My dear Emma, I think of you and the children continually. … I want to see little Frederick, Joseph, Julia, and Alexander, Johanna [an orphan who was living with the Smiths], and old Major [the family dog]. And as to yourself, if you want to know how much I want to see you, examine your feelings, how much you want to see me, and judge for yourself. I would gladly walk from here to you barefoot and bareheaded and half-naked to see you and think it great pleasure, and never count it toil. … I bear with fortitude all my oppression; so do those that are with me. Not one of us has flinched yet.
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.
“I feel very anxious to see you all once more in this world. The time seems long that I am deprived of your society, but the Lord being my helper, I will not be much longer. … I am filled with constant anxiety and shall be until I get home. I pray God to spare you all until I get home. My dear Emma, my heart is entwined around you and those little ones. I want you to remember me. Tell all the children that I love them and will come home as soon as I can. Yours in the bonds of love, your husband
“Individual progression is fostered in the family, which is ‘central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children.’ (“The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” Liahona, Oct. 2004, 49; Ensign, Nov. 1995, 102). The home is to be God’s laboratory of love and service. There a husband is to love his wife, a wife is to love her husband, and parents and children are to love one another.”
Through study of the scriptures and the teachings of our modern prophets, it appears that our first and most basic stewardship is our body. To acquire a body was one of the main purposes of our coming to earth, and we are then to use this body as a divine instrument to perfect and train the spirit until the spirit has the full control and mastery of it under the direction of the Holy Spirit. If I do not honor the stewardship over my own flesh, how could I possibly honor my stewardship as a husband or wife, of father or mother?
The plan of happiness requires the righteous union of male and female, man and woman, husband and wife. ( See D&C 130:2; D&C 131:2; 1 Cor. 11:11; Eph. 5:31.) Doctrines teach us how to respond to the compelling natural impulses which too often dominate how we behave.
A body patterned after the image of God was created for Adam, (See Moses 6:8–9) and he was introduced into the Garden (See Moses 3:8). At first, Adam was alone. He held the priesthood, (See Moses 6:67) but alone, he could not fulfill the purposes of his creation (See Moses 3:18).
No other man would do. Neither alone nor with other men could Adam progress. Nor could Eve with another woman. It was so then. It is so today.
As in all things, we have the example of the Savior on the cross at Calvary. He did something that he was not forced to do—something which would benefit others with the gift of immortality which Jesus already had. His was the supreme act of selflessness.
You may recall reading in 3 Nephi about the visit of the resurrected Jesus to this continent and how after blessing the children he wept twice and he also said, “And now behold, my joy is full” (3 Ne. 17:20).
True joy can only come from giving ourselves to correct causes such as the building up of the kingdom, causes that are in a sense larger than we are. Pleasure tends to be self-centered. True joy always includes others.
Now is the time to set your life’s goals. Now is the time to set your standards firmly and then hold to them throughout your life.
"Being a mother and nurturer"
The various roles of women have not decreased a woman’s responsibility. While these roles are challenging, the central roles of wife and mother remain in the soul and cry out to be satisfied. It is in the soul to want to love and be loved by a good man and to be able to respond to the God-given, deepest feelings of womanhood—those of being a mother and nurturer.