There are times when I crave a spiritual experience. I love to search and read the scriptures, but sometimes I just want a physical place to go and feel uplifted. This is one of the reasons that I love to visit temples, even just to drive by, go to a visitor ?s center, or walk around the grounds. There is something about physically looking at them and knowing that they are truly a link to something so much bigger and better than this earthly life. And as crazy as it seems, I have had a couple of seriously amazing spiritual experiences in cemeteries as I have searched for the gravesites of ancestors as well. I know. Who would have thought that a cemetery could really be such an insightful place to feel the spirit?
Being a convert to the church, I recognize the importance of seeking out the Spirit. My husband and I are always looking for those small yet insightful opportunities and places where we can take our sons and let them absorb and learn to feel for themselves where the Spirit can testify things to them. Ours is a family that seeks out Church History sites, museums, cemeteries, cultural events, musical celebrations and any other occasion where we can learn about the struggles, strengths, experiences and testimonies of those that also share a love for the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
So, this past weekend, we headed to Utah for a family reunion and while we were there, we decided to see if we could visit the Salt Lake City Cemetery to find where some of our modern day prophets are buried. Well, the weather was so hot and even humid! We spent all day Saturday renewing ties with family and the reunion was wonderful and long ?and hot! Thankfully, there was an endless supply of water balloons!
When we got back to the home we were staying at, the exhaustion of the sweltering day was evident. Everyone, even our strong-minded five year old, was forced to shower away the sweat and grime of the day ?s wonderful activities. The real question lingered: Should we get up early and just head straight back to Idaho? The thought of searching a cemetery in the hot sun was enough to keep everyone in the air conditioned van and driving directly north on I-15. There was always another time. Or so I thought. And then, our sweet and tender ten year old asked, But what about the cemetery where the prophet is buried? ? And a child shall lead them. Thoughts of the heat and discomfort were no longer an issue. Those feelings had been replaced by that burning and desire to give our family an experience that was sure to be important.
Sunday morning, we headed to the city cemetery driving past the beautiful white temple and into the avenues. We entered the cemetery and parked the van in our first section of the burial grounds. Surrounded by endless views of headstones in all directions and with the sun directly upon us, each of us, armed with maps and cameras, began to explore the area.
There was excitement over the tombstones that we found. I relished in the sight of watching my children walk around taking in the facts that their father shared with them about a tombstone that they were questioning. I especially enjoyed watching our youngest walk and blow bubbles while looking at the stones with his older brothers.
Our journey through the cemetery continued with multiple trips of piling in and out of the van as we researched different parts of the spacious cemetery. By the time we found the burial site of our beloved prophet, Gordon B. Hinckley, the dearly loved prophet that my children knew as their prophet, our clothing was soaked with sweat, we were hot and thirsty and almost to the end of our 90 minute excursion.
I will never forget the thoughtful look in my children ?s eyes as they spoke about our prophet then as well as our current prophet, President Thomas S. Monson. A reverence and peace was present. The spirit had testified to each one of these sons of God in a different way. In a small way, I felt that I had succeeded that day as a mother in allowing this experience to happen. Yet, I know that it was by the true curiosity of a righteous ten year old that it did happen; thank you Noah.
The Salt Lake City Cemetery is the resting place of approximately 120,000 people and has many prophets and other Latter-day Saint scholars, general authorities, pioneers, and apostles buried there.
A clear and concise printable map is available to print off and makes the searching especially fun for kids. It labels many gravesites where the Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are buried.