The Eighth Annual Nauvoo Women’s Retreat will take place on March 21 and 22, 2013, at Camp Nauvoo Lodge in Nauvoo, Illinois. This year’s retreat theme is “We Rejoice in Christ” from 2 Nephi 25:26: “And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins.”

Nephi wrote these words from first-hand experiences. He knew the Savior. He also knew that some of his family struggled with obedience, harmony, and “hardening of the arteries.” They did not look toward the Savior and His atonement and, as a result, did not understand “what source they may look for a remission of their sins.”  

In latter-day scripture, the Savior said, “Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not” (D&C 6:36). In the perilous times in which we live, if we build our foundation upon the rock of our Redeemer and talk, rejoice, preach, and prophesy of Christ, we will stand firm in spite of the storms that may rage around us.


This year’s Nauvoo Women’s Retreat sessions will focus on talking, rejoicing, preaching, and prophesying of Christ that we may know to what source we may look for a remission of sins.

2013 Women’s Retreat

This annual two-day event is designed for women, ages 16 and older, to walk where early saints walked, learn from uplifting speakers and entertainment, and participate in redeeming ordinances in the Nauvoo Temple. Men are welcome to attend this event, but accommodations for babies or children are not available during the sessions.

 IMG 0462 lodge exterior“Camp Nauvoo Lodge”

The Nauvoo Women’s Retreat is held at the Community of Christ’s Camp Nauvoo Lodge, located in a 30-acre campground near Historic Nauvoo and the Nauvoo Temple. The two-story cedar building provides a cozy environment for a retreat, with its meeting room and wood-burning fireplace, outside deck facing the Mississippi River, and kitchen/dining facilities in the basement.


While large crowds often attend other LDS women’s retreats, the Nauvoo Women’s Retreat offers a more intimate setting. Participants can rub shoulders with session speakers. They watch a re-enactment of the organization of the Relief Society in the Red Brick Store where Joseph Smith stated that “the Church was never perfectly organized until the women were thus organized.”  


Participants at the Nauvoo Women’s Retreat develop friendships as they travel in a car or by the train which stops in Burlington and Ft. Madison, Iowa, and Macomb, Illinois. The spirit of Nauvoo welcomes participants during their stay in this peaceful community in the early spring.


Session Topics and Speakers

JoAnna Miller300JoAnna Miller This year’s Nauvoo Women’s Retreat opens on Thursday, March 21, with JoAnna Miller introducing the two-day event and speaking on the topic We talk of Christ.” JoAnna grew up in Washington, attended Ricks College, and served an LDS mission to Canada. She and her family have lived in Carthage, Illinois, for almost ten years. They have been involved in the Nauvoo Pageant for four years, and JoAnna participated in the core cast for two years, playing Anna Fordham. JoAnna loves to sing and perform. She has served as the Nauvoo Women’s Retreat coordinator since 2010.


DSCN3736 Sis Gulliland200Karen GillilandKaren Gilliland, wife of the Illinois Nauvoo Mission President, will address this year’s retreat theme “We Rejoice in Christ.” Sister Gilliland was born in Utah, the second of seven children, and raised in the Bay Area. After she married Russell Gilliland, they moved to Glendale, Arizona, where they lived for 40 years. Sister Gilliland loves children, and she and her husband have 10 children and 36 grandchildren. Her favorite church callings have been seminary teacher, Primary President, and Primary chorister. The Gillilands served in the Ohio Columbus Mission and in the Mesa Arizona Temple presidency. Currently President Gilliland oversees the operation of Historic Nauvoo, which annually draws over 150,000 visitors, and presides over site and young performing missionaries. Sister Gilliland assists him with her many duties as a mission president’s wife and mission mom.

Dennis TaylorDennis TaylorDennis Taylor will present the topic “We Preach of Christ.” Dennis currently is a sealer in the Chicago Illinois Temple, Institute instructor in the Naperville and Joliet stakes, and Gospel Essentials teacher. After serving an LDS mission to Denmark, he received BA and MA degrees from BYU in German, English, and Scandinavian Comparative Literature and a PhD from UCSB in Comparative Historical Linguistics and Experimental Phonetics. He was a professor and associate dean at the University of Illinois Chicago. Dennis is currently owner of an international group travel company, where he has taken travelers to all seven continents, including 40 tours to Israel and Egypt. He has served in various ward and stake callings, including twice as a bishop. Dennis and his wife Judy have four children and seven grandchildren.

CondieSpencer J. and Dorothea CondieNauvoo Illinois Temple President Spencer J. Condie and his wife Dorothea will address the topic “We Prophesy of Christ.” President Condie was called to the Second Quorum of the Seventy in 1989 and, in 1992, to the First Quorum of the Seventy. He was released as a Seventy in 2010 and received general authority emeritus status. A month later, he arrived in Nauvoo as the president of the Nauvoo Temple. While serving an LDS mission in the South German Mission, young Spencer Condie met a sister missionary named Dorothea Speth. This young lady, a native of Germany, experienced World War II as a child. After completing their missions, Spencer and Dorothea became reacquainted, married, and raised five children. President Condie received a bachelor’s degree from BYU, a master’s degree from the University of Utah, and a doctorate from the University of Pittsburgh. Prior to becoming a General Authority, he was a professor of sociology and ancient scripture at BYU from 1969 to 1984 and from1987 to 1989. President Condie has authored several books, including The Song of Redeeming Love, In Perfect Balance, and a biography of Russell M. Nelson.

This year Matt and Becky Bean will portray Joseph and Emma Smith in the re-enactment of the organization of the Relief Society at the Nauvoo Women’s Retreat.

  Matt is a professor of Musical Theatre and Voice and co-director of the BFA program in musical theatre at Western Illinois University in Macomb.

Matt Becky BeanMatt and Becky Bean Matt directs shows and operas, sings bass-baritone, performs, writes, composes, arranges, and presents workshops. He has directed musicals, such as Kiss Me Kate, Fiddler on the Roof, Titanic, and Oklahoma. His students perform on Broadway, at Disney World, and in national and regional touring companies. Becky Bean received a MFA in theatre from the University of Oregon. She taught and directed at the university level and served with the Nauvoo Pageant in 2007 and 2008 as a member of the directing team. Matt and Becky were married in 2012, and they live in Macomb, Illinois.

The Nauvoo Women’s Retreat will begin with breakfast for all participants in Camp Nauvoo Lodge’s kitchen/dining area. Other activities include the re-enactment of the organization of the Relief Society, a special performance of “Rendezvous in Old Nauvoo” by Historic Nauvoo site missionaries, the popular Legacy Concert, Nauvoo Temple session, service project of children’s hair bows for the temple, and visits to Historic Nauvoo sites. This year an added event will be a participant talent show and dessert on Thursday evening. Nauvoo is the perfect setting for an inspiring two-day women’s retreat-especially with this year’s theme focusing on the Savior.

To obtain more information or to register for this event, visit and click on the “Events” page, e-mail, or phone 217-219-1195 or 800-453-6717, ext. 0. Register by March 1, 2013, to receive the “early bird” price.

Rosemary Palmer is Nauvoo, Illinois, correspondent for Meridian Magazine.