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Page 2

Sam visits Seminary classes
near church history sites

(Note: You may click on pictures to enlarge them.)


Kirtland, Ohio

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.

This is a picture of the Kirtland Ward's Early Morning Seminary class.

This is the Newel K. Whitney store. Sections 78, 84-98, and 101 were received in the upper rooms.

In the Newel K. Whitney home (the reconstructed home is pictured above), Joseph Smith, Jr. received Doctrine & Covenants sections 41-44, 70, and 72.

This 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.

The new Kirtland Visitors Center is a replica of an old mill.

The 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.



Adam-ondi-Ahman, Missouri

Juniors 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 near here.

While 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.



Liberty, Missouri

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.

Seminary 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 site.

Two Liberty Seminary teachers rest for a moment near the jail.

Seminary Sam sends greetings from Liberty Jail in Liberty, Missouri.



Independence, Missouri

Seminary 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 two freshmen.

Three 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.

Independence 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 the east.

This 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.

The 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 Center.

Seminary 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.

This sign on the Independence temple lot reads:

August 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.

This plaque was erected in 1976, America's Bicentennial year.

This 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.

The 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 center.

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).

The 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.

In 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.

The 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.

Doctrine & 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 of Tithing.



Richmond, Missouri

Seminary Sam was next hosted by Sister McKendrick's class (from Olathe, Kansas). Sam was taken to Richmond and Haun's Mill, Missouri.

Sister 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.

In 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:

On 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 words:

"Silence, 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!'

He 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.

"I 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 Missouri."

-- Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt, pp. 228-230 



Haun's Mill, Missouri

Seminary Sam next traveled to the site of Haun's Mill. 

According 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.'"

Seminary Sam is looking down on Shoal Creek near the former site of Jacob Haun's mill.

Tensions 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.

There 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.

Assuming 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. Seventeen Latter-day Saint men and boys and one non-Mormon were killed; another 13 were wounded. No militiamen were killed; three were wounded.

It 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:

...God 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



Seminary Sam's journeys are continued on page 3.


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Copyright 2003, by Kenneth L. Alford. All rights reserved.