Located on a hill in a beautiful valley of the Rosemount Ohio area is a church! The church that Beverly and I were blessed to attend holds a loyal and dedicated family to their faith. It is known as The Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints. At one time it may have been a valley of peace. The native American Feurt site was located just below, overviewing the Scioto River. Just above this church is Feurt Hill, where Native Americans came from far and wide to gather the valuable red clay used in the manufacture of one of their most important ceremonial or pleasure items, the pipe! Native Americans came to such areas as this and areas of flint gathering for weaponry and tools and it has long been thought these areas were peaceful (safe zones) where they allowed each other to come without conflict. On a day in July Beverly and I found great peace in our visit to this church!
We are just like anyone else and at times uncomforable or nervous in our exploration of something new, while attending churches where we are not known or meeting people we do not know. But we have set about on a mission and time after time we have been comforted in our decision to take on this project and we feel a leading hand that comforts us and keeps us treading on.
Then we often ask, why are we here today and time and again the answer becomes obvious. I looked at Beverly and said I think we should go to the Church of the Latter Day Saints this weekend. It just so happened that we were going to the Clay High School Alumni Banquet and while in the area we went the short distance to check out church signage and service times. Our decision was made.
Very late on the same evening I learned that a fellow member of Gibbs Battery L, my civil war reinactment unit had passed away and I was asked to join an artillery firing in his memorium the following week.
The next morning as we stirred for church Beverly nervously said are you sure we want to go where we are going today? I said Beverly, if we are going to every church in our county we have to go here sometime and the motion is set for now. So that is where we are headed.
Cars were pulling in to the lot just like anywhere else, the people walking into the church didn’t look any different from the people we see anywhere else and it was such a beautiful place to attend church. We took our usual front entrance church pictures as people were already going out of their way in greeting and welcoming us.
One of the first questions asked of us was are you just visiting or do you wish to join the church? We acknowledged that we were visiting. Not everyone has caught onto our project, though that gap is narrowing as the journey continues.
In arriving early we had the opportunity to study the temple (as seems to be the terminology of the faith.) Our education had already begun as several around us answered our questions and gave us helpful information.
I was taken up front to meet the church Bishops and briefly explained our visit today and questioned if I could take photos. He said as long as I didn’t photograph during the service. I honored that but couldn’t resist one picture that included the choir director as she began to lead a part of the song service. Their songs were unfamiliar, though very beautiful and fun to sing. Songs for the service included: “The iron rod, In memory of the crucified, An angel from on high and I know that my redeemer lives.”
We had already learned the Portsmouth Ohio Church is known as a Ward. It is a part of a Huntingon West Virginia Stake! Strangely it is unusual for a state leader to be in attendance but that was the case on this day.
Also a great surprise was that the first thing mentioned was that the Battery L member I mentioned earlier who had passed on was a member of this church. I had no idea and I was scheduled to be a member of the artillery crew firing at his funeral. I learned that Virgil Nickles had in fact served in a high church position as a branch President. His son also has been a long term Battery L member and attends this church. Again I didn’t know that. I say once more, the Lord works in mysterious ways!
The church service which we attended was called a Sacrament Meeting. I understand that the church recognizes each of their churches as a temple. The sanctuary was a beautiful white full of light!
Communion was called Sacrament and we were surprised to find the church practices open communion during the service. Served were a wheat bread followed by a serving of water instead of juice or wine practiced in other churches we have attended. Not sure of the significance of this. Maybe someone will help me with this. Two elders stood on one side of the covered white serving table and they provided the sacrement for two boys to carry through the congregation. The whole ceremony was very quiet and reverent. There were no readings during the taking of Sacrement (communion). I wanted to mention that even the lighting gave a unique impression to the beauty of the Temple hall interior.
The worship format was congregational speakers. On the day we were there it was a family duo with the daughter speaking on issues related to youth, then the mother spoke on issues related to women in the biblical new testament. The father spoke on issues of the bible relating to men and fatherhood as I recall.
After the one hour Sacrement meeting they were to divide into Sunday School classes. The last hour segment was a Priesthood meeting for the men and a Relief Society meeting for the ladies. Two young ladies (Sister Kierston Holbrook & Sister Jenson Wright) who are serving their mission for the church gave us a tour and cleared up a few questions. They explained that this ladies organization within the church has been in place since 1830 and is the oldest longest continuing ladies organization in the world. It is a program meant to uplift women in the faith. Priesthood consists of worthy men 12 and older.
I noticed one man walking the aisles and counting attendents in the pews. Beverly had friends attending, Brenda and Randy Blankenship and they discussed a few things of interest with Beverly. They told her that from the highest heirachy in the church right down the line to community churches no one is paid for their service to the faith. We were prepared to make a church contribution but we didn’t see any where to deposit an offering and a plate was never passed.
At one point President of the the Stake, Brother Cox was introduced to speak. There was some business discussion and a vote was taken and he asked for a sign of the Eucharist as acclamation. That passed! He encouraged Priesthood members to be at a meeting that evening. Prayer was extended several times through the service. At the ending of the choir service he thanked the sister (didn’t catch her name) for the musical).
President Cox was very interesting in his presentation quoting many passages from the bible. He said the word Grandmother was mentioned in the bible only one time. That was in 2nd Timothy 1:5. It was where Paul said, “I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your Grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now I am sure dwells in you”. For reference the Greek word for grandmother is Mammh! Owe that one to Beverly!Again I say that Mr. Cox quoted biblical scripture many times and and quoted from the Book of Morman only one time. He said, “there is a peace that comes from reading the bible”. “The bible is a great gift for us and we are beneficiaries of that gift, a great blessing”! “We are very pleased to have it by our side along with the Book of Morman as well”!
He made one reference I especially liked, “that rain also represents the teaching of God, pouring out knowledge”. “We should allow the windows to open upon us”. He said, “The Lord wants us to not be afraid to look forward to his coming. I leave this testimony for you in the name of Jesus Christ”! A lady of the congregation gave a closing prayer.
As believers let us share the good news of Jesus Christ as Savior of the world. Each one, reach one…….See ya in Church!
Reach Randy Rucker at Ohiorancher5@gmail.com.