Monday, July 30, 2007

July 30 - Palmyra

We began a wonderful day with a visit at the home of the Wiley's. Booklogged's parents became fast friends with them years ago when both young families were stationed in Guam while serving in the Army. They had such wonderful stories to tell. And, though strangers to both of us, seemed imediately to be like family. We spent a wonderful and too short hour and a half with them.

Next we drove to Fayette and visited the Peter Whitmer Farm. This was the site of the organization of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on April 6, 1830. It was neat to stand in that very space.

From Fayette we drove to Palmyra and drove to the top of the Hill Cummorah. Pictured is the monument to the visit of the Angel Moroni. The next stop was the two Smith homes and the Sacred Grove. It was amazing to visit the very space where Moroni visited Joseph Smith on that singular night so many years ago. And it was so wonderful to walk quietly through the trees of the Sacred Grove.

For me, it was all a very unexpected experience. I came here with no doubt that the church is true. I have enjoyed convincing manifestations that the church is true, long since. I didn't come here expecting anything of that sort. I just wanted to see and touch these sacred spaces for myself. I don't entirely know how to describe what I felt here. Maybe I can put it this way.

About 18 years ago I was once holding my youngest daughter in my arms. It was a special moment. I then realized that I had had such moments with my older daughters but that I could no longer remember in much detail those previous experiences. They had grown and my memory of them had faded and become altered by their changing faces and ongoing association. I longed for those memories, those feelings and hoped some day in heaven, my mind and heart could enjoy perfect recollection.

So it is with my testimony. I first new the Book of Mormon was true way back in my teens. While reading in Mormon of the demise of that great people who had enjoyed so much and then lost it to wickedness. When Mormon cried "O ye fair ones....", I cried too, for I knew the story was true. God had poured that knowledge into me in a way undeniable. I have, since, had many precious moments with the Book of Mormon. Moments which have sustained me though my trials and carried me though life. Moments which like that one with my daughter, are real but not ever-present. So, as I stood upon the Hill Cummorah and looked out over the valley I was surprised and overwhelmed when suddenly I felt as though all of the experiences I had ever enjoyed with that wonderful book were there, present with me, in the here and now. It wasn't new, it didn't change anything; but it was real and was a precious and welcome gift from a loving Heavenly Father.

1 comment:

Alyson said...

What a lovely description of your experience. I'm glad that it was more than you expected. I hope to visit that area again someday. I think I was too young to fully appreciate it when I went.