Thursday, June 19, 2014

Nauvoo Day 2

Our youth started the day with a carriage ride around the historic part of town. There wasn't enough room for the chaperons to go with them, but I was grateful for little moments like these where we could show them we trusted them to be on their own. I'm a firm believer that teens behave better when they know they have your trust and they feel an obligation to keep it.

Team Purple aka Lucy Mack Smith Company aka The. Best. Kids. There.

After the carriage ride we went to the temple to perform sacred ordinances for the deceased, who were not given the opportunity to receive those ordinances in their life time. This is commonly referred to as baptisms for the dead, which may sound totally bizarre to people who aren't part of The Church of Jesus Christ of Later-day Satins, but studying the following bible verses makes it seem less so: John 5:25, 1 Peter 4:6, and 1 Corinthians 15:29. In short, we believe baptism by proxy can be performed for those who did not have the opportunity to be baptized in this life time. Many live without ever hearing of Christ and His teachings, and though this life is the time to prepare to meet God, those who aren't taught His Gospel will hear it in the Spirit World, or life after death. There, they will be given the opportunity to accept the sacred ordinances required for exaltation -- even if they never knew of those ordinances during the flesh. Aside from the Savior's sacrifice, it is the most sacred act of proxy that God has established on Earth.

There are about a zillion other things I could say about the temple process, but I'll just end by saying the youth are blessed by this service, and they take the responsibility so sacredly. Their reverence and humility is astounding. I loved the peaceful feeling this morning brought to all of us.

 Team purple with myself and Bishop Redd (from West Bend) as chaperons.

Purple and Blue were combined for several activities each day (there were 8 groups total)

After the temple we bused over to Carthage, Illinois to tour the prison where Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum were killed. Our tour guide was dedicated to sharing as many facts as possible -- which is not something I enjoy about tours. I like time for questions and interaction. I'm not sure how well the youth understood the events that led up to the Prophet's martyr ... but it was still cool to be in such a historic place.

Back in Nauvoo we enjoyed a musical, The Promise, put on by the performing missionaries. They were all very talented and the story line really helped the youth visualize what life in Nauvoo must have been like. It laid out a defined timeline of events, and as one youth pointed out ... really didn't have a happy ending because the Saints were forced out of their homes during the bitter coldness of early February. I think this is when the youth started to understand what a huge sacrifice the early saints were willing to make for their families and the Gospel.

There was a dance after dinner and I was really proud of the girls from my congregation. I found myself wanting to spend more time with them than the other adult chaperons. At one point I had to remind myself I was an adult and I should probably only hang out on the side, and not in a circle of girls. I guess I was just missing my eight girls after spending the entire day with my fabulous purple group.  

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