One of my early childhood memories is of listening to my mother teach the missionary discussions. She was a stake missionary, and in those days, missionaries used flannel boards to teach the discussions. Mother practiced her discussions by teaching us.
One of my favorite discussions was the one about the pre-earth life, this life, and the resurrection. It was crystal-clear on the flannel board. I loved those lessons, and hearing the missionary discussions helped me understand the gospel better.
My mother was also a Relief Society teacher, and when I was in the fifth grade, she taught lessons about the United States Constitution. Mother made a chart that she took to Relief Society every time she taught. It explained the different parts of the Constitution and what it meant. I found the chart interesting and asked her all kinds of questions. In school that year, we were learning about United States history, and I asked my teacher if I could bring the chart to school and explain to the class how a bill became a law. Learning about history fascinated me. I began reading Mother’s books about government and history. Her commitment to fulfilling her Church calling blessed me in many ways. Later, when I went to college, I decided to major in history. Certainly that decision was at least partly influenced by these experiences.
I discovered a scripture hero during this time as well—Captain Moroni. In my mind there were a lot of similarities between the founding of the United States and the story of Captain Moroni and his people. The founders of the United States were great defenders of freedom, and Moroni fought for the liberty of the Nephites. He became a wonderful example for me of someone willing to stand up for what he believed in.
My father also taught me important gospel principles at a young age. He was in the bishopric when I was in Primary, and I thought that he was one of the Church’s great scripture experts. I wanted to know the scriptures as well as he did.
Growing up in California, I had opportunities to stand up for what I believed in. Being a Latter-day Saint was different; few of my friends were members of the Church. I learned at an early age to share the gospel. My brothers and sisters and I always invited our friends to Primary, which was held during the week, and our car was typically full when we headed to the meetinghouse. We often had long, involved discussions with other children about what Latter-day Saints really believed.
Soon after I graduated from Primary, the bishop called on me to bear my testimony during ward conference. In my talk, I mentioned that I liked the Book of Mormon stories that I knew. I also said that I wanted to read the Book of Mormon all the way through someday.
Someday came sooner than I expected. The day after ward conference, I didn’t feel well and was diagnosed with German measles. I had to lie in bed, so I decided to read the Book of Mormon. I read it from beginning to end in four days. That was a wonderful way to read the Book of Mormon because I gained a feeling for the entire book.
Other family members taught me the importance of gospel principles as well. My parents grew up in Utah and Idaho, so every summer we spent a few weeks there visiting grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. These beloved relatives all reinforced the gospel teachings I learned at home from my parents.
My Grandmother Rees lived close to the Idaho Falls Idaho Temple. As we drove toward her home, we always held a contest to see who could see the temple first. When we saw it, we knew that we were almost to Grandma’s. The temple was a heartwarming landmark to me then and is even more so to me now.
Grandma worked in the temple, and I grew up thinking that she had a direct line to heaven. She prayed about many things, and her prayers always seemed to be answered. Her prayers were humble, honest, and direct.
Once, some of my cousins and I were in a car accident. Although none of us was seriously hurt, the car was a wreck. When we got to Grandma’s house and reported what had happened, the first thing she did was gather us together to thank Heavenly Father for protecting us. She set a wonderful example for me.
My parents and my brothers and sisters are a wonderful source of support to me, as are my husband and his family. Whenever anyone in our extended families has problems, sickness, or a challenge, we unite in faith and prayer, asking Heavenly Father to help. We pray for each other, we love each other, and we are there for each other.
I feel the same support from Heavenly Father that I feel from my family. I know that the Lord loves us all, and He especially loves little children. He hears and answers our prayers, and He wants us to be happy. We can find happiness and peace when we are obedient to His counsel and commandments. I love working in the Primary. I love having the opportunity to share my testimony of the joy the gospel brings with young children and their leaders all over the world.