Sunday, September 11, 2016

THE KEY. 9-11-16

These things I know: Joseph Smith is the Prophet of the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ in our day. The way to true happiness is through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. I love my Savior Jesus Christ with all my heart.

"And now I would commend you to seek this Jesus of whom the prophets and apostles have written, that the grace of God the Father, and also the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost, which beareth record of them, may be and abide in you forever. Amen." (Book of Mormon: Ether 12:41).


To you who I love, this is the story of Nauvoo – connecting families in the gospel from one bookend to the other – helping us all to remember the unbelievable price that was paid for us to enjoy the fruits of the gospel and how very precious it is. May we always remember and never forget how much we owe to those who laid the foundation of the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. And how much we owe to our beloved Savior who paid the infinite price for each of us.


In Nauvoo I lived practically next door to my 3rd-great grandfather Hiram Dayton. (His property is pictured above.) He lost 4 of his 8 children by the time he arrived in the Salt Lake Valley. He lost all his property to the mobs 5 times. But in his last testimony he said, "My wife and I have been blessed to have never seen a day of murmuring." He was stalwart in the gospel to his dying day.

When I returned to Utah I settled next to my Dad, Hiram Dayton's 2nd-great grandson, Leland Kay Dayton, and concluded my incredible mission in Nauvoo at this side of the bookend Pres. Hinckley described. My dad lost some of his children in various ways, but like Hiram, he never questioned the Lord or murmured. He was valiant in his faith to his very last breath one month ago.

BOOKENDS 9-11-16

President Gordon B. Hinckley said: "Today, facing west, on the high bluff overlooking the city of Nauvoo, thence across the Mississippi, and over the plains of Iowa, there stands Joseph's Temple, a magnificent house of God. Here in the Salt Lake Valley, facing east to that beautiful Temple in Nauvoo stands Brigham's
temple, the Salt Lake Temple.

"They look toward one another as bookends, between which there are volumes that speak of the suffering, the sorrow, the sacrifice,
even the deaths of thousands who made the long journey from the Mississippi River to the Valley of the Great Salt Lake."


Now I am living at The Seville, an independent living center in Orem, Utah, with my mom in a 2-bedroom apartment. It is an ideal situation for both of us.

As the stake president told me when he interviewed me, "Consider this more like a transfer than a release." Accordingly, I am daily rejoicing in my opportunities to share the gospel and bless the lives of others! I treasure this time with my mother and the opportunities that lie before me.


The next morning major decisions had to be made regarding my dad, to which I held important keys. That night, with family surrounding his bed, I told my dad who had just been placed in a rehab center that he had the choice to try aggressively to get well or to go forward to a new life on the other side of the veil. I assured him that we would be very happy and fully supportive of either choice.

Ten days later my dear father slipped peacefully away while my mother and I sat near his side. I'm so grateful that I was privileged to be there at that time.


I felt such an urgency to get home that I left three days after I talked to the mission president. I had a very sweet welcome home, staged by Aimee's, Marilee's, and Christy's families in the Utah area.


My Rendezvous cast gave me a farewell party and honored me as I played for Rendezvous for the very last time. I said goodbye to missionaries I had grown to love so deeply.

I didn't have enough money to pay the $500 change fee for my daughter Aimee who was flying out to drive back with me. Nevertheless, by the end of the day several thoughtful missionaries who knew nothing of my plight had quietly slipped $600 into my hands - another Nauvoo Miracle.


You're probably wondering what happened to me. I haven't written for 6 weeks. So much has happened that I hardly know where to begin.

Five days after my last post, on Friday, July 29, 2016, I left my beloved Nauvoo Mission for a new assignment. My 92-year-old father's health suddenly deteriorated to the point that he and my mother needed continual help. At the same time both my brother and sister who lived nearby moved from the area.

Through fasting, prayer, attending the temple, and counseling with my mission president, the Lord made it very clear to me that I had completed all He sent me to do in Nauvoo. I was now needed at home - to help my parents prepare to cross the veil.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

The Pageants 7-24-16

The Nauvoo and British Pageants are spectacular. I love watching them whenever I can. The missionaries get to go up and sing "Called to Serve" with the cast at the end of the British Pageant. I'm on the second row left end.

All the Quorum of the Twelve were sent as a body to preach the gospel in the British Isles. There were thousands of converts who then came to America to help build the temple in Nauvoo. The impact they had on the Church is amazing!

Let the Show Go On! 7-24-16

Here are Sarah and Christina with some of their cousins and the Young Performing Missionaries. You can also see me in the orange apron dancing with them on Main Street.

Welcome Paul & Mari! 7-24-16

After our nice pleasant summer weather, this week has been a heat wave. I guess it makes us appreciate how nice it has been. The best thing that happened was having Paul, Mari, their children and some extended family here to visit Nauvoo. We had such a wonderful time together!

Here we are at Carthage Jail. Isabelle loved Pioneer Pastimes!

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Lighting the Way. 7-17-16

As I walked to Missionary Training Meeting this week, I took this beautiful picture with the Christus statue behind Joseph and Emma Smith. It's so wonderful that Christ can light the way for all of us if we will let Him.

Wagon Tours. 7-17-16

The hour-long wagon tour that I narrate one day a week got changed this week. I got to do the very first wagon tour on the new schedule on Tuesday, July 12! We did some tweaking, and I really love it! Now the tour is less than a half hour and more people can ride.

Beautiful Nauvoo. 7-17-16

The weeks are flying, and things are in full swing here in Nauvoo. What a thrill it is to watch the Nauvoo Brass Band, the Young Performing Missionaries, the 2 Pageants, the special vignettes and shows, Sunset by the Mississippi, Rendezvous, the Country Fair, and more. There is such a special spirit here! Everyone loves it! Nauvoo is certainly all its name suggests - a beautiful place!

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

The Bullocks 7-10-16

My sister Mary came at the end of the week with Steve and Monica. They loved Nauvoo, and how we enjoyed our time together. Truly our families make life heaven on earth!

Melissa's Family 7-10-16

Melissa, Slate, and their four children arrived on Monday afternoon, and what fun we all had together! The Webbs joined us, and we all went on a 3-mile handcart trek, watched the young performing missionaries, and visited the pageants and sites. We even caught some beautiful sunsets along the Mississippi River.

The 3 Ms! 7-10-16

This was the magnificent week of the 3 M's! Marilee arrived with Laneia and Natalie last Friday, and we had such a wonderful time together! I took Natalie to the Family Living Center where she tied rugs, while Marilee and Laneia did baptisms. After the British Pageant we met the director who played Matt's 2nd-great grandmother in "Seventeen Miracles."

Touched by an Angel. 7-10-16

Then I did wagon tours. When I came back to the depot after the first ride, there was a note on the counter. It said that I had a flat tire and that a visitor on the next wagon was willing to help fix it.

I looked at my tire, and it was completely flat. Then as I was getting ready to do my next wagon tour, I noticed that another man and his son were out using their compressor on my tire. He said it might not hold the air, but he did what he could. I was so grateful.

When I returned from my wagon tour, there was a note for me in the depot that said: "Found the nail, plugged the tire. Raymond." I was so touched. Sure enough the tire was fixed! How often do you find someone who is a complete stranger who is willing to do something so thoughtful for someone - with no recognition?

A Week of Heaven 7-10-16

Hi Everyone. It has been an amazing week!
Monday morning was the 4th of July, which started with a flag raising ceremony at the Visitor's Center and the Nauvoo Brass Band.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Visit from Marilee! 7-3-16

My daughter Marilee Webb and her daughters Laneia and Natalie came to visit Nauvoo. They arrived late Friday night. We have had so much fun visiting all the sites and shows and just hanging out. I love them so much! Hope you've had a great week too!

Celebration! 7-3-16

What a wonderful week it has been! Monday we had the Martyrdom Commemoration in Carthage. It was beautiful and very moving.

Tuesday was my birthday, and so many people remembered me! It was really special. My friends the Blacks brought over a surprise birthday cake. My companion Sis Rollins put matches on it, since we didn't have any candles. They worked great! I even made a wish and blew them out - and we didn't catch the house on fire!

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Mission Choir. 6-26-16

Today was our last Mission Choir performance for awhile. We will be taking a break in July. We sang "Praise to the Man" in honor of the martyrdom commemoration tomorrow at Carthage. It was a very difficult arrangement, but the choir did a magnificent job with a lot of help from the Lord.

During the meeting the mission president was impressed to change it from the middle of the program to the closing hymn. It was a powerful spiritual ending to the meeting for all of us. I'm so grateful for the incredible man Joseph Smith was and for all he sacrificed to bring forth the Restored gospel of Jesus Christ.

Hannibal Trip. 6-26-16

This week I went to Hannibal, Missouri with some of the single sisters. It has been a few weeks since I went anyplace on a preparation day. We had a great time seeing the Mark Twain sites, and Sister Cook met a man who was really interested in learning about the Church! He even came to Nauvoo to check things out.

Nauvoo Connections. 6-26-16

I met some Goodman relatives this week - Quinten & Tim Goodman who are descendants of Lyman Curtis and Lynn Goodman, Ralph's brother. They were wonderful people. I also saw David Eldredge who was in our Sandy ward. He now lives near Mark in Columbus, Ohio. What a small world!

Shoo Fly!!! 6-26-16

Speaking of my nose, I had a really funny thing happen on Tuesday. Remember the old lady who swallowed a fly? Well here's what happened to me!

I was playing the piano for our Rendezvous show. It goes so fast that I can't look away for a moment without losing about 16 measures. Well, as I was playing a fly lit on my face. For one entire song it crawled all over my face, which tickled like crazy. I could hardly stand it, but I had to keep playing. Then it crawled up my nose! I don't know how I made it through the song, but somehow I did. Yuck!

Summer Sun. 6-26-16

Hi Everyone. It has been a wonderful week! Tuesday I got the stitches out of my nose. The doctor said that over the next couple of months it should look completely normal!

I did buy myself a hat to protect my nose from the sun.