Wednesday, August 2, 2017


(Continuing where I left off last time…)

Kansas City, MO is about the same size as Salt Lake City, but much more difficult to navigate. Where SLC has square, even blocks that are numbered for easy identification, KC is a hodge-podge of streets and parkways that have no specific design (except to torture travelers). And when the services of Google AND Garmin are spotty …… well, life can become interesting.

So, how do you think we did getting to the airport when it came time to join our group of friends for the Workshop?
This was a good day for the electronic maps.
And our car was easy to return (thanks National Car Rental).
In fact, we were VERY early and had to wait in the terminal for the rest of the company.

The only struggle was waiting for all the different flights to arrive from across the country. One group was from Southern California, another arrived from Alaska, two different groups came by way of SLC, and there was one other (I don’t remember the start point) that was last of all. But eventually all the party was assembled and we boarded the bus for our excursion.

Intro --
When you gather together a large gaggle of Seminary teachers in one place you can always expect life to be interesting.

Think about it!!

Our job is to work with young people and help them learn the gospel.

That means we must be able to relate to (and sometimes emulate) them or we won’t be successful. So, the personality of a group like ours just ‘might’ have some resemblance to a high school group on a band or choir tour.

And since we are teachers -- EVERYONE has a story to tell (seldom short).

Humorous events or amazing experiences are the norm.

And, because we teach the gospel of Jesus Christ, there are many (or slightly more) spiritual experiences shared by the attendants.

In other words, it is a raucous, unruly, tender, heavenly, and enlightening time for everyone on the bus.
And we wouldn’t have it any other way.

With the crew assembled, our first business was to introduce all the participants. (I will skip that part because none of you really care. If you do, let me know and I will send you the roster.)

I knew a few of our fellow-travelers (sounds sort of communistic when I say it like that) but the majority were strangers. As we did the intros, our tour leader prepared us for the first site we would visit.

And, frankly, I don’t remember what it was!!

OK, I just checked the itinerary and it was Independence, MO. I thought that was second but I was wrong. The visitor center was interesting and the site where the cornerstones for the temple were laid was… there. The Church doesn’t own it, but it is still visible.

 Maybe the most striking thing was the RLDS (Community of Christ) Temple. It looks sort of like a big ice cream cone.

Community of Christ Temple, Independence, MO

Side Note: The CofC folks are very kind and accommodating. We had lots of interaction with them during our days in Nauvoo, but here in Missouri, they were less visible. While we have some commonality in our origins, their belief system is VERY different than ours. I will probably try to share some of that when I get to Nauvoo with this narrative.

The lateness of our start meant we had to hurry along to Liberty Jail. It was sad that this was at the beginning of the workshop because I would have liked to stay longer. The events from this site have had a profound effect on my personal life (and I suspect many others as well) and it would have been nice to sit and ponder more extensively. Still, the sacred nature of Liberty Jail (called by some, a “temple prison”) was obvious as we discussed events and teachings given by the Lord for the benefit of His people (for reference, see D&C 121-123 as a starter).

You can see that it was a long day -- we were tired. but excited to be at such a significant place.

Joseph, Hyrum, and others behind us

I don’t really remember much more of the first day – we were  tired and the bed at the hotel was very welcome.

One interesting thing about these workshops is the friendships we make as we travel together. There is a wide range of ages (we were most assuredly part of the upper-age group) and personalities but everyone works hard to make things better for their traveling companions. For instance, after the first day the directors asked if some of us would accommodate a few who had travel sickness issues. The number of volunteers exceeded the needed changes. That attitude was the defining spirit of the whole workshop. It really is nice to travel with good people who are not focused on themselves at the expense of everyone else.

KC Temple 

Day two started with a quick “drive-by” of the Kansas City Temple. Since Teresa and I had already been there, we just relaxed and let the others have the space.

Side Note: I noticed, as we made our way to Far West, MO, that the bus driver was carefully watching her GPS to make sure she got where we wanted to go. But she also had a secondary map, just in case things went awry. That made me feel better about our experiences with electronic maps.

Far West and Hawn’s Mill (used to be Haun’s Mill but they have discovered Jacob Hawn spelled his name with a W) have some significance to us (me) because I had relatives who died in the Hawn’s Mill massacre. David Lewis was one of the victims and was the brother of my 3rd great-grandfather, Tarlton Lewis. Jacob Hawn failed to warn the Saints to gather with the body of the Church, as Joseph had counseled him to do, and many lost their lives when a mob came and victimized them. It was a sad day in Church History and marked the beginning of the end for the Saints in Missouri.

You can see why people would want to settle in this region.
It's perfect for farming and lots of other 'pioneer' activities.

Adam-ondi-Ahman is a very special place in the history of the Church. Joseph Smith received revelation that this was the place where Adam built an altar and offered sacrifice when he and Eve were cast out of the Garden of Eden. There’s not much here right now, but the future of this location has some amazing things to experience. I probably won’t be here on earth when it happens but just watching from the ‘sidelines’ will still be interesting.

Looking out over the valley of Adam-ondi-Ahman.

Just so we could get a feel for how much time it took for the Saints to leave Missouri and get to Illinois, we made the journey to Nauvoo in one day. Well, for the Saints it was weeks of travel but for us it was only a few hours over freeways. Guess that’s not very representative but I’m glad we didn’t have to walk.

I think I will stop here for this posting and save the rest for another day.

Some of you may be wondering about the title of this entry. I chose “Roots and Fruits” because the whole time we were on this workshop the thought kept coming to me that what these people did (the roots of my ancestry) has had a profound effect on who I am and who my future family will be (fruits). I suppose these feelings are a symptom of aging and worrying about the familial line that continues into the future, but it is also a salute to the wonderful people who paved the way for me to find peace in this mortal experience. 

They sacrificed and died (much like seeds that become plants) to open the door for me to grow in my love of Christ and His work. These people were not just pioneers in moving to new nations, they were pioneers in opening the realms of God to His children.

The work of our ancestors deserves our attention and love. I hope that what I share with this and other postings indicates how much thankfulness there is in my heart for these powerful children of God. 
And one day, I hope to be one too.

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