Joseph Smith moved to
the Homestead at Nauvoo, a log house on the eastern bank of
the Mississippi River, after escaping from Missouri in April
1839. He was reunited here with the Saints, who had found
refuge near this swampy town site originally called
Commerce, Illinois. Here Joseph determined to "make an
attempt to build up a city,"1 and the Saints drained the
swamps and settled the area. Within four years, they built
one of the largest cities in Illinois, which the Prophet
named Nauvoo, meaning beautiful.
The Homestead served as
Church headquarters for about two years. Joseph enlarged the
home in 1840. Here Joseph recorded instructions on vicarious
baptism for the
dead, and the Lord revealed to him that the
Saints should build a temple in Nauvoo.
In August 1843 the
Prophet and his family moved across the street to the
Mansion House. Joseph and Emma hosted important visitors in
the Mansion House, and it was here that the
Saints viewed the bodies of Joseph and Hyrum
following the martyrdom.
Joseph, Emma, Hyrum,
Joseph Sr., and Lucy Smith and others are buried in the
family cemetery next to the Homestead. The Homestead and
Mansion House are owned by the Community of Christ, which
provides guided tours of these historic sites.
History of the Church, 3:375.
baptism for the dead
Baptism by immersion performed by a living person for one who is dead. This ordinance is performed in temples (Gospel Principles, 377).
Literally the house of the Lord. The Lord has always commanded his people to build temples, holy buildings in which worthy Saints perform sacred ceremonies and ordinances of the gospel for themselves and for the dead. The Lord visits his temples, and they are the most holy of all places of worship. Building and using a temple properly are signs of the true Church in any dispensation, including the restored Church in our day. The Kirtland Temple was the first temple built and dedicated to the Lord in this dispensation. Since that time temples have been dedicated in many lands across the earth (Guide to the Scriptures, Temple/House of the Lord).
Learn more about the events that took place in the Mansion House.
Learn more about Joseph and Emma's relationship.
Click here to visit mormon.org and learn about temple work.
Learn about additional church history sites in Illinois.