Elder and Sister Watts

Elder and Sister Watts

Hill Cumorah Visitors' Sites Mission Statement

"Behold, I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I have been called of him to declare his word among his people, that they might have everlasting life."
3 Nephi 5:13

Thursday, March 31, 2011

White Deer in Seneca, New York

Shortly after we arrived here in New York on our mission we heard about the "white deer".  Once we even went in search of them, but didn't find them.  However, in the back of our minds we knew we would look for them again.  So, yesterday seemed to be the perfect day.  It was our preparation day and we did some training of new missionaries in the morning.  In the early afternoon we did shopping and other chores.  It was a sunny and relatively warm day, so by late afternoon we decided it would be a perfect day to look for the white deer.  We did find them - anyway, we found 10 of them.  We enjoyed taking multiple pictures of them and these are some of the pictures we took:

We were so fascinated with the deer, that when we got home we did some internet research.  This is what we learned:

The Seneca White Deer are a rare herd of deer living within the confines of the former Seneca Army Depot in Seneca County, New York. When the 10,600 acre depot was created in 1941, a 24 mile fence was erected around its perimeter, isolating a small herd of white-tailed deer, some of whom had white coats. These deer are not albino, but instead carry a set of recessive genes for all-white coats.

In the 1950s, the depot commander forbade the GI’s from shooting any white deer. The deer population has since grown to about 700, approximately 300 of which are white, making it the largest herd of white deer in the world.

Since the depot’s closure, the future of the deer has been uncertain. The visibility of white deer makes them easy prey for hunters and natural enemies like coyotes, and such a herd would not survive in the wild.

We felt such joy at seeing some of God's beautiful creations and plan to visit the "white deer" again before we leave New York.

Saturday, March 19, 2011


Finally, the last of the FOUR SEASONS IN THE SACRED GROVE blog posts. I started these in November, thinking I would have them posted within four weeks.  However, life has a way of changing our well laid plans.  

I love the fall.  I think it may be my favorite season.  Certainly I looked forward to spending a fall in upstate New York and seeing the leaves change colors. I wasn't dissappointed as those who have followed this blog know from my Fall Leaves in New York blog post.

The Sacred Grove in the fall was also beautiful.  These pictures were take from early September through late October, 2010 and are posted in sequential order.  Early in September only a few leaves were changing, the weather was mild, and walking in the Grove was inviting and peaceful.

As the month progressed, leaves started changing, leaving a golden hue in the Grove.  It is not permissable to take leaves from the Sacred Grove - they are needed for nutrients in the soil.  So, pictures are the way I take leaves home.  Aren't they beautiful?

These two majestic trees with the large stone at their base are some of my favorite in the Grove.

Even though there were amazing leaves changing colors everywhere in New York, I saw some unique leaves in the Sacred Grove. I also loved walking through the abundant leaves and hearing the crunching sound under my feet.

I loved the golden hue of the trees on this afternoon of October 13.
Perhaps this poem from the Friend magazine describes the changes best:

Colorful Season


Ruth Schiefen, "Colorful Season", Friend, Oct. 1983, 13

The autumn woods
Are all aglow
Before the touch
Of winter snow.

Red maple leaves
Are piled high.
They crackle as
Squirrels scamper by.

Glistening oaks,
So big and bold,
Brighten the sky
With leaves of gold.
The swirling wind
Collects her share.
Soon woodland trees
Will all be bare.

You might think with the FOUR SEASONS posts now completed and our mission nearing its end I am finished posting about the Sacred Grove.  However, I was impressed with two other gifts from the Grove.  First, there are beautiful wildflowers throughout in every season but winter.  Second, in August and September a large variety of mushroom abound.  So . . .pehaps more Sacred Grove posts are coming your way!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


 I have been gone for some time from the blog scene.  That is because it seems I used up all of my free allotted memory in the system.  I tried several things to try to free up more space, with no success.  Then I tired multiple times to buy more space, but those attempts failed too.  I was just about to the point of opening another blog on Elder Watts' email account when he took a look at things and was able to help me successfully purchase more memory.  So . . . I'm back!!!

One of the most important principles of the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ has to do with families.  In a The Family A Proclamation to the World, the First Presidency and Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints state, "The divine plan of happiness enables family relationships to be perpetuated beyond the grave." 

Because of these teachings we have hope for an eternal relationship with our families.  We also have the blessings of an earthly relationship with them.  Elder Watts and I are so thankful for the wonderful support we have received from our families as we have served our mission.  Our parents, siblings, children and their spouses, and our grandchildren have shared support in so many ways.  We have been blessed to have almost all of our children and grandchildren visit us here in New York.  Recently, one of our daughters, Alisha, and two of her children, Cole, 5, and Violet, our newest granddaughter, came for a visit.  Their entire family came for a visit in August, so this was a "bonus" visit for us.  We so appreciate the sacrifice they made to make the trip.  Here are some of the highlights:

We loved getting acquainted with our adorable granddaughter! 

It was fun to watch how cute Cole played with his little sister. 

Visiting the sites with our daughter Alisha, sharing our testimonies with her and hearing hers was a special experience.

On preparation day we headed for the National Museum of Play in Rochester.

Both of the grandchildren played and played and played until . . .

. . . our littlest one played herself out.  They have a nice room at the museum for just such an occasion.

We spent a lot of time at the Hill Cumorah, since we had assignments to work there twice during their visit.  Cole thrived on  being outside in the snow, and was kind enough to shovel the sidewalks TWICE!

Violet, on the other hand, had her own idea of how a tour at the Hill Cumorah Visitors' Center should be given.

Cole soaked up all of the displays and video clips in the resource room.  He became quite the little missionary, guiding other visitors to view some of his favorite video clips.

It was sunny, but very cold on Sunday. After having the blessing of listening to an Apostle of Jesus Christ, Elder Scott, speak to us in a special Sabbath Meeting, we decided to go for a walk in the Sacred Grove. We bundled the kids up and . . .

 . . .put them on a sled provided at the Welcome Center. 

Then Elder Watts pulled them through the Grove.  The kids loved it!

Thanks for coming!