Dear Elder and Sister Scott,
This has been a FULL day for a 92-year old youngster. My daughter Coral picked me up to attend a 9 A.M. sacrament meeting where her daughter played a piano solo with her neighbor. I was so proud of their lovely rendition of an LDS hymn. Then we went to my daughter's ward, where her daughter-in-law accompanied a friend from her mission. He did a cello solo arrangement of "A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief," which was one of the best I have ever heard. Also, my son Blaine represented the high council in speaking in their ward--a real treat for me. Coral brought me home for the two final meetings of our ward conference, which were among the best ever. Tonight I will be attending a viewing for the widow of a man who had served as my ward clerk 'way back when I was bishop of the Farr West Ward. I think I will sleep well tonight!
During the final session of our ward conference the stake president arranged for the showing of results of a survey he had conduted among the youth of the ward in an earlier session (confidential answers). The general result of the survey indicated excellent results for the youth's attitudes and performance on gospel teachings, but a little less exciting results for parents' performance. We were all challenged to LIVE as we have been taught. As you would expect, most of us do well in some respects, but we have room for improvement. Such meetings are great to have us all decide where we are going to start on demonstrating for the Savior that we want to follow Him--seriously.
During the week I read a story about a man who had been called to serve as a bishop. One of his friends, a former bishop, related that early in his term of service, he would see a new family in the audience and think, "Oh, those must be newcomers in the ward. I wonder what we can call them to do. After a year or two, the arrival of a new family in the ward brought the thought, "I wonder what problems they are going to bring us."
Not all challenges that arrive with new families are caused by open rebellion against the Church or broken marriages. As Mormon taught in the Book of Mormon, sometimes when the Lord blesses and prospers people, that is when they harden their hearts and turn away from spiritual matters. One good man made the statement that we must learn to endure faithfully even in times of peace and prosperity. A former mission president and later a member of an area presidency cited an example of a missionary who wanted to go home because missionary work "is not fun." Many families are surrounded with such affluence and luxury that it is difficult for their youth to really "seek first the kingdom of God." One case was cited where the missionary who wanted to go home was asked what he intended to do if he left his mission early, and he replied that he intended to achieve level 7 of a video game he had been playing before accepting the missionary call. Of all the shallow reasoning!!!
I know that none in the group who receive this letter has been guilty of such negative thinking, but you can be grateful to Heavenly Father for the things in your life that have helped you make the right choices. Really, we should have reason enough in knowing that the Savior, who brought about the Atonement, is relying on us to bring about a marvelous work in our day. I'm proud of you for being a part of it!
God bless you for making those right choices for the right reasons.
Love, G-pa Taylor
Dear Elder and Sister Scott,,
Another lovely Sabbath--not only because of the beautiful spirit that comes from meeting together, but today a warm breeze was blowing when we came out of the church building. Isn't it great to have good feelings for more than one reason! Actually there was another reason, because we had an adult fellow confirmed in our meeting, and as we separated to go into quorum work, I noticed that a couple of brethren were giving him a friendly slap on the shoulder and guiding him to his classroom. We love to see new converts, just as you do in the mission field.
In our priesthood meeting I noticed that we had a few young children with their fathers. My neighbors' little 18-month old boy left his father's custody and walked across the front of the room to take our young chorister's finger. It was interesting to see the self-conscious chorister try to hold the boy in place, but the little one was determined to take his new-found friend back toward his father. Finally the chorister gave in and slowly followed the little one for several steps--just before the priesthood separated for classwork. Since little ones hold such a special place in the heart of our Savior, I was pleased to see the young man show special kindness to his new-found friend. Our chorister is learning how to be an effective missionary, right?
In our priesthood class today an idea was presented that I had not given much thought to in the past. It was the idea that some of our Saints take part in church activities or assignments just to be seen doing the right thing. I would hope that this would involve only a very small minority of those who respond to assignments. I can understand that someone who is in the business world (or perhaps a political candidate) might entertain this attitude just for the material benefit that might come from their action. The thought hit me that those individuals would be among the number "who already have their reward" and could not expect to receive further blessing from the Savior. As I have thought about the members who I see regularly in church, I honestly cannot think of one who might fall in this category. If there were any who fit this mold, I would guess that the individual is an adult. I think our younger generation is doing the right things for the right reasons. I especially notice the young men who help with the sacrament each week. What excellent examples they are setting in the ward!
I want to commend each of you--youth and adults--for being such excellent examples of what the Church stands for. I like to think that your lives have a positive impact on the future missionaries who will be engaged in the Lord's service. However, your dedicated service helps to fuel my Gospel fire, also. Perhaps you have never thought about having a positive influence on adults other than your own family circle, but I am sure it is true. I know what a joy it is to read the letters from my own grandson, and I look forward to reading letters from THREE grandsons in the near future. The work will roll forth, BECAUSE IT IS TRUE.
May the Lord continue to bless you richly because of your dedicated service.
Love, G-pa Taylor
What a wonderful general conference--so spiritually uplifting! While much of the doctrine we hear is not new, it is given in just a little different way so we recognize the words and know their source. Isn't the Gospel wonderful! And of course it is interesting to hear how it has touched many lives through the years and brought joy and peace to them. I have had similar blessings in my own life. I am deeply grateful for my own experiences of spiritual growth in the mission field, and that makes me think how very blessed you are-- to be devoting this part of your life in the Lord's service. I'm so happy that you made that right decision to become engaged in saving souls! You'll have precious memories to enrich your whole life. (I must mention that when my extended family gathered this evening, one little 6-year old great-grandson came over to me and said, "I'm going on a mission!")
I must tell you of an experience I had between conference sessions yesterday. One of my grandsons bought some special lighting and recording equipment to come here and have me begin a series of family history "episodes." He and his brother are both interested in preserving info I can recall about my earlier days and things I remember about some of the ancestors. I frequently wish I could talk to one of my departed family members as I am working on my updated history of Farr West. I hope you will begin your own life history soon so you can keep adding to it as you move along through life.
Anyway, I rather enjoyed the experience yesterday, which was supposed to be my recollections of how I met my wife and some details of our courtship and marriage. I decided to begin the story by referring to my own "scripture"--my patriarchal blessing. I read the section which indicated I would be sealed in the Lord's House to a worthy companion and we would be blessed with sons and daughters, who would be ours for eternity.
I was much slower at finding a mate than most of my friends. And I am glad that I did wait. I had the secret desire of meeting a returned sister missionary, and she made her appearance when I was age 28. One of my missionary friend's stepmother told me one day that she had a niece that she would like me to meet, so I gave her the go-ahead signal. Her niece lived in Pocatello, so after we met and I began to realize that she was "the one," we only had a few dates because of the distance that separated us. In those days we didn't have such things as texting or Facebook to communicate frequently. And I was a child from the great depression, so use of the telephone was infrequent. We met July 24th, got engaged 3 Oct. and married 8 December. In those days it was rather uncommon to have such a short engagement period, but Jean was as anxious as I to get on with our lives together.
I was happy that Jean and I could serve a mission together in the Oregon Portland Mission in 1986. Once again we met some very wonderful people--both IN and OUT OF the Church. Family History work had been my "specialty" in life, so we promptly joined the LaPine Genealogical Society and soon got special assignments to teach the group. When our mission was over, that society held a special meeting in which they served a beautifully decorated cake and put together 20 one-dollar bills folded and arranged to form a fan. It was so cleverly done that I hated to dismantle the gift. On the back of the fan they listed all the projects we had conducted with/for them.
I believe I had given you some of my history in a previous letter; however, this one covers a few different details. I have not forgotten the thrill of teaching and baptizing. I know of nothing that is more wonderful than seeing contacts dressed in white as they enter the waters of baptism and begin a wonderful, new life.
God bless you with success and happiness in this important work. Love, "Grandpa Taylor"