I was only 11 years old when I sat in the Carthage Jail, listening to a recording of the story of what happened there so many years ago. The strains of “A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief” filled the room and transported me to that other time in this very place only a few minutes before Joseph Smith would seal his testimony with his blood.
Because my parents lead the Church History Tour (that so many of you lovely Meridian readers have also been able to go on), my testimony had texture from an early age. I had vivid images, tastes, smells, and proximity to bring the things I believed into living color. It’s something I would hope everyone gets a chance to have as they build their understanding of the restored Gospel—not because it’s essential to belief, but because it just makes life richer.
When the coronavirus came to the United States in earnest and things quickly started to be closed up and locked down, it was clear that our lives for the next few months and beyond were going to look a little different than we planned. April General Conference was fast approaching and my husband and I were looking forward to the opportunity to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the First Vision. We wondered if there was any way to create something that would allow people to get excited about Church history, but accommodate our new, increasingly homebound status.
It wasn’t long before we hatched the idea for a jigsaw puzzle, a 1000-piece treasure map to give people a chance to look at Church history in a new way and perhaps—add a little texture to their testimonies.
Go look at the puzzle and order it right now by clicking here.
I can’t take you personally to those places that are so significant, can’t walk quietly next to you in the peaceful crispness of the Sacred Grove. I can’t let you feel the smoothed stones on the fireplace of the Whitmer home where the Church was officially restored in this dispensation. I can’t stand with you on the grounds of the Nauvoo temple and watch as the sun sets vibrant and poignant over the mighty Mississippi.
But I can give you a chance to learn about these places, I can give you an image to practically memorize as you try to piece it together so that you know where they are, what they look like, and why they matter.
Not only that, but I can fill the picture with hidden things to discover. I can send you on a little journey that helps you feel what it is like to search—however simply—for something that you may not have seen or known before. I can help you feel a little sense of triumph as you find what you were looking for, and hopefully leave you wanting to begin a deliberate, lifelong search for even more of the treasures of Church history.
It was a project we hoped to turn around speedily, but nearly every puzzle factory in the United States was almost immediately shut down even as the demand for puzzles across the nation went suddenly through the roof (this pandemic has devastated some industries and enormously boosted others). As such, it has taken some time to see our vision come to fruition, but we are very excited to finally be able to say our Treasures of the Restoration puzzle is ready.
The puzzle features eight significant places from Church history, illustrated with the beautiful photographs of Scot Facer Proctor, and 11 hidden items and phrases concealed throughout the puzzle and ready for you to discover. Each item or phrase represents a story or artifact you may or may not be familiar with and the puzzle comes with a large, full-color insert that explains each one. Hopefully these brief explanations will be an invitation to further study on these subjects and experiences.
The history of the saints is rich with stories, some of which are told often, some of which are rarely told at all. Did you know, for example, that Joseph Smith once climbed out of a runaway stagecoach to get control of the horses, saving the life of a woman and her child in the process? Did you know that while the saints were leaving Nauvoo to journey toward the Salt Lake valley by wagon and handcart, another group of saints decided to get there by boat and sailed all the way around the horn of South America?
Come and take a closer look at the puzzle here.
We invite you to explore and appreciate the things you already knew and learn and discover a few things you probably didn’t through the process of putting this puzzle together. We invite you to include you children in the activity and allow it to be the catalyst for many conversations about Church history. We invite you to piece together a map that will cement the location and proximity of these important places into your memory.
Most of all, we invite you to engage with Church history from home in a way that will add a little texture to your testimony.