It’s fairly common to have tourists chitchat with you as you walk from one destination to the next. This happened to me again today on the split. Somehow, it was revealed that I live in Sandy, Utah. The majority of tourists we get are also from Utah. Later, after the tour, some of these tourists had returned to our visitor’s center and one of the women whom I had talked to started asking me more questions. It was obvious to me that she was trying to figure out my religion. At first she wouldn’t come right out and ask, but she asked about where I grew up and where I did my undergrad degree. I could tell she was looking for clues. She finally asked if I was a member of Community of Christ. I said I was, but noted that I became a member officially only two months ago. She then asked what I was previously. I told her I had been LDS. The look on her face can only be described as incredulous. I think it really baffles LDS folk to learn that someone could convert from the LDS Church to Community of Christ. She didn’t really say much after that, but I have to wonder what was going through her head.
The main reason I did so little tour-guiding today is because there was a special commemorative service held at 12:15 in honor of Joseph, Hyrum, and Samuel Smith. Joseph and Hyrum were killed 171 years ago today, and Samuel died not long thereafter. It was an ecumenical Latter Day Saint service, with members from both the LDS Church and Community of Christ presenting. There were musical numbers by some of the LDS Young Performing Missionaries, there was a reading from the Community of Christ version of the Doctrine and Covenants, etc. As an intern here in Nauvoo, I was able to participate in the program. I read what was basically part of a prayer. I went to the podium immediately after Stephen R. Covey finished speaking, which seems worth noting. Melanie and the boys came out to the service, but Beegy was complaining about heat and making a ruckus and Melanie quickly abandoned ship. They didn’t see me read, but that’s okay. Melanie did snap some photos before she left the service, so I’ll share a couple of those now.
I, standing next to a basket of service programs, which I was handing out prior to the beginning of the service. Behind me is the Homestead, Joseph and Emma's first home in Nauvoo, although the white portion of the home was added by Joseph Smith III fourteen years after his father was martyred.
Fun fact of the day: Joseph Smith purposely waited until June 24, 1844 to head toward Carthage. Evidence suggests that Smith expected to be killed en route to the jail, and June 24th is a traditional day of martyrdom with special significance to Freemasons. It is believed that Joseph was setting himself up to become a Masonic martyr. When this didn't pan out, it appears that Joseph began to turn his thoughts toward the possibility of rescue or escape, neither of which would come.