Shortly before leaving for my mission in February 2003, my father took me on a trip to a place I had always wanted to see—Nauvoo, Illinois. I was eager to see the newly dedicated temple, the Smith’s mansion, and all the other places that remain in the city the early Saints had built. Perhaps we would also be able to tour Carthage Jail.
As we made our way farther north, snow began to fall, and by the time we reached Nauvoo, we found ourselves in the middle of a blizzard. The temple was open that night, allowing us to go in and feel the wonderful Spirit there.
We checked into a hotel, and by morning our car was half buried in snow. The world had all but shut down from the blizzard the night before. My heart sank as I knew I would not get to see the rest of the city. Digging our car out of the snow, we made our way back to Nauvoo to see all we could.
As we suspected, all was shut down, and no tours would be available. However, the Lord had something else to teach me. We gazed across a barren Parley Street, where more than 150 years before, hundreds of wagons were lined up to leave the beautiful city.
I realized that we were there the very weekend the Saints would have begun leaving. On that bitterly cold morning with the wind howling and snow falling so hard, I developed a great respect for the early Saints and the sacrifices they made. How grateful I am to them for enduring trials so we can enjoy the blessings of the gospel today. Since that day I have decided I would not take back the lessons I learned there for anything I would have enjoyed in better weather.
I love this gospel and pray that we may all press forward as did the early pioneers.