“What a Thrill”: Over 400 People Attend Annual Nauvoo Exodus Commemoration

Contributed By the Church News

  • 21 February 2019

Members and missionaries walk down Main and Parley Streets in Nauvoo on February 2, 2019, to commemorate the 1846 Nauvoo Exodus. The flags represent many of the nationalities of those who lived in Nauvoo in the 1840s.  Photo courtesy of Bruce Cornwell.

On Saturday, February 2, 2019, over 400 people attended the annual commemoration of the pioneer exodus from Nauvoo that commenced on February 4, 1846.

The relatively balmy winter temperatures provided a perfect setting for the day’s events. Participants started the day at the Family Living Center, where they enjoyed a continental breakfast with hot chocolate and cider. President Mark Lusvardi, the Illinois Nauvoo Mission president, welcomed everyone to Nauvoo, after which Susan Sims, the area public affairs director, gave remarks reminding all present of the sacrifices of the pioneers and why the commemoration was important.

In 2002, President Hinckley rededicated the Nauvoo Temple and encouraged members to walk the Trail of Hope to the Mississippi River. Read about the inspiring moment here.

The crowd then exited the building to participate in the walk down Main and Parley Streets to the Mississippi River. The Nauvoo Legion, marching to the beat of a solitary drummer, led the way, followed by others carrying flags representing many of the nationalities of those who lived in Nauvoo in the 1840s. Teamsters with wagons were next in line, with missionaries, members, and visitors walking right behind. Parade members wore name tags bearing the names of pioneer ancestors to honor them in their march.

The commemoration culminated on the banks of the Mississippi River where Ben Pykles, curator of Church historical sites, delivered a short address. He spoke of the legacy the pioneers left for us today and quoted the following from the May 1842 Times and Seasons newspaper: “Our children will rise up and call us blessed; and generations yet unborn will dwell with peculiar delight upon the scenes that we have passed through, the privations that we have endured; the untiring zeal that we have manifested; the insurmountable difficulties that we have overcome in laying the foundation of a work that brought about the glory and blessings which they will realize.”

What a thrill it is to see the fulfillment of that prophecy.

—Sister Crump, Illinois Nauvoo Mission

Members and missionaries ride wagons down Main and Parley Streets in Nauvoo to commemorate the 1846 Nauvoo Exodus. Photo courtesy of Bruce Cornwell.

The Nauvoo Legion leads the walk down Main and Parley Streets in Nauvoo to commemorate the 1846 Nauvoo Exodus. Photo courtesy of Bruce Cornwell.