Because I Want to Remember:

I had quite the spiritual weekend.  General Conference was amazing.  There were a lot of gems about parenting and marriage that I’ll want to re-read and internalize when the Ensign comes out next month.  We are incredibly blessed to be able to hear from living prophets and apostles and inspired leaders of Christ’s Church.  We have so many recourses to be good, Christian people, if we but take the time to listen to, read, and study, and feel them.  I loved Elder Cook’s and Elder Scott’s talks on women, and the talk about “To Do” vs. “To Be.”  What was your favorite Conference moment?

I want to remember, though, how I felt when I gave a dear friend a Book of Mormon last week.  We held each other on Monday and wept over the loss of her brother only a short year ago.  She means so much to me and it hurt so much to see her pain, so I wrote her this letter and gave her the only thing I could think of that could really help her–The Book of Mormon, with my friendship.    Here is the letter {names have been changed}:

3-28-11
Dear “Megan,”                                                                           

I have been thinking about you all weekend long.  I know that your heart aches and that you are devastated because of losing your brother, and I am so, so sorry for what you and your family have had to experience.  I have been thinking and praying about how I can best help you through this hard time, even though I know it may seem like there is nothing that could help when you are mourning the loss of a loved one.  But I care about you so much, and I want to share something with you that has helped me, but especially my husband John, through seemingly unbearable times. 

Here is your very own copy of The Book of Mormon!  I don’t know how much you know about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but since you’ve grown up in Utah you’ve probably at least heard of this Book and know that it is very special to us “Mormons.”  I hope you know that I am giving you this gift from my heart because I care about you and love you and know that you can find answers and comfort in it.  I sincerely hope I am not coming off as forward or insensitive.  Like I said before, I don’t know how you feel about us.  You may have had some good experiences with the Church’s members, and you may have had some bad ones.  We are definitely not perfect and often misunderstood.  But I know you are such a good, kind person and that we are dear friends, which is why I can’t sit by and watch you suffer so much without trying to extend some help.    And this Book—and all it represents—is what has helped me, my husband, and millions of people across the world find comfort in their anguish.  Here is why:

Jesus Christ loves you.  You may know that already, or you may not.  But He does.  He knows you personally, Megan, and weeps with you as you hurt.  Because of Him, you are not alone in your sadness.   The Book of Mormon is like The Bible, in that it is a witness that Jesus Christ is real and is The Son of God.  We believe in The Bible as well, and with both books together we can know with certainty and actuality that Jesus is our Savior, that He is our Brother and our Friend.  We know that Heavenly Father sent Jesus to save us not only from our sins and shortcomings, but from our pain and sorrow and disappointment and loneliness.  We can be happy because of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.  That doesn’t mean that life won’t be sad or hard or disappointing at times, but it means that we know there is a way out of the dark.  There is hope that all of the pain and sorrow will be worth the happiness and joy that will be ours if we trust in Jesus Christ and push through those hard times with courage.  The Book of Mormon teaches of Jesus Christ’s love and purpose more perfectly than any other book.  It is sacred scripture to members of my faith, and is a major part of why we believe our church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is the True Church that is lead by Jesus Christ today through a living prophet, Thomas S. Monson, and is the way to true happiness here and after this life.  I have highlighted some verses in the Book you might enjoy.  They might answer some of your questions, or make you have more questions.  I am here for you always, Megan, whether it be to help answer those questions or to just be a shoulder to cry on.  Your response to me giving you this gift in no way affects how I feel about you or how important our friendship is to me.  If you’re not interested in the slightest, you still have me whenever you need me.  But I know it can help heal your heart and calm your soul—because it has done exactly that for my family and me. 

I love you Megan.  Again, I am so desperately sorry for your pain.  Please know you can come to me for anything.  I would be honored to be there for you.

 With my deepest love,
 Jessi

P.S. I’ve also enclosed a DVD called Together Forever.  It teaches how families can be together forever, and that you can see your dear brother again.  I hope these things bring you comfort, honey.  Love you.

Later that night she texted me, “Jessi, you are the sweetest friend I could ever ask for.  Thank you so much.”  I want to always remember how special missionary experiences are.  Then I will create more of those experiences.  This one will always hold a place in my heart’s memory.  

And for another missionary experience, check out my lil’ brother’s mission blog.  This week’s email home was particularly incredible!!  I love missionary work!

7 comments

  1. Karly E says:

    Jess,

    I love that you did this! I have someone in mind that I have been thinking a lot about. I have been hesitant about it. Just reading this confirmed even more that I need to go through with it.It’s going to be tough but I hope worth it. Thanks for the boost of inspiration. If conference wasn’t enough this was a little dessert topping to add=).Love ya dear and hope your little one is good and also the parents to be.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I think it might be best if you keep your missionary work to yourself, it can come across sounding boastful. Also, your pregnancy is a blessing many women do not have the joy of experiencing, so you might consider keeping your griping to yourself as well. I know you have good intent in all of your posting, but it is frustrating to read.

  3. John says:

    Baby, I think your blog posts are awesome. I know that you have been so grateful for our future baby, but it DEFINITELY has come with a set of hard challenges that are worth recording! And I am glad that you share your missionary experiences in the way that you do. Knowing that you are putting yourself out there with those around you and trying to share the Gospel helps me to do the same. If anyone has mean things to say about you writing about those things, I am sure they could find other blogs that fit their personality better. I still hope that they find great happiness, but I know that it won’t come by tearing others down.

  4. Curtis & Co. says:

    I’ll say it again, but this was so inspiring to me! I loved reading your experiences on how you are growing to be the woman that God wants you to be! Isn’t that what is so great about life? We can have our own individual experiences and know that God is shaping us each and every step along the way! Know that you inspire me and I love being your friend- Stay strong even when people choose to be mean. We both know that our Savior Jesus Christ would never in a million years say that you are boastful- you are a proud Daughter of God who wants to share His amazing message with His children- exactly what they want you to do! You’re great- love you girl!

  5. Erin says:

    Dear Anonymous,
    If you are frustrated reading the kind and honest thoughts of another, it might be a good idea to look elsewhere for your entertainment. Perhaps you could remind yourself that you are reading another person’s journal. Journals are, I think we can all agree, places where we can write our thoughts, good and bad, and our impressions of daily life. I would love to know my mother’s thoughts about her pregnancies, and I certainly wouldn’t expect them to all be positive. But blogs were not invented back then. It is a privilege to read the journal of another. I don’t recall anyone asking for a critique of this blog. If you do not wish to be “frustrated”, you are clearly free to find another person’s journal to read. I, along with others, love to read the sweet and real thoughts of a lovely, lovely girl.

  6. Lynsey says:

    Can I just add that I love reading your true feelings. Many other women feel the exact same way and are blessed to know that they are not alone or being unrealistic. There are ups and downs in life and what a great way to record it all 🙂 Love ya sis

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