Tag Archives: religion

Westward Ho, Siouxland, Mormon Trail Center Historic Winter Quarters, Omaha, NE

12 May

The Morman Trail Center at Historic Winter Quarters tells the story of the Mormon people after they left Nauvoo, IL and headed west eventually reaching Utah and the gives an accounting of the people and the journey to their selected sacred site, Thursday, April 5, 2018 in Omaha, NE. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

On a recent visit to Omaha, NE I came across the Mormon Trail Center, Historic Winter Quarters museum that tells the tale of the Mormons westward travels from Nauvoo, IL when residents there forced them to leave and look elsewhere to settle. I am always amazed at the pockets of history around and near Siouxland, although I shouldn’t be. At one time Iowa and the region was just a prairie and part of that westward expansion. Mormon missionaries guide you through the museum and exhibits helping you to understand their tale of reaching Utah and Salt Lake City which would become their mecca and a place of religious tolerance.

Sister Millet, 2nd from the right and Sister Price, right, are part of a group of Mormon missionaries doing their service by giving tours to those visiting the Mormon Trail Center at Historic Winter Quarters, Thursday, April 5, 2018 in Omaha, NE. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A bust of Joseph Smith on display at the Mormon Trail Center at Historic Winter Quarters, Thursday, April 5, 2018 in Omaha, NE. The photograph in the background shows the Mormon temple built at Nauvoo, IL because the Mormons were forced to leave. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A painting depicting the Mormon journey west hanging in the Mormon Trail Center at Historic Winter Quarters, Thursday, April 5, 2018 in Omaha, NE. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Like any settlers heading west the Mormon people encountered obstacles in reaching their destination. The Winter Quarters museum explains how the majority of people stayed put two to three years while Brigham Young and other leaders continued west looking for the place to settle that Young had seen in a vision. The missionaries put into context the travels along with what else was happening in the U.S. during that time period. The Kanesville settlement in what is now Council Bluffs, Iowa became a early provisions emporium which also helped outfit other settlers heading west, including a number of “49’ers” headed to California to find their reward in gold, as opposed to the Mormon’s spiritual reward.

Traveling from Nauvoo, IL and heading west, a brief description of the Mormon trek heading west and through Iowa seen at the Mormon Trail Center at Historic Winter Quarters, Thursday, April 5, 2018 in Omaha, NE. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A map showing the location of each of the camps of the Morman Trail Center at Historic Winter Quarters, Thursday, April 5, 2018 in Omaha, NE. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A display showing the settlement around Council Bluffs and Omaha during the Mormon trek to Utah on display at the Mormon Trail Center at Historic Winter Quarters, Thursday, April 5, 2018 in Omaha, NE. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

History to me is always fascinating. People’s spiritual beliefs are more in common than not, it’s just that sometimes in getting to the same spiritual heaven, we find ourselves on different footpaths getting there.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Revisiting Solitude in Siouxland, Sacred Heart Monastery

2 Sep

While up in Yankton, South Dakota, recently, I attended an annual community celebration which I still need to post. But after that event, I took time to revisit the Sacred Heart Monastery and the Bishop Marty Chapel located in Yankton. A place of quiet, most times solitude, and one of reflection, this time I recorded scenes in B&W. I find that black and white images most times distills the image down to its essence. What that means, I will leave to philosophers. But there are times I find that B&W does not distract the viewer as color may sometimes do. But again, that’s all in the eye of the beholder. So many cliches, so little time.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Finding meditation in Siouxland, Mary Hill

28 Oct

While out driving about one day I came across a sign to what I thought was the little community of Mary Hill. But in fact, it is Our Lady of the Fields, a shrine dedicated to the Virgin Mary. After making the trip to my original destination, I stopped at Mary Hill on my way back home. And that is where I made the discovery of the road signs directing one to Mary Hill, one of which said it was 2 miles while the other said it was 1 mile. And the signs themselves, presumably made by the same road department are within a mile of one another. And my trip there found the actual mileage lay between 1 and 2 miles, more like 1.25 miles from the main road.

The shrine area from what I gathered originally had a church built there in 1905, but was subsequently destroyed by a storm in 2006. The shrine came afterwards. There is still a former school on the grounds. Sitting out in the country, it is a quiet place to ponder and reflect and scan the countryside and feel as though one is in the presence of God. Even though to me when I am in nature I believe that presence is always there without the added bells and whistles. Still, it is a nice stop to find by happenstance and to take time to just enjoy the moment, the solitude and to remember the little idiom, “There but for the grace of God, go I.”

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Siouxland Religion, no matter how small, Winterset

15 May

Recently I drove to Winterset, Iowa, located in Madison County, where the “famed”  covered bridges are located and came upon a small church. The Primitive Baptist Church outside of Winterset doesn’t have a founding date on its sign near the roadway, but gravestones in its cemetery dating to the late 1800’s would indicate it’s been active for some time. The Primitive Baptist Church is a small group of Christians desiring to honor God in a simple way, as explained on a website about Old School Baptist religion. I had traveled during the week, so was not able to attend its service which a website states occurs on the 1st, 4th and 5th Sundays of each month. I always find it more interesting if you are able to meet people and learn something about a place when traveling, although, one may never know what you might encounter.

The simplicity of the building and the “unadorned” cemetery speaks to the simplicity about the church and its followers, praising God without a lot of visual and outright trappings, honoring him and Jesus much as early Christians must have done before churches became a bigger business. Finding the church sitting off the road was a nice little find. A place to pull into and walk around to enjoy the quiet and solitude before jumping back onto the highway and into stream of life.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

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