I went to Lamoni, IA to witness Graceland University's graduation. Jake's cousin Katy, her fiance Cooper (you say the oo in the middle like look or book, not like chicken coop...I'm not perfect at it yet), his twin brother Tyler, and a family friend Whitney were all graduating.

Lamoni came to be after the RLDS church purchased land as a gathering place in 1870. The church headquarters moved to Lamoni in 1881, and Graceland (originally Lamoni College) was founded in 1895. Within the last decade-ish, the Amish population has really grown. I can't remember if my brother-in-law, Parker, said they moved from Minnesota or Michigan. Parker went to Graceland for his first two years of college. He moved back to Oklahoma last year to finish his degree at OU.

Graduation was held in the gym, aka Closson. Some people say it looks like a covered wagon, others say mountains. My first impression was a cowboy tipping his hat in my direction (I was facing it directly). What do you think?

Like I said before, Graceland is sponsored by Community of Christ (formerly RLDS). Jake grew up in this church in the Seminole, OK congregation (where the afore mentioned Whitney is from). Every one there is just like family. I love them all very much. Jake's parents, brother and his mom's parents and siblings are active in this congregation. We also knew a few other people graduating because of the closeness and activities (mostly a summer camp called reunion) within mission centers ( like stakes in the LDS church). The church itself really promotes community (if you couldn't tell from the name), and I think Graceland is a great example of that. It's a small university in a small town, and everyone who spoke at both baccaluareate and graduation mentioned something about the people and connections made being the best part of their experience.

When I think of a university, I've always like the anonimity and opportunities that a large university provides. But while I was in Iowa, I thought about how rather than having expereinces and opportunities laid before one at a big institution, one becomes much more responsible for creating their own opportunities and experiences at a smaller university. I also like the idea of going to school in a rural setting - for me anyway. Not so many distractions. The University of Iowa has one of the top creative writing programs. I think part of that is place. I know that my surroundings have a big influence on me. We will be about 3.5 hours away from Iowa City when we're in Chicago. It would be a long shot to get into the program, but wow.

Graduation's theme was "Be the change." It was based on Gandhi's quote, "Be the change you want to see in the world." I've always loved that. I want to do more to live it.

Community of Christ has a temple in Independence, MO that "... shall be dedicated to the pursuit of peace. It shall be for reconciliation and healing of the spirit.” Every day at 1:00 PM, a Prayer for Peace is offered in the santuary of the temple. They have a strong desire build the kingdom of God (Zion) on earth. This desire naturally leans toward their strong sense of community. I love these things about this church.

Sorry about the lack of pictures. I didn't take the camera. Imagine green rolling hills with beautiful, rich green grass and a wide open blue sky.


  1. I love that quote from Ghandi " Be the change you want to see in the world." Aaah!
    Thanks for sharing your experience about Lamoni, now it has stirred a curiosity in me about the place, so I will make sure to stop there some day on my trip to somewhere in IA or Il.

  2. The building reminds me of the sand dunes at White Sands National monument in Alamogordo, New Mexico. I lived in Las Cruces for 8 years and visited White Sands several times.

  3. Sand dunes. That's a great one. In person, the building is silver. Like it's over the top in so many ways.

  4. That building looks like one of those Dutch milkmaid hats!
    I'm glad that you had fun!

  5. When I lived in MO I had some friends who were RLDS. I was happy to have other people know who Joseph Smith was and about the BOM. There is a real beauty about the mid-west. I kepp trying to convince Dusti to move back.

  6. I love traveling to new places and getting to see the beauty of other last year when we came to visit and drove through KS- who knew it was so pretty!

  7. I just finished a book that talked about developing community versus networking. The premise was that society has, in many cases, substituted networks for communities and that replacement can leave our lives void of a richer meaning. Lamoni sounds like a community — that is probably why it feels so good. It is nice to be around people who are open and loving. That sounds like a great atmosphere for learning!



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