The Nauvoo House

LGBT Mormons, their Families and Friends are invited to a spiritual/leadership retreat in historic Nauvoo, IL, during May 2-4, 2014 (stay may be extended Thursday May 1 to Monday May 5). This retreat is not just for LGBT people, but for all those who desire to serve in the LGBT Mormon community.

Nauvoo The Beautiful

Registration & Lodging

The registration cost for the retreat, which will include meals, is $55. Lodging in the historic Nauvoo House will be cost $15 per person per night.

Register Today!

For this event we have reserved the Nauvoo House, owned and operated by the Community of Christ. Located in the center of Historic Nauvoo and mere yards away from the Mississippi River, this is the home where Emma Smith lived till her death in 1879. The upstairs bedrooms and attic of this old house have been converted into simple, dorm-style rooms. Downstairs, we will cook in Emma’s kitchen and share meals in her parlor.

Note: For those wishing to have more privacy, we are holding a block of rooms at the Nauvoo Family Inn, with rooms with 2 queen beds at $81 per night.


Most conference participants should plan to fly into St. Louis, MO. Nauvoo is a 3-hour drive from St. Louis, and a 4.5-hour drive from Chicago, IL or Kansas City, MO. A group will also be driving down from Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN (6 hours).

James Brinton ( will be helping to coordinate rides. Please contact him to let him know where you are driving to Nauvoo from and if you have space available for someone else to ride with you. Also let him know if you need a ride and from where!

Find the Nauvoo House in Google Maps
Driving from St. Louis Airport to the Nauvoo House


We have deliberately planned a light program. We don’t want every minute of our time together packed with structured activities. We will have ice-breakers and get-to-know-you activities so that everyone will get a chance to know and be known by everybody else. Much of our time will be spent traveling together, preparing, eating and cleaning up after meals, relaxing around a piano, or conversing in large and small groups.

We realize that Nauvoo is out of the way. It will take time to travel there, and life there will be a bit more rustic than many of us are used to. We hope folks will approach this with a sense of adventure, and see it as an opportunity to slow down and look at life through a different lens.

Friday, May 2
Morning and Afternoon   Travel to Nauvoo 
6-8 p.m.   Communal Meal     Venue: The Nauvoo House
8-10 p.m.   Dessert, Icebreaker and Introductions    Venue: The Nauvoo House
Icebreaker facilitators: Beth Ellsworth and Jamison Manwaring
Saturday, May 3
8:00 a.m.   Continental Breakfast    Venue: The Nauvoo House 
9:00 – 10:15 a.m.   Nauvoo Historical Perspectives and Likening the Scriptures unto Ourselves    Venue: Outdoor site near the Mississippi River
Session Leaders: John Gustav-Wrathall, Todd Richardson, Tom Christofferson

The eight years from 1838-1846 when the Saints sojourned in Nauvoo were a crucible where they faced challenges more extreme than any before, but also built the foundation of a faith that has blossomed into a new world religion. LGBT Mormons today are at a crossroads; we too face profound challenges and adversity; but we too are on the verge of great potential. In this session we will first review the events of Nauvoo in historical context. Then we will read and discuss together the D&C scriptural texts of the Nauvoo period (sections 124-132 & 135), and their relevance to us as LGBT Mormons today. We encourage participants to prepare by studying these sections of the D&C prior to the retreat, though that won’t be required to participate!
10:30 a.m. – 11:15 a.m.   Leadership: Living with a Vision   Venue: Outdoor site near the Mississippi River
Session Leader: Randall Thacker

Could there be a better place than Nauvoo for exploring the essential leadership tool of Visioning? We will engage in an exercise of identifying our own personal vision for our future and a shared vision for our LGBT/SSA Mormon Community. We will also look at how to overcome limiting beliefs/thoughts and actions that keep us from fulfilling our individual and shared visions.
11:15 – 12:30 p.m.  Planning Zion    Venue: Walking tour of historic Nauvoo
Session Leader: Nathaniel Curry

In Nauvoo, the Saints engaged in revolutionary experiments in community building that became a model for modern American urban planners. The Nauvoo plan of broad streets laid out on a grid structure around the city’s civic and religious center was executed on a much larger scale first in Salt Lake City and then in many other cities in the West. This walking tour of Nauvoo will be an opportunity to reflect on both the literal and metaphoric aspects of planning and building an inclusive Zion.  
12:30 – 5:00 p.m.   Free Time

Sack lunches will be provided, and conference participants will be free to explore historic Nauvoo, the visitors centers and the surrounding area, or remain at the Nauvoo House and socialize.  
5:00 – 8:00 p.m.  Communal Meal Preparation and Eating    Venue: The Nauvoo House

Retreat participants will practice Zion by preparing, serving, eating and cleaning up after a communal meal together.  
8:00 – 9:00 p.m.   Perspectives on “The Peaceable Kingdom”    Venue: The Nauvoo House
Speakers: Berta Marquez, Samy Galvez, Carol Lynn Pearson

How do we heal from the painful experience of exile and division? How do we find and create peace in a world filled with conflict?
9:00 p.m. on   Social    Venue: The Nauvoo House

A piano will be available for singing, board games for playing, and snacks for noshing.
Sunday, May 4
6:00 a.m.   Sunrise Meditation
Venue: In front of the Nauvoo Temple

For early risers! A quiet meditation and prayer together.
7:30 a.m.  Continental Breakfast    Venue: The Nauvoo House
8:30 – 10:00 a.m.   Devotional & Testimony Meeting
Conducting: Kathy Carlston  
11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.   Closing Luncheon    Venue: The Nauvoo House

Affirmation: LGBT Mormons, Families & Friends