Today I had the opportunity to visit both Independence and Liberty, MO. I’ve only been once, and it’s been at least 10 years since I’ve been. It was so great and I’m thankful I had the opportunity to go.
We drove to Independence first, and my aunt read aloud about the history surrounding the early Saints who came to Missouri. It was so nice to have that to put everything in context and set the mood for the rest of the day. Having the backstory fresh in my mind definitely helped me to better identify with the incredible difficulties the Saints endured.
At the Independence Visitor’s Center we took one of the tours, and it was so nice. The sister missionaries had such a great spirit about them and were so genuinely happy to be sharing what they knew about the early days of the church, as well as what the church and the Gospel meant to them in their lives.
It was also super cool to see a few displays about the Book of Mormon, one of which reminded me that Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon in only 10 months’ time. I just kept thinking to myself “there is just no way that he really could have fabricated this in such a short time.” Not that I’ve been doubting it, but it just always comes to mind the incredulous claims that others make. Anyway, I thought it was really neat to see the copies of the Book of Mormon in all the foreign languages displayed:
After we left, we headed to Liberty.
When we arrived, it was dark. We walked to some very surprised-looking sister missionaries, who probably weren’t expecting anyone else to show up today. One of the sisters gave us the tour, covering the history and story surrounding the Prophet’s confinement in the jail. She then took us to another part of the building which housed the restored jail, cut away so we could see inside. What a powerful experience that was for me. Hearing the narrator describe the scene and really being able to imagine myself in there with Joseph and the others was humbling. I’ve known the story of it for years, but to see that building in person, rebuilt on the exact spot where the original stood, with many of the same stones, mere feet from those men lay confined for months, was just incredible. I highly recommend it to anyone.
It adds that much more meaning to D&C 121 and 122 for me. I’m really not doing any of it justice, but it really needs to be experienced rather than read about.
We stopped by the Kansas City temple on the way back, and I got a few great shots:
Overall it was just a great day. This evening my aunt and uncle and I talked a lot about the direction I’m trying to go in my life, and they offered words of advice and support. I’m so grateful for them and their testimonies of the Gospel. We read 2 Nephi 9 (that’s where they currently are in their reading) to top it all off, which was about the Atonement. Jacob explains it so plainly. I love it.
Looking forward to church tomorrow.
Here’s a random picture of me with my aunt: