1975
Vacation to Nauvoo
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“Vacation to Nauvoo,” Ensign, June 1975, 25–26

Vacation to Nauvoo

The drone of the station wagon engine and the hot humid air coming through the windows from the endless Nebraska cornfields lining the freeway made all of our family drowsy. I began thinking of the cool mountain streams and the many-colored fish, those large pines, and the blue sky of the Pacific Northwest. That’s the vacation we had planned, so why were we speeding along a Nebraska freeway on our way to Nauvoo, Illinois?

My thoughts wandered back to early spring. As I was drawing a parallel in my mind between England’s Sir Thomas Moore and the Prophet Joseph Smith, a strong impression came over me: we should take our four children to Nauvoo.

At first we found many excuses why it would not be possible, but gradually we were drawn into acceptance of the idea, and then we enthusiastically embraced it. And now we were speeding eastward, our small travel trailer tugging gently behind.

We had carefully budgeted our money to include food, gasoline, and minor repairs. Picnicking in city parks at noon under the shade of the large midwestern trees was one of our favorite times. Often we felt impressed to change our route when the gasoline situation looked discouraging. At the beginning of our trip we developed car trouble and almost returned home, but after prayer we felt impressed to go on. We found the necessary car part and spent our home evening on Monday installing it.

Nauvoo is indeed one of the most peaceful places on earth. It was here I gained a deep and abiding testimony of the divine calling of the Prophet Joseph Smith. I walked where he walked. I saw the things he must have seen. As I continued to read the history books, I began to feel the enormous spirituality of him whom the Lord had chosen.

I wept in the conference room in Brigham Young’s home as I thought of those brethren who were responsible for making major decisions concerning the future of the Church. I felt the strong, warm spirit in Carthage Jail. I marvelled as I realized the sacrifices made by those men in that upper bedroom.

I visualized Elder Bunch, his blacksmith shop in the background, preaching to a young man drifting down the Mississippi River on a raft with his dog.

Independence, Missouri, became sacred to me as I thought of the city and temple to be built there. I dreamed of the great priesthood meeting to be held in the valley of Adam-ondi-Ahman where the Savior and all who have held the keys of dispensations will gather.

How could fishing compare to those feelings I had had? I had been obedient to the promptings of the Lord, and we had been blessed.

  • Dr. Armand T. Whitehead is an assistant professor of zoology at Brigham Young University and serves as president of the first quorum of elders in the Orem Utah Stake.