What my loving dad and mom gave me for Christmas...

Here is the letter he included with the framed gift:

Dear Family,
Over the past few months, I have had some time for serious reflection. While a great deal of
it focused on what God wants me to learn and do here in Southern Alberta, my thoughts have also
turned to each of you. I am truly grateful to have each of you as my child and to have those you
have brought (and will bring) into our family. Each of you has been a source of great strength as
well as opportunity for growth and better understanding.
As I have travelled to and from work and around Southern Alberta, I have made a conscious
effort to listen to conference talks and to ponder things in my own and my family's lives. While
listening to these talks and pondering the counsel given in them, my thoughts have turned to each
of you. Our family is in a state of change unseen previously in all of our lives. As this change
alters each one you, it also alters. and affects other family members as the ripple effect of our
actions extends beyond the sphere of our own homes and lives.
In listening to one of President Eyring's talks, he spoke of carving images to go with
scriptures and a description gifts and talents he saw in each of his children when they were young.
I felt a desire wishing that I could have and should have done that for each of you. However, that
time is past and I realize that I have that opportunities to act are now. As "the Dad", I wanted to
share with each of you my feelings for what I see your gifts and talents are. My hope is that the
"eyes of your understanding [might be] enlightened" (Ephesians 1:17-18).
Like President Eyring, I wanted an image and scripture for each of you upon which I could
focus my comments. Not being a carver or the scriptorian that President Eyring is, I thumbed
through my scriptures reading all of the verses I have highlighted over the years of scripture study.
In these verses, I found a scripture that I feel relates directly to you. As I found the scripture for
each of you, an image came to my mind that should go with the scripture. Since I am not a wood
carver, I turned to the Internet and Google Images. I want to let you know in each case, I found
the image in the first search on the first line of images. In each case the image was identical to the
image came to my mind when I found the scripture I wanted to use for you. The exception to this
was Caleb. For him, I turned to LDS images and had to search for a bit but still found the image
that came to my mind when I found his scripture.
I begin with the image and scripture for each of you followed by my thoughts on your gifts
and talents. While this letter is common for each of you, what follows is unique to each of you. It
is given in the spirit of humility that, what wisdom I have gained may be shared with you. My
hope is that this gift is received with similar humility, as that is the start of all learning and
knowledge. May your lives may be blessed and may I be an instrument in helping you understand
the gifts and talents you have to guide you through the challenges of this life. May you choose the
better road in this journey of your life.
And now I would that ye should be humble, and be submissive and gentle; easy to be entreated;
full of patience and long-suffering; being temperate in all things; being diligent in keeping the
commandments of God at all times,' askingfor whatsoever things ye stand in need, both spiritual
and temporal,' always returning thanks unto God for whatsoever things ye do receive.
And see that ye have faith, hope, and charity, and then ye will always abound in good works.
(Alma 7:23-24)
I love you all so very much.

And THIS gem was framed with a picture of a strait and narrow path:

19 And now, my beloved brethren, after ye have gotten into this strait and narrow path, I would ask if
all is done? Behold, I say unto you, Nay; for ye have not come thus far save it were by the word of
Christ with unshakenfaith in him, relying wholly upon the merits of him who is mighty to save.
20 Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of
hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of
Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life. 2 Ne 31:19-20

You have a strong, mind and keen intellect. When you have a determination to learn
something you move forward with unwavering dedication - just like you did with your first job,
learning to play musical instruments, and dance. You approach a task with the humility needed
to learn and the dedication to be and do your best. You have a zest for life and seek to get the
most of each activity you can. In moments of quiet reflection you have a vision that helps you to
prepare for the future, whether it is a business venture or a family struggle. You have an ability
to draw others in, especially those who would be marginalized or ostracized by others.
May you enter the gates to straight and narrow paths that allow you to use these talents and
gifts to bless the lives of your family and those you encounter.
I love you.

Views: 247

Comment by MikeUtah on December 25, 2012 at 9:09pm

Sounds similar to some of the letters my grandpa has sent me. I understand how this probably feels. Hugs.

Comment by WoahNellie on December 27, 2012 at 5:47pm

I think we have probobaly all received something similar to this...although I have to admit that one one has ever taken the time to give me quite so organized a "gift" as you have received here. Here's a question for you all-what do you feel would be the ideal way to respond to something like that? My first response is always to be incredibly hurt, but I always swallow it because I write it off as being good intentioned whether I see it as downright arrogant or not. But that never makes me feel any better about the situation and in reality just alienates me more from them.

Comment by Hair on December 28, 2012 at 9:10am

What i want to do, is write a letter back and send it to the whole family in the same way he sent this out and in the same way he send out his weekly family letter that is similar. I want to write the letter and talk about how I am on a journey of self discovery and happiness and quote a bunch of wise people.. etc.. I dont know. Honestly, i just want to send everything back and tell him to stop sending me all this stuff. BLAH

Comment by MikeUtah on December 28, 2012 at 10:07am

My approach is to not take their non-sense personal, while remembering it is out of their love for me/us that they make such attempts.  I finally wrote my Grandpa back and asked him not to send that kind of stuff anymore, else I would just throw it in the trash without reading.  Laughing at their Mormon-logic can also help.  Diffusing seems to create less blow-back energy than escalation.  

Comment by Bar Kokhba on January 4, 2013 at 11:10am

Hair plays and instrument and dances and has humility?  Who knew.  My feelings are that it is best to ignore such things and stay above it.  I had someone write me a really really nasty letter when I left.  They were stunned that I ignored it. If I had responded the argument might have gone on for the rest of my life.  By not backing them into a corner, it allowed us to fix things a few years later. 

I suppose in his own way this is your Dad showing you he loves you. I'm very glad I don't know President Erying, I'm quite sure I'd find him annoying.

I guess if you really believed your daughter was going to hell, you would do about anything to fix it.  I went with a relative to a BYU football game once. We missed half of the third quarter so that person could tell me the miracles they had seen.  It just goes with the territory.

Good luck and a belated Merry Christmas. 


Comment by loveslabourslost on January 4, 2013 at 7:10pm

Your dad sounds a lot like my dad. It's so hard to remember that, to them, this is a loving thing to do. As hard as it may seem, I would try not to punish your dad for doing something he sees as loving. 

And trust me, that was really hard to type ^ haha. You could say something to him that might throw him off like, "Hey Dad. Thanks for the gift. I could tell you really put a lot of thought into it. It's really nice to know that you spent so much time thinking about me. I'd really like it if sometime we could get together and talk about the "transitions" I'm going through in my life."

Anyway, I don't actually have any clue how your parent - child relationship works. That's me just throwing something out there. My parents would never be receptive to what I'd have to say. But if yours happen to be, grab hold!

Finally: "gifts" like this totally suck because they are annoying and confusing. My parents got me a "gift" to an Ensign subscription. 0_p

Comment by Christopher Peterson on January 18, 2013 at 9:34am

My condolences. I want you to know that I have a father who writes things like this to me regulary and often. I have received three already this year, and there have only been 18 days so far.


I am always amazed at the blatant arrogance of people who send things like this to their relatives undergoing a change of faith. It just represents how self righteous they are, as they fling scriptures down their nose at their family, as if they were stray and incredibly stupid sheep who need a good prodding back in the right direction. In my opinion, a real father, a loving father, should be more concerned with the happiness and life journey of his child, than in dogmatically insisiting that there is only one path, and that if they leave that path, they can expect this kind of ridiculous family propaganda for the rest of time.


I am right now in the process of determining if I will ever have any relationship ever again with my father. I have come to know throughout my life that he truly loves and fears God and the church more than he will ever respect and love me. It is hard to think of such a chasm between us, but I cannot have personal integrity and continue to tolerate our current relationship.


I wish you a happier experience than mine.

Comment by Sari on January 24, 2013 at 9:20pm

Its so interesting...my dad is not LDS, never was and won't ever join the church. Growing up it was always this big emotional struggle to pray and be great examples so Dad would join the church. Now that I am ex-mo, what a blessing he is to me! All those feelings of being 'less than' because my dad wasn't some big shot in the bishopbric are all worth it now because I have a true ally!

Anywho, that isn't the point, just my gush of gratitude for my dad.

One thing I DO NOT MISS from the LDS culture is the emotional intensity. A friend was recounting to me someone's decision not to return to the religion of her upbringing and cited the excessive amount of 'emotional intensity' as one of her core reasons for not returning. When she said that bells and whistles went off in my head.

The LDS religion is so intense, which becomes exhausting after a while. I do not miss the drain the emotional intensity took on me. People are always on the verge of tears, especially at testimony meeting (my dad always called that group therapy). I don't like living on the verge of tears. Their are times for tears and times for no tears!!

I am rambling...but I hope that makes some sense. Living a healthy and stable life with the normal ups and downs is a lot by itself, when you drag in the perpetual state of an emotional cliff, living becomes such a chore and not the joy it is supposed to be.

Hang in there. Soon enough they will get over themselves and leave you alone. Its has taken years for my family to come around but eventually they will when they realize that they are the ones being tested. If they are are loving as they want you to believe they will love you no matter what.


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