Sunday, February 7, 2021

Israel Will Shortly be Free...


Today in Sacrament meeting we finally were able to sing the hymns.  I was so excited, as I have terribly missed singing in church. The opening song was Redeemer of Israel. (one of my favorite)  We got to the third verse where is says, “our foes have rejoiced, when our sorrows they’ve seen” and it just hit me like a ton of bricks. We see these foes every day on the news, radio and internet. There are such foes who rejoice in our difficulties. Even causing more difficulties to their benefit, but the next line was of great comfort to me: “but Israel will shortly be free”.

We will be free, but during the time we live in bondage can be very difficult. Sometimes if feels that there is no end in sight, but we continue to pray, move forward in life and be thankful for what we have. We can all receive our personal messages from God to comfort us as some call it: personal revelation. This personal revelation helps us to make good choices when those difficult times are around us. (It even helps when there are no difficult times.)

These messages can come in many different forms such as an email, a phone call from a loved one, at work or talking to a neighbor. Part of this particular message came from Lin Wood, the famous attorney from Georgia. I edited it to fit my needs.

What can we do to help ourselves to not worry so much during this difficult time?

1.   1.  Pray, Pray, Pray.

2.  2. Protect ourselves, our families and our friends whether it’s in the neighborhood, at school or at family gatherings.

3.  3. Write members of the military and tell them you love the fact that they will never dishonor their oath to defend the Constitution, freedom and the People

4.   4. Turn off your television. Do NOT watch any mainstream media, movies, comedies, game shows or other meaningful mind junk. (We have stopped watching the news. It’s just too depressing.)

5.  5. Read books that are inspiring and helps to uplift us as human beings. (Including the Bible, Book of Mormon or any other uplifting scripture.)

6.  6. Organize your communities and neighborhoods for safety. Talk to leaders of your congregations at church, synagogues or mosques.

7.  7. And above all: Love all and forgive all, but always demand justice and righteousness.

8. Yes, Israel will be free and we will eventually live peaceably, but this Sunday afternoon, I have to keep the thoughts from above in my heart and move forward on in life.

Saturday, January 2, 2021

The Evidences of Living a Lie


If you are one to follow CNN, MSNBC,  ABC, NBC CBS and now even Fox News at times, then you are not getting the clear, honest picture of what is really going on in this country. January 6 2021 is one of the most important days of our lives. As a people of the United States of America, we are equipped with the power to demand an election without corruption. Everyone has their own story of how they realized they were not living in the same place their great grandparents had lived. Here is one story from someone who wants to remain anonymous:

“Sometime during the middle of 2003, my mother-in-law showed me a documentary, Alex Jones' 911 The Road to Tyranny. At the time I thought maybe half of what he was saying might be true, so I started doing research... It wasn't this that woke me up, but this was one of the events that led to me waking up. It sure did open my mind.

Early in 2004 I began to take notice of the Presidential race between George W. Bush and John Kerry. This was going to be the first time I had ever voted. At the time I was leaning towards Bush because I knew I didn't like the ideas of the Democrats, but I still wasn't even sure if I supported the actions of the Republicans either.

As I was reading online a friend pointed me to a campaign website of a guy he knew that was running for office in Utah. It said that he was running as a 3rd party candidate with the Constitution Party. I had no idea what the Constitution Party was and at that time had little understanding of the US Constitution.

This Constitution Party candidate's site then led me to for more information about the party and their platform. As I read through the site I found various messages about freedom and a statement that said the Constitution Party (CP) is 'what the GOP used to be.'

Here's where my big 'aha moment' came; the moment of realizing that I was living a lie, that I didn't really know what freedom was, and I didn't understand the proper role of government. It was also a very spiritual moment for me. I read a story on the CP website titled 'Not Yours to Give.'

'Not Yours to Give' is the story of Congressman Davy Crocket and a constituent of his, Horatio Bunce. Mr. Bunce brought to Crocket's attention that he (and the other representatives) had usurped power and violated the Constitution by giving of the public money in charity (socialistic welfare). Crocket asked for this man’s forgiveness and strive to adhere to the Constitution from that point on. Something clicked in my mind as I read this, and began to start to understand the proper role of government.

This example was only the beginning. It was a powerful moment for me. I realized that there was so much I didn't understand about God’s intended role for government in our lives.”

For those who know how important the Book of Mormon is in these difficult times then you would appreciate this next paragraph:

 Ether Chapter 8 of the Book of Mormon:
“Wherefore, the Lord commandeth you, when ye shall see these things come among you that ye shall awake to a sense of your awful situation, because of this secret combination which shall be among you…For it cometh to pass that whoso buildeth it up seeketh to overthrow the freedom of all lands, nations, and countries; and it bringeth to pass the destruction of all people, for it is built up by the devil, who is the father of all lies…Wherefore, I, Moroni, am commanded to write these things that evil may be done away, and that the time may come that Satan may have no power upon the hearts of the children of men, but that they may be persuaded to do good continually, that they may come unto the fountain of all righteousness and be saved.”

This next section was written by Joel Skousen, a true patriot and nephew to Ezra Taft Benson who was President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints from 1984 to 1994. Joel has years of study and evidences of what is really going on in the  world:                                                                                         

Joel Skousen


“Critical analysis of current events is a complex process that is not systematized or rigid. All the information you see or gather is, generally, a combination of truth, half-truths, and error. Filtering out the truth begins with finding reliable sources, as well as critically scrutinizing sources that are known to have a specific bias.

We cannot understand how this world operates if we hold to a purely secular, evolutionary, or humanistic view. Even though the spiritual spectrum is mostly hidden to man on earth, its workings can be detected if one is sensitive to truth and if one avoids offending the source of all truth by chronic violations of conscience. 

With a lack of direct evidence and first-hand accounts of the ongoing conspiracy, we must rely on our own abilities to gather and analyze information to formulate a reliable picture of what’s going on in the world. The more accurate that picture is, the better prepared we will be to protect ourselves from the real threats that all of us will have to face."

 The above statements are key excerpts from an informative article by LDS investigative journalist Joel Skousen.   This link below will take you to it.

In my own experience, I have been taught from my parents who discovered the truth about the current events in the U.S. during the 1960s and what was really going on. Although I didn’t believe it then, I do now after doing my own study.   The United Nations was not a good fit for the United States in 1945 but joined then which now has its consequences. The act of removing prayer from public schools from the likes of Madalyn O’Hair has haunted public schools since this decision. Taking the Ten Commandments away from public buildings, the removing of religion during Christmas and Easter are all the tell tale signs of losing our freedoms. There are conspiring men in secret societies that want to make a one world order to take our freedoms away completely. When will the people of the U.S. wake up and demand we cut ties with China (specifically the Chinese Communist Party). We would be on better ground because according the goal of China by 2030 the goal of private property or ownership of personal items anywhere will be gone.

It’s not too late. Call, write emails or mail snail mail to your state and national leaders. Tell them that you want the U.S. Constitution to reign supreme in this great country. Study those truths so we can never live a lie.

The Fight For Freedom

This is a fight; a fight for freedom as we know it!! Do we want a new normal?  No! Do we want others to control every aspect of our lives? No!! We want honest and true elections without corruption.  We want our livelihood and our leisure with our families saved from corruption and control. We are the people of the United States. Our forefathers fought the King of England for independence. Our families fought the evil tyrants of World War I and II for our freedoms to continue. We can fight this obstruction of justice and burdensome control over our lives.  We need to retain our rights according to the U.S. Constitution.

From a trusted patriot about personal experiences of interest:  “In my lifetime (1938 to the present), the United States of America got into WW2 officially due to a conspiracy involving President Franklin D. Roosevelt and some of his military staff and civilian “advisors” that provoked the Japanese to attack U.S. forces on the Philippine Islands and on Hawaii on 7 December 1941. 

 America declared war against Germany and its allies in WW2 supposedly to protect Europe and Great Britain from Germany and to save China from Japan.   But I have since become convinced that the real reason was to protect the Soviet Union from defeat and create the formidable enemy to freedom that it became and still is.  

 At the end of that war, American traitors (I calls ‘em as I sees “em) gave the Soviets all of Eastern Europe, Manchuria, the Kurile Islands, the Chinese port of Darien, the northern half of Korea, and half of Germany.   In Yugoslavia, they guaranteed the success of Communism by throwing America’s weight behind the Stalinist Tito in his fight against the pro-Western Mikhailovich.  

Traitors in the U.S. State Dept. clandestinely supported the Communist forces of Mao Tse-tung in their war against Chiang Kai-shek's Nationalist forces and actively worked behind the scenes to bring about the Communization of China.  Under leadership of the American traitor Alger Hiss and the Russian Molotov, the United Nations was created and its Secretariat was staffed with Communists from the United States Department of State.  The Soviets were given three votes in the General Assembly, compared to one for the United States, and it was agreed further that a Soviet national would always be in charge of UN military activities, which led to betrayals of Americans fighting in the Korean War. 

Algeria was pushed into the Communist camp by support of Ben Bella. Certain Americans helped Castro to power in Cuba and, later betrayed the anti-Castro invasion force at the Bay of Pigs.  In Korea and Vietnam, we denied our military forces the option of victory.  In the case of Vietnam, as some of you may remember, American aid was regularly sent to Communist countries that were sending military aid to North Vietnam.   Americans supported the Sandinista Communists in the takeover of Nicaragua. American traitors gave the Panama Canal to a pro-Soviet dictatorship.  America has been bilked of billions of dollars in foreign aid to our most bitter enemies around the world.  

Americans built much of Soviet industry and have given them high technology for their nuclear strike force. When they could not pay, their debts were forgiven and passed on to the American taxpayer.   American government have condemned anti-Communist regimes in Africa and Latin America allegedly for violations of human rights, but then invited to the White House and publicly embraced many Communist dictators in the world, no matter how bloody their mitts. And, while freedom fighters battled Soviet tanks in Hungary, Afghanistan and Poland, we gave the Soviets solemn assurances that we would not intervene and then sent economic aid to the very Communist governments which the people themselves are attempting to topple.   So many years ago now, all these and other events.   But they certainly form a pattern....hardly even a complete one, the truth of which should be made known, especially to Americans.” Ralph Hughes

No greater responsibility rests upon the citizens of this country then to protect our Constitution. 

We will protest or picket peaceably.  

We will not use violence or abuse.

We will rally together as a people; get off the couch and flood email inboxes, make telephone calls and mail letters telling our state and federal government that we demand a legal and honest election.

We as a people of the United States of America want our country back. As stated in our U.S. Constitution, we are entitled to our liberties and do not want Socialism, Communism, Fascism or any other form of government in these United States.  

We can take care of ourselves and protect our families. We will start standing up for our rights.

Remember, we don’t have to fight in hand to hand combat. We are not sent to foreign lands to kill other people. This has already been done for us by many brave men and women. The least we can do is take action in our own homes to save our liberties. 

President Trump won the election free and clear.  There is evidence that this is so. Seventy-Five million people agree as well.  We want President Trump to be our president for the next four years.


Wednesday, September 30, 2020

My Journey to Learn about the True Promised Land


Over the past ten years, I have been led on a journey which took me totally by surprise.  This journey strengthened my testimony of the Book of Mormon more than anything else in the world. I have read and studied this book from cover to cover countless times from 1981 to present day, and I know without a shadow of a doubt that it is “Another testament of Jesus Christ. What took me a step further in my testimony was the journey as to where the Book of Mormon lands are located. 

A view of the Nauvoo Temple from Zarahemla

2005: Fifteen years ago, my two oldest daughters attended college in Alabama: one at Auburn University and the other in Montgomery, Alabama (Huntington College). Many times we would drive up to visit them there which took 3 to 3 ½ hours each way. Driving back and forth presented a lot of time to think and ponder. Sometimes the Spirit would impress upon my mind interesting information. One of those being about some of the early people who lived in Alabama before the Europeans arrived.  I would see in my mind men running with girded loins and bare chests in and out of the wooded areas as I drove by.  I never really thought much of it until later on.

2014: During this year I started finding and watching some videos about the Heartland Model talking about Promised Land from The Book of Mormon being in the United States. This was an interesting idea as all I’ve heard was that the Book of Mormon lands were in Central America.  I never understood all of that information and it was confusing to me especially with the idea of having two Hill Cumorahs.  How can there be two Hill Cumorahs? There is no way to me that Moroni could drag all of those plates, sword of Laban and the Liahona from Central America to New York State. There must be more to all of this.

2015: With several weddings to attend in Utah, my family and I stumbled on a conference at the UVU Conference Center in Orem in April which promoted the Heartland Model. I know that nothing happens by accident and as I attended the conference I felt that I was being taught some Book of Mormon truths. After pondering the Heartland Model for ten years I felt that I really knew the people of the Book of Mormon and where they lived. I bought and read an interesting book called Prophesies and Promises by Bruce H. Porter and Rod Meldrum which explained the whole Heartland Model in a very simple and easy to understand manner.

May 2020: After finding the Zarahemla site on Facebook, I contacted the site manager and asked if they were in need of volunteers to help with their expedition in August of 2020. We were planning a trip back east anyway, but had not made final plans. I was overjoyed to find that my services would be greatly appreciated and planned to meet this group in August in Nauvoo to help with writing their blog.

August 2020: My experience in Nauvoo, Illinois and Montrose, Iowa was a highlight of my life. The Lord was with us the whole way and we were able to learn about some of the point places of the Book of Mormon:

·         Both the families of Lehi and Mulek crossed the Atlantic Ocean

·         The place of Lehi’s Landing is Florida, near Pensacola.

·         The place of Mulek’s Landing is the Great Lakes Area

·         The Land of Nephi covers all the Tennessee and surrounding areas.

·         The River Sidon is the Mississippi River

·         The battle fought in Alma 2 between Amlici and Alma  was near Montrose Iowa and Nauvoo Illinois.

·         The Land of Zarahemla stretched from Nauvoo, Illinois to Montrose Iowa.

·         The Hopewell culture in the United States are the Book Of Mormon Nephites

·         The only Hill Cumorah is in New York State

·         The early Native American people living in the East, came from the East.

·         The United States of America is the Promised Land of the Book of Mormon

 Through these spiritual experiences and visiting areas on the Eastern side of the United States, my testimony of the Book of Mormon has been strengthened tenfold. I am learning more every time we study and read. I know the United States is the covenant Promised Land the Lord has guided the people of Jared, Lehi’s family and Mulek, the son of Zedekiah to live.  It is our beautiful United States and we should recognize how blessed we are to live in the Promised Land.

Riding the Mississippi River

 Our third day on the Expedition (August 5th) was spent on the Mississippi River.  We were with our Heartland Research Group on the boat “Truth” along with sonar equipment (using a sound ping sent to the bottom and coming back as a picture) expert Don Cummings. He was onboard to take more pictures of the bottom of the river.  

This time we had Don Blum and his diver brother and cousin with us. We were hoping for a human eye’s view from our two divers exploring the river bottom near where the crossing could have occurred over 2,000 years ago. This crossing is recorded in Alma chapter 2 in the Book of Mormon during the war between the Lamanites and Nephites. Finding this crossing would connect the ancient account to the geography on digital maps.


Two thousand years ago, even 200 years ago, the Mississippi River was crossable by foot at the harvest time of the year. Sitting on that boat it was hard to believe anyone could cross by foot but we tried to visualize what could have happened from our vantage point.   Before the Keokuk Dam was built in 1913, the rapids on the Mississippi River (called the Des Moines Rapids) were 12 miles long but only three feet deep. Since 1913, the river had risen 18 feet and that area of the Keokuk bend was difficult to imagine anyone crossing by foot. Gone are the little islands shown on a late 1800 map. Gone are the areas which could have been crossed so long ago.

 From the boat outing the day before, Don Cummings along with Mike Baker found three key areas where this crossing could have occurred. The first is called Sandusky and with the sonar scans, it was the most likely place for our divers to explore. The nature of the limestone as a horizontal ledge at the Keokuk Gorge at Sandusky would have been much shallower before the dam was built.

We also had Don Blum with us who has over 40 years experience as an explosive expert for a good part of the Mississippi River.  Before he even got on the boat he talked about the dangers of diving down into the Mississippi.  According to many divers, the Mississippi river is the most dangerous body of water to scuba dive into. It’s murky with very limited visibility and has whirlpools that catch divers who can lose their sense of direction. Then there are the leftover grappling hooks from past fishing excursions which can grab onto arms or legs and not let go. There are also many large logs which are hard to see with 150 pound catfish, snapping turtles and snakes swimming around, all creating a most dangerous place to dive.

Then we learned about Don’s experience blasting rock on the Mississippi River and how the Keokuk Gorge area, which have layers of limestone and is one of the hardest rocks ever blasted in his 39 years of blasting. Once blasted into pieces, these boulders called “riprap” are used to protect the banks of many rivers from erosion. From the Missouri River to the Moline River in Illinois to the end of the Mississippi river in New Orleans, barges of riprap are sent down the river to be used as protection from disintegrating river banks.

Our time on the river was an adventure as the wind blew and the waves pushed against the boat. It was time for the divers to go down to see if they could find that limestone ridge. Once in the water, the visibility under the water was just too difficult to see anything.  Even with underwater headlights, it was too dangerous to go any farther.  It was a great disappointment to us all, but there was nothing we could do.

With this experience now behind us, our divers will get another chance to go again in the future. Using 3D sonar and more powerful lights, the chances will be better to pinpoint a location to search and find the original banks of the river.  We will find better visibility and another time of the year would be better with little waves and no wind.  We will look forward to another excursion to ride down the Mississippi River and find the ancient crossing.

Mounds of History

 If you have ever traveled the eastern side of the country from Alabama to Michigan, you might have seen large areas of fields or woods that have mounds of dirt covered with grass that stand over 15 feet high. Some are not that high, but smaller mounds in wooded areas.  If you have been lucky enough to find these cherished burial grounds of an ancient people, you should call yourself very blessed.

  There are some places on earth that are so sacred, you cannot take a picture of it nor tell others of your experience.  They don’t fully understand what you have felt and many times make fun of what they don’t understand. Our visit to the Nauvoo Ancient Mounds on Tuesday’s (August 5th) excursion was a sacred one. It was life changing.


Walking along these burial grounds, one can feel a sacredness not matched in most places. Two thousand years ago the early ancestors of today’s Native Americans lived there along the banks of the Mississippi River. Roaming around these mounds, gives most people a feeling of serenity and peacefulness. It is believed that these mounds are a part of the Hopewell culture of 550 BC to 400 AD and are like “grave stone marker” that we would use today. Some believe this ancient mound area is the famous Hill Amnihu from The Book of Mormon’s Alma, Chapter 2.  I’m one of those believers.


When the care takers, Jennice and Wilson Curlee first started to clean up the area of the Nauvoo Ancient Mounds, it was discovered that some of the mounds had been looted and disrupted, leaving the mound partially open. There is a special ceremony to restore these mounds and the Curlees were able to organize enough people to replace these open mounds.


 First, the mound was cleaned for the dirt to be filled. A special material is laid in the spot for the soil. Then soil is brought by dump truck and piled close by to use for the fill. Then bucket by bucket in a bucket brigade, people placed the soil to recover the mound.


With much study and research, this special place along the Mississippi River was discovered to have many burial mounds. The early pioneer Saints of 1839, who settled there, leveled some of those mounds without knowing who was buried there before their arrival. There are many more mounds which have been discovered on the hill top of the Nauvoo Ancient Mounds since then and are kept safe with cemetery status from the State of Illinois.

Close to the Mississippi river where they laid Joseph and Hyrum Smith’s body along with their parents and Emma Smith, was discovered a Nephite burial ground. There are mound sights all along the Mississippi river on the Illinois side in Albany, East Dubuque at Granmercy Park and at the Little Maquoketa River Mounds State Preserve.


 There is one special burial mound which was discovered back in 1834. During the months of May and June of 1834 Joseph Smith led more than 200 men on a trek called Zion’s Camp from Kirtland, Ohio to Clay County, Missouri. It was an unsuccessful attempt to regain land from which the early members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were expelled by non-member settlers. It was on June 3rd while passing through west-central Illinois

 near Griggsville, that some bones were uncovered from a mound.  Through personal revelation and inspiration, Joseph Smith identified these bones belonging to a white Lamanite and chieftain-warrior named Zelph. It was also told that he was a “thick set man of God”. There was a sharp arrowhead stuck in his side near his ribs. According to the story, one of his thigh bones was broken apparently by a stone flung from a sling while in battle years before his death. He was killed in the battle during the last great struggle of the Lamanites and Nephites.

There is so much history living in these mounds. Peoples’ lives were lived with families in times of peace and in war. There is so much we don’t know about those who lived so long ago, but we can revere these burial grounds. One day we will meet those who lived in this area and they will have wonderful stories to tell.

The Curlees continue to treat the mounds with reverence and hope to preserve the entire site of the hill for the future.  They believe that this ridge or hill outside of Nauvoo is the ancient Hill Amnihu as mentioned in Alma chapter 2, and that the mounds and ancient fortification are located on that hill. Visitors are welcome to walk through the land and see the mounds located about 2 miles north of Nauvoo on Sycamore Haven Drive and feel for yourself about this sacred place.

 Nauvoo Mounds

Thursday, August 13, 2020

The Expedition Begins....


Have you ever thought about those family members who have gone on before you were born? You’ve never seen a picture of them but you are sure they exist from the stories told about them. Then you find evidences of these family members, like pictures or letters they wrote and you know for sure that they exist.  Knowing this gives you great comfort.

It’s the same with Zarahemla.  Zarahemla is the largest, ancient city of the Nephite nation written about in The Book of Mormon. We know it exists as we read about it in the Book of Mormon, but where is it?  Monday, August 3rd, was the first day of the Heartland Research Group’s expedition to find the river crossing from Alma Chapter 2 which will point us in the right direction in finding the city of Zarahemla.

The Heartland Research Group is made up of a group of very special people. John Lefgren, the organizer, one of the main thrust of the group, our quarterback you might say, educated in economic history, keeps us on task to accomplish our goals. Then there is Wayne May who is an authority on ancient North American archaeology, publisher of Ancient American Magazine who manages the 14-acre site where the ancient Nephite temple lot sits.

Jeff Green is next and he owns and is the captain of the pontoon boat “Truth” getting us out there on the Mississippi River. Kevin Price is onboard as our leading scientist in imaging, remote sensing and geographic information as well as many years in botany study. Dave Holmes came aboard as our investigative reporter, digging up as much information as he could. Don Cummings came with his sonar scanner equipment which was a big part of finding this crossing as he could take sonar pictures of the bottom of the river and find the best places where divers can check it out. Mike Baker, a retired U.S. Marine was onboard as our Field Operations Manager driving us all forward.

Then Ryan Sorenson and his wife Melanie were there as our videographers. There were other support crew as well with a lot of knowledge and enthusiasm:  Betty and Mike Lafontaine, keeping us fed with great lunches and in tune with her beautiful flute music and Jennice and Wilson Curlee, caretakers of the Nauvoo Mounds. There were other great supporters who came in families cheering us on.

The Heartland Research Group met on the Zarahemla temple lot to prepare for the search on Monday morning (August 3rd).  Our boat name “Truth” was made ready and the maiden voyage started. The waters were choppy but Truth made its way up and down the Mississippi River to start the search with the scanning machine brought out by Don Cummings.

This scientific tool allows us to see and measure the topography of the river bottom. These scanning technologies are non-invasive and uses sound to record what is on the bottom of the river. Once we were done with recording these scans on Wednesday, we would know where to direct the two divers coming Thursday morning to take a look on the bottom of the river. We are searching for the crossing from Alma chapter 2. 

After the “Truth” was launched, those on the Zarahemla Temple Site in Montrose, Iowa had their first lesson in “rod dowsing”.  Rod Dowsing is a type of divine gift using two L shaped metal

rods held in your hands which can locate ground water, buried metals or ores, gemstones, oil, or gravesites. Wayne May is the expert in this interesting phenomena and taught us all how to do it. Interestingly enough, Oliver Cowdery (one of the Three Witnesses to the Book of Mormon) had this gift as well. This revelation given to Joseph Smith for Oliver talked about the “gift of working the rod” in the Book of Commandments Chapter 7 verse 3. Using the power of God to work the rods, along with the faith of the user, many remarkable things can be discovered under the ground. We all tried it and it was amazing.

While still at the Zarahemla Temple site, children of all ages, parents and other adults gathered Spotted Bee Balm flowers. This wonderful plant was discovered by Kevin Price to have great medicinal properties. They are growing in abundance on a berm (long, narrow mound of earth) on the Zarahemla Temple site one mile from the Mississippi River. Amazingly this plant loves sandy soil and was discovered growing precisely on this 14-acre site. It is a mystery to many.  How could sand be in a place that was a mile from the Mississippi River?  Who put the sand there so it could grow?  I can’t imagine early farmers dragging wagon loads of sand.  More research will be done these next few weeks to see exactly how medicinal these special plants are and how our modern society can use the oil to keep ourselves healthy.  Stay tuned.

There is so much in the earth to discover and the blessings of the Book of Mormon written by faithful, powerful men along with their faithful women who lived so long ago, leave us their testimony of their experiences and faith.  They leave behind a great legacy of truth. The Book of Mormon just came to life for many in Montrose that day.

Thursday, July 23, 2020

What do Brigham Young’s Spyglass and the City of Zarahemla have in Common?

For the quick answer: “they both were lost”.
Replica of Brigham Young Spyglass

For the explained long answer: According to the ChurchHistory section of, Brigham Young used a collapsible brass and leather spyglass which was popular in that day.  On President Young’s first trip to the Salt Lake Valley in 1847, he used this spyglass to scout the trails ahead, search for game and watch for danger. In May of 1847, while the Pioneer Saints were still on the plains of central Nebraska some of their cows wandered away getting too near a buffalo herd.

From the Church History Website: “Concerned that the cows would run away with the herd, Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, and Thomas Woolsey chased after them. They were able to turn the cows back, but Brigham lost his spyglass in the confusion. The three men made a careful search but could not find it.”

Company member Thomas Bullock reported that on the next day they encountered thousands and thousands of Buffalo . . .”marching directly in our path going the same way as the Camp. There were such a mass of living blackness that the Van Guard could not see the Prairie beyond them.
Knowing that Brigham Young was upset about the loss of his spyglass, Porter Rockwell and several others returned to search for it. William Clayton recorded, ‘About four p.m., Porter and the others returned, having found the spy glass which was a source of joy to all the brethren.’ Miraculously, the spyglass was intact and undamaged, despite the thousands of buffalo that could have trampled it.” Quite the miracle.

On the other hand, Zarahemla was destroyed by fire, as written in 3 Nephi chapter 8, later rebuilt and then lost. In the last five years, the Heartland Research Group has made great strides in recovering what looks like to be the Zarahemla Temple grounds and the City of Zarahemla itself located in Montrose, Iowa. This is truly a miracle as no one ever thought anyone would ever find Zarahemla just like Brigham Young never thought he would ever find his spyglass after that herd of buffalo trampled their way through Nebraska. The best explanation of the Zarahemla Temple found is in this video:

Miracles do happen when we are on the Lord’s errand. We are inspired to never give up and do our best. Our testimonies are strengthened of a loving, kind Heavenly Father and for the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ.

More Mississippi Crossings in Early Church History

For the next two weeks, the Heartland Research Group will be gearing up for their great expedition to find the crossing of the River Sidon where Alma and Amlici fought each other alongside their armies. The Amlicites together with the Lamanites wanted to make war on the Nephites headed up by Alma.  This great story from Alma Chapter 2 in the Book of Mormon talks about the armies crossing the River Sidon to fight until one side won. From my prior post of Crossing the River Sidon, we learn that the Mississippi River is the River Sidon. Since Nauvoo sits on the banks of the Mississippi River, there were several other crossings of this river by early members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints before the Saints left Nauvoo in 1847. Learning of these crossings adds interest to the Heartland Research Group search for the earlier crossing in 90 B.C. What is exciting to many is the understanding of where the great city of Zarahemla is located according to Joseph Smith’s revelation in the Doctrine and Covenants (Section 125 verse 3) and to those researching the Montrose, Iowa area within the Heartland Research Group.

Joseph Smith and Joe Duncan
To understand the whole story of one early crossing of the Mississippi, we must understand some of the difficulties Joseph Smith had during the time living in Nauvoo with his wife, Emma and their children. He was falsely accused many times of crimes he never committed and this particular time was no different. Taken from Rod Meldrum’s book.” Exploring the Book of Mormon in America’s Heartland, we learnOn August 8, 1842, a Warrant was served by Governor Carlin for the arrest of Joseph Smith and Porter Rockwell who had been charged with the near fatal shooting of Gov. Lilburn Boggs. Joseph and Porter went into hiding, knowing their innocence and that this was just another attempt to thwart the work of the Lord.”

Another interesting element is the story of Joseph Smith’s horse that was given to him by Moses Martin.  Moses Martin came from a wealthy family in Tennessee. Moses and his wife, Amanda, were converted to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and helped settle Nauvoo. He also owned a beautiful horse but as the story goes; this beautiful horse was spirited and unruly so much so that Amanda was afraid to take care of him when Moses went away.  One day, Joseph Smith approached Moses and said to him, “Brother Sanders, give the horse to me and I’ll promise that you will never lose by it.”  Moses Martin replied, “I would, but I am afraid that he may hurt you.”  Then the Prophet said, “No, he would never hurt me.”  So Moses tossed him the rope and said, “His is yours!” (

Joseph named the horse Joe Duncan after the unsupportive former Governor of Illinois and the horse never did hurt Joseph. It was widely known that Joseph traveled everywhere on that horse, so what happened next was interesting.

On August 11 of 1842, Joseph left Nauvoo and spent a little time with his Uncle John Smith's in Zarahemla. The reference to Zarahemla is again taken from the Doctrine and Covenants and in August of 1841 became a stake of Zion in Iowa. (It was discontinued in January of 1842) Joseph’s Uncle lived there and he went to visit him crossing the river from Nauvoo. The story continues: “On the night of Thursday, the 11th of August in 1842, he left in a skiff with Brother Erastus H. Derby to an island on the Mississippi between Nauvoo and Montrose where they were met by Emma, Hyrum, William Law, Newel K. Whitney, George Miller, William Clayton and Dimick B. Huntington.

Joseph’s visitors stated to him the current report that the Governor of Iowa had issued a warrant for his apprehension and that the sheriff of Lee County was expected any hour to execute it.  The situation was critical and Joseph’s immediate removal from his Uncle John’s seemed necessary. It was decided that the Prophet should proceed to the house of Edward Sayers in Nauvoo and abide there for a time.  The next day William Walker crossed the river from Nauvoo into Iowa, riding the Prophet’s well known horse Joe Duncan, to lead the gathered officers and kidnappers away from the area that Joseph was on the Nauvoo side of the river.

“This stratagem was conceived to trick the Sheriff and his Deputies.  From Dean C. Jesse’s The Papers of Joseph Smith, in the Illinois journal states,” Accordingly Joseph’s new horse which he rides was got ready and Wm. Walker proceeded to cross the river in sight of a number of persons.
 The next day, “A report came over the river that there were several small companies of men in Montrose, Nashville, Keokuk, etc., in search of Joseph. They saw his horse go down the river yesterday and were confident he was on that side.” The Mississippi River was shallow enough on this late summer day to ride a horse across it at this location.” Exploring the Book of Mormon in America’s Heartland by Rod Meldrum pg 80-81

Imagine the Mississippi River being shallow enough to cross by horse!  Imagine two armies of people fighting like dragons as they cross this river.  It happened so long ago and the story continues as the Heartland Research Group explores the Mississippi River in Montrose Iowa during the first week of August.  Stay tuned.

Chief Keokuk: Link to the Past

By Valerie Steimle with John Lefgren

During the 1830 census, it was established that 105,060 Indians were living on tribal lands, east of the Mississippi River. Keokuk, Chief of the Sauk Tribe was one of those Indians. In that same year, Andrew Jackson signed the Indian Removal Act which authorized the President of the United States to make treaties with the Indians to exchange lands east of the Mississippi River for lands west of that river. Because of this treaty, 100,000 Native American’s were relocated to the west.
Picture taken by SM Baer.  Used by permission
Soon after the signing of the 1830 Removal Law, Keokuk understood that the Indians had no chance of winning any battle against the white settlers. Knowing this, he determined that it would be better for his people to negotiate with the Federal Government rather than go to war.
Chief Keokuk was a master at negotiations and knew he could get the best terms in exchange for his people’s eastern lands. He negotiated annual payments in gold and silver for the lands which made him popular with not only his own people but with the white settlers who didn’t have to fight with the Indians.

Chief Keokuk moved his tribes several times and always acted as an ardent friend of the Americans, visiting Washington, Philadelphia and Boston. He was a great orator and was very conscious of his public image. Some of the leading artists of that day painted Keokuk as a model of a good Indian Chief. One such painting was a mural in the LDS Mesa Temple wall where the stairs lead to the second floor. The story behind the mural is an interesting one:

In August 1841 Keokuk and 100 other chiefs camped for several days across the river from Nauvoo.  A few years before, Keokuk had briefly met Joseph Smith when he received a copy of the Book of Mormon. During the first week of August representatives from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints crossed over to Iowa to meet Keokuk. They made detailed arrangements for a social event for Keokuk and more than 100 fellow Chiefs together with their wives, to meet Joseph Smith and his people in Nauvoo.

The Indians and the members of the Latter day Saints agreed on the details for an all-day event that was to be a summer festival of diplomacy including food, music, and dance. The Indians would bring their drums and the Church members their brass band. The arrangements were clear and agreeable to both sides. On the appointed morning of Thursday, August 12th, the Ferryman took two flatboats and one ferry over the river from Nauvoo to Montrose to get the Indian guests whose total number was greater than 200. Joseph had pre-arranged for the city's brass band and a military unit to greet the arrival of this large group of Indians. These guests were at the time some of the most significant leaders of Native Americans in the country. Keokuk had a great sense of drama and after he and his people came to the Nauvoo landing they remained on the ferry and flatboats.

Keokuk asked where was the leader of the Mormon Church. (as was called back in that day) The welcoming committee said that Joseph Smith was waiting for them up the road in the grove. Keokuk said that he would not get off the ferry except that Joseph Smith was there to greet him in person. A messenger immediately went to get the Prophet and after a short time, Joseph and Hyrum came down to the landing to welcome Keokuk and his fellow Chiefs and their wives to Nauvoo.

For the rest of that day, there was a summer celebration in the grove. Church members offered the visitors their best "dainties" and fresh melons along with their brass band and singing. The Indians entertained the Church members with their drums and dancing. This was a very significant event for both the LDS Church members and the Indians. For Joseph Smith, this was one of the most important social events of his life. He made a speech to as many as 500 people when he announced that God had revealed to him that the Book of Mormon was an account of the fathers of Keokuk and his fellow Indian chiefs. Joseph Smith declared this as a direct revelation from God and thereby confirmed the truth of the Book of Mormon that it was "written to the Lamanites, who are a remnant of the house of Israel." The giving of his testimony to those Native Americans was very important for Joseph Smith. Keokuk was the living embodiment of the people of the Book of Mormon.

An account of the day's activities was placed in the documentary history of the Church. The children of some of those members who were there would be so influenced by the telling of Keokuk's visit to Nauvoo that when the Mesa Temple was built in the 1920s, an artist created the mural that was used on the wall with the stairs to depict the day of Thursday, August 12th, 1841, when Chief Keokuk and his fellow Chiefs came to visit Joseph Smith.