|Learning to love the temple brings us to joy.|
Have you ever considered that we don't have letters to Lehi, Nephi or Sam? Did he speak to them or did he hope that the words he used to convey his deep convictions to his younger sons would be heard by his older sons. Because there are several times in both letters where he refers to all of his sons I think the answer here is yes. (vs 2:14, 28, 30)
In this same spirit I have taken the letter that was originally written by both my husband and myself for our youngest son and placed it here for all of my children and younger members of our family to read.
|Temple Open House with Great Grandpa|
The diversity of life has never abounded more about me than when I am with my own family: to me they represent my love, life and hopes and dreams. Six beautiful children: each with their own view, their own hopes and their own dreams and yet each capable of understanding and living the laws of both heaven and earth and finding the joy that each law brings. I have a very unique perspective on life not necessarily because of my choice of faith, but because of the opportunity that each of my children have given me to exercise my faith.
To my daughters I ask for your indulgence while reading and understand that much of the message might be lost if I were to change all of the adverbs to read as neutral gender. As you read please make the adjustments needed to fit your life circumstances and know that if this assignment had been given while you were yet in high school, your father and I would have wanted to convey the same essence of meaning.
To our child.
The days are quickly approaching that you will begin to court and date young women. These days are important because they help you work through and decide what characteristics you would enjoy in an eternal mate. Marriage is a serious commitment that if done with careful consideration will bring you a lifetime of happiness and companionship.
Marriage is not to be taken lightly. Our faith teaches us that the person we choose to marry will become our eternal companion. If you choose to follow the credo of our faith and marry at the sacred alters of the Lord's temple, you will be making not only lifetime but eternal covenants between you, your mate and God. These covenants are an important step in helping both you and your mate understand the seriousness of your commitment toward one another.
While we don’t have a specific person, chosen for you to marry, (this practice went out of style hundreds of years ago), we do believe that it is important for you to consider characteristics that might be deemed important in a mate. A few that we have considered include: loyalty, humility, willingness to serve others, a love of faith and family, a cheerful and independent disposition, and one who is not afraid to work hard.
Work is one characteristic that the modern conveniences of life have eroded the importance of. Long ago men and women married out of love and need. A farmer needed a woman who could do the work necessary for survival. A woman likewise depended on her husband to be able to work their land hard. Survival depended on it. Today’s need for a relationship based on the merits of hard-work may not be as apparent as it once was, but it is still equally as important. What has changed is the type of work needed to make the marriage successful.
A successful marriage happens when both parties share the work, do their part and learn to serve one another. Communication is hard work. Planning for financial, spiritual, social, emotional, and educational needs is hard work. Even planning for fun involves a commitment.
It is often easy to confuse fun with love. When we have enjoyable memories and experiences with a person we begin to develop fond feelings for them. Love is more than fun. Be sure that you look for a young woman who enjoys life and will help you enjoy life through shared experiences.
We cannot tell you what age to marry. We would hope that life and its many events will not prevent you from marrying as a young adult. While there are many unknown experiences and insecurities that come with marrying at any age, a youthful marriage when done with the correct spirit and intention can bring much happiness. Frugality breeds strength. And marrying with a youthful heart will help you forge a bond of love as you and your spouse work through many of life’s challenges.
As we spoke about before, marriage, like our spirits has the opportunity through the celestial temple marriage to be for time and all eternity. It is our prayer that you will live a life worthy of such a lofty and divine goal. When two partners believe that marriage is a covenant with God and that they must qualify to enter this covenant they both learn to practice self-restraint and self-improvement. When we enter into the bonds of marriage at the sacred holy alter of the temple, we invite God to be the third partner of our marriage and help us to overcome all of the obstacles that await to weaken your family.
Marriage is a sacred covenant between man and woman that is meant to bring joy. When children are allowed to come into this union the joy that you feel is beyond any earthly feeling that you might ever know. We cannot tell you how your life has come to influence my own. Your birth has been such an eternal gift to us that we know we are, even now, unable to fully comprehend it. This knowledge that we lived before we came to earth and will live after we die is paramount in your making the choice to marry within the walls of the holy temple of God. We pray that you will give it serious consideration.
Even though we believe in your power to make wise decisions regarding whom you will marry, successful marriage is dependent on both partners willingness to work through their own problems in life as well as those of their marriage. It is important that you do all you can to assist your spouse patiently to work through their difficulties, but if you find that your own safety, security, or emotional stability becomes compromised because of your spouses unwillingness to cooperate or make significant changes in their life choices, the ending of your wedding vows would, while wrought with great heartache, be allowed. But this decision is not made lightly nor without serious consequences to the lives of all involved. Especially when children, young tender spirits who rely on the security of their parents union, have been born. Marriage is meant to be a place of refuge from the world; It is meant to bring security and joy to both parties. Marriage and family is the classroom where we learn to practice patience, love, charity, discernment, wisdom, service, communication, companionship, sacrifice, and above all joy. Man is that he might have joy. This joy comes from understanding one's relationship to self, others and the spiritual laws that govern.
Joy comes when we learn to make choices that empower us. Joy comes when we learn how to attain self-actualization through education, service and preparation for life challenges. My son seek learning for all of your life. Seek a partner that likewise enjoys learning and has the ability to remain flexible through life’s many changes.
We have never told any of children who to date or what to consider in a marriage partner and we don’t believe in meddling with the matters of the heart. But if we were to see a prospective partner that gave us serious pause as to their ability to bring you happiness we would, with great consideration, want to speak to you about it. We would never forbid you to marry, but it is our hope that you would choose a partner who would help you to foster a healthy extended family relationship.
Life is a journey. Who we choose to take with us on this journey is critical not only to our survival but to our happiness. You are a gifted and talented young person. You have great potential to do all that you dream of. You are bright, disciplined, handsome, musically and artistically gifted, and physically athletic. We are sure as you continue to foster your love for learning your gifts and talents will continue to grow. You are personable and love people. This talent shows as you interact and treat others and young ladies of your acquaintance with respect and admiration. Many of these friendships will help you as you consider your life path. We cannot choose this for you, we can only support you in your endeavors and pray with fervent faith that as you stand at the crossroads your choices will reflect the values and love that we have attempted to instill in you and your siblings.
As your parents we believe it is our job to help support you and guide you on a path of wisdom and prudence. The gift of agency is yours to use to the best of your ability. We are striving to help you learn how to use it well. The gift of agency can assist you in many avenues of life. It can help you discover the powers that want to weaken you and steer away from them. Likewise it can help you discover the powers of faith that builds you up and empowers you.
Our greatest dream and desire is to see you use your God given agency in such ways as to create a pathway of possibilities and success; to help you find joy. Joy is different from happiness. Joy comes through spiritual encounters and when we touch our hearts with eternal truths. Our lives together has already taught you of our fierce and often tough love for you. We would do nothing to rob you of your agency, but will continually pray for you to have the strength to use it in service to others and to your God. We will continually pray for you to recognize the markings of truth along your life path.
We love you. You must know this by now. Though we realize that at this young age you can not possibly comprehend the sacrifice and work we have given to keep you safe, guide you and help you find the life that will bring you joy. As you are our youngest, you must be aware that our life candles may not always burn beside yours. For this reason you have many siblings to turn to. Though they are not your parents they are old enough to guide you and offer you respectable counsel.
If you remember nothing else from this letter, remember that your mother and father love you. We thank God for your presence in our lives. We place great hope and desire in the idea that you will live in such a manner that you will attract a bright and intelligent young woman. And that the two of you with mutual respect for God and one another will want to marry not just for time, but for time and all eternity. That you will want to bring children into this world and that through the experience of raising a family you will forge an eternal love that will bring you the eternal joy that your loving Heavenly Father has intended.
Your mother and father.
aka Mom & Dad