Monday, June 23, 2008

Missionaries Fill Sandbags as Mississippi Rises

QUINCY, Illinois — More than 130 missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are saying thank you to the people of Quincy, Illinois, by filling sandbags to protect the city that once protected Mormon pioneers.
Wednesday morning, missionaries from the Peoria, Illinois, and St. Louis, Missouri, missions arrived in Quincy to help prevent potential damage from a key levee that broke Tuesday night between Quincy and Warsaw, Indiana. Heavy rain in the Midwest has left entire towns inundated and thousands of people homeless in the past week.
Dirt is being dumped at the Civic Center in Quincy, where missionaries are spending long hours preparing the bags, which are then taken by truck to the areas in most need. The relief effort is being organized by local Latter-day Saint leaders, who are working closely with John Springs, the mayor of Quincy.
The help given by these missionaries reflects the kindness extended by the people of Quincy to early members of the Church escaping religious persecution in Missouri. After walking close to 200 miles in the winter early in 1839, the Latter-day Saints arrived at the banks of the Mississippi, the same river that threatens Quincy today, only to see chunks of ice floating down the river.
In the March 1839 edition of the Quincy Whig newspaper, the editor wrote that “if they (the Mormons) have been thrown upon our shores destitute … common humanity must oblige us to aid and relieve them all in our power.”
Quincy took in more than 5,000 refugees, almost three times its population in 1839. The citizens organized rescue efforts, provided shelter, created jobs and gave members of the Church protection from those wishing to harm them. Shortly afterwards, Joseph Smith, along with other Church leaders, arrived in Quincy and led the Mormons 40 miles north to establish the city of Nauvoo.
In 2002, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir performed for the people of Quincy as a gesture of gratitude for the kindness extended by their town in 1839.
This article was prepared by the LDS Newsroom at

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Joseph Smith: Lover of the Cause of Christ

Ken and I participated in the Philadelphia Stake Play, "Joseph Smith: Lover of the Cause of Christ." Rehearsals began in April and the play was held May 30, 31 in 3 shows. It was written by Angela Staheli. She was a member of the Austin Texas Stake. Kim Davenport Wehrung lives there now. Linda and Ted visited her while she was in rehearsals. Linda brought the idea home to the Phila. Stake. Chris and Kim Hopkins directed it. It sure was a lot of work.

It was a very spiritual time for all of us involved.

It reminded me of being in the Hill Cumorah Pageant, but on a smaller level. It was very Zion-esque. We all felt protected and very loved -- very much of one heart and mind.

Ken was involved in making all the sets. He did a superb job. He was even putting finishing touches on the sets at the dress rehearsal.

This is a shot of the prison scene.

I was involved in doing the Playbill (of course). I love being a part of a play/musical in that way. I get to know all the details and peoples' names. And it pretty much took me all weekend of the play to print it out. The poor Jarrettown ward library copier.... it was huffing and puffing when I was done with it.

Ken getting his makeup applied

He grew his beard and his hair. Nobody was allowed to get a hair cut until the play was done. Ken shaved his beard and cut his hair the day after the play was over.....

me, at right, with Ken and Bishop Ted Davenport

Ken and I were in a scene together. We were Elijah and Anna Fordham. Elijah Fordham was the man Joseph Smith healed and practically raised him from the dead. I was crying over his body, mainly. I think it went over pretty well, but I never got to see it. And nobody took any pictures of it. There was a DVD recorded, but it won't come out until Christmas probably. Can't wait to see that!

To give a taste of the flavor of the play, Chris Hopkins, the director, made a YouTube video of some stills of the play and it has great music and sound effects (see below).
You might have to have been there to appreciate it, but I hope you will try...

I have a testimony that Joseph Smith, Jr. was the prophet set apart before the foundation of the world to bring in our present dispensation. He translated the plates given to him by the Prophet/Angel Moroni.
By the time I finished reading in Mosiah in the Book of Mormon, I already had a testimony that the Book of Mormon could not have been written by Joseph Smith. It was of God; written through revelation.
I am so grateful Joseph Smith had the courage and faith to uphold and endure his calling in life.
I am grateful the missionaries knocked on my door, sent especially to me because I had a desire to know which church to join – just as Joseph Smith did! I have learned when you have a desire to know about the true gospel of Jesus Christ on the earth today, it cannot be kept from you.
This play has strengthened my testimony in so many ways. I am so glad I had the opportunity to participate in it.

1 Nephi 1: 1, 3

...therefore I make a record of my proceedings in my days.
And I know that the record which I make is true; and I make it with mine own hand; and I make it according to my knowledge.