How happy the Smiths must be when they see their home in the shadows of a temple of God.

Since this is the off-season, we had the Sacred Grove almost to ourselves. At first I was a little disappointed that we couldn't see it in all its green grandeur, but as we were sitting there, this is what came to my mind: "It was on the morning of a beautiful, clear day, early in the spring of eighteen hundredand twenty . . . " Joseph may have entered the Grove when it looked very much like it did today.
This is what I wrote while there:
"The Grove must have looked and felt a lot like today, not like I've seen depicted or imagined. That's interesting--Maybe a few more budding leaves on the trees, but mostly dormant, hibernating, preparing. Just like the world had been for 1800 years--waiting for the Restoration of all things. Anticipating. Rejoicing in the coming of light and growth and truth and change.
All the players were in the right place--Joseph, the Grove, Cumorah, the Plates. And all Joseph needed to do was ask. And he did.
I'm so grateful he asked.
I'm grateful he was human and I'm grateful he kept trying."
It was a peaceful, calm, spiritual experience. No lightning bolt. Just a feeding of the soul.
I know what Joseph testified of was true. I know he saw what he said he saw. I know he was the right man, the foreordained man, to restore all things. And I can never thank him enough.
If you look closely, you can see Heidi lost in thought.
Epiphany #55--It's nice to see these historical sites with your eyes. But your eyes don't feed your testimony. The Spirit feeds your testimony. Your soul contains that testimony. And my soul was fed today.


  1. I never thought of the sacred grove without leaves on the trees, but I am sure you are right! What a wonderful day you both must have had. (And seeing it together would make it all the better.) Keep us posted on your adventures.

  2. Thanks a lot, Jen. I liked looking at your photos and imagining that Joseph may well have seen the grove as you saw it today.

    I'm glad the experience there was so memorable. It's something we haven't done yet, but someday, we will.

  3. I love what you wrote, and thinking about how you are most likely seeing it just as Joseph did. Beautiful thoughts.

    The historical sites are my favorites. So happy you are enjoying your trip!

    "It surprised both of us how friendly the LDS people seemed after all the other Easterners."
    Welcome to my world!

  4. It is a wonderful, special place. I'm glad you are soaking it in.

  5. The sacred grove is one of my favorite places, been there twice and felt the same things both times about 20 years apart!!

    Can Heidi click her heals the other way? Just wondering?


  6. I am so happy you were able to experience the grove on a quiet day. That is perfect. Looks like a beautiful experience, and a wonderful way to spend some time. I love that you are sharing your trip with us this way. I'd love a photo of you doing a heel click! Did you try Brad's Cookie Nook?

  7. hike to the top of Cumorrah? I'm let down here. I've seen the grove both ways, been there when I was the only one there and when there were 5 MILLION people there. I think I prefer the quiet, leafless way, just for the beautiful solitude. though in its lushness, it is breathtaking. Glad you were able to see the sights.