Journeying Through the Restoration: A Tour of the LDS Church’s Historic Sites

Sacred Grove Church history tour

The history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) is rich with stories of faith, sacrifice, and perseverance. From the humble beginnings in upstate New York to the global presence it has today, the church has left its mark on the world. One of the best ways to learn about this history is by visiting the church’s historic sites. A tour of these sites can be an amazing experience that not only educates but inspires as well.

The LDS Church has a number of historic sites scattered throughout the United States. These sites document significant events in the history of the church, and they offer visitors a unique opportunity to learn more about the faith and the people who have helped shape it. Some of the most notable sites include the Sacred Grove in Palmyra, New York; the Kirtland Temple in Kirtland, Ohio; and the Nauvoo Temple in Nauvoo, Illinois.

The Must See Sites

The Sacred Grove

The Sacred Grove is where Joseph Smith, the founder of the LDS Church, saw the Father and the Son in the spring of 1820. The grove is a peaceful and beautiful place that is open to visitors year-round. Standing in the Sacred Grove, surrounded by the natural beauty of the area, it’s easy to imagine the young Joseph Smith having his life-changing vision.

Kirtland, Ohio

The Kirtland Temple was built in the 1830s and served as the headquarters of the LDS Church during that time. The temple is an impressive structure that still stands today, and it is open for tours. Visitors can see the beautiful stained glass windows, the intricate woodwork, and the unique architecture of the temple. The Kirtland Temple is also significant because it is where many of the early revelations and ordinances of the church were received.

Nauvoo, Illinois

Nauvoo, Illinois, was the home of the LDS Church in the 1840s. The city was founded by the Mormons, and it quickly became one of the largest cities in Illinois. The Nauvoo Temple was built during this time, and it was the first temple built in modern times. The temple was destroyed in 1846, but a replica has been built on the original site. Visitors can tour the replica temple and learn about the history of the original temple and the early days of the church.

Bringing History to Life

One of the great things about visiting these historic sites is that it allows you to connect with the people who lived during these times. It’s easy to read about Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, or other early church leaders, but visiting their homes, their temples, and their places of worship brings their stories to life. You can walk in their footsteps and see the places where they lived, worked, and prayed. This creates a powerful connection that is difficult to replicate in any other way.

In addition to the historic sites themselves, there are many other things to see and do in the areas surrounding them. Palmyra, for example, is a beautiful small town that has many interesting shops and restaurants. Kirtland is a suburb of Cleveland, and there are many museums and other attractions in the area. Nauvoo is a charming town that is full of history and interesting architecture. All of these places offer visitors a chance to learn more about the history of the church and the people who lived it.

Take a Tour

A tour of the LDS Church’s historic sites is a journey through the Restoration. It’s a chance to learn about the faith and the people who have helped shape it. It’s an opportunity to see history come alive and to connect with the past in a powerful way. Whether you’re a member of the LDS Church or simply someone who is interested in history and religion, a tour of these sites is an experience that you won’t forget.

If you’re interested in visiting the LDS Church’s historic sites, there are many resources available to help you plan your trip. The church’s website has information about each of the sites, as well as suggestions for lodging, transportation, and other activities in the area. There are also many tour companies that specialize in LDS Church history tours, and they can help you plan a trip that is tailored to your interests and needs.

In conclusion, a tour of the LDS Church’s historic sites is a unique and rewarding experience that everyone should consider at some point in their life. It’s an opportunity to learn about the faith and the people who have helped shape it, and it’s a chance to connect with the past in a powerful way. So if you’re looking for an educational and inspiring journey, consider taking a tour of these historic sites. You won’t regret it.

Top 5 Reasons You Should Visit Yellowstone National Park with Your Family

yellowstone national park

Planning a family vacation can be a daunting task, especially when trying to cater to everyone’s interests. However, one destination that effortlessly combines adventure, education, and relaxation is Yellowstone National Park. This iconic American landmark is not just the first national park in the U.S., but also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here are the top five reasons why Yellowstone should be your next family vacation destination.

1. Unparalleled Wildlife Viewing Opportunities

One of the most compelling reasons to visit Yellowstone National Park with your family is its abundant wildlife. The park is home to over 60 species of mammals including grizzly bears, wolves, elk, bison, and moose. It’s one of the few places in the U.S where you can see such a diverse range of animals in their natural habitat.

The Lamar Valley and Hayden Valley are particularly renowned for wildlife viewing. Early morning or late evening drives through these areas offer excellent opportunities for spotting animals. Remember to keep a safe distance from all wildlife and never feed them.

2. Breathtaking Geothermal Features

Yellowstone National Park boasts over half of the world’s geothermal features – an astonishing 10,000-plus! These include geysers, hot springs, mud pots, and fumaroles (steam vents). The most famous geyser in the park – indeed in the world – is Old Faithful which erupts approximately every 90 minutes.

The Grand Prismatic Spring – another must-see – is renowned for its vibrant colors caused by bacteria living around its edges. These geothermal features not only provide awe-inspiring views but also offer an excellent opportunity for kids (and adults!) to learn about geology and ecology.

3. Hiking Trails for All Ages and Abilities

Yellowstone National Park offers over 900 miles of hiking trails, catering to all levels of fitness and experience. From easy walks along boardwalks to challenging backcountry hikes, there’s something for everyone.

The Geyser Hill Loop Trail is a family-friendly option that takes you past several geysers, including Old Faithful. For a bit more challenge, the Mount Washburn Trail offers panoramic views of the park from its summit.

Remember to carry bear spray, stay on designated trails, and maintain a safe distance from wildlife while hiking.

4. Educational Opportunities

A trip to Yellowstone National Park is not just fun but also educational. The park’s visitor centers offer interactive exhibits on the area’s geology, wildlife, and history. Junior Ranger programs are available for kids aged 5-13 years old where they can learn about the park in an engaging way and earn a badge.

Moreover, ranger-led programs such as guided walks and evening campfire talks provide fascinating insights into the park’s ecosystem. These activities make learning fun and foster an appreciation for nature among young visitors.

5. Unforgettable Family Bonding Experience

Lastly, but most importantly, visiting Yellowstone National Park provides an unforgettable family bonding experience. Whether it’s marveling at a geyser eruption together, spotting a grizzly bear in the wild or roasting marshmallows around a campfire – these shared experiences create lasting memories.

Disconnecting from technology (cell service is limited in many parts of the park) allows families to connect with each other and nature in a meaningful way.


In conclusion, Yellowstone National Park offers an unparalleled combination of natural beauty, wildlife viewing opportunities, outdoor activities, educational experiences and family bonding moments that make it an ideal destination for your next family vacation. So pack your bags (and don’t forget the binoculars!), because adventure awaits at Yellowstone!

Special thanks to my friend Jason who lives near Yellowstone and owns Kaboom Carpet Cleaners for his input on this list.…

Discovering Turkmenistan: 10 Enchanting Places to Explore


Nestled in the heart of Central Asia, Turkmenistan is a country that beckons travelers with its unique blend of ancient history, rich culture, and stunning landscapes. From the expansive deserts to the awe-inspiring architectural marvels, Turkmenistan offers a tapestry of experiences for those seeking an off-the-beaten-path adventure. Here are 10 beautiful places to visit in Turkmenistan that will captivate your senses and leave you with lasting memories.

  1. Darvaza Gas Crater: The Door to Hell

Our journey begins at the Darvaza Gas Crater, a surreal and mesmerizing natural wonder often referred to as “The Door to Hell.” Located in the heart of the Karakum Desert, this massive fiery pit has been burning for decades. Originally a natural gas drilling site, it collapsed into a cavern, leading scientists to set it ablaze to prevent the spread of methane gas. The result is a perpetual flame that illuminates the desert night, creating an otherworldly spectacle.

  1. Ancient City of Merv: A UNESCO World Heritage Site

Step back in time as you explore the ancient city of Merv, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that served as a major oasis along the Silk Road. With its well-preserved ruins, including the imposing Sultan Sanjar Mausoleum and the elegant Kyz Kala fortress, Merv is a testament to the country’s rich history. The city’s strategic location made it a hub for trade, culture, and scholarship in the medieval Islamic world.

  1. Kow-Ata Underground Lake: A Subterranean Oasis

Escape the desert heat by visiting the Kow-Ata Underground Lake, a hidden gem located within a massive limestone cave. The lake’s warm, mineral-rich waters are said to have therapeutic properties, making it a popular destination for locals and tourists alike. Take a dip in this subterranean oasis and marvel at the unique experience of swimming beneath the earth’s surface.

  1. Nisa Archaeological Site: Ruins of the Parthian Empire

Delve into the ancient past at the Nisa Archaeological Site, the remnants of the capital of the Parthian Empire. The site features well-preserved fortresses, temples, and royal residences, providing a glimpse into the opulent lifestyle of the Parthian rulers. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Nisa offers a fascinating journey through Turkmenistan’s historical legacy.

  1. Yangykala Canyon: Nature’s Masterpiece

Embark on a scenic adventure to the Yangykala Canyon, a geological wonder that showcases nature’s artistic prowess. The canyon’s vibrant hues of red, orange, and yellow create a surreal landscape that seems to be painted by an unseen hand. As the sun sets, the canyon transforms into a canvas of ever-changing colors, offering a breathtaking panorama that leaves visitors in awe.

  1. Turkmenbashi Ruhy Mosque: A Modern Architectural Marvel

In the coastal city of Kipchak, the Turkmenbashi Ruhy Mosque stands as a testament to modern Turkmen architecture. Named after the country’s first president, Saparmurat Niyazov (Turkmenbashi), this grand mosque is adorned with exquisite turquoise domes and intricate tilework. The mosque’s serene surroundings and panoramic views of the Caspian Sea make it a must-visit destination for those seeking spiritual solace and architectural beauty.

  1. Gonur Depe: Unveiling Bronze Age Secrets

For history enthusiasts, Gonur Depe is a treasure trove of archaeological wonders. This ancient settlement dates back to the Bronze Age and offers insights into the sophisticated urban planning and advanced civilization that existed in Turkmenistan over 4,000 years ago. Explore the archaeological site and marvel at the intricately designed artifacts that tell the story of a bygone era.

  1. Ashgabat: The White Marble City

The capital city, Ashgabat, is a dazzling display of white marble architecture set against the backdrop of the Kopet Dag Mountains. Admire the opulent buildings, such as the Independence Monument and the Neutrality Arch, as you stroll through the meticulously landscaped parks and gardens. Ashgabat’s modern skyline seamlessly blends with the country’s cultural heritage, creating a unique urban experience.

  1. Dehistan: Echoes of the Silk Road

Explore the historical region of Dehistan, which once thrived as a vital junction on the Silk Road. The ancient cities of Kunya-Urgench, Dashoguz, and Erbent boast well-preserved mausoleums, mosques, and caravanserais that reflect the region’s cultural and architectural significance. Wander through the labyrinthine streets and imagine the bustling trade and cultural exchanges that occurred in this crossroads of civilizations.

  1. Balkanabat: Gateway to the West

Our journey concludes in Balkanabat, a city known for its strategic location as the western gateway to Turkmenistan. Surrounded by the Ustyurt Plateau and the Caspian Sea, Balkanabat offers a serene atmosphere and a chance to connect with nature. Visit the Yangi Kala canyons and the mystical Gozli Ata Mausoleum to experience the spiritual and natural beauty that defines this western oasis.


Turkmenistan, with its diverse landscapes and rich cultural heritage, invites travelers to embark on a journey of discovery. From the fiery depths of the Darvaza Gas Crater to the ancient allure of Merv and the modern marvels of Ashgabat, this Central Asian gem promises an unforgettable adventure for those willing to explore its hidden treasures. As Turkmenistan opens its doors to the world, these ten beautiful places stand as testaments to the country’s unique charm and timeless allure.