It is December 1843. In the Nauvoo the saints have gathered in the homes of friends and family to celebrate the birth of the savior. At the Prophet's home there was feasting, dancing, and an unexpected guest in the person of Orrin Porter Rockwell.
In December 2010. In the Tennessee countryside a ward Christmas party was held where there was also feasting (OK, the fare was pretty simple to be honest, but still tasty. Some beef stew and corn bread. I think the youth could have spent one activity making home made butter and then served it that night), music (Christmas carrols, of course. Sadly no dancing), and a story about how Rockwell crashed the 1843 Christmas party. There were booths where you could make pioneer style christmas ornaments, make donations of canned food (isn't canned food a little anachronistic?), select a name from the angel tree, tour the "museum" to see maps, biographies, and artifacts from Nauvoo. After dinner the Scovil Bakery opened up with lots of goodies for those who want early onset diabetes (sugar really is the Mormon heroin). Along the halls was a timeline describing the six years the saints were in Illinois. And at each booth were descriptions of places in Nauvoo, from the Red Brick Store to the Mansion House. I wanted to put together a scenery of the martyrdom, just like the one set up in the Masonic hall in the real Nauvoo in 1845 by Philo Dibble, but I wasn't on the committee so maybe next time.
My part was to post short biographies and journal quotes of people living in Nauvoo with some kind of connection to Tennessee. Some had descendants now living in the ward, like the sons of Abraham Church, William Draper Jr., and Pattie Sessions. Others served missions in Tennessee like Esaias Edwards or Alexander Williams. And some were from Tennessee, like Moses Sanders and Jonathon Browning. It was fun and people liked reading them. I was surprized how many people called me over to the wall and pointed to one of the photos saying "I'm related to this person!" Then we'd talk about how and share stories about people I should have met but who passed away too soon.
A few got in the spirit of the event and dressed the part. OK, so maybe just a handfull. Too bad though. I picked up my entire outfit from a local thrift store for $6.50. All I had to add was a pair of brown shoes. My children followed suit.
1 month ago