Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV


September 5, 2012

Faith for a journey in Independence, Mo.


Bravery and faithfulness-to-the-cause stories filter throughout the Mormon Visitors Center tour, always docent led.

So do questions, the kind with long pauses, suggesting no time is too much to wait for answers.

Questions like, “What do you think of the Temple sacrament that makes it possible for families to be united eternally?”

Different considerations across the street. The Community of Christ building soars in a spiral reminiscent of a nautilus seashell.

Organ recitals happen, daily in the summer, Sunday afternoons the rest of the year. 5,685 pipes, 102 ranks for this organ.

Daily is also the schedule for a 15-minute prayer for peace, wrapped within readings, hymns and some silence.

Docents guide tours here too, but you can also help yourself to “The worshiper’s path” booklet or ask for headphones for a self-guided audio stroll.

Etched glass, sculpture of copper, iron, steel, Ikebana-style floral arrangements, oil paintings eight by ten feet, Japanese meditation garden and other art too.

The tour adds consideration questions, like “How could balance be better achieved in your life, in your community…in the world?”

Elsewhere in Independence is the Midwest Genealogy Center with 70,000 reference books, 6,000 historical maps, 480,000 microfiche and census record categories including slavery, agriculture, mortality and manufacturers.

Talk about special niches. You can look at the papers of the Saint Louis Fur Trade, Southern antebellum industries and Native American and African American resources.

Building the family tree on a vacation with a purpose.

Walking the faith journey is an Independence possibility too. One mile with 14 plaques depicting key sites from the early settling days called the Missouri Mormon Walking Trail.

The City of Independence and a non-sectarian, non-profit group designed this tour and the booklet bubbles with history.

No theology-filled questions here. More the story of five missionaries from New York.

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