Tag Archives: Sacred Grove

Recommend Desk

Recommend Desk

Working at the recommend desk in the temple is always a delight.  Meeting people as they come to the House of the Lord is an awesome responsibility when you think about it.  It is your job to assure people have the correct documents to enter the temple.

Being a “destination temple”, you meet people from all over the world too.  People come from around the world to visit the Palmyra Temple.  Many ask to look out the window to see the Sacred Grove from the temple — something no other temple has.

As one person put it, it is the only temple you can look out a window and see one of the Lord’s outdoor temples.

Sacred Grove

Becky took the car after dropping us at the temple so she can visit the Sacred Grove.  She returned later to go to the 7:30pm session.

In spite of Hill Cumorah Pageant being over, we had several guests.  They had enough for a sealing session that it wasn’t necessary to augment it with ordinance workers.  I wish every night was like that.


Rain is slowing the progress on the roof.  They are 90% complete.  They have a few pieces to attach and rain gutters and then they are done.

Dealing with Depression

Dealing with Depression

It has been an uphill battle ever since my accident on October 19th, 2014.  PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) is as real as it gets.  Just when you think things are getting better, something happens to trigger it and you’re back down.

Yesterday I read they are trialing a drug named ropivacaine (Naropin) to help treat PTSD.  They inject it in to the  stellate ganglion.  It helps intercept the signals that are part of the sympathetic nervous system.

While depression isn’t PTSD, it is a major symptom, or should I say by product of PTSD.


Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is the usual treatment for PTSD.  It sounds like this drug doesn’t replace that, but might be beneficial.  I’m keeping my eye on what happens with this Naropin trial.


I think there are a lot of misunderstandings about triggers.  You can’t simply avoid triggers.  Yeah, I guess of being around certain people gets you down, avoiding them might help, but this isn’t like that.  I will give you an example.

During my accident my auditory system shut down.  All I could hear was the sound of my own voice yelling, “Stop!  Stop!”

Since then I have come to realize while my conscious mind didn’t hear anything, obviously my subconscious mind did.  My realization of this came when I discovered my startle reflex is more acute than it was before the accident.  It’s not all sudden noises, just certain types — usually noises of clanging metal.

Given the size of the dent my friend left in the hood of the car, there had to be a loud crumpling metal sound.  While my conscious mind didn’t hear it,  my subconscious mind must have.  And, the same is true about the car striking me.  It’s these sounds that are registered deep inside my memory that when I hear sounds that remind me of them, PTSD takes over.

I cannot shield myself from these sounds as they are all over, wherever you go.  As a result, I need to learn to live with it and work on re-training my brain.   Thus, it is a gross misunderstanding that people with PTSD or triggers to depression can simply avoid those triggers.

Self-Pity Party

The day started with a self-pity party.  (I didn’t invite anyone.  This was a party for one.)  What triggered this, I can’t say because I don’t know.  The inclination was to simply withdraw and hide (the flight side of fight or flight).

Forcing myself, I went through my morning routine – shave, brush my teeth, shower, read scriptures, prayer.  I wanted to stop there, but it took more effort to eat breakfast.

Grabbing my camera bag, I went to the Sacred Grove.  There’s no way to predict what might happen, I just need to force myself to do something.

Arriving at the parking lot, I grabbed one camera and headed into the grove.  While walking down the trail, I asked, “Why?”   My asking included some people who and situations that add to my frustrations.

copyright 2017 db walton

The Sacred Grove

The answer surprised me.  In my mind I heard a kind answer, “Do you remember when you asked your mission president, ‘Why did you put me with so many difficult missionaries?’  And, do you remember when he answered, ‘I guess the Lord figured you could handle it.'”

I can handle this.  If my Maker thinks I can handle it, I need to trust that I can.

Someone with Depression

If you know someone with depression or PTSD, the best thing you can do is let them know they are important to you and you’re praying for them.  It’s not something external change can fix.  For example, asking if you can cook their favorite meal might be a kind gesture, but it can’t resolve that is happening inside the sufferer’s brain.

Things they don’t want to hear are (with my comments in parenthesis)…

  • Get over it  (if it were that easy, we already would have gotten over it)
  • This too shall pass (it might not in this lifetime, so don’t give us false hope)
  • Have you tried _____________ (fill-in-the-blank with some remedy like herbal oils, some drug, mineral salt baths, etc.)
  • Maybe you need to ____________ (fill-in-the-blank with some activity like losing weight, taking a walk, watching a funny movie, etc.)

Most of the time, we may not know what we need at the time, so it may not help to ask if there’s anything you can do.  Yeah, it’s tough, and the best thing you can probably do is simply be there when we reach out for support.

Trader Joe

Trader Joe

Who was Trader Joe?

Whomever he was, I went shopping at his store today.  I miss San Francisco Sourdough and it is the only place I know that sells it here.  No other sourdough taste like San Francisco Sourdough.  None.

There are a few flavors that go well with San Francisco Sourdough.  1) salted butter, 2) salted butter and raw honey, 3) brie cheese.  Those are my favorites.

Day 2 of Submissions

It is day 2 of print comp submissions.  Today I submitted my 4 open photography images.  It feels good to get that off my shoulders.

Currently I have 8 images waiting to be judged.  The judging is at the end of this month.  After that, it is time to start working on


Enrico would have been 71 today.  It’s been a little over 5 years since his passing.  I think about him often.  He was such a good friend.

If it had been a nice day, I would have taken a walk through the Sacred Grove in his honor.  Unfortunately, it is raining like crazy today.

Instead, I went grocery shopping at Trader Joe’s and Wegman’s.

A Quiz

If I were to ask…

Do you know either one of the following (or both) names?

  • Larry Sinclair
  • Vince Foster

Many of you would say you recognize the same Vince Foster.  Few of you would recognize Larry Sinclair.  Why is that?

There is suspicion regarding both Sinclair’s and Foster’s death.  Yet, you never hear anything about Larry Sinclair.

Food for thought.

Fun Monday

Fun Monday

It was a fun Monday for the boys.  We went to the park and took a couple of old Tonka trucks.  I also took my camera equipment to get some photographs.

copyright 2016 db walton - Fun Monday

Two of My Grandsons

The older one likes playing with trucks.  The younger one likes watching his brother.  They are so funny together.  They are also polar opposites.

copyright 2016 db walton - Fun Monday

Call for a tow?

First Monday Event

The day started off with my monthly First Monday Event.  Three other photographers came and we went to the Smith Farm and Sacred Grove.

copyright 2016 db walton

First Monday Event

I managed to get some pictures for posterity sake too.

copyright 2016 db walton

My Grandson Actually Looked at the Camera

Happens Every Year

Happens Every Year

It happens every year around this time.  I get a call asking if I will do a portrait in the Sacred Grove.  I explain why I don’t photograph in the Sacred Grove, and they still schedule a portrait session one I explain why.

We end up taking the portrait outside the grove,  usually with the grove in the background.  I don’t photograph inside the grove because it is a special, sacred place.  How many places on earth do you know of where God and Jesus appeared?

I can think of only a few others.  It is hallowed ground and I do my best to respect it as such.

Tonight’s family was especially fun to photograph.  A couple with their 5 adult children, their spouses, and their children had me do a big family photo and then individual family units.  Grandma and grandpa also did one with their 10 grandchildren.

What made it special for me is they were able to pull this off.  They were able to get the entire family to take time off and travel to Palmyra.  I can understand why they want the family portrait.  This is something that is only going to happen once in a lifetime.


I have to admit I was stressing earlier in the day.  I knew it was a big group, and I was stressing about the light, my equipment being ready, carrying all that equipment 1/4 mile to the location.  In the end, I shouldn’t have stressed.  It worked well.


I returned home to hear France had a terrorist attack.  Last I heard over 70 people dead.  A big truck (like a semi-truck) ran in to a crowd celebrating Bastille Day.  70 people died and many others were injured.  Police shot and killed the driver before more damage could be done.

Reading in the Book of Mormon it hit me hard.  Things like this aren’t going to change until people start keeping God’s commandments, especially those dealing with morality.

Tested My 55-200mm

Tested My 55-200mm

I tested my 55-200mm this morning by taking it with me as I walked through the Sacred Grove at Sunrise.  This also allowed me to test my new lightweight tripod.

The tripod was a little stressed with a big lens on my X-E1, but it held up to the weight.  It just sags a tad once you let go.  So, you have to over-compensate by aiming high.  It would work a lot better with a smaller/lighter lens.

copyright 2016 db walton - Testing my 55-200mm

Fujifilm X-E1 on Sirui Tripod

In all, it’s a great combination. I kind of like the bright red anodized tripod.  You can’t miss it.

copyright 2016 db walton - testing my 55-200mm

Sacred Grove Just After Sunrise

Elizabethe and I went for the morning showing of the Mutant Teenage Ninja Turtles movie.  It was better than I expected.

After the movie we stopped at Taco Bell and that’s when I learned they have discontinued their verde sauce!  That’s right, their delicious verde sauce is no more.  I hope that comes back to haunt them until they bring it back.  How could they do such a thing?   That’s almost as bad as people voting for Hillary?

Testing my tripod was the highlight of the day, however.  I really like this new tripod and can’t wait to take it to Watkins Glen.

Exciting Morning

Exciting Morning

I had an exciting morning.  I was asked to go take some photos for two of my favorite people – Don Enders and Bob Parrot.  Don is a retired historian who has done a lot of research and work for the church.  Bob is a forester who cares for the Sacred Grove and knows a lot about lumber and 19th century home construction in this region.

We met at the Welcome Center and walked together to the Smith Frame Home where Don and Bob pointed out the various details that needed photographic documentation.  In addition to taking the photos, I was like a sponge soaking up all this knowledge from these two men.

Now, just a little about the Smith Frame Home…

This house was built in the 1820s, or started, I should say, by Alvin Smith.  After the Smiths lost the farm, other owners made significant changes.  One changed turned the house in to a Victorian style home.  Then in 1997 the church brought it back to its original form.

In August, 2001, the church received an award for the restoration.  The Preservation League of New York State gave the 2001 Excellence in Historic Preservation Award to the Church for the restoration of the Joseph Smith Sr. frame home here in Manchester.  (I know, it is easy to call it Palmyra, but it is actually in the Township of Manchester, NY.)

What Did I Photograph?

Stuff like this notch in a beam…

copyright 2016 db walton

Notch in Beam in Smith Frame House

And, these saw blade marks in one of the planks…

copyright 2016 db walton

Sawblade Marks

I am very anxious to read what Brother Enders will be writing.  These pictures tell a story, but he will put them in historical perspective.


Phone calls are coming in about Hill Cumorah Pageant room rentals.  We’re slowly filling up.  BUT, we do have rooms available Friday the 15th and Saturday the 16th!!!  These usually fill first, but for some reason, we have rooms!  Call us at (315) 359-5280 to reserve a room.  We’re more affordable lodging  than the hotels, inns and B&Bs.



Sloshing is what we did today.  We sloshed through the slush to go show Tobreth some of the church historic sites.

The Sacred Grove was beautiful.  I’ve been inside many times after a snowstorm, but this was the prettiest I’ve ever seen it.

copyright 2016 db walton

Crooked Creek

The arching branches as you entered the grove looked so delicate and white.  It was just magical the way it looked.

copyright 2016 db walton

The Sacred Grove in the Winter

The temple looked beautiful too as you look across the field to the hill where the temple sits.

copyright 2016 db walton

The Palmyra Temple

We also toured the Book of Mormon Publication Site (aka the E.B. Grandin Building).  Elder Griggs gave a very thorough tour and explanation.

copyright 2016 db walton

Elder Griggs Gives Tobreth a Tour

We then headed down to Waterloo where I have a Finger Lakes Professional Photographers (FLPP) meeting.

At the FLPP meeting we discussed some upcoming meetings.  They liked my idea about Cropped and a make-your-own stuff day.

Pat Luke was our speaker.  He did his One Light, Two Like, Red Light, Blue Light presentation.  It went well and he had some great examples of his homemade lighting equipment.

Elizabethe and Tobreth were off visiting the Peter Whitmer Farm and Sauders while I was in my meeting.  When they came to pick me up, the meeting was still going.

After the meeting we headed to Taco Bell/KFC for dinner.  I do love KFC chicken every once in awhile.


Late Flight

Late Flight

We have a late flight out.  And, since we have a late flight out we plan to see a couple more sites before heading to the airport.  However, we do have to have the car back by 4:00pm local time.

My day started before the sunrise walking on the beach again.  Very therapeutic and peaceful.  It is also very spiritual.

Today I wrote in the sand, “Be Still”, for three reasons.  I love the hymn Be Still My Soul.  Also, when Christ calmed the seas he said, “Peace, be still.”  Finally, the Lord tells us to “be still and know that I am God.”

copyright 2015 db walton - Late Flight Out

Be Still

There are a few places where you can walk and feel the spirit like this.  I’ve listed them in order of my preferences:

  1. Gethsemane (Orson Hyde Memorial Gardens)
  2. The Sacred Grove
  3. The Priesthood Restoration Site (Harmony, Pennsylvania)
  4. The Garden Tomb
  5. Mt. Tabor
copyright 2015 db walton - leaving today


After another great breakfast… we headed to Capernaum – the City of Jesus.  This is where Jesus spent much of his early ministry.  However, they would not believe his words and mighty miracles.

copyright 2015 db walton


A large statue of Peter appears here with him holding keys.  While the Christ’s announcement to Peter about the keys of the kingdom took place at Caesarea Philippi, Capernaum was Peter’s home.  Here is where Christ called his apostles and told Peter he would make him a fisher of men.

copyright 2015 db walton


We left Capernaum and headed across the country to Caesarea on the coast.  This is the city where Paul spent time in prison.  It is a beautiful example of Roman architecture in the 1st Century.  What is left of a large aqueduct parallels the beach of the Mediterranean Sea.

copyright 2015 db walton - Late Flight Out


We exhausted our time at Caesarea and headed to Tel Aviv to return our car.  When we got the the airport, we followed the signs of rental returns but ended up in a parking lot.  As we exited, we pushed the “help” button and asked, “Where do we go to return our rental car.”

A loud outburst of laughter was heard across the speak.  They were probably thinking, “Dumb Americans.”

We eventually found the car return and headed into the terminal.  We were so early they wouldn’t let us check our bags and there we sat and waited for hours.  The funny thing is, it was the start of the Sabbath and most of the concession were closed.  In fact, there were four lingerie shops in a row and all four were closed for the Sabbath.  Something about that just seems comical.




Specter holds true to the James Bond legacy.  We went to the morning showing.  Great movie.

I got a kick out of his new Austin Martin with Dymo labels on the gadget switches Q installed.  That in itself is funny considering Q tells Bond how expensive it is.  I’m thinking of taking a piece of aluminum, drilling 4 holes in it, install 4 toggle switches and labeling each one with Dymo tape:  Backfire, Atmosphere, Exhaust and Aerial.  It was all too funny in a geeky kind of way.

There are some other funny parts to the movie, and it has a lot of suspense, fighting, blowing things up, and your typical James Bond action.  If you like 007 movies, you’ll like Specter.

I had a $20 gift certificate for Best Buy.  I finally broke down and bought a laptop lap desk.  (Which was $19.99… hence free.)  Yeah, that piece of cardboard box I’ve been using will be recycled.

Our house guest arrived safely.  It is their first time to Palmyra so they had lots of questions.  They only have one day in Palmyra, and for anyone with one day, here is what I recommend:

Visit the Sacred Grove and Smith Farm first thing in the morning.  Take your time and don’t rush things, especially in the grove.

From there, I’d hit the Hill Cumorah.  Go through the Vistors’ Center, and then take a walk (or drive) to the top of the hill.

Eat lunch in the village at either Happiness Garden (across from the Grandin Building), Nima’s (just to the west of the Grandin) or Mark’s (across the street and to the east of the Grandin).

Visit the Grandin Building.

Then, if you still have time, head out to the Whitmer Farm (about a 45 minute drive from Palmyra).

That’s a lot to take in in one day, but at least you’ll see the highlights.