We spent the next and final day in Ohio at the Historic Kirtland site. It is just down the hill (road) and to the right from the Temple....again the church had the Highway moved to protect the historic villiage site. Here they have a few more homes restored, including the Newell K Whitney store & home, an old Inn and the saw mill, as well as new homes matching the historic style, built for the current missionaries who work there. The mill itself was really impressive...it is a rebuilt, fully functional mill but back when it was origianlly built it not only milled the lumber but it produced pot ash which was sold for additonal building funds. The Whitney store & home were places of great revelation too. It was here that the Word of Wisdom was revealed because of the the smoke & tobacco spit mess of the men who sat in meetings in small rooms...can you even imagine....YUCK!! Joseph walked into the room and told the men of the revelation which included no tobacco...these faithful men walked over to the fireplace and broke their pipes and threw them in....never to smoke again. That kind of faith and immediate obedience moves me to sit back and ask myself as to what "pipes" do I need to let go and throw into the fireplace??? I love the fact that we (as humans) have the desire and ability to self-reflect and make the course corrections needed to live an authentic Christ inspired life...another tender mercy
We drove over to the Morely & then the Johnson farms (40 mins away) which were both homes of Joseph & Emma for their time here in Kirtland. The important Johnson home & farm was bougth & restored a few years ago. What was cool is that it was still a working farm with the original home still lived-in and 85% original so restoration was a smaller undertaking. The real significance of this home to me was being able to stand in the room and feel the fear of that cold night long ago when Joseph was dragged out of bed into the yard to be tarred & feathered which also resulted in one of his infant twins dying of exposure....another in a long list of lost children for them. I can't imagine living in that hatred and persecution, always fearful of the mob charging in and forcing me from my home, city, state. To think that it still goes on in the world today....even in our own countries is mind boggling and makes me so grateful for all my freedoms & especially my personal safety.
They were pushed further and further west trying to out-run the persecution, hate filled mobs, finally trecking 1000's of miles...mostly on foot pushing hand carts...to the great unknown of the American west. I have driven thru those Utah mountains and now these parts of New England to Ohio and looked out...imagining how daunting each step (especially in the winter) must have been for them. A journey that would test them and ask them to sacrifice EVERYTHING in their quest to be the faithful & obedient people of the Lord. The total unselfishness of these humble people...my ancestors...makes it really personal for me. I will forever be in their debt and sit in awe of their conviction & strength...so that I can be who & where I am today.
This trip was so BEYOND anything I could have expected and SOOO WORTH IT....AMAZING.