03 June 2009

Bryant's Baptism

Sorry it has taken me so long to finally post this, our last leg of the New York/Niagara trip. It was the most important part too. We were able to be with Bryant for his baptism. Baptisms are always special occasions but this one had additional meaning because it was on the anniversary (I think the 180th) of Joseph Smith's own baptism. We drove down to the Susquehanna river and enjoyed the beautiful scenery and spirit. Thank you Bryant for letting us share your day with you.Jeff and Bryant
Lot's of cute little boys on hand- the brothers, cousins and some friends.


This is part two of our trip this May back to Niagara, Palmyra and Syracuse, New York. Disclaimer: I will do my best to explain some of what I learned about the Church sites we visited. Hopefully I will tell the truth.
This is the Hill Cumorah which welcomes you on the outskirts of Palmyra Township. This is the site that Angel Moroni led Joseph Smith to when he was finally given the Gold Plates. We had a lovely walk up the hill through beautiful thick trees like the ones below. There is a visitors center just at the foot of the hill and we were greeted by some great missionaries who shared their testimony with us of the restored gospel. Everywhere you go there are missionaries.
This monument which depicts Moroni, is located at the top of Hill Cumorah.
This is a replica of the Smith log home which Joseph Smith SR and his family built when they moved to Palmyra from Vermont. They had lost three crops to the frigid temperatures in Vermont and land was cheap in New York. It was amazing to see how much work had to be put into just developing the land. I think the figure they told us was that they had to clear around 100 trees per acre of land the first year. It was also interesting to see the craftsmanship that was used in building the home since it was recreated using the same techniques that would have been used back in the 1800s. I have a new respect for how hard these people had to work just to live. The Palmyra Temple sits on a hill just East of the Smith farm and the Sacred Grove. We attended a session and it is a beautiful temple with amazing stained glass windows throughout. We were told when the temple was finished and ready to be dedicated that President Hinckley toured through it and he had them remove a section of the stained glass from the west side of the temple so all who visited could take advantage of the view of the Sacred Grove. It is a beautiful view.

This home was built on the Smith farm by Alvin, Joseph's brother, and was intended for his use with his future bride. Alvin was unable to finish construction on it when he died suddenly, most likely from a burst appendix. The family did finally live in it for a time until it was sold out from under them by a greedy farmer. The picture below is from inside the house. I can't remember if it was for Emma or for Mother Smith that they installed this sink. It was the best of the time with a drain that would carry the used water outside.
Inside the livestock barn. It wouldn't be a complete post without a pic of us below.
This is the path leading into the Sacred Grove. This is where young Joseph retreated with a question and where heaven and earth met again after a long break. It was quiet. It was peaceful. And for some reason as we walked through I kept singing in my head the hymn 'Joseph Smith's First Prayer'. This was a definite highlight of the whole trip. The trees were just beautiful in the Grove. I told Taylor we have to make a trip back in the fall sometime when they are all orange and red.

In Palmyra Township there is an intersection with four churches- one on each corner. For some reason I only took a picutre of this one. During Joseph's youth religion was a hot topic and there was a lot of discussion on what church one should join. I believe Joseph's mother and sister joined with the Presbyterian faith while Joseph was leaning toward Methodist. Fortunately he had the maturity to question and search out a real answer.

This is the site of the Grandin Press where the Book of Mormon was printed. Each sheet pressed held 16 pages of print. I think it took six months to complete the first order of books. Just in time for the official organization of the Church. This was a good reminder not to take so much for granted with our technology. From this place the Book of Mormon has gone out to the world and has now been translated into around 100 different languages. I wonder if Mr. Grandin knew the scope of his work, or if it was just another job to him. Alvin's grave in Palmyra. His death was a great devastation to the Smith family. Before he died he told Joesph to do whatever the Lord asked to be worthy to receive the Gold Plates and keep them safe.
The site of the official organization of the Church- the Peter Whitmer Farm. Below is the meetinghouse/visitor center that stands on the property.
The surrounding area is known as the Finger Lakes. A must see- but the day we were there it was raining pretty bad so we ate lunch and enjoyed the view from our Kia.

It was a great experience to visit so many important Church sites. I don't have to imagine what they look like anymore when I hear a story in church- it was a great experience! I would highly recommend this trip to anyone who wants to have their testimony of Joseph Smith or the early days of the Church strengthened.