Sunday, June 29, 2014

June 27th commemorates the martyrdom of Joseph and Hyrum Smith in 1844

We had a pretty big ta-do on Friday June 27th on the grounds of the Carthage Jail. There were probably 600-700 people attending the program that afternoon. Joseph and Hyrum were shot about 5:16 PM so we had our program between 5 and 6 PM that evening.
The young performing missionaries make up the brass band. They are amazingly talented. 

 Another set of Young Performing Missionaries presented a vignette of pertinent people and their responses to the deaths of Joseph and Hyrum. Some of them included Lucy Mack Smith, mother of Joseph and Hyrum, Emma and Mary Fielding Smith who were wives of Joseph and Hyrum respectively to name just a few. The young missionaries are all amazingly talented and the program was quite touching.

 Near the end of the program, two horses were walked through the site. I understand that this is a sign of respect when a note worthy person dies, their horses are presented without the rider showing respect for the deceased.

There were only about 650 guests touring the jail on the 27th. We had planned for about twice that many and were prepared to shorten the tour time. However, all but a couple of tours were full length.

Elder Johnson and I worked today (Sunday June 29th) We had about 360 guests which is big considering it is only open from 12:30 til 5 PM. However, it went quite smoothly. We were in charge, of course, since all of the Carthage workers trade off and only work once a month. Other missionaries from Nauvoo help us out but they usually need more direction. 

Anyway, the reason I bring it up is to tell of an experience we had today with one particular guest. He was a rather pathetic looking individual who looked like he had lived a hard life. He was probably in his 60's though he looked much older than Elder Johnson. He was slumped over and stayed to himself not saying much or acting like he wanted to go on a tour. He sat in a chair in the visitor's center for a half hour or so and then disappeared. Next I knew, he was with a tour that Elder Johnson was taking through the jail which I joined part way through. There were probably about 25-30 people in the group and he didn't stand out. In fact, Elder Johnson didn't notice him at all.

My friend didn't say anything or even look at us when we spoke, but I noticed he was getting emotional as we were finishing the tour in the martyrdom room. I had an impression that this man needed Christ and the atonement in his life. I started getting ideas of other things I should say so I offered to give the closing remarks. 

In essence, I told the group that we as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints honor Joseph Smith for all that he sacrificed for us but that we worship the Savior Jesus Christ. I told them that Christ was the healer of all wounds and that no matter what we've done wrong in our life we can overcome our mistakes through the atonement. By then he was crouched over and in tears. I felt overwhelming love and compassion for him. I saw him as a relative of Joseph's assassins who is loved by Heavenly Father same as you and I. I saw him as a child of God who could still be saved from the destiny he was currently pursuing.

I have no idea what will happen to him, but I'm confident that a seed was planted deep in his heart. I am also amazed at the power in being a missionary. The Spirit is so strong and Christ like love is abundant for all we serve. My prayer every day is to be in tune to the Spirit of the Lord and to respond to others needs as directed.

1 comment:

  1. Amy, thanks for sharing the story of the man in the tour group. I am grateful for your example being in tune with the Spirit and the needs of visitors.