BYU-Idaho students are retracing their ancestors’ footprints as they travel across the midwest to Nauvoo, Ill.

From June 1 until June 6, Brother Bolingbroke and Brother Gardner, two religion professors at BYU-I, will be taking 50 students to experience the path of the early pioneers.Brother Bolingbroke said that they will be stopping in places such as Independence, Mo., Far West, Richmond, Gallatin, Adam-Ondi-Ahman and Carthage Jail.

Neither Brother Bolingbroke nor Brother Gardner have participated in this church history tour before, but they are both excited for the opportunity.

“It should be wonderful,” Brother Bolingbroke said.

Brother Bolingbroke said he is especially excited for the students experiencing Nauvoo for the first time.

“We hope that they gain a testimony, that they feel that the spirit and that prayers are answered,” Brother Bolingbroke said.

According to an essay written by Glen M. Leonord entitled “Nauvoo,” Joseph Smith named the city Nauvoo, which roughly translates to a beautiful location, a place of rest.

After being founded in 1839, Nauvoo became a boom town, quickly rivaling the growth of the city of Chicago, according to Leonord’s essay. Thousands of saints traveled from far away — even as far as Liverpool, England — to come to the beautiful city of Nauvoo.

Brother Bolingbroke said that students will get to experience that trek and the beautiful city during the trip.

“[These students] are excited to see what they’ve been taught about all their life,” said Brother Bolingbroke. “I hope they feel appreciation those who sacrificed so much.”

Brother Bolingbroke said that more than anything, he hopes the students will develop a connection to their geneology.

“I hope students start earlier in their life to be interested in [their] ancestors,” Brother Bolingbroke said. “They need to get interested today. That’s why we do church history trips.”

Brother Bolingbroke said that BYU-I offers the Nauvoo Church History Trip every fall and spring semester. Spots fill up quickly and students are encouraged to sign up as soon as possible to ensure a spot on the tour.

“You’ll feel a connection to those who started the restoration,” said Brother Bolingbroke. “You’ll feel the spirit of Elijah when you dive into church history.”