Few religions are as misunderstood as America’s homegrown religion — Mormonism. First parodied in South Park, and later a subject of many films featuring missionaries on bikes, Mormons are all over the globe. Beneath the surface, Latter-Day Saints share a complex and fascinating history.
The real story of the religion is one of a faith that is rare, practiced in frontier towns and mapped by religious migration. Given that the story is also about curious travelers, what better way to understand it than with Navoo tours? One trip takes you to historic sites, memorials, temples and museums that illuminate the origin of the faith, its principle and its founders. The top attractions for visitors include:
Located in Finger Lakes, this town is the religion’s birthplace, having been Joseph Smith’s home. Joseph Smith is the founder of Mormonism. Sites in this town are such as his home and the publication site for the Book of Mormon. There is a monument, about 40 feet tall, where the founder talked with an angel and received instructions to translate the Mormon book. There is a visitor’s center where you get a visual tour explaining the life of Christ.
There is an annual pageant that happens in July where the Church of Latter-day Saints organize performances on the hillside of Cumorah. With the level stage lighting and stately sound, you get to watch an excellent team of more than 650 cast members showcase short stories covering topics like the vision of Jesus. It is free to get in and park there.
In 1831, Joseph Smith — together with his following — arrived in Kirtland. They lived there for six years before moving west in 1838. The leader wrote most of the religion’s doctrine in the northern parts of this town. Visiting Kirtland, you can enjoy history in a town that features an inn, sawmill, two farms, a general store, and a schoolhouse, refusing to move into the new age civilization. Many early Mormons worshipped at the temple in Kirtland.
In 1839, the moving parade settled in Nauvoo. The town fast grew to become the most populated by 1847. In 1846, Brigham Young left the town with a following, running from violent protests against their faith. Some members who remained reorganized themselves years later. This town has over 25 of the original shops and homes furnished with artifacts from that era.
As a visitor, you tour the place and watch a film on the Mormon roots of the town. You will see bread making, weaving, and blacksmithing demonstrations among other crafts. There are even wagons drawn by oxen and horses. The highlight here is a Women Garden monument that has kept a mansion, cabin and the gravesite of the founder who died in jail near the area.
Covenants and ordinances make the heart of any faith. They remind people who they are. Done right, they point you to your duty to God. Tours to see places of such rich history can serve as the reminder one needs of why they believe what they do.