Saturday, October 17, 2015

A temple and a Temple inside a Jail

We have seen a lot of LDS visitor's centers during this trip, and the one in Independence is lovely. There is a display of old photographs going back to Joseph Smith's birthplace in Sharon, Vermont and on through Nauvoo that I especially loved. As always, there were wonderful couple missionaries and sisters and elders there. I was excited to meet someone from Arizona, Elder Ili, who is cousins to the great Ta'ase family in our stake. 

Across from the LDS visitors center is the Community of Christ's Temple. The former Reorganized Church now has their headquarters in Independence. The building is beautiful. This is taken from inside the sanctuary, looking up at the spiral that is meant to resemble a shell.

We attended the "prayer for peace", a daily event where there are prayers and music, each day mentioning a specific place in the world where prayers are needed. I found it interesting that you can take photos in the sanctuary and anywhere in the temple, but not in the museum.

It is quite an accomplishment for this church of 250,000 members to have built this temple.

After the visitors center, we went to the Missouri Mission Offices where we visited with our friend Kim Seaman and met other lovely couple missionaries and elders. Kim and her husband Mike are on a mission. We love these good people that were our dear friends in Show Low. We got together later for dinner and had great fun catching up.

Our visit to Liberty Jail was a powerful experience, mostly due to sweet Sister Gonzalez who taught us about the history and brought the Spirit. It was a time I will not forget.

I feel a little bad smiling in this pic when there is such a solemn scene behind us. I had many thoughts and emotions at Liberty Jail. There is much criticism and questioning of Joseph Smith. One can draw an opinion ranging from near worship to disgust based on what you want to find. Section 122 verse one says: The ends of the earth shall inquire after thy name, and fools shall have thee in derision, and hell shall rage against thee

But I don't believe a sincere person can study the history of the prophet in Liberty Jail and read the revelations received there (Doctrine & Covenants Sections 121-123) without feeling impressed by the principals therein. These sections, received in a foul place, are full of humility and grace. When Joseph cried out for help the Lord reminded him that his adversity and affliction would be but a small moment. I think that rather than his own pain, Joseph's greater desire was to see the suffering of the saints alleviated.

How humbling it would have been to write down this instruction from the Lord: No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned;  I'm sure I would have been hoping that my answer from the Lord would be prison walls falling down, and a tornado wiping out the despicable persecutors of the saints.

I love Joseph Smith. I love him in his frailties and in his strengths. He was a prophet of God and my life is immeasurably better because I have learned mighty truths from the Book of Mormon, Doctrine & Covenants and Pearl of Great Price, and because I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Jeffrey Holland in this superb article called Lessons From Liberty Jail says that this place became a prison-temple, and reminds us that any place we are can become holy if we are seeking the Lord and following the Spirit. I contrasted the feeling I had in the temple of the Community of Christ with the Spirit I felt in Liberty Jail. I enjoyed the serenity and beauty of the Community of Christ's elegant building, but I felt the Spirit in the holy ground of Liberty Jail.

I love Joseph Smith.

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