Sunday, July 12, 2015

The Pageants are Here and so are the monsoon rains! Preparation Day Travels

As was said by one Nauvoo resident, Nauvoo has 1,100 people one day and 20,000 the next.--The Pageants are here!
 The audience sits on plastic arm chairs to enjoy the performances. Three months ago, the hill you see below was not there...instead, it was flat which made it hard to see past the guy in front of you. After truck loads of dirt were brought in raising the hill a good 20-25 feet, missionaries worked hard and fast one morning and finished the dirt hill off with newly laid sod. 
It only took an hour and a half to complete the job.

It's quite amazing to see ambition coordinated--another Nauvoo miracle.
 The hill holds 3,000 arm chairs!

 The Pageants are now off and running. After a week of rehearsing by day, the 20 core cast and dozens of family participants are looking and sounding amazing by night. 
The Nauvoo Pageant was presented first.

 The British Pageant was second and alternates with the Nauvoo Pageant. 
Both are amazingly performed.

So here is how it works: As I mentioned there are 20 members of the core cast that perform every night for the next five weeks. There are twenty core members for the Nauvoo Pageant, and twenty for the British Pageant. Families apply to be part of the cast. They are selected to come for two weeks. The first week they watch and practice. The second week they perform which means there are new supporting actors each week. How fun is that?

California, are you jealous?
Yesterday afternoon, the sky opened and dumped a reservoir of water on us. Then just in time for the pageants, the clouds disappeared, and the water began draining away to the Mississippi River.

 These families are making lemonade out of lemons. They must be from Houston or something where this kind of thing is the norm.

 A few hours after these pictures were taken, the water receded and the show went on without missing a beat.

Bonaparte & Bentonsport, Iowa
When the Mormons left Nauvoo, they trekked across Iowa and stopped for the winter on the other side of the Missouri River which they named Council Bluffs and is situated 300 miles from Nauvoo. There they built log cabins and prepared for the 1,300 mile trek to the Salt Lake Valley. Before they left in the spring of 1847, they planted crops for those who would follow.
 On the way to Council Bluffs, they were delayed by mud here at Bonaparte.

Benjamin F Johnson mentioned above is Elder Johnson's great-great-grandfather of whom I've mentioned before.

At Bentonsport, some of the Mormons were delayed due to mud so they stayed a while and used their skills to serve the community and earn much needed funds to further their travels.

Bentonsport is now a darling little town with an old bridge built in 1892. The bridge was good for bikers and hikers but not much else.

See what I mean by "darling"!

 Oops...skip the one below.

 There's a fun little store named Iron and Lace in Bentonsport.
 They make all their own pottery, iron decorations, and rugs. 
Queen Ann's lace decorates many of the pieces.
 The owner told us that they use a flower called Queen Ann's Lace to mask the pottery before spraying the color. Then during the firing process, the flower burns away leaving the beautiful silhouette that you see above and below.


Consider the notes below taken from our training meeting this week. 

Elder Gordon B. Hinckley, 1966 to graduates of BYU said the following: The “preservation of the family will be one of the great and serious challenges facing you in the future into which you move”   
          (Church News, May 31, 2015.)

This past month (June 26, 2015), the Supreme Court  handed down their decision on marriage – 5 to 4. One justice had previously performed 4 same sex weddings; one is a lesbian so 2 should have recused themselves – but didn’t.
Making SS ‘marriage’ legal throughout the country will have a profound effect on religious practice – for LDS too – consider the statement by 1st Presidency and 12 apostles June 29th.

Response to Supreme Court Decision on SS marriage

Apostles – in recent months talked about religious freedom - an indication of their/Lord’s concern in anticipation of this decision (especially Pres. Uchtdorf, Elders Oaks, Holland, Cook, Christofferson, and Andersen.) See

Religious Affiliation
Survey published, May, 2015 – Pew Study – 35,000  
1. 6% of Americans are non-Christian (Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism)
2. 7/10 Americans – claim to be Christians (8/10 in 2007)
3. Evangelical Christians (Southern Baptist, Assemblies of God, Churches of Christ, Presbyterian Church ) = 25.4% of population
4. Mainline Protestant – Methodist, Episcopal, United Church of Christ – membership down 18.8% since 2007.
5. Roman Catholic Church – down 13% since 2007.
6. Religiously unaffiliated – rose from 16.1% to 23% (atheists, agnostics, ‘spiritual-but-not-religious group-since ‘07.)
7. Jews – 1.9% of population

President Ezra Taft Benson: “All is not well with this basic institution--the  American home. In fact, it is in grave danger, if not in deadly peril.  There is convincing evidence that a creeping rot or moral disintegration is eating into the very vitals of this temple of civilization.  It gives cause for great concern” (Teachings, 522). 

Our knowledge of God’s plan explains why we are distressed that more and more children are born outside of marriage—currently 41 percent of all births in the United States—and that the number of couples living together without marriage has increased dramatically in the past half century. . . . Now cohabitation precedes 60 percent !! of marriages.  And this is increasingly accepted, especially among teenagers. . . . about 50 percent of teenagers stating that out-of-wedlock childbearing was a ‘worth-while lifestyle’ (“No Other Gods,” Ensign, Nov. 2013, 73-74.)

Pres. Kimball: "Jesus Christ our Lord is under no obligation to save this world. The people have ignored him, disbelieved him, failed to follow him. They stand at his mercy which will be extended only if they repent. But to what extent have we repented? Another prophet said, 'We call evil good, and good evil.' Men have rationalized themselves into thinking that they are 'not so bad.' Are they fully ripe? Has the rot of age and flabbiness set in? Can they change?"

In ancient America there was a man who had like Paul in the New Testament, gone about doing evil persuading others to follow a selfish and wicked path. In his repentance process, he came to understand and feel what it would be like to die in his sins. This is what he said about it: Mosiah 28:3

Joseph Smith: “No unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing; persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, calumny may defame, but the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent, till it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country, and sounded in every ear, till the purposes of God shall be accomplished, and the Great Jehovah shall say the work is done” (HC 4:540).

What do you need to do right now for your own happiness as well as the happiness of those you love? Will you do it?

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