One of the highlights of my summer was spending time at Historic Kirtland. I am from the suburbs of Cleveland, Ohio, which is about one hour from the Historic Kirtland sites. If you haven’t ever attended Historic Kirtland, I would highly recommend it. I know the Kirtland sites have a lot of visitors each summer who make their way to each of the church history sites. If you haven’t been, definitely put it on your “Places to Visit” list.
Sister missionaries are specifically assigned to the Kirtland Visitor’s Center. I had the opportunity this summer to shadow the sister missionaries who serve there. It was incredible to study with them and teach with them on the tours. I have visited Kirtland at least once every year since I was old enough to remember. It was neat to put those facts and stories I heard so many times to use on tour with visitors. I was the one teaching this time, but boy did I still learn a lot! On the tour, we begin by showing a 20 minute video that narrates the tragedies and triumphs of the Saints’ time in Kirtland from the perspective of Ann Whitney, the wife of the first Bishop of the Church, Newel K. Whitney. Newel K. Whitney had been praying for Joseph Smith to come to Kirtland, and one day in the winter of 1831, Joseph Smith walked through the door of the Whitney store, shook Newel K. Whitney’s hand, and said, “Brother Whitney, thou art the man! You’ve prayed me here, now what do you want with me?”
Throughout the tour you get to go inside the Newel K. Whitney store, the Whitney’s home, the Johnson Inn, the Sawmill, and the Ashery. It is really incredible to see how generous and charitable the Whitneys were, not only to Joseph and Emma Smith, but to all of the people in Kirtland.
It was in the upstairs of the Whitney store that sections 84-98 and section 101 of the Doctrine and Covenants were revealed. Joseph Smith worked on a large part of the translation of the Bible in the Whitney store (the upstairs was converted into several rooms for the Smiths, including an office for Joseph). Jesus Christ, Moses, Elias, and Elijah all appeared in the Kirtland temple. The Kirtland temple is where Elijah came and restored the priesthood keys.
Doctrine and Covenants 38:32 says, “ Wherefore, for this cause I gave unto you the commandment that ye should go to the Ohio; and there I will give unto you my law; and there you shall be endowed with power from on high.”
There is definitely a special spirit at Kirtland. It has been a great experience to spend many days of my summer there. I’ve definitely been taking advantage of the last few days I have here in “the Ohio.” It’s neat to live so close to where some really special things in the Church history occurred. Have you ever visited Kirtland? Or have you been positively influenced by another Church history site?