Sunday, January 25, 2015

Wilford Woodruff Home, Prayer, and the Ripple

We worked in the Wilford Woodruff home today. I've been here two or three times, but it is new for Elder Johnson. As you see the home is just off Highway 96 which is the main street that runs through Nauvoo. All of the other sites are a few blocks off the main drag. Hence, we get more drive-by's here.
 For those of you who don't know, Wilford Woodruff was the forth President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. First was Joseph Smith of course, then Brigham Young which you've probably heard about. John Taylor was third and then Wilford Woodruff.
 In the picture above, you can see a distinction between the first four layers of red brick and the rest of the house. This distinction shows on all four sides of the home and as you probably guessed, has a story.

Apparently, when Wilford returned from one of his missions (he served eight) he found the foundation and first four rows of his home had been completed. He was determined to finish it with better brick but didn't want to waist the work that had already been done. The character of a man's home tells a great deal about him don't you think? Clearly, he was a perfectionist but not to the point of undoing another man's work.
 The home has eight fire places and is the original structure. Wow! How can that be when it is close to 175 years old? Well, the man was a perfectionist and built it as square and sound as he could. Then as he left Nauvoo in May of 1846, he pleaded with the Lord that He would remember their sacrifices. This home was lived in continuously until the 1960's when it was purchased as part of the Nauvoo restoration.

Note that the brick fireplace is on the inside of the house. That is because President Wilford wanted the outside of the house to be perfectly square. To get that look, all of the 8 fire places are built into the house making it warm and cozy on the inside, and straight and square on the outside. 
                    Isn't it darling? You'll have to come to Nauvoo to hear the rest of the story.

As missionaries, we are encouraged to take notes when we feel the inspiration of the Holy Ghost. Here are a few thoughts I had on prayer this week. 

"Father in Heaven values our agency. He will rarely if ever give us information and/or direction without our first asking for it."

"God knows who we are. He knows our name and our struggles. He loves us and yearns for our success. He will answer our pleas for direction."

Note to self: Ask for assistance more often. Be specific and sometimes pray out loud when I am alone. (Will you do the same?)

Here is a fun link sent to us by a prior Nauvoo missionary. Check it out!  The Ripple

Sunday, January 18, 2015

You say you need some good parenting tips?

We work with some pretty accomplished missionaries here in Nauvoo (college professors, authors, entrepreneurs, PR for Disney Land etc.). We are certainly small fish in a ginormous pond. Anyway, I was gleaning from a book called The Book of Mormon a Pattern for Parenting by Geri Brinley a fellow missionary here, and decided to post some parenting tips that caught my eye.

Will you choose one to help you in your relationship with others? Will you add it to your New Year's resolutions?

However, before posting my notes from her book, I want to tell you two things that I found very helpful when my oldest children were teenagers which I'd wished I'd known when they were small and have proved to be of great help with adult relationships.

First, DO NOT CORNER PEOPLE regardless of their age or relationship to you. What is cornering you ask? Well, think of what it means to paint yourself into a corner--there's no way out without making a mess. When someone is in need of a correction, give them a way out like, “I bet you didn't know this, but_____________” or “I've done ______________before too, and thought later that it would have been better if I ____________” or if you catch someone in a lie, say something like, “I’m sorry you felt that you couldn't be candid with me and I hope next time you can trust me with the whole story.” In other words, phrase your correction with a way for the other person to save face as much as possible. If you don't, both you and the one in need of a correction can find yourselves in a power struggle in which no one wins.

Second, CHOOSE YOUR BATTLES wisely. It helped me to think, “I can only be successful with one correction this week for this particular child. Therefore, what is the most important problem that could affect their eternal salvation?” Then find a way to live with the other behaviors. There are so many things that really don’t make much of a difference and shutting a relationship down over something small is devastating when it means he/she won’t listen to you later when it really counts. In place of pin pricking, show a little faith that your child can figure some things out on their own.

Below are quotes from Sister Brinley’s book which relate to what and how to teach your children.

Elder Henry B. Eyring:
A wise parent would never miss a chance to gather children together to learn of the doctrine of Jesus Christ. Such moments are so rare in comparison with the efforts of the enemy. For every hour the power of doctrine is introduced into a child's life, there may be hundreds of hours of messages and images denying or ignoring the saving truths.

Sadly, there are some who feel they do their children a disservice by so called 'brainwashing them" with a certain religious or moral set of values while they are young. They think they should let their children make those discoveries as they mature. Of this philosophy President David O. McKay chided parents: "There are parents who say: 'We will let our children grow to manhood and womanhood and choose for themselves.' In taking this attitude parents fail in the discharging of a parental responsibility... It is the responsibility of parents to teach religion to their children." President Brigham Young gave this caution, "If we do not take the pains to train our children, to teach and instruct them concerning these revealed truths, the condemnation will be upon us, as parents, or at least in a measure."
Perhaps this disregard of parental responsibility comes because some parents themselves are not entirely sure where truth is any more. They aren't sure what to teach. The philosophies of men have muddied the water, blurred the vision--made us doubt those things our parents and grandparents were so sure of.
(pg 23)

Teach children to love and serve one another and they will discover the great key to personal joy, self-worth, and effective ways to build relationships. We learn to love the ones we serve. All parents know this, for surely the one who needs nurturing the most--the sick one, the lonely one, or the sad one--is the one our heart goes out to at that particular time. The more of ourselves we invest in another human being, the more our love for that person grows.

I gained this insight from an experience we had with our daughter. She was just a few months short of the qualifying age for going to youth conference. As she sat in sacrament meeting and heard all the wonderful things the youth would be doing that weekend she couldn't help feeling a little sorry for herself; however, when she learned that an acquaintance of hers was unable to go because of finances, she determined she could do something about that.
In her mind, helping another girl to go would be the next best thing to actually going herself. She worked hard all week, earning and saving money. When she told us her plan, we were more than happy to help her find jobs to do. This friend never knew who the funds came from, but she went to the conference that year and had a wonderful time. Terri didn't go, but she had a wonderful time. And the strangest thing happened. Somehow, though the young woman never found out about Terri's efforts, she and Teri became best friends that year. It was the beginning of a friendship that lasted throughout junior high and high school. Terri had invested something of herself in a friend and this young woman had sensed her love and responded.
(pg 24-25)

A grateful person is a happy person. Test this axiom yourself. You simply cannot be unhappy while you are counting your blessings and giving thanks. But sometimes, when the days are dark, we need a reminder that the sun did shine once and that it will shine again. And sometimes we are so busy managing all the positive blessings in our lives we forget to recognize them as such and return thanks. Here's a small example: the day before my fifty-fifth birthday I suddenly realized my mission was blurry when I tried to read. For the next ten years I fought the verdict that I truly needed glasses and murmured every time I had to put them on, or worse yet, had to go find them. Finally, it dawned on me that my glasses were not my enemy, but my blessing. What on earth did people do before they had glasses to complain about. Now when I go look for them, I am thankful I have them--somewhere. All I have to do is find them!
(pg 26)

Moral agency is an integral part of our mortal experience--indeed, it is a central feature of our heavenly Father's plan. Our purpose in mortality is to exercise our agency in ways that lead us back to Christ. Yet some individuals use their agency to make evil choices, and others suffer deeply as a result.

In most cases heavenly Father does not prevent individuals from accomplishing evil; to do so would compromise the agency of all of His children. He knows that moral agency is a precious gift that must be protected for the proper and best use of it will result in the greatest gift of all--exaltation and eternal life.

The Lord respects agency, but He also establishes laws to assist us in returning to Him. There are important "teaching" consequences for every law.
(pg 27)

When we tell our children of the persecutions to early Latter-day Saints, we might also take the opportunity to point out that others had been tolerant of the Saints beliefs, all the pain, death, and misery experienced by the Saints might have been avoided. Therefore, we of all people should be sensitive to the rights of others to worship or think as they desire. Along these lines the Nephites had legal precedents. Alma 30:11 explains: "For there was a law that men should be judged according to their crimes, Nevertheless, there was not law against a man's belief; therefore, a man was punished only for the crimes which he had done; therefore all men were on equal grounds.
(pg 28)

Read to your children. Read the story of the Son of God. Read to them from the New Testament. Read to them from the Book of Mormon. It will take time, and you are very busy, but it will prove to be a great blessing in your lives as well as in their lives. And there will grow in their hearts a great love for the Savior of the world, the only perfect man who walked the earth. He will become to them a very real living being, and His great Atoning sacrifice, as they grow to manhood and womanhood, will take on a new and more glorious meaning in their lives
Pg 29)

The Lord commanded us to "watch and pray always" and to teach our children to pray. When children grow up in a home where mother, father, brother and sister kneel together each night and morning in prayer, where they offer their own prayers alone in secret, they receive two legacies: one is a trust in and appreciation of the lord and His willingness to listen to our concerns, and second is a love and appreciation for family members as they support each other and hear one another open their hearts to the heavens. Knowing they are never alone, that they always have the Lord to turn to, and that no matter where they are, someone at home is praying for them, are some of the great realizations a child takes with her as she faces the trials and temptations of life.
Our children will follow our lead. If they see and hear us praying for power in our own lives to resist temptation for personal inspiration, for strength and peace of mind, for our loved ones, for our enemies for those who haven't yet received the gospel, or gratitude for our blessings, and especially for our children, their hearts will be softened.
(pg 33)

Henry B. Eyring:
When we reject the counsel which comes from God, we do not choose to be independent of outside influence. We choose another influence. We reject the protection of a perfectly loving all-powerful, all-knowing Father in Heaven whose whole purpose, as that of His Beloved Son, is to give us eternal life, to give us all that He has, and to bring us home again in families to the arms of His love. In rejecting His counsel, we choose the influence of another power, whose purpose is to make us miserable and whose motive is hatred...
(pg 35)

President Ezra Taft Benson taught this principle:
The Lord works from the inside out. The world works form the outside in. The world would take people out of the slums. Christ takes the slums out of the people, and then they take themselves out of the slums. The world would mold men by changing their environment. Christ changes men, who then change their environment. The world would shape human behavior, but Christ can change human nature.
(pg 36)

Neil A Maxwell
Though I murmured as a young man at times with chores, I have acquired in this passage of time a hardened view of the spiritual necessity of work. Even if work were not an economic necessity, it is a spiritual necessity. If I have any concern about the younger generation, speaking collectively, it is that a few of our wonderful youth and young adults in the church are unstretched--they have almost a free pass. Perks are provided, including a car complete with fuel and insurance--all paid for by parents who sometimes listen in vain for a few courteous and appreciative words. What is thus taken for granted, however innocently, tends to underwrite selfishness and a sense of entitlement. Selfishness and a sense of entitlement don't need any transfusions in our society today. As I look at the rising generation, the gospel of work, which is part of the fullness of the gospel, will need more attention, not less. 
pg 37

The first reason to teach work is that successful living takes hard work. Many times I see parents who think they are doing their children a favor by not insisting they help at home. Some feel their children should be allowed to play and be idle because they'll have to work soon enough when they grow up. I feel sorry for those children. They are never allowed to experience the joy of a job well done or feeling needed in the family of developing the confidence that they can do something helpful and productive. I often wonder if this void in the life of many of our young people plays a part in some of the depression and teen suicides we see today. Could it be they simply do not feel needed and are starving for a sense of worth? The lord has no place for the idler in His kingdom. Children love to help when they are little and should be allowed to do what they can at a very early age. These responsibilities can increase as the child's ability increases. There is a correlation between work and happiness.
(pg 39)

There you have favorite parts of the book, The Book of Mormon: A Pattern For Parenting  by Geri Brinley.


The purpose of temples in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is to seal families together so that we can be together into the eternities. Families are therefore the central unit of Heavenly Father's plan for us.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

A New Definition of Frigid and the Historic Nauvoo Post Office

How cold is it in Nauvoo in January you ask? 

So cold that when I dialed 911, a recorded message said to phone back in the spring!

So cold that the fire department advises that you set your house on fire.

So cold that   you can bake a cake, set it out to cool, and 10 minutes later it's frosted.

So cold that  when Elder Johnson put on his coat to take out the garbage, it didn't want to.

So cold that I chipped a tooth on my soup!

So cold that when we milked the cows, we got ice cream! When we milked the brown cows - we got chocolate ice cream!

So cold that we pulled everything out of the freezer and huddled inside it to warm up!

So cold that when we parked the sled, we either had to plug in the dogs - or keep them running in place!

So cold that  roosters were rushing into Kentucky Fried Chicken and begging to use the pressure cooker! 

Oh woops, it's So cold in Nauvoo that both fast food restaurants have closed down til spring so it couldn't have been Kentucky Fried (this one's true and so are the rest).

 So cold that we closed down all the sites one day and canceled a training meeting due to the wind chill factor being 23 degrees below zero.
 So cold that if there wasn't a $1000 fine for setting foot on the iced over Mississippi River, Nauvoo missionaries would make a run for it.
 So cold and icy that we are advised to wear cleats to stay upright.
 And you thought cleats were just for soccer, or football (is that why the broncos lost-no cleats?)

So cold that any adventure outside for any length of time requires a full set of winter gear for the whole self including hands, head, and neck. Wool socks and lined leggings are under all my cloths while warm boots, several layers of coats zipped up tight, hats, heavy gloves, and scarves are the norm for both of us with every venture outside. Sun shining through our window means absolutely nothing with respect to warmer weather like it does in Colorado--and frigid is an understatement.

When we're not trying to avoid frost bite, we are working on musical numbers for upcoming events. Don't you worry....we're busy while we're not busy and freezing to death. :)

Historic Nauvoo Post Office

We got to serve in the Post Office for the first time today. Someone should have thought of email a lot sooner don't you agree? Did you know in the 1840's it cost six cents to send a one page letter 30 miles away. Then if you wanted to send one page 400 miles away it cost a quarter. Keep in mind a skilled laborer made about a dollar a day. To top it off, letters didn't always make their destination so in order to insure the destiny of important news, they would send several letters--one going by boat and another by stage coach. Many people had the nerve of sending a letter COD. If the recipients couldn't pay the fee, they didn't get the letter and it wasn't even notated who the sender was. After a time, unclaimed letters were sent to Washington DC and destroyed.

Again, why not email? What were they thinking? :)

 Mail slots in the 1840's typically didn't have names and were commonly located in someone's kitchen or part of a dry goods store which is the case in Nauvoo.
Pottery, tools, groceries, and dry goods were sold at Frederick Merryweather's Post Office in Nauvoo since running the Post Office has never been very lucrative. (Why hasn't someone learned that lesson yet?)

Below are tools  that may have been sold here used to separate wheat from tares.

I love Christ's analogy of not pulling up the tares too early and causing damage to the young wheat plants.

Which plant are you going to be--wheat or tares? It's up to you ya know. I invite you to visit Wheat and Tares

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Why Historic Nauvoo, Service Projects, Plantars Warts, and a Garage

You may have wondered like me, how a little out-of-the-way farming community became a magnet for thousands of guests year after year? When the mayor of Nauvoo spoke at the Christmas Walk last month, he said, "Nauvoo has three seasons--Bootiful Nauvoo (Halloween), Christmas, and tourism." So how did it all come about?

As you have probably gleaned from prior postings, about 12,000 Mormons were driven from Nauvoo in February, 1846 at the risk of their very lives. The exiled pioneers primarily settled in the west outside of the United States boundaries not to return for over a hundred years. Then in 1954, Leroy Kimball (a grandson of Heber C. Kimball, a Mormon who lived in Nauvoo until 1846) decided to purchase his grandfather's home in Nauvoo as a summer, retirement home.

 However, the restoration of the old home was slow and tedious due to the constant flow of interested passersby.  Leroy decided that if there was so much interest in his home, there would certainly be interest in many of the historic homes. He met with leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, donated his property to them, and the Nauvoo Restoration Committee was organized to determine what properties to purchase and restore.

So there you have it all in a nut shell. Many of the properties were selected in the late 1960's and the rebuilding of the Nauvoo temple took place in 2002.

 Leroy went to Europe to purchase authentic period furniture. Is it not darling? 

  Portraits of Heber C. Kimball above and Leroy Kimball below.

Humanitarian Service Projects
Here's a question for you. What do a hundred ambitious LDS "old time missionaries" do when tourist season is still in the future but all the sites are kept open? They come up with service projects; that's what they do. 

Poverty in the mid-west is at an all time high. My project of choice is purchasing sleepers for new born babies. As you see, quilts, hats, burp cloths, and other miscellaneous baby cloths are made and assembled for new mothers who don't even have cloths into which to take their baby home. I chose to order sleepers to match  since we didn't have enough sleepers compared to the other items. I probably purchased over 75 sleepers and that was probably for only about 2/3 of the kits.
 As you see, we're kept quite busy.

 We're also making adult size quilts to be given to the homeless, bibs called cover-ups for assisted living homes, hygiene kits for women's shelters, as well as hats and mittens for all ages.

Want to know how to get rid of a wart on your foot?
Have you ever had a plantar's wart? Elder Johnson had one treated twice before we came to Nauvoo. Once by his MD and once by a dermatologist. When it returned to torment his every step, the mission doctor here suggested he try the "wet" method. It's so simple, I can't believe it isn't a wide spread solution. Just keep the wart wet for a solid two weeks. If it dries out at any point, you must start over. Elder Johnson accomplished this by first wrapping a wet piece of gauze on his foot secured with a piece of duct tape. It needed to remain moist. After a week, he used a band aide over a small piece of wet gauze exactly on top of the wart again wetting it when needed. 
Waaalaw...wart can't be found.

Garage anyone?
We are not one of the elite missionaries who warrants a garage here in Nauvoo. However, neither are we willing to scrape stubborn ice like you've never seen before. So I introduce to you....the portable garage.
 You can wear your garage where ever you go. Well, except while you are driving of course. This morning the ice was so thick on top of our garage that we had to peel it off like a banana. If you ignore the fact that the windshield wiper broke off during the episode, it worked great.