Coming Home to Kanesville
This past summer, I had just graduated from high school with no job, no money, and one thing to sustain me: traveling to Iowa to participate in the Winter Quarters Musical at the historic Kanesville Tabernacle, where Brigham Young was sustained second president of the church.
Looking back, it’s hard to believe how much I worried about making such a trip -- farther away from home than I had ever been, all by myself to be in “Come Home To Kanesville.” Of course, during such a period of transition, there would have been no better time for me to spend a month away to have an intense spiritual, growing experience.
I had expected “Kanesville” to be similar to church history pageants in Manti and Nauvoo, however, my personal experience in Kanesville will probably never be matched. “Come Home to Kanesville” is much smaller in scale, compared to the large outdoor pageants, and is actually performed inside the historic Kanesville Tabernacle in Council Bluffs, Iowa
Rehearsals took precedence over almost every waking moment, and I loved it! The entire cast prepared for opening night with incredible dedication and results. We spent nearly every day rehearsing. We passed our Sundays at church together, singing in ward Sacrament meetings in the Omaha and Council Bluffs stakes.
The company became extremely close and we all consider ourselves a true [as well a truly large] family. It was the first time I felt at home with strangers, yet with brothers and sisters, all waxing strong in the gospel, working for the same goal, fasting and praying together… and simply having fun.
I loved the entire experience of “Kanesville,” of bearing testimony in word, song and dance in such a small, intimate setting. Each night was a joy, and I felt something different with every performance. At the end of the night, countless eyes would be aglow, and there were always some faces lined with tears.
What did I get out of “Kanesville?” A chance to discover the “presence” of church history. I have always felt a twinge of reverent admiration for the church’s pioneers. But within the Kanesville experience I found myself immersed in the reality of what my heritage offers.
Performing in “Come Home to Kanesville” provided me with the opportunity to visit the Winter Quarters temple grounds, the Pioneer Cemetery and the Trail Center just across the street… and of course, the Kanesville Tabernacle. On side trips, I was blessed to explore nearby church history sites such as Liberty Jail, Adam Ondi Ahman and Independence.
One of my favorite pastimes is to observe and ponder. Here is a cutting from my daily journal, written while sitting at the Winter Quarter’s Cemetery.
am glad for the time I have to myself while the others are in the
temple. The cemetery was rededicated the same time, as the temple
dedication and there is a special spirit here…
“After having to leave behind the Nauvoo temple, I’m sure saints were that much more eager to rebuild and be able to have those blessings and ordinances, to do their work, and seal their families together for time and all eternity. What would be greater than knowing you could move forward to be assured to be with the loved ones you lost along the way?”
I find myself wishing I had more journaled more during that month of July, but I’m not likely to forget the lessons I learned. Nevertheless, from another journal entry –
“I will never forget being a part of “Come Home to Kanesville.” I am grateful for the chance I have to bear my testimony through song and dance, and I pray “Kanesville” will continue stronger each year. This has been a great turning point for my testimony. Being here has provided an anchor for what I believe and has given me a testimony I cannot deny.”
Great Experience -
Taught Me So Much!
Kanesville Was a Great, Positive Experience - Full of Joy
What I like about "Come Home to Kanesville" is that we were
surrounded by people who love each other and who loved what they
were doing. "Kanesville" was a great, positive experience and full
of joy. What a great way to share the gospel and show others about
the lives of the pioneers. I have made so many friends and can't
wait to do it again.
Highlight of My Year
As a participant in “Come Home to Kanesville” for the past 2 years, I have come to love the show – not only for the message of “coming home,” but also all those wonderfully talented people who work so hard to bring the production about. It is a highlight of my year to be with all the actors, directors, singers, dancers, and backstage techs! We are a family in every sense of the word!
Didn't Think I Would Grow So Much in Spirit and Testimony"
I have choreographed in many venues in my career but none that compare to the fulfillment I got from being a part of Kanesville. The storyline is so moving bringing one to tears, to laughter and to deep thought. Being with an all LDS member cast was also very edifying building friendships that I will treasure forever. I was far away from home but felt so at-home with the warm hearted people involved with Kanesville. I chose to come here to choreograph, I didn't think I would grow so much in spirit and testimony. It was great and I would do it again in a heartbeat!
Felt Like We Were All Family"
At first my Mom had to force me to come to Kanesville because I thought I wouldn't get to know anybody. Boy, was I wrong!! After the first day, I felt like we were all family! I was so excited to get to be around all these wonderful people every day for 4 weeks! We all had so much fun joking around and working hard. I made lasting friendships with people from all over. I would recommend Kanesville to anybody if you are looking for a second family.
With fond memories,
COPYRIGHT © KANESVILLE, INC, 2010, GRAPHIC ART