Tuesday, Sept. 2, 2014

10 significant LDS Church history sites you might not know about (10 items)

By , Deseret News

May 13, 2014

Kenneth Mays, who works as an instructor in the Church Educational System and serves as trustee for the Mormon Historic Sites Foundation, remembers taking his first photographs as a hobby in 1985. Since then, it's turned into "an out-of-control passion."

Tens of thousands of pictures later, Mays has amassed a collection of LDS Church history photos from around the world.

Mays, who teaches church history courses at LDS institutes, said he has never taught the exact same lesson twice.

"I started taking pictures and then I said, 'Well, I can use them in the lessons,' " Mays said. "It's a hobby that turned into something that I can use to teach church history. ... I can always take something new and infuse it into the lessons."

As he travels, Mays receives much of his information from locals and ward historians who know the areas and are eager to share their knowledge.

Mays has shared his photos and stories with the Deseret News through the weekly feature "Picturing History" in the Mormon Times section.

Many of the photos Mays takes are of lesser-known church history sites. A list of 10 of those sites was published in 2011.

Here are 10 more sites that may not be well-known to church members but are nonetheless significant to the history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, with photos and information provided by Mays.

1 of 10. Erie Canal

Shown here in Rome, New York, the Erie Canal was monumental in the economic development of Palmyra, New York, and the publication of the Book of Mormon in 1830.

When Palmyra was designated as a canal stop, Mays said that the city was given a very bright future.

During that era, economies boomed in cities that served as canal stops, due to their need for businesses like hotels, restaurants and blacksmiths, which accommodated travelers and businesspeople.

One such business was a bookstore and printing company opened by Egbert "E.B." Grandin. The canal allowed Grandin to float his equipment and supplies into the city for 90 percent less than traditional overland methods, and Joseph Smith was able to use the printing press to print and publish the Book of Mormon at an acceptable cost.

2 of 10. Stannard Quarry

The Stannard Quarry in Ohio is one of several quarry sites from which stone was taken to build the Kirtland Temple in 1836.

The site, located two miles away from Kirtland, down present-day Highway 306, was frequented by workers, including Joseph Smith, during the construction process.

Mays said that tourists who travel to Kirtland are usually not aware that the quarry site is so close to the temple.

Additionally, once at the site, many tourists take time to walk along the raised, wooden path and to read the memorial plaques, but overlook a square-shaped pond, which was the deepest part of the quarry. The pond’s shape indicates that it was, perhaps, where most of the stone came from.

"Because it’s filled with water, we don’t think about (it)," Mays said. "The quarry was really deep; it’s just full of water, so you don’t see it."

3 of 10. King James Bible translation site

"A huge percentage of King James translators either were educated at Oxford and Cambridge, or they taught there, or both," Mays said. "Dozens of them were there, so it was very historic."

Of the 39 constituent colleges at Oxford, Mays mentioned that Merton College should be of particular mention among students of the Bible. Mays said that most of the Bible translation process likely occurred between 1605-1609.

During that time, Merton College warden Henry Saville invited one of the six translating committees to this room — his living quarters at the time — to work on their portion of the Bible.

The books translated in this room included the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John), Acts and Revelation.

More information about the translation of the King James Bible and its translators can be found at kingjamesbibletranslators.org.

4 of 10. Lorenzo Snow birth home

The birth home of Lorenzo Snow and the childhood home of his sister, Eliza R. Snow, is located in Mantua, Ohio — about 25-30 miles away from Kirtland. It is also close to Hiram, Ohio, where Joseph Smith lived for about a year.

The second floor of the Snow home is a later addition to the building, while the original main level remains intact.

The residence is currently owned by a man who is not LDS who Mays said has taken LDS visitors through the home "countless times."

Many years went by before several members of the Snow family became converted to the gospel. Eventually, Eliza would become the second Relief Society general president (1866-1887) and Lorenzo would serve as the fifth president of the church (1898-1901).

5 of 10. Perlea Moore gravesite

Just a mile or so away from the Snow home is the gravesite of Perlea Moore, which is located at a cemetery in Mantua Center, Ohio.

Though Moore died at a young age in 1843, Mays said an interesting fact is included in her cemetery records: "She provided the pillow when Joe Smith was tarred and feathered."

Moore's headstone is shown lying horizontally on the lawn in this picture.
1. chuckelder
Prairie Grove, AR,
May 14, 2014

Another good one is the gravesite and memorial to Parley P. Pratt, located near Rudy, Arkansas. It is just a stone's throw off interstate 540 between Ft. Smith and Fayetteville, Arkansas. There is a nice memorial to him and the grounds are peaceful and well-maintained.

2. MaryJ
Neillsville, WI,
May 14, 2014

Here I come again, Kenny Mays. You are still missing a significant church historic (not site) area - The Wisconsin Pineries.Come here so you can take pictures and learn all about the Mormon Logger Missionaries who harvested the timber not only to build the Nauvoo temple and Nauvoo house, but most likely most of the homes in Nauvoo. Not only that, the first baptismal font IN A TEMPLE in this dispensation was built of Wisconsin Pine!! There is also the possibility that the first covered wagons were constructed of the lumber that was left over from building the temple.

3. MacKayJones
May 14, 2014

Brother Mays' weekly feature is one of my favorite parts of the Mormon Times.

4. DUPDaze
Bakersfield, CA,
May 14, 2014

Don't forget that Eliza R. was married to the Prophet Joseph (1842-44) and then to Brigham Young until 1877.

Hope Mays tells all of our history in his courses and has pictures of Mountain Meadows in his archives and curriculum. That sad site almost wasted away by willful negligence until the John D. Lee and Fancher-Baker families made restitution and then fought for the sites' historic marker status. Thankfully, Pres. Hinckley came on board finally and offered Church support and monies to preserve that 1857 site from total ruin, about 40 miles west of Saint George, near Enterprise, Utah.

5. cj2018
May 14, 2014

For those interested in finding more sites, I came across a web site that is privately run, for which the creator is seeking verifiable stories and photos to contribute to his existing archive of LDS historical sites. Of course, if you're planning a family vacation or you just want to learn of these sites, it's a great web page to check out. The owner of the site clearly states that it is solely his creation and that it is not an official page of the LDS Church. He simply wanted to post the over 500 photos he had stored of various spots he had discovered over the years. I don't think I can give the full link here, but simply search for ldshistorysites.com, and it should come up in any search engine. Have fun. The pictures are wonderful.