Sunday, July 31, 2016

Upstate New York

Today we woke up to the sound of thunder and pouring rain.  Immediately I was grateful that we weren’t about to stand in a line for an hour and a half in this weather. And after searching for nearby chapels we realized that there were no meetings that started after 9:30 am, so that’s another good reason that we did the Cave of Winds last night.

It was still raining hard as we entered church and again as we left an hour and a half later. We were hoping it would ease up, as we were going to see the Canadian side of Niagara Falls after church. It didn't. But the view from the Canadian side was breathtaking, just like I remember it from when I was there as a kid. 

After we’d gotten our fill of the giant waterfall we headed toward Palmyra, NY. The rain had been steadily pouring all morning with no signs of a break. Brian and I looked at each other nervously knowing that it would be difficult to see the church history sites in Palmyra. The kids were not going to be happy about sloshing around the sacred grove in the rain. But as we pulled into Palmyra, the sun began to break through the dark clouds and the rain stopped. We visited the Smith family farm, sacred grove, and Hill Camorra at length with only a threat of storm clouds around us.

By now it had already been a long day, but the elder who gave us a tour had told us about the printing press where the original copies of the Book of Mormon had been printed, and it wasn’t too far out of our way. So we decided to add that to our itinerary. I’m glad we stopped there, not only because learning about 19th century book making was fascinating, but also because they had several original pieces of well known art on display. Again, the missionary there told us about another church history site in the area; the Peter Whitmer farm. This is where 30% of the translation took place and the church was officially organized.

We probably should have done a little research on all these places before we started this trip, but the whole thing was so last minute that we really didn't have time. We were literally booking hotel rooms a day or two before we stayed in them.Anyway, the Whitmer farm sounded cool so somehow we scrounged up the energy to visit one last site. It was probably my favorite stop of the day, making the effort worth it. I especially enjoyed a 4 minute video at the end that depicted the growth of the church from its humble beginnings; six members in a farmhouse, to where it is today; filling the earth. We were the last people to leave the visitor’s center and it was long after dark. Chase and Clara were dragging but they honestly had been such troopers all day!

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