It must be remembered that while Joseph was a prophet, intent on magnifying his office, he was also a man who rejoiced in the temporal earth God had created for humankind, “to please the eye and to gladden the heart…and to enliven the soul” (D&C 59: 18, 19). He knew the long-term value of regularly “unstringing the bow.” At Kirtland, over the course of a few months, just before the temple’s dedication, Joseph mentioned in his history more than a dozen times something about sleigh riding. To quote a few: “Fine sleighing, and the snow yet falling” (History of the Church, Vol. 2, p. 323); “Had a fine ride—sleighing good, weather pleasant” (Ibid., p. 324); “Beautiful morning, indeed, and fine sleighing” (Ibid., p. 328); “…snow is still falling fast, and the prospect is fair for another run of sleighing” (Ibid., p. 406).
I imagine morning in Kirtland, and Joseph walking out on the porch with his children, their breath visible in the crisp air. I see Joseph making sure his little ones are securely bundled in their warm clothing while he puts them into the sleigh. The reins are checked and then the Smiths are off on a delightful wintry ride.