We had hoped for a 7:00 am departure on our grand 3 1/2 week road trip back east to US and LDS historical sites, but a 7:00 am last minute temple recommend interview for Joel delayed us a little then as we finally loaded up I noticed a low rear tire. We had had one tire repaired last week from a nail puncture so I figured all of the tires had been properly inflated. Not so. So we drove to Big O to see about the one low tire. Come to find out another tire had a nail puncture and one of the four was too worn to make the long trip to Boston and back. So we bought a new tire, had the other one repaired and by 8:30 we were off. Thanks to Marie's sister Diane and her husband Lant for offering us the use of their car (a 2006 Dodge Caravan with only 130,000 miles). We feared that our Toyota Sienna with 180,000 miles might not make it all the way.
We drove US 6 to Green River (listening to a new CD of the Beatles' top 25 songs--Sarah has long lamented that she knows nothing about the Beatles), then headed east on I-70. The whole length of Book Cliffs near Green River Utah were shadowed by a puffy layer of cumulus clouds. Looking at the cliffs and clouds (much more impressive than the above photo) kept me entertained for miles.
We stopped to stretch our legs along the Colorado River in Glenwood Canyon to admire the impressive non-invasive two teared lanes of I-70 seen here crossing over the fast flowing Grizzly Creek tributary.
Originally only a RR line traversed this narrow gorge. Now the interstate and the railway parallel the river.
Our December 7th boy.
We wanted to get as far into Kansas as we could. This stop at a freeway overpass gave us some good views of the high plains of western Kansas. Winter wheat and an old silo.
Pivot irrigation ready to use water from the rapidly declining Ogalala Aquifer.
I-70 heading towards our late night stop in Hays Kansas. We passed through some rain and some lightening. Years ago when I was driving this same stretch, I listened to local radio that kept announcing a tornado warning for several west Kansas counties. I had no idea what country I was in or where any of the tornado counties were located. I stopped at a gas station for county consultations. Luckily the tornadoes were two counties to the south. Still a bit worried I asked the clerk what I should do if I saw a tornado heading my way. He told me to get out of my car and lie down in a ditch. I paid close attention to the Kansas ditches that trip.
Most Sabbaths on the road we make sure to find the nearest LDS ward for sacrament meeting. This Sunday I made the decision (Marie would have decided otherwise) to skip church knowing that much of our afternoon would be filled with scriptures and faith promoting places and stories. Serendipitously, Sarah noticed a road side sign about the Cathedral of the Plains in Victoria, Kansas. Maire had noted the two spires from a distance. I then exited to see what we could see. We were delighted with our visit. The church was built 105 years ago by immigrant Volga German Catholics who settled where English immigrants (hence the name Victoria) had failed to survive.
The church had wonderful stained glass windows. This one of violinist and organist is in the choir loft.
In honor of the Volga German pioneers.
Today as we pulled into the toll booth at the eastern terminus of the Kansas Turnpike, Will innocently asked: "what check point is this?" I guess the many check points of the Holy Land have had quite a lasting impact on his 5 year old mind. Luckily all Kansas required of us was $2.75.
"Everything's up to date in Kansas City...they've gone and built a skyscraper seven stories tall..."
Inside the LDS visitor center on the temple lot in Independence, Missouri.
In addition to learning about the history of the short lived Mormon experience in frontier Independence, I also learned that capital letters for the printing process were stored in the upper case and the non-capital letters were stored in the lower case.
Across the street from the LDS visitor center and an adjacent LDS church house is the Community of Christ's (formerly known as the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) only temple. The Nautilus shaped steeple is most interesting. The structure has no similar functions to an LDS Temple. It is a place of prayer and peace. We went inside and listened to a brief part of an organ concert in the main auditorium.
In many ways the temple lot (dedicated by Joseph Smith) of Independence reminds me of the contested holy sites of Jerusalem, Bethlehem and Hebron where Abrahamic faiths compete for control of sacred space. Things are much less contested in this "New Jerusalem" but still there are similarities. Here the LDS Church, the Community of Christ and the Temple Lot Church (which all claim Joseph Smith as their founder) all lay claim to some of the acreage dedicated by Joseph Smith. The LDS visitor center and the Community of Christ (RLDS) Temple stake their claim.
The LDS visitor center and the Community of Christ (RLDS) Auditorium stake their claim.
Across the Street the temple lot Church of Christ (one of the smallest of the Smithic religions) controls the land where the corner stone was actually laid.
Its sign claims the same day of founding as the LDS Church.
Mormons believe that one day a temple--prior to the second coming of Jesus-- will be built somewhere among all these structures. This empty plot belongs to the Church of Christ.
Next stop the historic Liberty Jail where Joseph Smith as held in a basement dungeon along with four others for four cold winter months.
While incarcerated Joseph learned much about suffering and about the loving care of God and His son Jesus. Here are some favorite verses revealed to Joseph while in Jail:
1 O God, where art thou? And where is the pavilion that covereth thy hiding place?
2 How long shall thy hand be stayed, and thine eye, yea thy pure eye, behold from the eternal heavens the wrongs of thy people and of thy servants, and thine ear be penetrated with their cries?
3 Yea, O Lord, how long shall they suffer these wrongs and unlawful oppressions, before thine heart shall be softened toward them, and thy bowels be moved with compassion toward them?
4 O Lord God Almighty, maker of heaven, earth, and seas, and of all things that in them are, and who controllest and subjectest the devil, and the dark and benighted dominion of Sheol—stretch forth thy hand; let thine eye pierce; let thy pavilion be taken up; let thy hiding place no longer be covered; let thine ear be inclined; let thine heart be softened, and thy bowels moved with compassion toward us.
Doctrine and Covenants section 122: (God's answer)
5 If thou art called to pass through tribulation; if thou art in perils among false brethren; if thou art in perils among robbers; if thou art in perils by land or by sea;
7 And if thou shouldst be cast into the pit, or into the hands of murderers, and the sentence of death passed upon thee; if thou be cast into the deep; if the billowing surge conspire against thee; if fierce winds become thine enemy; if the heavens gather blackness, and all the elements combine to hedge up the way; and above all, if the very jaws of hell shall gape open the mouth wide after thee, know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good.
We then had a fun drive north along rolling country roads to the temple site at Far West.
The lot includes for corner stones for a never completed temple. Independence, Liberty and Far West are all amazing reminders of religious intolerance on America's frontier in the 1830s.
Joseph Smith received many important revelations during the short time he lived in Far West.
Far West farm land and pastures.
Adam-ondi-Ahman. Where Mormons believed Adam met with his posterity and where in the future prior to the return of Jesus, Joseph Smith and other past prophets going all the way back to Adam will gather in a grand council to return the keys to Jesus.
We all attempted to sing this seldom sung hymn from the LDS hymnal:
This earth was once a garden place,With all her glories common,And men did live a holy race,And worship Jesus face to face,In Adam-ondi-Ahman.
We read that Enoch walked with God,Above the pow'r of mammon,While Zion spread herself abroad,And Saints and angels sang aloud,In Adam-ondi-Ahman.
Her land was good and greatly blest,Beyond all Israel's Canaan;Her fame was known from east to west,Her peace was great, and pure the restOf Adam-ondi-Ahman.
Hosanna to such days to come,The Savior's second coming,When all the earth in glorious bloomAffords the Saints a holy home,Like Adam-ondi-Ahman.
I have found memories (thanks mom and dad) of visiting today's sacred sites (including a much less manicured Adam-ondi-Ahman) for the first time with my parents and five siblings in 1969 on our Dodge motor home road trip to LDS and US historic sites.
I had hoped to get to the site of the Haun's mil massacre. but we ran out of daylight so we drove back south along I-35 to Liberty for a welcomed night's sleep.