Sunday, April 11, 2010

Wife Rule #136: Why I Love Your Mother (to my children) -- Epilogue: Why I Wrote This

And he did exhort them then with all the feeling of a tender parent....
--1 Nephi 8:37

My precious daughters and sons, when I first wrote this, most of you were too young to read it--not too young to comprehend most of the concepts, for they are simple enough for children, but the language I used and the quotes I cited were generally above your reading skills at the time. So you may wonder why I wrote this. I want to tell you.

First of all, I knew when I wrote this that you would not always be so young. Like the prophet Enos, each of you would, at some point in your life, have an experience wherein your "soul hungered" (see Enos 1:4) to know and understand the things of eternity. When that critical time came, I hoped by writing this ahead of time, that these words might play some part in allowing you to say, as did Enos, that "the words which I had often heard my father speak concerning eternal life, and the joy of the saints, sunk deep into my heart" (Enos 1:3).

Second, it is the right and duty of a father to teach the truth to his children. Despite the countless prophets, teachers, and parents before me who have known and written about these truths, there is something intrinsically valuable in hearing these words from the mouth of your own father. I know this from firsthand experience, as my own father's testimony has played a critical and continuing role in the development of my understanding and appreciation of the truth. By writing down this abbreviated summary of the most plain and precious truths I know--those which give context and meaning to everything else in life--I am following in this great tradition. Since the days of Adam, the great patriarchs each took care to pass along the knowledge they possessed to their children. I follow the example of Adam, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Israel, Moses, Lehi, Nephi, Benjamin, Alma, Helaman, Mormon, and countless others in doing so. It is my right to do so, and it is your right to hear it.

Third, I wrote this to follow the counsel of modern day prophets who have asked us to share our testimonies with the world (see Elder Ballard's words on the subject, in “Sharing the Gospel Using the Internet,” Ensign, Jul 2008, 58–63). The miracle of the Internet allows any lowly guy such as your father to publish his beliefs to the world. My few drops of truth might help just a bit to balance out the vast sea of misinformation about God's plan and His truth that exists in the world. It is even possible that someone will find these words and be touched by my testimony enough to want to learn more about how to begin the process of coming closer to Christ. Impacting even one soul--especially yours--would make the effort to write all of this worth it (D&C 18:10-11).

Fourth, I want to provide an example for you. Your mother and I have something very special--and unfortunately, unusual--in our marriage. We love each other completely. We love you completely. We have been loved by our parents completely. And we love the Lord completely. So much of this love flows from understanding--and choosing to follow--God's plan for families. Too few understand this plan, but it was not meant to be so. Every one of God's children--including you--was meant to have all that He has. But in order to achieve God's goals for us, it is essential to understand what those goals are and how to attain them. I hope to point you in that direction. I want you to each have all that your mother and I share, as well as the infinite increase above what we now enjoy, which is attainable only through God's grace and by following His plan.

And lastly, perhaps the most basic reason of all for writing this is that the truth of God is in my heart. I simply cannot help but to let it out, to make some attempt to share what I have. The prophet Jeremiah described very well how I feel about this: "[God's] word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay" (Jeremiah 20:9).

And so it is. The truth of God--His eternal laws, ordinances, plans, attributes, goodness, grace, justice, and mercy--burn in my heart like a fire that would consume me if I kept it to myself. I know that God lives. I know that Jesus Christ came to save, purify, and perfect--to transform into godly beings--as many as will use their agency to follow the path He laid before us. I know that our Heavenly Father has prepared a plan for families to be eternally united in happiness which is beyond our mortal understanding. I know that He has called prophets in the latter days, beginning with Joseph Smith, and given them the priesthood and the very keys to the kingdom of God, including the power to seal families together forever. I know that this power has continued in an unbroken chain to the present day, and that it exists only in the true church of Jesus Christ, wherein can also be found the whole of the truth that God has been presently revealed for the salvation of mankind. I know that the Book of Mormon, the Bible, and our other scriptures contain this truth. I have known much of this since my childhood, and you can know it too.

Moroni promised that "by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things" (Moroni 10:4-5). There is no other way to know the truth; our minds are simply too small to reason the "big picture" out without God's help. Go to our Heavenly Father in prayer. Ask him to reveal anew the truth of His plan to you. You will come to know that you are a child of God. You will have, kindled in your heart, the fire of truth. It will change your life--your future marriage, your family, and the way you look at yourself and every other person on earth--forever.

I know this because it has changed me, and continues to do so, as I strive to draw ever closer to Jesus Christ and our Father in Heaven, as well as to my wife, your dear mother. This is a quest that will go on forever, worlds without end.

Part twelve of a twelve-chapter essay. Read more: Ch 1 | Ch 2 | Ch 3 | Ch 4 | Ch 5 | Ch 6 | Ch 7 | Ch 8 | Ch 9 | Ch 10 | Ch 11 | Epilogue


Jenny and Al said...

I think it's cool that you write all of these posts, Matt. I have been thinking a lot about that urge by Elder Ballard to share the gospel using the internet, and I think you have found a cool niche in which to do it. :)

LuckyMatt said...

Would that be the "nerdy niche?" :-)

Oh well, it's my best effort anyway.

Mom said...

What a wonderful thing to do. It's a great legacy for your children. Thanks for giving us our own copy. I admire and love you very much.