Pure Religion Moment: A Gift from My Grandmother
Contributed By Edith Freter Wiggers, Church News contributor
- The Lord provided righteous examples to help Sister Wiggers join the Church.
“What a great gift my grandmother gave to me with her question. Now when I look in the mirror, I know who I am.” —Edith Freter Wiggers, Pocatello Idaho Highland Stake
When my mother was 14 she encouraged her family to listen to the Mormon missionaries. It was 1923 and Germans were not fond of Americans or any religion from America so soon after WWI. Her family lived in Schneidemuehl, West Prussia, Germany.
They accepted the gospel and were baptized, but persecution started. They came to America to pursue their religion in peace. They settled in Manhattan and attended the German-speaking branch in Brooklyn, New York.
My mother helped her boyfriend come to America; he joined the Church, and they were married. In 1936 they returned to Schneidemuehl, Germany, where I was born in 1941, but by 1945 we were forced to flee from Russian armies.
My parents became inactive. Religion was not a part of their lives anymore. I had no religious teachings and knew nothing about God, a Savior, prayer, prophets, apostles, the Restoration, the Bible, or new scriptures.
In 1950 we immigrated to America. My grandparents, who had remained active in the Church in America, helped us come and were anxious to teach my sisters and me about the Church. We lived with them in Catskill, New York. My grandparents yearned to go to the temple. The closest temple was the Salt Lake Temple, so they sold their home and moved to Salt Lake City.
When I was 16, my grandparents invited me to Salt Lake City for the summer. They attended church faithfully, and I’d go with them, but on other days I’d sit and read trashy magazines. My grandfather said, “You know, everything you read, see, and hear becomes a part of you. Do you want this to become a part of you? Come, let’s talk in the living room.” There was my grandmother who said, “Have you ever looked in the mirror and asked, ‘Who am I? Who really am I?’” I said, “Yes.” She said, “That’s Heavenly Father trying to reach you. When you go back to New York, look up the Manhattan Ward and ask the stake missionaries to teach you the gospel.”
The Manhattan Ward was a wonderful place. Here were many of my parents’ friends from the German-speaking branch in Brooklyn from many years ago. I was baptized in March of 1958.
What a priceless gift was given to me. It has been the greatest blessing that could have come into my life and has been my strength. I am so grateful that the gospel was in the home my husband and I created for our children. What a great gift my grandmother gave to me with her question. Now when I look in the mirror, I know who I am.
—Edith Freter Wiggers, Highland 11th Ward, Pocatello Idaho Highland Stake