Our morning began dressed in white in the Palmyra Temple, doing baptisms for the dead, with proxy names supplied for us by Cindy Ogden (Thanks Cindy). As we entered through the east doors of the temple, looking across the foyer was the window that President Hinckley wanted clear glass in to view the Sacred Grove below. To me, it seemed a reverse perspective, as we peered through this window in this sacred building on a hill, participating in eternal ordinances, to a Sacred Grove below where it all began.
I was allowed to perform the baptisms and confirmations for our names. Having served in the Jordan River Baptistry several years ago, it was heart-warming to pronounce those sacred words once again. I pondered the significance, as we performed the work for these individuals who probably shouted for joy when the Father and the Son first visited Joseph, and had waited 188 years until Sister Ogden found them and allowed Penny, Jennica and me to perform their work in this special location.
Penny and Jennica looked so pure and beautiful as I lead them into water. It was a privilege for me to be a part of this experience. Just when I didn’t think it could get any better than this, the Temple President came in, and after greeting us, asked if we wouldn’t mind performing the baptisms for some of his own names. This morning we experienced heaven.
On our way to the Peter Whitmer farm, we stopped by the Hill Camorah Visitor’s Center to visit with President and Sister Weston, who are the directors over the church history sites in this area, and were Becca’s mission president and mission mom in the Portland, Oregon mission. We had a wonderful conversation, as we discussed with them Becca’s mission experience. They said Becca was such a great missionary and example.
At the Peter Whitmer farm we relived the organization of the Church which took place in the Whitmer home on April 6, 1830. We learned of the challenges suffered by Joseph and Emma, as well as the joys and blessings experienced by them.
It was in an upper room of the home that the translation of the Book of Mormon was completed and several revelations received.
Towards the end of our tour, in the very room where the Church was organized, Sister Nielsen, from Riverdale, Utah, turned to me and asked if I would like to share my testimony. Moments before I was feeling like I would like to share my testimony and express my feelings to my family, in this very special room.
I shared with them that since my visit to Winter Quarters in Omaha, Nebraska, over a week ago, my bosom hasn’t stopped burning. With tears flowing freely and overwhelmed with my feelings, I bore my testimony of the historic journey I have been on for the past week, one that has helped me to renew my testimony of the great truths of the gospel and the gratitude I had for the enduring sacrifices that Joseph and the early Saints made in our behalf. I expressed my love for my family and especially for my dream girl.
Ending the day, Penny and I, walking hand in hand from our hotel, walked down to the Sacred Grove, just as the sun was setting. We were all by ourselves in the Grove as we strolled from one end to the other, listening to the birds singing and feeling once more the greatness of this place. We expressed our love for each other and our renewed commitment to the Gospel.
What a way to end the day…