I was so moved during the lesson in Relief Society this past Sunday, I was going to blog about it yesterday, but my heart was too full and I knew things would come out in a mush or I would fall to pieces...again. There's no hope that I will keep a dry eye now. I'm sure some of the ladies in the ward thought I was a boob because I just couldn't keep the tearing from spilling over.
Sister Boswell is such an inspired leader. She allowed the spirit to direct her during her lesson and I have no doubt that is why the spirit spoke so strongly to me. She gave great insite to the times of these letters as well. Anyway, here's some of the letters:
To Emma Smith on October 13, 1832, from New York City, New York: “This day I have been walking through the most splendid part of the city of New York. The buildings are truly great and wonderful, to the astonishing of every beholder. … After beholding all that I had any desire to behold, I returned to my room to meditate and calm my mind; and behold, the thoughts of home, of Emma and Julia, rush upon my mind like a flood and I could wish for a moment to be with them. My breast is filled with all the feelings and tenderness of a parent and a husband, and could I be with you I would tell you many things. …
“I feel as if I wanted to say something to you to comfort you in your peculiar trial and present affliction [Emma was pregnant at the time]. I hope God will give you strength that you may not faint. I pray God to soften the hearts of those around you to be kind to you and take the burden off your shoulders as much as possible and not afflict you. I feel for you, for I know your state and that others do not, but you must comfort yourself knowing that God is your friend in heaven and that you have one true and living friend on earth, your husband.”3
To Emma Smith on November 12, 1838, from Richmond, Missouri, where he was being held prisoner: “I received your letter, which I read over and over again; it was a sweet morsel to me. O God, grant that I may have the privilege of seeing once more my lovely family in the enjoyment of the sweets of liberty and social life. To press them to my bosom and kiss their lovely cheeks would fill my heart with unspeakable gratitude. Tell the children that I am alive and trust I shall come and see them before long. Comfort their hearts all you can, and try to be comforted yourself all you can. …
“P.S. Write as often as you can, and if possible come and see me, and bring the children if possible. Act according to your own feelings and best judgment, and endeavor to be comforted, if possible, and I trust that all will turn out for the best.”
Wow. Be still my heart Joseph! What an amazing comfort Emma must have felt when she read those words, "I feel for you, for I know your state and that others do not, but you must comfort yourself knowing that God is your friend in heaven and that you have one true and living friend on earth, your husband."
To Emma Smith on November 12, 1838, from Richmond, Missouri, where he was being held prisoner: “Tell little Joseph he must be a good boy; Father loves him with a perfect love. He is the eldest and must not hurt those that are smaller than him, but comfort them. Tell little Frederick Father loves him with all his heart; he is a lovely boy. Julia is a lovely little girl. I love her also. She is a promising child. Tell her Father wants her to remember him and be a good girl. Tell all the rest that I think of them and pray for them all. … Little Alexander is on my mind continually. O my affectionate Emma, I want you to remember that I am a true and faithful friend to you and the children forever. My heart is entwined around yours forever and ever. Oh, may God bless you all, amen. I am your husband and am in bands and tribulation.”
When Joseph speaks to his children and calls them by name and gives direction to them it reminds me of the how Alma and Helaman where with their children, and the strippling warriors. What a blessing for them to know, not only is their father acutely aware of them and their wants and needs, but also that the prophet is praying for them.
Good grief. There is just so much I want to discuss. There is so much we have to learn from that man. I can only hope that just these few letters leave you with a desire to read this lesson. It's very touching.
Ok, I've got a clean up to tend to, I would love to write more, but we all know how that goes.