Growing up, my mom and I became super-sleuths when it came to finding old ancestors in graveyards. We spent many a summer--in both rain & shine, daylight & pitch blackness--combing through the graveyards of Delaware, searching for family members to further our genealogy efforts. We've come to know the thrill of actually finding a passed-on relative.
This must have worn off on me over the years, because I have come to love cemeteries. (Weird, I know! Just bare with me on this one :). I've found them to be places of peace & reflection, and I often find myself strolling through, looking at the names & wondering about the life stories. Who was this person? Who loved them? Who left the flowers?
I remember reading a quotation by Joseph Smith, found on a monument in the old Nauvoo Cemetery (I believe by the grave of Edward Partridge...but don't quote me on it!). Where he said a man's grave is a sacred place. Maybe it's that sacredness that I feel when visiting, but I often feel on hallowed ground, instead of being weirded out, depressed, or any other of the emotions hollywood often encourages us to have.
SO--imagine my delight today when Rob took me to the Salt Lake cemetery to search out the graves of Prophets. Now, I thought we would be driving up to a "Prophet Cemetery" (much like Brigham Young's--small, and clearly marked), but oh no! This place was HUGE! Probably the biggest cemetery I"ve ever been in. We ended up spending over an hour just driving/walking around, searching for familiar names and just exploring the area. Rob was the best at spotting cool people (he found 8, I only found 1--W.W. Phelps). AND, besides actually enjoying the search & find method, he also wanted to take pictures. I was thrilled! :)
So, without further ado, here are the graves of some of the greatest men who have walked the earth in these latter-days. It was a complete honor to visit each of their graves & pay my respects (especially President Hinckley's).
J. Golden Kimball...the "Mark Twain" of Mormonism ;)
Heber J. Grant--7th Prophet
Pictures at President Gordon B. Hinckley's gravesite. He passed away recently, but was the Prophet, and great spiritual leader who led me through my teenage years, and most of my early adulthood. I love that man.
David O. McKay--the great educator (I went to the David O. McKay College of Education at BYU), he was also the 9th Prophet)
Joseph F. Smith--6th Prophet, and son of Hyrum Smith (brother of Joseph Smith). Probably some of my favorite life-stories come from this particular President of the church :)
Wilford Woodruff--4th President of the Church, and amazing missionary to Europe! He is also the Prophet who had a vision of the founding fathers & performed their temple work. Kept a journal everyday of his life! W.W. Phelps--great Mormon poet, wrote many of our most loved songs. Just learned this past Sunday that he left the church & played a key part in spreading lies about Joseph Smith & having the mobs attack the saints of Missouri. When he came back, he asked Joseph to forgive him, which he did. Phelps later when on to write "Praise to the Man"--a song honoring Joseph Smith, and one of my favorite hymns. Also, on the back of Phelp's grave, were the words to one of the most beautiful hymns we have--If You Could High to Kolob I've decided that next time we go (as we weren't able to find Porter Rockwell, quite a few other prophets, or Bruce R. McConkie), that we need to bring a Church History, or D&C Manual! There were so many names we saw, or huge monuments, where we knew the name was familiar, but couldn't place who they were. It'd be fun to learn the stories as we walked through!