Sometimes it just takes time. . . and the talents of the right person.
Sister Jan T. (Myrberg) Isaac, co-director of the Historic Kirtland Visitors' Center operated by the LDS church, recently finished a labor of love started many years earlier.
Her work on two portraits will be unveiled at 7:00 p.m. Sunday, August 25, at the Kirtland Temple Visitor Center operated by Community of Christ.
The portraits feature Sally Waterman Phelps (1797–1874) and Sarah Jackson Whitmer (1809–1873). The paintings complete “The Kirtland Temple Portrait Series.” It was started in 1997 by Henry K. Inouye Jr. He died before doing the last two of the 18 paintings, an artistic reproduction of originals painted about 1837. The original artist is unknown.
Officials say at least some—perhaps all—of the original paintings were displayed in the Kirtland Temple in the 1830s. Today, the reproductions are in the Kirtland Temple Visitor Center’s theater.
In the end, the Mississippi River wasn’t strong enough to overcome the love of dedicated staff members and volunteers who protected the Joseph Smith Historic Site from spring and summer floods.
Because of their sweat, dedication, and passion, no severe damage was done to historic properties in Nauvoo, Illinois. That’s not to say there wasn’t lots of worrying.
Apostle Lach Mackay, Community of Christ’s historic sites director, said the concerns began with March blizzards in the upper Midwest. The worry didn’t dissipate until the US Army Corps of Engineers said it was safe to remove flood-prevention structures in mid-July.
“For several months, heavy rain in the middle of the night meant getting up and starting the gasoline-powered pumps that supplement the electric pumping system for the Nauvoo House cellar,” Mackay said. “Once started, we had to put on life jackets and scale the levee to inspect the hoses and make sure they were not cutting through the plastic protecting the levee from erosion. We would also need to refuel the pumps as needed.”
The five pumps and plastic weren’t the only protective efforts. Workers used 125 tons of sand to fill hundreds of white, nylon bags and provide other protection.
Volunteers included members of the Community of Christ RV Association, World Conference delegates passing through Nauvoo on the way to Independence, Missouri, and 25 sister missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Combined, they raised the levee by two feet.
“We are extremely grateful for all of the help we received,” Mackay said.
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