Dearest Children and Grandchildren:
I received a letter from Alaina this week with her testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It was truly a gift to me; and I have since had a strong desire to let you all know of my love for you, and because I love you, let you know of my own testimony and my yearning for your real joy in life, along with asking your tolerance in my own weaknesses as I have journeyed and will continue to journey along my own path.
In church today, which happened to be our Ward Conference, I learned so much! I felt the Spirit more strongly than I have for months (which of course, I lacked only because of my own doing and choices) and it was such a welcome cleansing for me. I felt purely and sweetly the strong love that my Heavenly Father has for our children, their children, their children's children, and for Dad and me. I felt overwhelmingly grateful for the gift of our family and the individual gifts that each of you has brought with you. What a blessing you have all been in our lives!
I felt such incredible joy (it kept leaking out)! In Alma 26:11 Ammon explains that he was "swallowed up in the joy of his God" and that this is the kind of joy which none can receive save it be the truly penitent and humble seeker of happiness.....and I felt all of that - swallowed up in joy AND the blessed relief of repentance in my heart AND such a desire to more diligently seek the happiness that I know is available to all of us.
Happiness was the theme of our Ward Conference. I had silently offered a prayer before we left that our special speaker today would be Bishop Lundstrom, as there is no one from whom I draw more understanding as he talks. He did talk, and I felt as though Heavenly Father had anticipated my prayer as preparations were made for this conference.
I seemed to actually "visualize", as it were, the importance and great need for the plan of happiness which has been authored by God and Christ. How I wish I could just transfer my feelings into each of your hearts! I know that Jesus Christ lived and lives. I know that His love and our Father's love are so much more than we can possibly experience as mortals............I also know that is probably a good thing, as even the depth of what I experienced yesterday was almost too much to bear!
I know that the Holy Bible and the Book of Mormon testify of each other. Together they give us each personal solutions that are far beyond our own wisdom and knowledge. I know that a whole lifetime of studying and researching other "words of wisdom" cannot possibly give us the strength of character and the wisdom we need to choose the paths that lead to the happiness we all seek. Only our Heavenly Father and His Son know the beginning from the end, and our happiness is their very purpose.
There is a multitude of things I do NOT know. As Alma said, “I do not boast in my own strength, nor in my own wisdom, but behold my joy is full, yea, my heart is brim with joy, and I will rejoice in my God." And I have a great desire to continue to learn and grow and be of some service to my loved ones.
I want you all to know that when and if you ever have doubts about any of my beliefs, I only ask that you only pray with full intent to know. The guidance of our Father will never, never lead us in opposing paths, even if we perceive that it seems so at times. Therefore, the "end" will be as the "beginning" -- unity in love and purpose -- for all of us.
Jesus Christ atoned for our sins. It doesn't matter whether that fact is accepted or not, the gift remains. It is in Him whose love we all have, that we find our foundation for true joy such as I was granted today. When we have that foundation, then the forces of evil cannot have power to harm us, and we cannot fall.
Helaman 5:12 And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall.
God's commandments are given because He wants us to experience this kind of joy, eternally.
I love you all so much. You, our family, come first in our hearts as parents, grandparents and great grandparents! And I am sure that when we graduate, you will continue to come first along with all of those who will follow in our family circle. I pray that you will all feel our love, even then.
In all that truly matters, we are always and forever "on your side"!!
All my love,