Day Three: Mormon Island State Park, NE to Watkins Mill State Park, MO
(5 hours of driving)
Megan had a rough night and ended up in our bed. She slept well after that…. but you can imagine how Matt and I felt on either side of those legs!
Dylan woke up with a fever and got sit up front with Megan. He slept most of the drive.
We were looking forward to this day! We had some great stops planned along the drive today, Independence Missouri Visitor’s Center and Liberty Jail. Not only that, but we were meeting up with Robb and Ginny!
INDEPENDENCE VISITOR’S CENTER
The Visitor’s Center was our first stop and it was the place we were meeting up with Robb’s family! We got there early and enjoyed stretching our legs and looking at the exhibits.
The younger four children really enjoyed watching the Mormon Ads. The area was so eye-catching!
We found the display with the Book of Mormon’s published in all of the different languages. I spun each child around and had them pick a book at random to see where they’re going on their mission…..
Dylan- Germany (So awesome because my grandmother was from Germany. Also, my brother served his mission in Germany and lives there as well!)
Jackson couldn’t resist going twice and got Fiji the second time 🙂
We did end up meeting with Robb and Ginny and explored an amazing photography exhibit in the basement.
Our next stop:
This was the first time we’d been to Liberty Jail. It was a very spiritual experience. Just understanding the construction of the jail and understanding the conditions that the prophet and these men endured…. I feel like I have a better understanding of how this experience changed Joseph Smith. The utter misery, the refiners fire, and Joseph’s trust in the Lord. I’m so glad we were able to go!
I can tell the Dylan’s medicine is wearing off, poor guy! We went out and grabbed food for dinner, headed to camp, ate a fine meal, popped popcorn over the fire, watched raccoons prowling the camp, handed out glow sticks to the kids and had a thoroughly great time!
Here is a note about Liberty Jail from the Gary Boatright Jr, curator of the Church History Department, that I thought was interesting:
“That was probably the lowest point in his life personally, as a religious leader, as a father and as a husband because he was imprisoned in the jail, living in horrific conditions for a little more than four months, while his people were suffering, and there was nothing he could do about it.” Boatright said.
Joseph Smith and his companions were behind bars in Liberty Jail from December to April. The crude structure stood two stories high with outer walls and an inner wall that combined to create a four-foot-thick barrier and a single trap door that led to the dungeon below the first floor. The conditions were deplorable, the air was putrid and the dungeon was not suitable for a fire. The structure had only bars to cover the two open windows. Frigid winter temperatures chilled the suffering men to the bone. Hyrum Smith said of his incarceration that the jail had a “sticky smell” and the bad food “vomited us almost to death.”
It was during this time that Joseph may have sunk to the lowest depths when he cried out in prayer, “O God, where art thou?” It was at that point that the Prophet received comfort and divine revelation from the Lord (recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 121,122 and 123). The experience was life-altering for the Prophet.
“When Joseph left Liberty Jail he left a changed man,” Boatright suggested. “He no longer relied on a spokesman, but spoke for himself. We see him really taking charge in Nauvoo and we all know what happened in Nauvoo, the wonderful city that he built up.”
Elder Richard L. Adams, director of the Independence Visitors’ Center and the Liberty Jail added, “The refinement process that took place in the Liberty Jail, the change that occurred to [Joseph], gave him an even greater capacity of compassion for members of the Church as well as those not of his faith.”