We started our day at the Community of Christ visitors center, paying our $3 fee and waiting a few minutes for our tour to begin. There was a great gift shop and a small display that included a letter from Emma written in the years after the saints left Nauvoo. It loved reading it as it gave insight into her personality more than anything I have read.
This is what remains of what was a large Nauvoo Hotel. There is a large open room upstairs that groups can still rent.
Photos are not allowed inside the homes owned by Community of Christ. It drove me a bit crazy because there is so much there I want to remember. This half log/siding cabin was the home that Joseph and Emma spent the most time in during the Nauvoo years. Everyone remembers the Mansion house, but they loved this home. The well is the original one they found when they moved in. This home was already here and they added on.
The mansion house that survives is minus a large wing. When Joseph leased the hotel part (he was going in the hole) he and Emma gave up their large bedroom and one for the children and lived in a small room with a very small adjacent room for the children. Lucy Mack was in a downstairs room and this is where she kept the 3 mummies that Joseph had acquired. She called them "curiosities" and you could see them if you paid a quarter.
My hero, Newell K. Whitney owned this desk. When he left Nauvoo, he left it as a gift to Joseph Smith's son, Joseph III. He said he wanted him to know that the pen is mightier than the sword.
These are the stairs the mob took to the second story. Joseph, Hyrum, Willard Richards and John Taylor had stayed the night before in the jailers own large bedroom. At about 5 in the afternoon the mob rushed in.
As Hyrum braced himself against the door, shots were fired and one pierced the door and hit him in the head, killing him instantly.
Years later, when the jail was converted to a home, the family that owned it kept the door, cutting out this piece at the edge of the door and replacing it with a metal plate. Decades later, when the LDS church was working to restore the jail, someone came with an old toolbox that contained this wooden piece - fitting perfectly and showing another bullet hole.
Joseph was shot from outside the jail, falling through the window to the ground below. The first prophet of this dispensation was dead. This was the part of the day when I cried for sorrow.
We returned to Nauvoo in the afternoon and walked the "Trail of Hope". This is a path along Parley street that is lined with journal entries from those who were forced to leave Nauvoo. As we walked, we took turns reading the entries. This was one of my favorite parts of our Nauvoo visit. I felt a great spirit there - witnesses from those who had left Nauvoo, and also the witnesses of my husband Mark and good friends Keith and Carol Brook. As we each took turns reading I felt the power of their testimonies and goodness.
I had to look them up - they are osage oranges. I thought they smelled kind of nice inside. Everyone else hated the smell.
In the evening we dressed and went to the Nauvoo temple to attend an endowment session. I felt such a powerful feeling as we entered the doors. After all the church history we have been witness to in the past weeks, it was almost overwhelming. As I thought of those last frantic weeks when sections of the temple were finished and dedicated so that the saints could be endowed before they left Nauvoo, I felt gratitude for my own temple blessings.