Battles of the Heart

Fifteen-year-old Eliza stood at the well near her home in Nauvoo. As she drew water, a canon ball struck her chimney.1 She was living in a battlefield. The Battle of Nauvoo lasted less than a week. Helplessly outnumbered, the remaining Saints, including Eliza and her family, fled to the banks of the Mississippi. Circumstances were…

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Grateful Remembrance

Even though it’s been 177 years since the martyrdom of the Prophet Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum, the place where it happened still stands. You would think Carthage Jail would be depressing to visit, but the place is eerily triumphant. I write “eerily” because there is a palpable spirit there. It’s almost unlike anywhere…

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First Home in Nauvoo

This week I learned about an early Latter-day Saint named Theodore Turley. It turns out we are distantly related! In his autobiography he wrote, “I came to Nauvoo with Joseph Smith the Prophet and built the first house that was built by a Mormon in Nauvoo.”1 I was intrigued by the phrase “first house” because…

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Fearless Faith

After a windy and rainy Mother’s Day morning, the sun finally came out in time for us to be able to visit the historic sites of the famous and beloved mother of the prophet, Lucy Mack Smith. As we visited Lucy’s grave and one of her homes, I thought about my memories of my mom…

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Making More out of Life

As I stood on the banks of the Mississippi I was humbled and inspired by the thought of the early Saints. In just seven years they transformed Nauvoo from an empty swamp into a developed and populated city, even rivaling Chicago.1 Then, in a mass exodus, they made their way westward, carving the “Mormon trail”…

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Discovering Truth

I had hit a crossroads. I knew I had to make a decision. I was 17 years old and I wanted to know: Should I continue to be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or should I take a different path? Growing up, sometimes we would go to church, and…

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Holding Together

“You want to postpone the wedding?” I asked my fiancée. “We need more time,” he said. “We need to get to know each other better. We need time to plan and prepare.” We had set a date for the end of February, but now he wanted to move the wedding all the way to the…

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Hoping for Home

I have been thinking about the meaning of home. What makes a home? A house? A person? A family? A neighborhood? A community? A church? A country? A language? A culture? This question is important to me because my family and I recently moved from Germany to America. Ever since we got married my husband…

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Hitting Rock Bottom

I had hit rock bottom. The month had begun with a birth, but had ended with a death. My second son was born, but my grandma was gone. I gathered my newborn in my arms and traveled halfway across the world and back so that I could attend the funeral. Upon my return to Germany,…

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My Life in Ruins

For the past two years we have lived in a village in Germany called Isenburg—tucked in the middle of a forest and nestled under a castle ruin. Every day driving home we passed under an ancient stone archway that served as the entrance to the castle grounds. On the hill directly above our house is…

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