Hiking to Nauvoo … Pennsylvania!

“Hiking to Nauvoo … Pennsylvania!” New Era, Sept. 2009, 37

Hiking to Nauvoo … Pennsylvania!

Last year the Williamsport Pennsylvania Stake Laurels hiked through the little village of Nauvoo—but not in Illinois. They hiked through Nauvoo, Pennsylvania, and learned about its history. The Williamsport stake covers a large area encompassing 11 counties, and some of the girls are the only members in their entire high school. So learning about once-thriving congregations of early Latter-day Saints within their present-day stake boundaries is inspiring to them.

“Even my nonmember friends find our Church’s history interesting, because it often predates their groups and organizations,” said Elizabeth Meng of the Lewisburg Ward. “People here are into historical sites, so naturally they’re interested in our Church’s early growth here.”

The young women stopped to talk to an elderly man at the edge of the road on the outskirts of Nauvoo. Earl, age 70, a lifelong resident confirmed that his Nauvoo community was a Mormon settlement during the 1840s and named after the Mormon city in Illinois. “Our borough was named Nauvoo by a prominent Mormon leader,” he said. When asked what he thought the word Nauvoo meant, he was unsure and thought it might be a Native American word. Earl seemed pleased to learn that Nauvoo is Hebrew and means beautiful, a place of rest and beauty.

In addition to the Saints in Nauvoo, Liberty Township, the young women researched previous branches in Rutland and Columbia Townships. In Ridgebury Township, they learned there is a road called Mormon Lake Road that leads past Mormon Hill to Mormon Lake, where it is believed early members performed baptisms. Next year, the young women are planning a hike to Mormon Lake.

Photographs courtesy of the Williamsport Pennsylvania Stake