Friday, July 9, 2010
Day Four - Imagining
Part of the beauty of our assignment is that they let us in alone, with no tour group or guide. I have been gifted with a powerful imagination and in the quiet I could imagine Joseph standing in front of the fireplace and announcing the beginnings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I don’t know for sure where Hyrum and his father and Emma were in the room, but I put them in the front sitting beside where he stood looking up at Joseph. I listened to the pleased awes of the congregation and thought about how their joy would be mine. I walked upstairs to the bedroom Joseph and Emma used. This home isn’t a reproduction—it is the real home, the original place where they walked and talked and in the quite my imagination could hear the gentle banter of husband and wife as they readied themselves for bed.
But there was something more. The Whitmer farm is also the place where Mary Musselman Whitmer was shown the gold plates by a man she thought was Nephi, but most scholars think was Moroni. She was weary from so much work caring for her family and Joseph and Emma and all the visitor that stopped by to see Joseph. One day as she went out back to chop wood she was mired in discouragement and wondering how she could go on when a stranger with a knapsack over his shoulder approached her. He told her not to be weary, that the work Joseph was doing was very important and she should continue to do all she could to help. Then he took the sack from off his shoulder, opened it up, and lifted out the plates for her to see. After she had seen them, he put them back in the sack and started down the road. Stunned by what she had seen, Mary looked after him, but he was gone. I saw it all again today in my imagination, and when I looked up they were both gone.
There were many amazing things that happened at the Whitmer farm, but for me, a woman, that conversation is one of the best to remember.