Tag Archives: Hill Cumorah



I’m unsure what’s worse getting a cold while on prednisone or getting a cold and having MG.  I’m sure the three together are working to keep me down this last two weeks.  The last two weeks have been the absolute worse since I contracted MG — short of when Elizabethe and I had the flu earlier this year.

Balancing Act

It’s a balancing act.  One medication has this effect, while another one is supposed to deal with that problem.  The doctors have their work cut out for them.  It must be quite the dilemma trying to decide if someone should be treated for high blood pressure or taken off prednisone.

I can only wait and see.

Hill Cumorah Pageant

An announcement Sunday was made concerning pageants in the church.  It appears the Hill Cumorah Pageant will wind down by 2020.  For many of the people in this region, that will be quite a culture change.

I hope people will now spread out their visits to Palmyra.  The Pageant windfall is nice, but I think if all the locals play this right, they might seel blessings come more steadily throughout the year and years to come.

People will still flock to Palmyra to see the sacred sites.  It just won’t all be mid-July.


We are facing many decisions.  We’re leaning towards selling the house and building here in Palmyra, and finding someplace closer to the girls in Utah.  There is no way I can physically manage the house.  I can barely do the bare minimum each day without totally exhausting myself.  Myasthenia Gravis is quite debilitating.

I read that men who contract MG lose about 50% of their income on the average.  While I don’t remember the figure of those who become completely disabled, the research paper did say that a large majority find they cannot work at all or very little.

In my Myastenia Gravis for Men group, it is a very common consensus that there is a lot of down-play about the disease.  I conducted a little poll and asked, “Do you have pain associated with your MG?”

Now, you’ll find website after website that says there is no pain associated with MG.  However, my little poll says about 67% have pain (50% most of the time + 17% some of the time).  That’s only 1/3rd who say they don’t have pain.  It’s unscientific, but it confirms my suspicions.

Another comment you hear is, “Many people with MG go on to live productive lives.”

We got talking about this in the group.  We’re all kind of laughing about how they define “productive”.  They definitely don’t mean “active”!  Most of us say our productivity is cut drastically and activity even more so.


I know before I caught a cold a couple of weeks ago, my “productivity” was about 30-60 minutes a day.  For the last two weeks, it has been about 1-2 hours a week split between 2-3 days.  In other words, this cold dropped me from 3.5-7 hours a week down to 1-2 hours a week.


The activity I tolerate most is walking slowly.  Even then, I must be careful to avoid overdoing it.  When my legs aren’t all weak feeling, it is nice to walk a little.  When I overdo it, the results are the pain, weakness, and fatigue.

Even typing my blog is fatiguing.  (Hence, so few entries this year.)  Brain fog makes it worse.  I’m constantly getting red-lines under words because my fingers aren’t hitting the right keys.  Then, it’s difficult to think, “What word was I trying to type?”  That only makes things worse because I find it upsetting when I type something like, “zyjod od s yrdyz” when I meant to type, “This is a test”.  (I’ve never had a problem with my hands being shifted until this brain fog thing started to happen.

Talking is pretty much a no-no.  That’s one of the first muscles to be affected.  Paralyzed vocal chords carry with them a double-whammy.  The first whammy is losing your voice.  The second is the reflection that coughing will solve the problem.  It doesn’t.  It only makes it worse, but try telling your subconscious that.

My Hope

My hope is the doctors and I will find a good balance of my medication that will allow me to have the stamina to at least feel like I was able to get some exercise in.  It may not be the stamina needed to mow the lawn, shovel snow, fix a broken faucet, build a shelf for Elizabethe, etc., however, it would be nice to know I’m able to do something for my heart.  It might be riding my stationary bike for 15 minutes a couple of times a day.  (Right now, the doctor has told me to not attempt any exercise program until we get my medication stabilized.)

Reality tells me there will be good days and bad days.  Hope tells me there should be a way to lesson the bad days (which have been all too frequent lately), and know my limits.

A Month Away

A Month Away

It’s hard to believe pageant is only a month away.  They have trucks staged in the big parking lot at Hill Cumorah.  It looks like the stage construction will begin soon.

My workshop classes for photography are during pageant this year (again).  This means I’ll be in school from about 8am to 5pm daily.  I’ll miss much of the daytime stuff that accompanies pageant, but I’ll be able to watch the show one of those nights.

Social Media Fast

President Russell M. Nelson asked the youth to do a 7-day social media fast.  If the prophet asks the youth to do it, it must be good for others too.  But, like any fast, there are some things to consider.

  1. Do it in private.  Christ warned not to be as the publicans who disfigure their faces and dress in sackcloth and ashes.  In modern terms, I would take it to mean, don’t post stuff on social media like, “Okay, I’m going on a 7-day Facebook fast.  I don’t know how I’m going to manage, but I’m doing it okay.  Starting right now.”
  2. Social media is more than just Facebook.  It’s Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, chat rooms, message boards, etc.  A 7-day social media fast must include all of them.
  3. A fast isn’t complete without an offering.  What will be your offering at the end of your 7-day media fast?  I’ve been thinking a lot about this.  I think it would be appropriate for 7 days worth of internet or phone charges donated to the fast offering fund.
  4. It should start and end with a prayer.  You should have in mind what Heavenly Father wants you to learn from the experience, and you should pray for understanding and strength.

I guess one learning might end up being that people can do with out so much social media.

Dance Practice

Dance Practice

Watching the Hill Cumorah Pageant cast practice for a battle scene is like watching a dance practice.  The well choreographed moves are synchronized like a ballet.  With a cast of hundreds, I guess they would have to be.

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Dance Practice

See Pageant

If you have never seen the Hill Cumoraph Pageant, and you live in Western New York, you owe it to yourself.  It is FREE, and it is held on Friday, June 14th and Saturday the 15th.  It resumes Tuesday the 18th through Saturday the 22nd.

Arrive around dinner time and buy dinner from the Rotary or Lion’s Clubs (look for the big tent south of the seating area).  The pageant (play) starts around 9pm.  There is plenty of seating.

What to expect

Expect to be greeted by cast members while you are waiting for the pageant to start.  Ask them who they portray.  They will also have printed programs for you.

Expect a musical theatrical soundtrack that accompanies the actors on stage.  You will see pyrotechnics and bursts of water that add to the realism.

You can expect to get an overview of a 1,000 year history (600 B.C. to A.D. 400) of what lead up to Hill Cumorah being a pivotal  landmark.  There will also be a tie in to local history in the early 1800s.  As a result, you get a basic understanding of what is covered in the Book of Mormon.

Expect a clean, family environment.  You’ll want to dress modestly (i.e. shorts are okay, but not short-shorts, t-shirts are okay, but I’d avoid crop-tops and tank-tops.)

What not to expect

Don’t expect to be proselytize.  You might be asked if you’ve seen Pageant before, or if you’ve read the Book of Mormon.  As a result, you might be asked if you want a free copy of the Book of Mormon.   You won’t be pressured in to anything.

Don’t expect to be asked for a donation.  The ONLY place you’ll be asked for money is when you buy food.  Nobody will come and ask you to donate money.  (And, if they do, you might let security know.)


Missionary Group Photo

Missionary Group Photo

I took a missionary group photo at Hill Cumorah.  It consisted of the temple missionaries, several of whom go home in a couple of weeks.  The shoot went well.

On the drive to Hill Cumorah the wind was fierce.  I’m guessing about 60 mph based on the size of branches blowing around on the road.  Plus, it was picking up tiny rocks and pelting the car.

We returned home to find one of our trees topped off.  About 10′ of tree fell from the top.  I guess I have some firewood.

Speaking of Hill Cumorah, today would NOT be a day for hiking on the hill… or in the Sacred Grove.  These winds are bad.

Power Outage

The power went out for about 3.5 hours.  Our generator kicked in, but my UPS unit kept going on and off.  I think the battery needs replacing.

I am not impressed with the UPS battery monitoring.  Perhaps the thing to do is to replace the battery annually.  Also, the generator is giving a check battery warning.  Time for battery shopping.

Lunch With Tom

Tom and I went to Burger King for lunch.  That was before the winds got so bad.

Week Summary

Week Summary

I’m not going to attempt to catch up with blog entries.  I’m just giving a week summary as I have too much else to do.

Hill Cumorah Pageant ended last Saturday, and we attended the last performance with some friends from Penn Yan.  My friend Mark brought his camera too.  I’m sure he got some great shots too.

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Mark Griffin Takes a Shot

Sunday was the 2nd “Pageant Sunday”, and again, the choir did an awesome job.  As soon as church was over I was off to PPSNYS Workshop.

PPSNYS Workshop

PPSNYS Workshop this year is well attended.  I’m taking a class taught by Michael Mowbray.  The workshop started out with his talking about the equipment he uses.  I felt validated as he too has gone with Godox flash equipment.

As the week progressed I learned a lot about shooting outdoors in full sunlight with a speedlight.  The instruction was great.  My only complaints are I wish we had either a few more models, and I wish the instructor would have taken control of the group shooting time to facilitate it moving along.

We shot in the worse possible conditions (purposefully) to learn how to control the light.  Here’s the instructor demonstrating…

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Michael Working with Model

Full sunlight is horrible for taking pictures.  Mix that with trees and you get spotty lighting, but not after taking Mowbray’s class!  See for yourself…

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Class Model at Belhurst Castle


The workshop ended with a big dinner as it does every year.  This year Elizabethe attended the dinner.  I don’t think they change the menu from year to year, but that’s okay.  It is always good.



Imagine sitting in a restaurant while demolition is going on… on the restaurant itself.  Yeah, it was actually kind of comical.  They are remodeling the Burger King in Williamson.  There I saw with my friend Tom while just outside a guy was breaking the outer wall of the building with a sledge hammer.

Tom and I got quite a laugh out of it.  I commented that I was glad they were using a sledge hammer and not a wrecking ball.  I was also impressed that the guy never once hit the window, yet he was striking just inches below the bottom of the window.

It’s not often lunch at Burger King comes with entertainment…. even if it is demolition of the building you’re sitting in.

The first day of June, 2016.  Time is flying too quickly.  To think the year is approaching that 1/2 way point.

Early this morning I got a heads-up call that they were raising the lighting towers on Hill Cumorah.  I shot out there to get a picture of the big crane holding a tower.

copyright 2016 db walton - demolition

Hill Cumorah Lighting Going UP

Palmyra New York Lodging

And, if you are looking for lodging during Hill Cumorah Pageant, try the Beckwith Mansion and Estate here in Palmyra.  It’s an 1830’s Federalist Greek Revival Colonial located right on Main Street, Palmyra.  It is walking distance from the Grandin Press building, Alvin Smith’s grave, several bookstores (including an LDS book store), and a few restaurants.

Palmyra New York lodging is scarce during Hill Cumorah Pageant.  Call us soon to get your reservation.  If you go to our web site you can see the rooms and prices.


Armington Road

Armington Road

I learned that Armington Road is exactly 3 miles from my house.  I guess that’s always good to know when giving people directions, but it is also good to know if you’re planning your exercise route.  It is also the road you turn on off Stafford Road if you’re going to Hill Cumorah from the Smith Farm.

Hill Cumorah Pageant

Speaking of Hill Cumorah, Pageant is not to far off.  It will be here before you know it, and as usual, people will think they can just show up and find lodging.


Lodging is scarce in this area.  So, if you plan to go to Hill Cumorah, make plans early.

Here at the Beckwith Mansion, we’ve had some room openings.  With a long-term renter leaving, we’ve decided to keep their room available until after Pageant.  However, once the work makes its way around that room will rent quickly!

You can get more information by clicking on this link.

copyright 2014 db walton

Hill Cumorah Pageant


Tonight was our temple shift.  With the summer missionaries here we have a few more workers on Tuesday night, but we also get more guests.  The Palmyra Temple is a destination temple for many.  We get people who come here to attend the temple and see the historic sites.  This makes for a busy spring, summer and fall.  (We get some, but not a lot of winter visitors.)

Shooting Missionaries

Shooting Missionaries

Don’t get the wrong impression from this title.  I’m shooting missionaries with my camera.  That’s just what I do.

This evening Elizabethe and I went to Hill Cumorah where the temple missionaries asked if I would photograph them (hence, shooting missionaries).  I got them all arranged and posed in the Christus room where we did a group photo, followed by pictures of each couple.

What a wonderful group of people.  I love each one of them.  The English vernacular of “shooting” people should change.  We need another word.  Hmmm… I guess I did that with my business tag line… Capturing Beauty.  I wasn’t shooting missionaries, I was capturing their beauty.

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Temple Missionaries 2016

And, here’s a sample of one of the couples (Pres. & Sister Miner of the temple presidency).

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Pres. & Sister Miner

The painted mural of the Christus room makes for a good “Palmyra” backdrop.  (The mural is of the Sacred Grove.)

From there we went to do our bank deposits and used a 2-for-1 coupon at Subway.  The Macedon Subway sure has good customer service.    They young man who waited on us was polite and cheerful.  It was a nice way to end this date with my dear wife.

First Monday Event

My day started with the First Monday Event.  We did a model shoot with a model and makeup artist.  5 other photographers attended which was a good number given we were all in my tiny studio.  (The First Monday Event is part of Palmyra Photographic Workshops.)

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First Monday Event Sample Photo

In Between

In between the the two I had an appointment and then I was able to squeeze in a short nap.

Duty at the Hill

Duty at the Hill

We pulled duty at the Hill Cumorah tonight.  When all of the missionaries have a big meeting to attend, they call upon some of the local members to be at the Visitors’ Center.  Elizabethe and I did our duty tonight.

The night before Thanksgiving was pretty quiet at the Hill.  We didn’t have a single visitor while we were there.  I got up a few times just to take a picture or two of some of the displays while Elizabethe worked on her sudoku puzzles.

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Nativity Set on Display

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Christus Statue at Hill Cumorah

Aside from an appointment earlier in the day, I spent the day working in my office.  Nothing exciting, just catching up with administrative work.

I did stop and pick up a milkshake after making the bank deposit today.  I tried out the Patty Shack’s (Rt. 31 Macedon) shakes.  While the flavor was good, it wasn’t cold enough.  It was more like cold flavored milk.  While I had heard this same complaint from someone else, I thought I’d give it a try.  Yup, they were right.  Cold flavored milk.

Our plan for tomorrow is to do absolutely nothing.  That’s right… nothing.  We each picked out some simple food to prepare.  Elizabethe picked out shrimp and I picked out some beef wellington puff pastries.  That, and some carrot and celery sticks and we’re all set for tomorrow.

Touring the Sites with Talise

Touring the Sites with Talise

I went touring the sites with Talise today.  We invited the neighbor girl, Brook, to come along with us.  We hit the Smith Farm and Sacred Grove, the Grandin Building and Hill Cumorah.

While in the Sacred Grove we ran in to President Francis, his family, and some friends of theirs from Southern California.  President Francis wanted a picture of the group and then, seeing me there said, ‘Wait, we’ve got our mission photographer, I bet he’ll take a picture for us.’

Of course I was more than happy to oblige.

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President and Sister Francis and Friends

When we got to the Grandin Building, we ran in to another CSM Photographer, Elder Dixon.  So, I posed for a photo with him.


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Me and Elder Dixon

From there we went to Hill Cumorah where, who do we run in to?  Elder Dube of the 1st Quorum of the Seventy.  I admit, I did not recognize him from his conference talk.  But, when he introduced himself, I then remembered seeing him talk in General Conference.


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Talise with Elder Dube

We also ran in to Sister Katie Sharp who served as a missionary here.

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Sister Sharp and Me

And, it wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t have a picture of Talise and Brook together.