8 Ways to Find the True Spirit of Christmas

What is the True Spirit of Christmas? December comes just once a year. If we’re not careful it can pass us by in a frenzied whirlwind of ribbons, packages, and parties. Or, for some, it may seem like a month just like any other. Nothing special. Neither of those scenarios sound like a fun Christmas!…

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Riverside Service Honors ‘Miracle of the Quails’

The Camp of the Poor Travel back with me 176 years. The year was 1846. The October morning was cold and biting. Imagine over 600 people camped out right here on this riverbank. They were sick and shivering. They didn’t even have blankets. Food was scarce. They were starving. This group of Saints included the…

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Battles with Grief: Then and Now

Memorial Service This summer my family and I participated in a memorial service at Smith Family Cemetery in Historic Nauvoo for the martyrdom of the Prophet Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum Smith (June 27, 1844).1 The service included prayer, music, scriptures, and quotes all crafted into a dramatic retelling of that fateful June-day when…

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‘His Joy Was Full’: 192 Years of the Restored Church

192 years ago the Church was organized with six members. Now, Church membership soars above 16 million across the globe.1 I love the description of this momentous day found in “Saints.” The day began with the meeting formally organizing the Church, which included the administration of the sacrament and the Prophet Joseph Smith receiving a…

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Marvelous Light

Last weekend my family participated in what’s called the Nauvoo Exodus Commemoration. Hundreds of people met on this freezing Saturday morning to remember something remarkable—beginning in February 1846 thousands of Latter-day Saints began their journey west in search of religious freedom. At the event we all wore name tags honoring our ancestors whose footsteps led…

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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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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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