Things Only Mormons Do on Summer Vacations
Can you imagine your kid going to his friends in September and saying excitedly, “Guess what I did over summer vacation! I went to a jail!” This probably would not sound very impressive to any of their friends. But as members of the Church, if someone has the opportunity to see the Carthage Jail, it changes that context entirely.
Generally speaking, we like to be frugal, we like to have fun and we like to feel the Spirit. So, what then do we Mormons do on vacation that other people probably don’t? With our love of minivans and large capacity vehicles, road travel becomes an easy choice. Some popular LDS family activities are listed below:
Church History Tours
As our first latter-day prophet grew and traveled, we have a history starting in Vermont and carrying the people of the church all the way across the country to the state of Utah. You can see homes and buildings that played a part of Church History, visit a very special area where the Prophet Joseph received a wondrous answer to an important prayer, find locations where the pioneers trekked across the continent, and visit death and burial sites of those we honor in our history. Car travel makes this so easy.
Road Trips to see as many temples as possible
We know that temples will dot the earth! President Howard W. Hunter said, “In that spirit, I invite the Latter-day Saints to look to the temple of the Lord as the great symbol of your membership. It is the deepest desire of my heart to have every member of the Church worthy to enter the temple… Keep a picture of a temple in your home that your children may see it. Teach them about the purposes of the house of the Lord. Have them plan from their earliest years to go there and to remain worthy of that blessing.” 1
Take the family to walk the grounds, feel the Spirit and bask in the glory of the House of the Lord. You can see at least two temples a day if you like to drive. Depending on where you live, you might see many more. So, grab the camera, pack your snacks and map out your drive. You get bonus points if you get to do baptisms or other ordinances for your ancestors!
Looking for gravestones of relatives or figures in Church History
Other people might think we have a morbid fascination with death, but our love of cemeteries comes as we find our ancestors and document what we learn of them. I believe cemeteries are special places. I remember feeling my sweet neighbor’s nearness as I went to his recently filled grave to say goodbye. Our family is close to us as we experience this life, why not help all your family feel their love as you seek them out? Visiting the graves of the prophets is a unique, inspiring experience as well.
We don’t have a claim to family reunions alone but we Mormons sure know how to throw them! I am a little envious of families who have many children, whose reunions resemble something more of a stake girls’ camp than just a family gathering. Bring on the talent shows, excursions, crafts and family songs and chants! Yes, we do reunions well! Let’s just leave out the Green Jell-O Salad contest!
- “Exceedingly Great and Precious Promises,” President Howard W. Hunter, General Conference, October 1994