Temple Moment: Cycling to the Temple
Contributed By Skye Root, Church News contributor
“I was filled with an indescribable joy and light confirming that the Restoration with all its appendages, especially temples, was real, even sacred!” —Skye Root, Summerset Ward, Boise Idaho West Stake
On a beautiful Saturday morning this spring, with two lifelong friends, I began a 100-mile cycling journey which confirmed my faith in the Restoration, deepened my testimony of temples and profoundly increased my gratitude for early Church members, especially the Prophet Joseph and his brother Hyrum.
As a result of the Extermination Order issued by Governor Lilburn W. Boggs in 1838, the Saints fled Missouri during the winter months and crossed the Mississippi River into Quincy, Illinois. In one of the more heartwarming stories from Church history, the citizens of Quincy opened their hearts and homes to these refugees. My friends and I began our memorable century-bike ride at a monument symbolizing this kindness. The journey felt real, almost serene.
Despite a few flat tires and setbacks, we rode into Nauvoo anxious to consume a light meal and behold the Nauvoo Illinois Temple. As we rested at the symbolic statue of The Prophet’s Last Ride, just off the steps of the magnificent and historic temple, the sacrifices of the Saints to build a temple felt real, tangible.
Our cycling journey continued from Nauvoo to Carthage Jail. At one point, the most coordinated of us three went no-hands on the bike and read aloud from section 135 of the Doctrine and Covenants. “Joseph Smith, the Prophet and Seer of the Lord, has done more, save Jesus only, for the salvation of men in this world, than any other man that ever lived in it.” While the modern-day cycling journey was our mode for remembrance, the sentiment of gratitude was real. The brief break from cycling to tour the jail marked an opportunity to reflect on our heritage and witness historical events. Everything about Carthage was real, hallowed.
To symbolize the return of Joseph and Hyrum to Nauvoo to be buried, we reversed course and rode back to Nauvoo. As we were nearing mile 100, fixating on the Nauvoo Temple, I was filled with an indescribable joy and light confirming that the Restoration with all its appendages, especially temples, was real, even sacred! Now past the temple, as we slowly rode down the placard-lined Trail of Hope en route to our finish line, a message caught my heart. Newel Knight said, “Here we all halted and took a farewell view of our delightful city. … We also beheld the magnificent Temple rearing its lofty tower toward the heavens. … My heart did swell within me.”
Brother Knight, me too! Temples, regardless of their location, are real! Make the necessary sacrifices to go.
—Skye Root, Summerset Ward, Boise Idaho West Stake
The Trail of Hope—the path the Saints took to the Mississippi River as they began their final journey west—has since been turned into a monument of plaques, complete with excerpts from the journals of those in the company describing their feelings and experiences leaving Nauvoo.