Sam visits Seminary classes
near church history sites
(Note: You may click on pictures to enlarge them.)
Seminary Sam next visited Sister Lisonbee's Seminary class in
Kirtland, Ohio. Three brave early risers from her class are
standing in front of the Kirtland Temple. (The temple is having
some maintenance work done.) Doctrine & Covenants sections
109, 110, 112, and 137 were received here. Great spiritual
manifestations surrounded the dedication in 1836.
is a picture of the Kirtland Ward's Early Morning Seminary class.
is the Newel K. Whitney store. Sections 78, 84-98, and 101 were
received in the upper rooms.
the Newel K. Whitney home (the reconstructed home is pictured
above), Joseph Smith, Jr. received Doctrine & Covenants
sections 41-44, 70, and 72.
is the (reconstructed) John Johnson Inn. The Egyptian mummies,
which contained the Book of Abraham, were kept upstairs for a
awhile for people to see.
new Kirtland Visitors Center is a replica of an old mill.
first church conference in Ohio was held here at the Isaac Morley
Farm. This is also where Joseph and Emma's twins were born and
died. Much of the "New Translation" of the Bible (now
referred to as the Joseph Smith Translation) occurred here. Also,
sections 45-50, 52-56, 63, and 64 were received here.
and seniors from the Liberty 1st and 2nd Ward Early
Morning Seminary classes visit the ancient historic site of Adam-ondi-Ahman which is a low,
flowing valley that is much longer than many visitors expect.
Joseph Smith, Jr. received Doctrine & Covenants section 116
at Adam-ondi-Ahman, the Seminary students discussed Doctrine
& Covenants section 27 and reviewed both the history and prophecies
pertaining to this sacred ground. This is where Adam gathered and
blessed his posterity prior to his death, and it is also in this
valley where Christ will return at the beginning of the Millennium
to receive back the priesthood keys He bestowed during previous dispensations.
Seminary students pose outside the main entrance to Liberty Jail
in Liberty, Missouri. The reconstructed jail is inside the domed
portion of the building.
Mannequins representing Joseph Smith, Jr. and some of the brethren
who were incarcerated with him in the cold and cramped Liberty
Jail. It was under the terrible conditions here that Joseph received Doctrine & Covenants
sections 121, 122, and 123.
students from several classes in the Liberty, Missouri area enjoy
a visit to Liberty Jail. Their teachers are Frankie
Harper, Norma King, Seila Lehnardt, and Marsh Jacobsen. Students
and teachers had the opportunity to learn more about the Prophet
Joseph Smith and also to share their testimonies at this historic
Two Liberty Seminary teachers rest for a moment near the jail.
Seminary Sam sends greetings from Liberty Jail in Liberty,
Sam's next visit was to Sister Donna Overson's Early Morning
Seminary class in Independence, Missouri. Sister Overson's
students are members of the Kansas City Third Ward in the Olathe Kansas Stake.
They have five active students in their class -- three juniors and
of Sister Overson's Seminary students -- Corinne, Candis, and Gene
-- are shown in front of a log cabin like the ones the Saints in Missouri lived
in during the 1830's. This log cabin is downstairs at the
Visitor's Center in Independence, Missouri.
is located southwest of Kansas City, Missouri and a few miles south of
Liberty. From a church history perspective, the most interesting
place in Independence is probably the four corners formed by the
intersection of West Walnut Street and South River Road (shown
above). All of the pictures from Seminary Sam's visit to
Independence were taken at one of these four locations.
This is outside the
main entrance to the Independence Visitor's Center of The Church
of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. A stake center is located to
statue of Joseph Smith, Jr. is found downstairs among the Missouri
pioneer displays at the Independence Visitor's Center. Seminary
Sam is pleased to be in such good hands.
rocking chair that Seminary
Sam is shown resting in is part of the living
room area of an 1830's pioneer cabin display at the Independence Visitors
Sam is standing on a marker that notes the location of the
southeast cornerstone for the Independence Temple. The single
cornerstone was laid on August 3, 1831, and then the temple site
was dedicated by the Prophet Joseph Smith. This ground is
currently owned by the Church of Christ (Temple Lot) whose
headquarters are shown in the picture below.
sign on the Independence temple lot reads:
3, 1831, Joseph Smith, Jr., Prophet and Founder of the Church of
Christ, with seven other Church leaders, dedicated this site for the
Temple in the City of Zion, where this Church believes the Lord will
come to His people in the Last Days.
plaque was erected in 1976, America's Bicentennial year.
sign stands in front of "the Auditorium" of the
Community of Christ (formerly known as the Reorganized Church of
Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints). This building
serves as their church headquarters, and conferences are also held
here every other year.
only temple of the Community of Christ is located directly across the street to the
north of the Visitors Center of The Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter-day Saints. This building serves as a visitors center,
library, community center, missionary headquarters, and worship
The picture of the Savior, shown above, is found at the entrance
to the Independence Visitor's Center. It reminds us that
Independence is "the center place" and that Christ will
return to the New Jerusalem which will be built in Missouri (see
Doctrine & Covenants 57:1 and 3).
Far West, Missouri
Seminary Sam made a quick visit to Far West, Missouri and visited the
temple site there with Sister Bumstead's Early Morning Seminary
class from Kearney, Missouri.
For a brief period, Far West served as the church headquarters. The
city was founded in late 1836. Joseph Smith and other church
leaders moved there from Kirtland, Ohio early in 1838. It was a
thriving town of several thousand inhabitants and had "more
than one hundred fifty homes, four dry goods stores, three family
grocery stores, several blacksmith shops, two hotels, a printing
shop, and a large schoolhouse..." (Church History in the
Fulness of Times, p. 189).
picture above, taken at the Far West Temple site, shows three of Sister
Bumstead's students (Ashley, Matthew, and Jesse), her husband, and
her daughter (Rachel) in front of engraved markers that note the
important historical events that took place here.
Doctrine & Covenants 115:7, the Lord called Far West "a
holy and consecrated land unto me," and he commanded the
Saints to build a temple there.
cornerstones of the Far West Temple were laid in the summer of
1838. One of the original temple cornerstones is housed under the
glass case shown above. (Seminary Sam is resting ever so
carefully on the case.) The temple site is all that remains today
of the once vibrant and troubled city of Far West.
& Covenants sections 113-115 and 117-120 were received at Far
West. It was there that the Lord revealed the correct name
of the church as "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day
Saints" (Doctrine & Covenants 115:4) and defined the Law
Sam was next hosted by Sister McKendrick's class (from Olathe,
Kansas). Sam was taken to Richmond and Haun's Mill, Missouri.
McKendrick's class stopped at the Richmond Missouri Pioneer
Cemetery where Oliver Cowdery, one of the Three Witnesses to the
Book of Mormon, and Jacob Whitmer, one of the Eight Witnesses, are
buried. Sam and three Seminary students are shown posing in front
of a monument at the cemetery. An historic marker at the Richmond
Pioneer Cemetery is pictured below.
Richmond, Missouri during November 1838 that Joseph Smith, Sidney
Rigdon, Parley P. Pratt, and several other church leaders were
placed in a foul prison. Joseph listened for hours to the filthy
language and blasphemies of his captors until he could stand it no
longer. According to Elder Pratt's autobiography:
a sudden he arose to his feet, and spoke in a voice of thunder, or as
the roaring lion, uttering, as nearly as I can recollect, the following
ye fiends of the infernal pit! In the name of Jesus Christ I rebuke
you, and command you to be still; I will not live another minute and
hear such language. Cease such talk, or you die or I die this instant!'
ceased to speak. He stood erect in terrible majesty. Chained, and
without a weapon; calm, unruffled and dignified as an angel, he looked
upon the quailing guards, whose weapons were lowered or dropped to the
ground; whose knees smote together, and who, shrinking into a corner,
or crouching at his feet, begged his pardon, and remained quiet till a
change of guards.
have seen the ministers of justice, clothed in magisterial robes, and
criminals arraigned before them, while life was suspended on a breath,
in the courts of England; I have witnessed a Congress in solemn session
to give laws to nations; I have tried to conceive of kings, of royal
courts, of thrones and crowns; and of emperors assembled to decide the
fate of kingdoms; but dignity and majesty have I seen but once, as it
stood in chains, at midnight in a dungeon, in an obscure village in
Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt, pp. 228-230
Haun's Mill, Missouri
Sam next traveled to the site of Haun's Mill.
to The Encyclopedia of Mormonism,
"On October 30, 1838, segments of the Missouri militia attacked a
settlement of Latter-day Saints at Jacob Haun's mill, located on Shoal
Creek in eastern Caldwell County, Missouri. Because the attack was
unprovoked in a time of truce, had no specific authorization, and was
made by a vastly superior force with unusual brutality, it has come to
be known as "'The Haun's Mill Massacre.'"
Sam is looking down on Shoal Creek near the former site of Jacob
in the area had been building for over three years. Just
three days before the attack, Missouri's governor had signed the
infamous Extermination Order, which demanded that members of the
church either leave Missouri or be killed.
were 30 to 40 LDS families living at Haun's Mill when they were
attacked by 200-250 militiamen. The women and children fled across
the stream and into the woods; the men and boys gathered in the
blacksmith shop where many were killed.
that an earlier truce still held, the residents were surprised by the
late afternoon attack. Church leader David Evans' call for "quarter"
was ignored, and the villagers were forced to flee for safety.
The Mormon women and children fled south across a stream into the
woods, while the men gathered in the blacksmith shop, but found it a
poor place for defense because the Missourians were able to fire
through the widely spaced logs directly into the group huddled inside.
Latter-day Saint men and boys and one non-Mormon were killed;
another 13 were wounded. No militiamen were killed; three were
is important to note that the tragedy at Haun's Mill could have
been avoided if the settlers there had followed the counsel they
received from the prophet of the Lord. The Prophet Joseph Smith explained:
had given me wisdom to save the people who took counsel. None had ever been killed who abode by my counsel.
At Hauns' Mill the brethren went contrary to my counsel; if
they had not, their lives would have been spared.
History of the Church, Vol. 5, Ch. 7, p. 137
Sam's journeys are continued on page 3.
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© Copyright 2003, by Kenneth L. Alford. All rights