Heartland & TruthSeekers Tour: Nauvoo Eclipse Header

April 1-11, 2024

$3, 195 pp

Hosted By

guide on Nauvoo Solar Eclipse tour
Russ Barlow
head and shoulders of Rod Meldrum in a suit
Rod Meldrum
solar eclipse tour guide
Dean Sessions

10 Day Tour Includes

Not included:

Itinerary

Arrive in Kansas City, Missouri International Airport. The group will meet at a hotel near the airport after flying in that day. 

We begin our Solar Eclipse tour by heading to the Strataca Salt Mine. There we head deep underground to learn about salt and the magnificent testimony it has for us.

Strataca Salt Mine

The mine itself has a history dating back to the early 20th century when it was actively used for salt extraction. Over time, portions of the mine were repurposed to create the Strataca Mine. Now, it also serves as a unique tourist destination that provides visitors with an opportunity to explore the vast underground chambers of an active salt mine. Additionally, the mine is known for its naturally occurring salt formations, and is one of the few places where the public can experience an underground salt environment. 

Features of the Mine

– Underground Tours: Visitors take guided tours through the underground chambers. As a result, they observe the mining equipment, salt formations, and learn about the history of salt mining in the region.

– Museum Exhibits: Strataca includes museum exhibits that showcase the geological and industrial aspects of salt mining. Overall, it provides insights into the importance of salt throughout history, as well as its various uses.

-Adventure Activities: In addition to the guided tours and exhibits, Strataca offers some tours and activites that include unique experiences. Such as a train ride through the mine, or other interactive exhibits.

Strataca Salt Mine offers a distinctive combination of education and adventure, therefore allowing visitors a unique opportunity. Both, by learning about practicalities and historical significance of salt mining, as well as doing so through exploring the unique underground environment Strataca offers.


Kansas City Area & Discoveries

The next two days has our group roaming the Kansas City area. Historically,  Joseph Smith once laid out a city with 24 temples, this is where the Garden of Eden was also located. We visit this area in our historical and spiritual journey. This location provides us a wonderful opportunity to talk about the significance of the United Nations Memorial. Primarily, because it was built right next to where the New Jerusalem Temple will be built one day.

Time Capsule

Before leaving the city for our next destination, we walk through a time capsule from 1856. Significantly, 1856 is the same year that the Martin and Willy handcart companies were stranded in the snow in Wyoming. Additionally, the time capsule offers us unique perspective into the daily lives, as well as practices of individuals in the region.

Steamboat Arabia:

Launched in 1853, the Arabia was primarily used for transporting cargo, passengers, and mail along the Missouri River. Unfortunately, the vessel met a tragic end less than a year later. Tragically, it struck a submerged tree in the river. As a result, this steamboat sank to the bottom of the Missouri river. Lost for more than 150 years, its recovery, discovery, and restoration offer us a unique learning experience. This is a first-hand look into the level of sophistication the Pioneers enjoyed.

To begin the day we visit Fishing river, amazingly where God showed His magnificent saving arm at Zion’s Camp in 1834. After this site, we see Far West; a place that the Lord dedicates as a “most holy site.” Finally, at Adam-Ondi-Ahman we enjoy the peaceful nature of the former Garden of Eden. Following, we return to our hotel for overnight.

Fishing River and Zion’s Camp
Zion’s Camp

Historically, Zion’s Camp was a marching expedition in 1834 whose purpose was to assist and provide relief to the persecuted Latter-day Saints in Missouri. While traversing the states of Ohio and Indiana, as well as Illinois, the participants faced difficult circumstances. Such as harsh weather and lack of provisions, including hostility from local residents. 

Fishing River

In June 1834, while camping near the Fishing River in Missouri, cholera broke out among the members of Zion’s Camp. As a result, several members of the expedition died, including Joseph Smith’s adopted son. Due to the outbreak, a reevaluation of the camp’s mission resulted. Eventually, the decision to disband was reached.

Although Zion’s Camp did not achieve its original objective, the experiences of Zion’s Camp holds a significant role in the history of the Church. Overall, playing a role in shaping the leadership and resilience of the early latter-day Saint community, as well as early apostles. Notably, these events leave a great opportunity to acknowledge the hand of God in the guidance, protection, and lessons learned in such a challenging period.

Far West

In 1836, Far West was established as a settlement by Pioneers of the Church. The community grew rapidly, and eventually intended as a site for the construction of a temple. However, these efforts of construction continuously were hindered by conflicts and ultimately never complete. The cornerstone of the Far West Temple was laid in 1838, however, due to escalating tensions with residents outside the Church, the area was forcibly abandoned.

Additionally, Church history records Far West as a place of revelation. For example, several key revelations and doctrines were received by Joseph Smith while residing in Far West. Some of these revelations are recorded in the Doctrine and Covenants. Addressing topics such as the gathering of the Saints, and the establishment of Zion, including duties of the Church and its members.

Ultimately, the Saints left Far West due to the “Extermination Order” commanded by the governor of Missouri at the time.

Adam-Ondi-Ahman – The Garden of Eden

The Doctrine and Covenants, specifically Section 116, states that Adam-ondi-Ahman is a place where Adam gathered and blessed his posterity. Also, the location is prophesied to hold significant future events. According to revelations and prophecies, Adam-ondi-Ahman plays a role in future events, including being the place where Adam meets with his righteous descendants and holds a council. Additionally, this council is thought to be a preparation for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

As the group anticipates the arrival of the total solar eclipse, we continue our journey of sacred sites. Friday and Saturday will be spent around Nauvoo. We will learn about the rich symbolism encoded into the Nauvoo temple and visit the Tomb of Joseph constructed near the temple site. We will also visit ancient Nephite sites and discuss the crossing of the Mississippi River in the cold winter of 1846.

Sites to Look Forward to at Nauvoo:
Historic Homes

Impressively, the Historic Nauvoo District houses more than 20 historic homes for visitors to explore. For example, the William Weeks Home, homes of the early apostles, the Mansion house, including many others! Easily, we could spend days here, which is why we offer time for free exploration as well as group guided exploration. Altogether, have the experience at historic Nauvoo that you wish to.

Main Street Trades

Through working with tin, leather, and paper, tradespeople sustained the economy of this swelling city along the Mississippi. In addition to a print shop and post office, see the historic Browning Gun Shop. Also, take the time to see the Stoddard Tin Shop, Riser Boot and Shoe Shop, or even, the old Schoolhouse.

Nauvoo Temple

Originally, the Nauvoo Temple was built and dedicated back in the 19th century. However, after a great exodus of Saints from Nauvoo, there came mobs intent on destroying the sacred edifice. Tragically, the Nauvoo Temple burned to the ground with few remains. Fortunately, in the 20th century, the reconstruction of the Nauvoo Temple began, and is now fully operational. An iconic feature, the statue of Moroni on top, faces the West, symbolically representing the exodus of Saints, and commending their sacrifices.

In addition to the remainder of Nauvoo sites today, we stop at the Flood Museum. Here we learn more about the great flood, which sets the spiritual tone for our upcoming visit to the massive reproduction of Noah’s Ark. Additionally, we visit Carthage Jail before departing for St. Louis, Missouri.

Flood & Creation Museum

Honorably, the mission of this museum is to strengthen faith by demonstrating that the Bible is an accurate record of God’s creation. Additionally, that the events recorded in it can be observed in the world. Features of the museum include the Flood Experience as well as a Bible Exhibit.

While the Flood Experience is made of video, animatronics and audio, they all work together forming a grand demonstration of the world before the flood. It continues, showing the inside of the ark, the flood, the world after the flood, and the rainbow. Also, it shows God’s protection and finally, it ends with His promise after the flood. A common ground exhibit also includes artifacts and stories from cultures all over the world. These pieces of evidence work together, demonstrating the reality of the global flood, as well as Satan’s power to corrupt God’s plan for humanity.

Meanwhile, the Bible Exhibit showcases many historic copies of the bible throughout history. Including the Bibles of Gutenberg, King James, Tyndale, the Hebrew Torah, and the Great Isaiah Scroll. as well as many others. As a bonus, the Same Jesus Exhibit represents the connection of Jesus in his many roles. Including, the role of Jesus in the Creation, as well as the Jesus of the New Testament. Overall, this exhibit demonstrates how Jesus’ mortal ministry is a continuation and confirmation of His creation.

Carthage Jail

Of course, this site is infamous for the martyrdom of Joseph Smith, the Prophet of the Restoration. Within the walls of the fated room, the bullet holes are still visible in the wooden door. Traditionally, the blood of Hyrum Smith and others in the room stayed on the wooden floor boards for more than 100 years. After which, the prophet chose to clean the bloodstains as a sign of respect for those who had died. 

This heart-wrenching tale of Joseph and Hyrum’s final moments in mortality is certain to offer us insight and appreciation of the sacrifices they had made up to that point. Ideally, this is a great time for self-reflection, as well as thanksgiving for the willingness of those men to serve God in a full capacity.

Sunday will be a rest day that will allow time to watch the General Conference sessions in the comfort of your room. 

That night we prepare for the event of the solar eclipse, which occurs the next day. In order to prepare, we provide a presentation in the hotel.

Cape Girardeau Solar Eclipse Viewing

A wonderful city with a rich history, just 115 miles south of St. Louis. Interestingly, at Cape Rock Park are panoramic views of the Mississippi River. What a magnificent viewing point for the anticipated solar eclipse. Monday has us up early and heading to the viewing site of the solar eclipse. This solar eclipse is the second total solar eclipse in the United States of this century. Overwhelmingly, a total solar eclipse is one of the most spectacular natural events you ever experience. Words cannot convey the grandeur of this occasion. Surely, you will remember this for the rest of your life.

New Madrid

In addition to the solar eclipse viewing, we also visit the site of the 5 largest earthquakes recorded in history to ever strike America. Connecting these earthquakes with the Book of Mormon. Also, we learn about the connection this has to the earthquake occurring in Jerusalem at the time of the crucifixion of Christ.

On the last two days we will visit the world-renowned Creation Museum. This Museum doubles as a park where preserved bones of mammoths and other ice-aged animals are exposed, and we’ll discuss how the ice-age actually fits within the events of Noah’s Flood. 

Big Bone Lick Archaeological Park

Renowned for its paleontological and archaeological significance, we have Big Bone Lick. Gaining attention in the late 18th century, through discovering large bones at the site. Proving to originate from various Ice Age animals, including mastodons as well as mammoths. Moreover, this sites is considered one of the most significant Pleistocene fossil sites in North America. 

Originally, this area became attractive to prehistoric animals due to the presence of salt springs and mineral licks. As a result, animals would come to the site to lick the salty minerals, and this, in turn, attracted predators. Additionally, early Native American inhabitants and later, European settlers recognized the value of the salt springs. 

However, the iconic point of the salt springs, are their preservation power. Several Ice Age animals, including mastodons, mammoths, ground sloths, and others, left their bones in salt marshes. As a result, the salt preserved the bones, making Big Bone Lick a unique repository of Ice Age fauna.

Ark Encounter

Central to the Ark Encounter attraction, is a life-sized replica of Noah’s Ark. Impressively, all measurements are as described in the Bible. Including a measurement of 510 feet long, 85 feet wide, and 51 feet high. A wooden masterpiece, to be sure. However, the original purpose and mission of this ark encounter is to provide a faith-based and educational experience for visitors, promoting the beliefs of Answers in Genesis.

Features include three decks worth of exhibits and displays, the Ararat Ridge Zoo, and Ziplines as well as a petting zoo. Plus, live entertainment and restaurants for visitors to enjoy. This Ark Encounter is a full-on theme park experience to be explored, enjoyed, and enlightened. 

Exhibits and displays depict scenes from the biblical story of Noah, as well as offers explanations of the Ark’s construction. Additionally, there is information about the flood and its aftermath. As a testament to the “two animals of every kind,” the zoo features a variety of animals. Overall aiming to provide visitors with the diversity that would have been seen aboard the ark. 

Get ready to be immersed in a fascinating world where history and adventure collide!

After our Ark Encounter experience we say our goodbyes to newly made friends and head home from Cincinnati, Ohio airport. Remembering, of course, the life changing experiences we’ve had together on this Solar Eclipse tour.

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Payment Terms: $300 pp deposit is required at time of booking. Final payment is due 90 days before tour departure.

Meet your guides!

guide on Nauvoo Solar Eclipse tour

Russ Barlow, Director of TruthSeekers Adventures, author and editor of many books, including the Universal Model, and other Church history books is the lead guide for all TruthSeekers adventure tours.

solar eclipse tour guide

Dean W. Sessions is the author of the Universal Model (UM) and the founder of the Millennial Science Foundation. Dean and his wife, Danette, are the parents of five children and ten grandchildren.

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