On July 7, 2014 at 12:01 am my daughter, myself and over 100 other young single adults, ward single adult representatives, their bishop, his counselors, a member of the stake presidency and high council and their wives departed northern Utah on two tour buses from the church parking lot headed for Nauvoo, IL.
You might ask, “What is so special about this destination?” Back in the late 1830’s and early 1840’s a group of saints, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints migrated to a mosquito infested swampland on the banks of the Mississippi River in western Illinois. They worked hard to dig ditches to drain out the excess water. Everything they put their hand to blossomed. As the city grew the saints prospered. However, they still faced many trials of their faith as husbands and fathers were called to serve missions across the sea. Leaving their wives and children behind as they spread the gospel message. They bore witness that Jesus Christ’s church was on the earth once more; that God had spoken to a living prophet in this dispensation and they carried with them the Book of Mormon; written by ancient prophets about people who lived on the American Continent around 600 B. C. and translated by Joseph Smith by the gift and power of God.
Emily Stevens Halliday
There were many who believed in the message these missionaries brought. They were baptized and joined hundreds of saints as they came to to join those already in Zion. They suffered tremendous hardship and loss as well as great joy. They were persecuted by the people of Missouri and forced to leave their homes. But even then they were threatened by mobs and eventually they left Nauvoo and traveled many miles to Salt Lake City, UT. The Mormon Trail was 1,300 miles.
Among them were some of my ancestors: Abel Halliday and his wife Emily Stevens, Andrew Hamilton, Moroni Olney, and James Cantwell and their families. From Nauvoo, they would travel to the Salt Lake Valley. (Emily made this trip 3 times!) They would endure many difficulties, face grave and dire circumstances to cross the many miles to go to a place where they could worship as they chose and be free from persecution.
Please join me over the next few weeks as I blog about my experiences on “My Journey to Nauvoo”.