I think I am finally going to be able to remember that it is Kirtland Ohio, not Kirkland. (Thanks for the confusion Costco). The visitors center is set amid beautiful flowers and grounds on many acres.
We started in the Newell Whitney home where Joseph and Emma stayed when they came to Ohio. The Whitney home and store are the actual structures, others have been recreated. The chair in the Whitney's bedroom actually belonged to Brother Whitney. The Whitneys are my heroes, They lived consecrated lives, giving all their resources both physical and spiritual to further the gospel.
The thing that is even more impressive about their service is that in Kirtland, apostasy and division in the young church was the cause of much of the persecution. It must have been so hard to be faithful in those days. Even some apostles lost faith, it was a time of turmoil. The bright promises of Ohio were dimmed by dissension.
I loved the Whitney store. I wanted to stay there and play store. It fulfilled all my childhood dreams.
Walking on the original floorboards in the big room above the store was fabulous. Each creaky step made me think about Joseph and Emma taking those same steps.
In this small room was the school of the prophets. Don't worry Emma, we didn't spit any tobacco juice on the floor.
Here we read the testimonies of those that saw a vision of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ in this room.
A few miles away from the LDS visitor's center is the beautiful Kirtland Temple. We started with a film in the visitor's center of the Reorganized Church. Our marvelous tour guide then took us into the Kirtland temple. We made our way through each story with another couple from Canada. My favorite part was sitting on the benches together while Keith Brook played "The Spirit of God" on the piano and we all sang. My heart was beating fast, thinking about the 1000 people that had gathered and sung it at the dedication. There was a marvelous spirit there.
At our request - and for an additional donation, we were able to take a special tour of the temple. We went with flashlights down in the basement to see the construction details. We climbed up narrow steep steps that wound up into the bell tower. The last steps took us out into a small area where we could see for miles.
I never knew there was a bell on top of the temple. It is rung each Sunday fifty times and on other special occasions.
Kirtland is so beautiful, it makes me sad to think of what might have been if the Saints had been able to stay - but there was much more to come as the Lord tried and tempered his people.