In Nauvoo, Ill., four pumps continued Thursday to move water away from the property of the historic Nauvoo House, threatened by massive flooding that has devastated the Midwest this week.

LDS missionaries and BYU students in Nauvoo worked with members of the Community of Christ church to sandbag the historic structure. The "hotel" was built as a sort of public-works project under the direction of church founder Joseph Smith Jr., who, in 1841 placed in one of its cornerstones a Book of Mormon manuscript. After his martyrdom, Smith's body was moved from the Mansion House to the Nauvoo House prior to burial. The Nauvoo House is now owned by the Community of Christ, formerly the RLDS Church.

"The water is seeping in underneath the sandbags, coming up out of the ground. That is why we have the four pumps on it," said Donna Whisenant, who is serving as a public affairs missionary with her husband, Vern, in Nauvoo. They are from Provo.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints does not have any structures in Nauvoo that were threatened by major flooding, she said. Still, LDS missionaries pitched in to help the Community of Christ and areas surrounding historic Nauvoo.

LDS missionaries from the Missouri St. Louis, the Illinois Peoria and the Illinois Nauvoo missions began work in Quincy Wednesday. LDS groups also helped out in Niota and Dallas City. The groups had plans to shore up Hunts Levee, located between Quincy and Keokuk. But the levee broke, sending massive amounts of water into surrounding farm land before the group arrived.

In addition to work in Nauvoo and surrounding communities, LDS Church members and missionaries assisted flood relief efforts in other parts of Illinois and in Indiana, Iowa and Wisconsin.

In response to the flooding, the LDS Church sent 16 truckloads of supplies — including shovels and wheelbarrows — to the impacted area. Church members also distributed 26,000 cleaning kits and 15,000 hygiene kits, according to a Church Welfare Services report.


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