Search billions of records on Ancestry.com
   


Chapter Nineteen






LETTERS from MARK ALMON WHITAKER, Elder
CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST of LATTER DAY SAINTS
To His Family
19 Dec 1975 - 21 Nov 1977
CALIFORNIA ANAHEIM MISSION
Rex C. Reeve, President

Compiled by: W. W. Whitaker

19 Dec 1975 - 541 East Merced, West Covina, Calif. 91790

(A Christmas card that says [front page] "DAD, Santa may fill your stocking...[back page] but NOBODY can fill your SHOES!!" MERRY CHRISTMAS. With Lots of Love, Mark your son.)

Dad, thats true. nobody can fill your shoes, cause your the greatest. It seems that this great mission is already starting to grow. maybe, right now without baptizisms but in spirit. the People we meet are very Spiritual,. on occasion we do meet the Intelect but the feeling isn't the same. Dad, your very special to me, you will probibily never Really know how much seeing you come into the waters of baptism ment to me. But I'm grateful that your the kind of man that wants to be sure of himself before taking the plunge (so to speak)

I know that this is not going to be easy for the family to Send me here on a mission but I know that we all will be blessed, as of Yet I haven't recieved your Story [] but I'm looking Very much forward to Recieving it.

Thank you dad for all that you have taught me. And especially putting up with me. I know Im not always easy to get along with, (as my companion is finding out). But Dad I want you to know that I really do love you and that you personally helped me grow.

My companion has been helping me alot, but I have just come to the Realization that I have to put out much more than I normaly do to memorize these discussions - So I can see it's not just going to go poof and I know it.

Hey Dad thank you for making it possible to be here, I know it must be hard on you, mom, and the kids, so I'm going to (eat out more at members homes Hey Hey). They really are great! the members and the meals. (at least every other night) so we're saving a lot there.

Dad this is the greatest work in the world!! I know it's true. And I love you very much. Your son. Mark

30 December 1975 - 541 East Merced, West Covina, Calif. 91790

Dear Dad, Mom, and family,

Today I just recieved a letter from Wendy, and I got Cindy's Saturday. It's great to hear from you and I really appreciate you writting to me.

Today is also the first time in two weeks we got a rest. The lord must be helping us to be strong. yesterday we were just fatigued and all tired out. yet when we decieded to go tracting we could feel a special spirit with us for when we walked up to a couple of doors we could tell a new strength entered our bodies,. We could bear testamony quite well, and the people would listen.

Wow, sometimes you can believe the people you meet!! many good don't get me wrong, but some are really weird. You would have to see it to believe it. I don't know if I told you about "Chelo" a nickname for "Maria del Conseulo Bonjil Sanders". She's from Mexico. We had a special meeting or talk with her. A friend of hers to us to ask her when she wanted to be Baptized, and said that she aught to be. So when we me, (I didn't think I could be so bold) but I asked her everything! and almost asked if she wanted to be Baptized! [Musical Notes "I Just met a girl named Maria" Musical Notes] She had a very Special Spirit, and So after talking to her she said she had just about given up on God. She was really worried about God (sending) not answering her Prayers. After bearing testamony to her I (or we) promised her that if she would Pray for 5 day's asking the lord if what we have told her is true, she would find out so by Tuesday she will know. She promised she would if we promised to pray for her, so we have, plus - a special fast for her and the Area really helped. Tuesday the 30 we will know for sure if and what she has felt. the prayers of others are really appreciated.

Christmas was just Beautiful, we had our own Christmas Just the two of us, then visited the members and saw how they had their Christmas, Calling you was super neat cause I really did miss you, and still do. Bill Stone's Gift was really great, so if he's there then could you thank him for me. Sure is a great guy. and especially talking to Bill (W) & (S) was pretty special, I haden't heard from Either of them for quite a while!

I also got a call from Robert English. Hey! its great!! He's a Special guy. P. S. I got a letter from guess who?? if you can guess I'' give you a brownie point. The time is really flying fast each day seems so short it's hard to believe a day as past. we are very busy here and getting more more contacts each day. I'm getting the pictures back probibly Sat. from the report and everything so I'm pretty excited about seeing those.

Putting all the small talk, so to speak, aside. there is a great urgency for us as families and friends to tell others of the gospel and live it!! the time is short, probibly shorter than we think. Teach each other the truths then tell your friends, ask the lord to direct you to those who are searching for the truth. He will - Dad, get the family together think of all the non-member families you know as a family, then pray to find out which family should be ready for the message. Then as a family figure out ways to fellowship them into the Church. Don't be surprized when they come into the church. It's a Special Message we have. to bad everyone is not ready for it But the Lord knows who is Ready for it. I love each and every one of you very much. My testamony of the church grows every day I just need to Control my appatite more! I have special experiences every day I just wish I had more time to express how I felt about them.

I am very grateful to all of you for your support and for the Love I feel in your letters. I would like to hear from each of you more often. Individual like. (Happy face) The church has the truth of God the full truth. it's good and helpful to have a testamony of this. Sorry I got to go now. your son, and brother Mark

P.S. Hey! Hey! I got a recipe from one of the Ward members, for fruit Cake - and You know how much I don't like fruit cake So you know this must be special! Well it's absolutely the best fruit cake ever. You have to try it, and send me some ok? Hey! Hey! [Happy face] [Back of envelope] P.S.S.(T.) My companion gets the "Sylvester" glass and I get (believe it or not) the "Slow Poke Rodriguez" glass. Hey! Hey! Hey!

6 Jan 1976 541 E. Merced, West Covina, Calif. 91790

Dear Dad, Mom, and Family,

The Spirit has been great lately - It's hard to believe I've been out a month. Yesterday we taught a 2nd discussion to a family we tracted out. a couple of gracers - (as they call em) Boy - `oh' Boy! When we started the meeting a friend of theirs they brought in had a bunch of questions written down, ready to put them as a stumbling block. For the first 5 min. we were falling into their trap deferring from the lesson, then as the Spirit of contention filled that room I said a little prayer to myself that we could teach with the Spirit of God - no sooner had I said that little prayer then the Stake missionary I was with, was filled with the Holy Ghost and put it point blank to the,. "The Spirit of truth is not in this room, you don't want to hear what we have, you only want to argue scriptures. We are bring you our beliefs and if you don't want to listen we can leave but we have brought this here to tell you what we believe and you can either accept it or reject it."

WOW! Those aren't his precise words but Pretty much the same Idea. They sat back another open and said, ok! ok! let us listen. That meeting for the main part of it was taught by and with the Spirit of God. (We had planned that I would give the first half and he would give the 2nd half, but when we taught it by the Spirit we taught the whole lesson together, trading off in places we would never have thought of passing it Back and forth through it's entirety - They accept every concept we gave them, they led in to the next part of each concept so beautifully you would have thought they knew the discussion. they understood and accepted it. then when it was all over a different feeling came into the room. they tried to say they can't accept any more because they started on their questions again, delving into the mysteries so to totally confuse them again. People are very interesting.

Thank you for supporting me here on this mission. I am learning much and teaching more. I'll send you all some photos of this "Family unity" week project and let you see and hear (taped) of how it went. I Love the gospel and I love the plainess and beauty it contains. It's all there. I know it's true - Love ya allways - your son in California where it's nice and warm - Mark - Elder Whitaker

13 Jan 1987 - 541 East Merced, West Covina, Calif. 91790

Dear Family

Out of all the discussions I've learned and passed off for Junior companions 2 the 3rd one is just about J. C. level + I have learned some concepts out of others that we have given, so with all the time that I get to study I would think its pretty good. Until lately I really haven't had to depend upon the lord or realize how much we need to I guess. We split up with our district leader and went out tracting in his area. The night before he had prayed to know where to go so we started out that day and Just Kept going. He didn't know where to go only had an Idea to go in the direction we went. Then we cam across a certain covasac - and he felt we should start there. Well in that little covasac were about 8 houses - 2 people weren't home - 1 was rude and the rest were reseptive to our message because of one family on that block who were LDS. Because of this family we have the chance to teach both her neighbors and even a couple across the street.

So from following the Spirit he found the block that the lord wanted them to teach. Also from spliting up with the D.L. I had the opertunity to meet a 73 year old lady who was Just waiting to hear the gospel - the D. L. and his companion had tracted her out and taught her the lessons. So we visited her the night before her baptism date - and had a very good visit. She was comming down with a cold and would have liked a blessing - only we had both left our oil at home so we told her we would be back the following morning. She then (next morning) asked me if I would seal the anointing, which was quite an honor, (we were prepared both spiritually and otherwise and laid our hands upon her head and gave her a special blessing - the Spirit was really there then that evening was just as special to see this wonderful little old lady go into the water of baptism. It was quite an experience to be in on the confermation also. We had one young girl in our ward baptized also the same day, in fact there were about 10 baptisms that day - Now the girl's parrents sound as if they too might be baptized. We or I should say I didn't do any of the teaching with this girl but rather the elders before me taught her so I didn't really know her.

I think I told you of some of the people we were teaching, did I tell you of Lance and Sue? both of them are crippled and in wheel chairs. She is worse off then Lance but they get along pretty well, she has a motor on her chair and pulls them both down the street when they go to the store. Pretty nifty huh? We're teaching a young man of 15 years of age, we already challenged him to baptism and he is looking forward to the 30th of Jan. His name is Mark - We are also fellowshiping a family whose daughter was just baptized. They just can't give up their tea. Their a very good family and want the best, their just a little afraid. We have also challenged another family to baptism and we would hope they would read more, but their "Luncky[?}" So the boy is ready be we will find out more today.

There's another girl who is taking the lessons and attending church. She is a little slow though. We are wondering why everyone here is so slow in grasping the gospel. The program of family fellowship is kind of a pilot program, they say if it can work here in Calif. it can work anywhere. This is kinda hush, hush, I guess you would say, but we are starting a great program here. As soon as the members grab hold of it. You will find that then the members will be doing much more of the work. By Thursday we will be the District leader's-(and companion) to `DA'. Yes - Elane Lafever did write in fact 2ice. Its nice to here from friends.

The lord is working very mysteriously amoung us. We can feel his presence amoung the Ideas being brought about. They are from the lord. I can tell that the lord is watching over us, especially in bike accidents. Wow! `ouch!' and all that. Im glad I got a good suit.

Hey! the members are comming around! Its' slow but fantastic!! Just to watch the people 1 by 1 Precept upon precept come around into excitement. Its' great! The lord will bless us more I know and we're going to see a greater excitement here yet. I know that the lord is blessing us but I know also that he won't help us unless we help ourselves. boy, he's pretty stubborn about that. In fact he won't let us go wrong but sure wants us to grow.

I really appreciate you - the family - for all the times each of you have helped me. I love the chance to serve the lord here. We have just gotten back from a family home evening with a special family, there just a young family about 15 years of marriage and are just great! exciting. We had a D.A. (Dinner Appointment) with them tonight. The lord is leading us to these families that are more exciting then the others. Then it will spread. (Hey, Here's a pic of the family and I, - Ha! Ha! If you can see through the phone thats where you are.

It sure made me happy to hear you all again, as you can tell - the picture on the wall is the one sent by Elder Bob English, good ol Bob, great guy!! The the Do It sign was for the mission in Nov. great theme also ..progress sheets by it. below it is the dixcussion outline for all of them. (The little picture is the Dennis the Mennis Kid) The other one is elder Clegg, talk about being struck on yourself, Here he held the camera away by himself and shot his own pict. Iv the pic. it looks as if he blew up his whole face with air and made himself look fat - what a mug shot huh? He is the Zone Leaders Companion. Hey Gang, How is everyone? and how are the other Missionaries doing? Could you find out how they are and give me a hint? I bet there all doing great, huh? My companion is super and Im glad that we are in this area together, more then once people have commented on the effect it has on these deadheads - or rather "Lunchy" people. their all out to lunch. except for a choice few- but now lunch hour is almost over and we're getting em back into the spirit (or rather the Lord is.) We're pretty proud of the film we're putting together and will show it to the mayor, so far we have showed it to the Bishop's Executive corelation meeting and even a few of them were touched. You might even see it and hear it when we get more copies of it made. We already have a few orders for it. Hey! Hey! even if it is just me and my companion - on Jan 22 we will present this showing to Pres. Reeve who is in this Presentation. Not only will we show it to Him but to the Whole Zone, (its at a Zone conference) Pretty nifty huh? Its our own invention so I guess thats why we're so excited about it. The pic's were donated by Elder Laxton thinking he will get some off me free too - "little does he know!!"

I happen to be to say that I have the bestest family in the whole wide world!! for sure - Love ya all very much - Mucho luv - Elder Whitaker --P.S. How is your play going, Dad? I haven't heard. PSS. Mom, help. I miss your great cooking, especially your great bread - no one makes Bread like you can [happy face] Not even here in California yum yum

19 Jan 1976 - 541 E. Merced, West Covina, Calif. 91790

Dear Dad, Mom, and family:

I have just finished getting a haircut over at the Pipers. in fact I'm writing this while Elder Laxton is getting his cut. This is the family where I found my sweetheart, or have I told you about her yet? She's about 3 years old and is a super neat doll. She calls us the miss-a-merries-(say it kinda fast). I'm sending you a pic. of her with the slides I've taken--I have quite a lot of slides just on this one family because of a presentation we're putting on for the Mission Pres. and the zone. I'm sure glad you are all ok and doing well. I'd like to thank Cindy for her letter and Wendy for her letter and Teri for her letter(s) and mom for her letter and Dad for his letter. How does it feel to be the only man home? Surrounded huh? It sounds like you really are busy dad, and I know your a great Dick Deadeye--I also appreciate hearing how everyone is doing. I think I worry too much about you all, and I can't study as well, but I'm not exactly sure what it is. So this week I'm going to see if I can't get everyone out of my mind so I can do the Lord's work alot better.

Dad I really needed what you said in your letter. about discouragement. the day before 3 of the contacts that we were teaching lunched out (decided to stop the lessons) on us. they had problems and no testamony. So we were pretty well depressed. We had to start tracting again. So what you said really did hit home. and perked me up. also mom I really appreciate your letter and your concern. I know I have the best mom in the world--in fact while I was getting a haircut it reminded me of when you would cut my hair--only I can't give them as hard a time now--when its got to be short it's got to be short!! no ifs ands, or buts about it. Through if you do find time I sure would appreciate a story or two. I really should stop bothering you about it but my curiosity is at a peak that I really can't wait much longer. I really ought to send teri a pic. of Elder Clegg that I have of all of us--But then again maybe I wont. Hey! Hey! After seeing that pic. you wont believe what he really looks like. they are getting on me to learn the discussion quicker. So I'm going to-- Did I ever tell you that I came out the same time Laura James did? Well, I did. I really do have to go now and get back studying.

Wednesday we are having a Regional conference with Bro. Hall of the assist. to counsel of the 12 apostles. Its really going to be some meeting. Pres. Reeve is comming down also. The paper I sent you shows you the activity we were involved in. It shows Pres. Reeve and Pres. Sutton and the mayor of West Covina. this is what we took all the slides of and now have a presentation of it. I am so glad that I have this chance to serve here. I have learned a lot and the elders say that their is so much ahead I cant believe it.

I know that this church is true. I hope to be able to learn better in the discussions also--(and I will!) I love ya all very much. Your Elder - Mark

2 Feb 1976 - 541 East Merced, West Covina, Calif. 91790

Dear Mom, Dad, and Cindy, Teri, Wendy, and Bill

These past couple of weeks were very special. we had some good meetings this week and we felt that a lot of good came from these meetings. I would have written last Monday, except the time would not permit. that may be hard to understand I know, but we have been working even on Mondays--and with the time in a day here it's so easy to not give any time to letters. But I want you to know I think of you often, I am so grateful for both of you, especially. Because you have been very great parents I realize just how great of parents I have as I meet people right and left. I love you both as one, very much. I truly was, and am, born of goodly parents! To Bill, I realize now how great of a brother you have been to me. We are getting the opportunity to meet many young people as ourselves. and just here I can see the difference of people from us having parents as great as mom and Dad. I'm really greatful for you Bill. Your really special. I feel that we should be more aware of each other and not take each other for granted, because I can see that the time for our lives could be shortened very quickly. Thats one thing thats so evident here and with the people we meet. Many times I see the people whose family have passed on and they are not able to accept it. Not that its easy or should be easy to say goodby to a loved one for awhile but we should really appreciate each other more. So that if someone gets hurt then is taken we wont need to worry that we just wanted to say "I love you" one more time. or feel that they don't know just how much we love them. So in my experiences this past few weeks I've decided to tell each of you how much I do love you.

Dad and mom, I can tell you together because I feel that you are one, and that your striving to stay as one. I can feel of your strength and love in your letters. and I know that the lord is watching over you as a couple. as one, because you each strengthen each other and asend with the family together. My love for you is very Great. Wendy, just because your the youngest doesn't mean your going to be last. Wendy I love you very much. thank you for your letters you can sure make me happy on a sad day. or even happier on a happy day. and most of my days are happy. your great Wendy and I love you and appreciate you, and the love I feel for you is great!! follow the council of mom and dad they know a lot more then we do. Cindy, you are very special to me!! I am very grateful to you also for your letters. Hey, you know that book)songbook) you and your class gave me? Well that is one of the Handiest books around. because it teaches how to lead music. I had to do that in one of the Elders Baptisms. and it showed me how to lead the music. I hope you don't keep sick, and that you will get better. (I heard you were sick) Cindy you have a great & funny spirit. and I love you greatly. Teri, your a beautiful young woman, and have standards which all men respect in a woman. If they don't respect and honor your standards they are not men. and are not the ones to take you through the beautiful temple. Teri, you are a great person, take care of yourself, you may not realize it but your a great individual who is worth nothing less then a great MAN. So Teri!! Help strengthen those around you. Stay close to the church. for it is true. follow the commandments even those which are given by the apostles for they are inspired of God. the ones we received 20 years ago, 10 years ago, five years ago and even to the year that the commandment was given. Make use of the Sacrament and make yourself worthy of the best. Just as your mom and Cathy did. Teri look to Danny as an example of the man you will have, and you will have the best. Teri I love you, and I feel you know that. Set the example of obedience for Cindy and Wendy, and I know you will help mom very much. Teri your sacrifice is always appreciated. Because of your love and sacrifices you will be blessed and help people come into the church. I have and hold a special place for you in my heart, the most important thing we can do is to live as examples and to be friends with others.

The Church is true, regardless of what we say or do the church is true. So it depends on us to live so we can receive the blessings it offers. I love you all and will talk to you again. Love, Elder Whitaker.

11 Feb 1976 - 541 East Merced, West Covina, Calif. 91790

Dear family,

I have found a min. to write this evening before I turn in. We have just come in from teaching the Trask family. we taught them about our relationship (to) with Christ. This is a fmily that is semi sure the gospel is true, the wife knows it's true and desires baptism, the children also are interested. The father tho is somewhat hesitant about it all. He accepts it but is afraid of the commitments. But tonight was special, we had gone into a fast for this man, that he would be touched by something so that he could bless his family by membership into His Kingdom. Well, we went in pretty humble and I know he couldn't help but feel the spirit that the lord blessed us with in that meeting. Now he has the desire to read and study the Book of Mormon and with the help of the lord he will be baptized with his family. A lot of factors are still involved tho. So we must keep in punching. Wow, we are sure being blessed with experiences. I really believe we're having a rough time with everone for a purpose. By rough time I mean that people here don't just fall in the water. Ya have to give them the works +, and it's that plus that Im learning to use.

It's not easy but I recognise that, and willing to put up with it and overcome. that fast helped in more ways then one. we meet good investigators each time we do fast. We met with a Dutch Indonesian family who had been in Hawaii for some time and had pictures of the Polynesian center and of the Hawaii temple. then she was interested in the activity night we have for young adults. Which was pretty neat, cause they (or her girls) learned how to Hoola Hoola dance in Hawaii. So maybe they can show their talents this way.

I sprained my ankel and I had to get xrays two weeks in a row, the foot is better and I can really get around good now. Pres. Reeve said that the insurance should take care of it. So we have to take the form in. Everything is OK tho.

I hear Bob is going to "Indo." Great!! Im sure it will be exciting for him. Im sure glad Im here and I love the work we're doing here. I know the lord has us here for a purpose and will bless us. I send you all my love and thank you for this great opportunity. Love, Elder Whitaker.

17 Feb 1976 - 541 East Merced, West Covina, Calif. 91790

Dear Family,

Today we're lucky to have time right now to be writing to you. But we feel we've done some good. This morning we were having quite a time helping trim back some trees, fruit trees. last Monday we helped a member paint her room. Today we were working with, or at, a contacts home. We've given them the lessons and they are afraid of the commitment, so we are keeping close tabs on them. This is the "Graham" Family. From England and all, Their little girl was baptized now we want them in. Our Mondays are really going to take us places and doing a lot of things. We really feel though that it will be through service like this and even other things which we're starting this week that this area will open up.

I haven't had a baptism yet of which I got to help teach. But I want you to know that I have met great oposition here, everyone we are teaching are in their own way, very hard headed. I am learning a lot about people here, about how people react to other people. For example, a Mr. Smith, whom I mentioned before I believe, said the second week I was here that he thought I was very enthused and determined to get him in the church so he also told us it was no use, we were welcome anytime in his home but don't talk to him about religion. We believe the lord is humbling that man to listen, because he sat for quite awhile the last time we stopped and talked to us about religion. - and then with Gary Morris I hope to be seeing a miracle taking place as we meet with him. This guy is great indeed, he is an alcoholic but doesn't like the life he's leading. The first time we met he was smashed, out of his mind (almost), But he comes over and after we explain who we are he says to come in and he wants to find out about the Mormons, how they can have fun without drinking. Then one thing led to another till we could talk to his mother about life after death and then he became even more interested, and told us that he is fascinated by the Mormons...I don't know sometimes I think he's really sincere...and then other times...well it's still going to bake a miracle...I hope I stay in this area untill I see these people and people like them come into the church. In the meantime questions are poping up all around us hard and smart and unrelated questions altogether. So I am learning quite a bit in this one area just by meeting the people and teaching them the gospel.

This week we're starting an Investigators class in which the people of the area can come to ask questions and the members are planning to bring friends who aren't members to this class also and invite them to watch films also. If things go as planned we should be speaking to a group of high school students also. I'm so greatful for all of you, for the sacrifice you are making for me to be here serving the lord. I can see a lot clearer how he works as I myself am humbled. But when I get puffed up it sure is hard to catch the spirit. I know this church, the Church of Jesus Christ L.D.S. has been restored, it's through work, study, repenting, and enduring that we will make it back into the Presence of our Father in Heaven. I love you all very much and I'm excited to share more of our experiences with you these next few weeks I just feel the lord will really humble us. I love the gospel and teaching. Elder Whitaker.

9 Mar 1976 - 541 East Merced, West Covina, Calif. 91790

Dear family,

Hows the greatest family around? How is life treating you? Things here are going great, we've had more special experiences and good times with some good people. The zone leaders got me excited and worried at the same time, when they told me I'd be transfered. But it was just a joke. Wow, I really got to thinking tho--about leaving these people and saying goodby to the ones we're teaching. It's kinda scary to think that those people you've grown to love and appreciate will be left behind. But life must go on.

Right now I'm getting over a sore throat and Im ok. I caught it before it could really get started. I'm going to need another bottle of medicine sent from home, 1 of each. Other then that everything is OK. I hope everyone is OK at home and that your all happy. It's good to hear that your accepting the marriage as well as you are. They will go where they have true friends if you let them know that you are their friends and want to help them then they will want the kind of life you live. I'm glad you are giving her a shower etc. is her family very happy with them? or are they against it? and are they living somewhere else? or is it the same address you gave me?

I want to do the best I can here so I'll learn the discussions better. I really love the gospel and the blessings that come from it. I love you all. Your son Mark

29 Mar 1976 - 541 East Merced, West Covina, Calif. 91790

Dear Dad, and Mom and family,

I'm going to call you tonight so I thought I would warn you first. Since tonight is Cindy's birthday I thought I would give her the pleasure of hearing my voice. It's only once in a while that I can offer that prviledge to anyone. So here I am, once more here to speak to you about life. Actully it is a very good cerial. Better then Corn Flakes. But since it is more expensive then Corn Flakes we by the Malt O Meal. So much about life. Next weeks subject will probably be on welfare. How well I'll fare after eating a weeks rations of Malt-O-Meal--But thats life. oops no, thats welfare. It's good for a moment to take my mind off of writting letters to everyone so I can write to you. What? Cause who else listens? In a few moments I will be put under a great test. What is this test? to eat for the 109th day my companions cooking. Really it's not bad, its just not food. We pretend though!! Boy do we pretend!!! No, if I had any complaints it would be the way in which we make our beds. army style--or rather Air Force Style. But thats life in the big city. It's Great!!

Well I think we have come across our 1 out of 1,000,000, the one that we come across so rarely by tracting that wants to listen and be baptized. Elder Bailey and I went their last Friday and in the first discussion the Spirit was so strong that we were impressed to give her the baptismal challenge, Boy Oh Boy! It was a very spiritual experience both she & her 12 year old son listened to this missionary and the lord blessed them to overlook my stumbling over words and mixing up words etc. and the spirit bore witness to them that this church is true. they both took this challenge from us, and to illistrate what the power of the lord can do, we had a problem with the dates the baptisms were held on so I challenged these people to be baptised on a Tuesday. oops! So when they came to church Sunday (which also was the first time they came to church), we moved it up two weeks. for the 10th of next mo. (on a Saterday) Wow! it's great!! the lord really does know where these people are, It's up to us to be in tune to find out where he will point us. also we had a baptism Sat. and that was the most spiritual baptism ever. It was very spiritual because of the speakers, a Sis. Chase who is very special, a convert to the church, and has gone on a mission herself.

Wow. I really love the church and all of you. I really do care for you. I love all of you. Thank you for this great opportunity. Love ya - Elder Mark

12 April 1976 - 541 E. Merced, W. Covina, Calif. 91790

Dear Family,

I guess my mission is begginning every day. Saterday was the beginning of the Baptism's. Yea!! I had the Privelage of being the one to baptise Sis Derry and John Sasockie her son. It was a great experience. I have found her story more in depth than what I gave to you. They (the Derry Family) went on Vacation a while back to visit friends and relitives, on their way back they managed to go through SL.C. and see the Visitors Center. The Stunningness of the Center along with its beauty by the Temple caused the family to Reflect and even stay an extra day to remain and see the whole Ediface. After a marvolous experience at the Visitors Center the family wrote for more information from SLC. so they could read up on it. No Wanting anyone sent over because of Sis. Derry's Mother, who is a staunch Cath. Sis. Derry was afraid that her mother would turn the Elders away with such force that they would n't even consider returning. But when Elder Laxton and Bro. Morison tracted the Area, Sis. Derry was so glad that she had not yet gone to work yet. And she thrilled to know her Prayers have been answered. And gang, she is so strong. It makes me feel bad for ever taking the gospel for granted. She and her son have attended Church every Sunday since we met them (She also came down to the chapel and listened to the confrence that was broadcast just to the Wards, in fact she was the only one besides elder Laxton and I who was there) She had a testamony before we met her. It's Great!! Even to be just a funnel for to catch the rain in, when your serving the lord It's rewards are Priceless. Gang, I love this Great Work.

Dad and Mom the people are sure being softened by the lord. Their hearts are anyway. And I know he's leading us to those who are sincerely looking. It seems that they come out of the Woodwork. I feel myself beginning to be lax in keeping the commandments of the Mission and I'm afraid that I will blow it if I don't quickly repent and get working and everything. I'm going to do better. Oh, I'm getting a new companion on Thursday the 15th, Elder Laxton is being transfered to Anaheim. Elder Mark Wright is going to be my new companion and I feel it May be a very good companionship. Tell Jeff Perry about Him and I being companions. I will be acting as a senior companion untill Elder Wright gets use to the Area. He's been out about 10 mo. and comes from the same area I do. Oh and you do.

It's a great responsibility to find those who are sincere and looking for the gospel. Now the weight of the responsibility is great on my sholders to keep in mind every one who is to be baptized and all the [ocassional] people we keep checking up on. I can and will have to do it. I love the gospel and I love teaching it. the people in this area have a wide capacity for being different and they are no two people are alike. I love the lord and want to serve him so much more than I now have. I love you all so much for makeing it Possible by your support.

I sure do love you all Elder Whitaker

19 April 1976 - 541 E. Merced, West Covina, Ca. 91790

Dear Family,

We just had a real good talk with a RLDS, member here in the Laundry. Boy, some people sure are hard headed. Anyway How's the greatest family on earth doing? I guess I told you my new Companion is Elder Mark Wright, from Holladay Utah. He's been out about 10 mo. and he's pretty Knowledgeable, He has a great Power and Spirit when teaching, but you would never guess it when not teaching. (Kinda Lightminded.) We're going to see if we can get into Shape by Playing tennis every so often. He seems like a real good guy, though.

This past week I have been kinda lost in this transfer Things get upset when Transfers come around But life must go on. I was glad to hear that the Fersis' called, we will be teaching them tonight.

Mom, the lord is really blessing us and I'm glad to here that the family is doing good also. Sunday a girl came up to us and asked if she could have the lessons. I remember when I first came out and was getting discouraged because no one wanted to listen now it's going great. The lords really answering our Prayers, and yours also. The family we baptized 2 weeks ago is really gung ho. She reieve a Job in the Church and her son is Passing the Sacrament. It's great to see such Progress in Someone else's life. When I first came out a young girl was baptized, this comming week her family rather her Father & Mother, and maybe her Sister will take this step. (WOW!) Then we have even another Part Member family comming into the Church, the (Meads) Now their is a great family. We are hoping to see the father get worthy to baptize his wife and daughter, then their daughter's friend wants to listen also. + there are some more just about there. It's great.

I really think and believe that it's because we were living the law of success. In other words living the rules, so we have to keep it up and live them even better. I hope we can with our new companion. We just arrived home and while we were at the Laundry Matt. Many People Wanted to talk to us. In fact about 6 ladies were both asking and answering questions. We're trying to keep busy. I send you all my love. I don't think I could feel as good as I do and be doing anything else.

The love I have for the gospel has grown very much. I know this is the true church and I know that Spencer W. Kimball is a Prophet of God. I know that now is the time of warning and even the members are being warned to straighten up their lives and also to finish their genology - and gather their food storage together before the year is over. The lord has blessed us too much to continue for such a wicked nation as we have become. The Voice of Warning has spoken and we must listen with our hearts and ears to Prepare for Christs Comming. If you would, I would hope that you would use the $25.00 each mo, that I'll try to spare for the food storrage. So Just send $125.00 and I know it might help you a little better. Thank you for the gospel in my life. Love Mark the Elder

28 April 1976 - 541 E. Merced, W. Cov. Ca. 91790

Dear Parents and family,

This Area is going pretty good now We are once again picking up more meetings. and challenging a few more people. I have really grown to love the People here and I really hate to leave. But my time is comming.

Mom thank you for the chocolett (sp) Covered Corn, it was really good. talk about a surprise!! The mailman brought it over and I couldn't imagine what it was. and everything in it was what I needed, so thanks again. I also got a Reimbersment back from the Insurance Co. for $68.00 so Im still ok there.

I hope that Sis. Farris didn't get you to worried. When she told me what she told you I about died. She wanted to make you think I was reallly homesick - then calling you again so soon on Easter didn't help much. What is this world comming to?

I better get back to studying so I can get some things over with.

So will send you more next time. Love ya all Lots. - Elder Whitaker

P.S. How is everyone doing? (Picture of Elder running, holding a Book of Mormon, and shouting "Read all about it!!")

4 May 1976 - 541 E. Merced, W. Covina, Ca. 91790

Dear Family,

I have written quite a few letters today, which isn't too normal. The Big excitement is .... I found out this morning I am going to get a car in Tuston Calif., in other words I'm up for my first transfer. It's exciting except I hate to leave such a fine Area. I really love this Area. We've gotten ready for Many More baptisms in this Area, In fact we challenged 1 more today, oh, it's Special.

I want all of you to know how much I really love this work. We see every day someone who changes his life and wants to do the lord's will. the People here are Super and I love everyone of them. You get to reallly understand the gospel and how much impact it has on each one of the People we teach. The girl who was kicked out of her house by her grandparents just told us Sunday that they wouldn't give their consent to her being baptized. So she was upset by that, but I know the lord wont let his work be thwarted, If the desire is there then the lord will bless the hearts of her grandparents. We told her this and I know she Knows its' true. (she the one who cooks like I can't believe for a 16 year old)

You all know how bad I am at Prepareing talks, well I seem to be the same, and for Sunday, we, the Elders, had to give a talk or rather the whole fireside, for the young adults. I wasn't the best Prepared. but with the lords help the meeting was a very special and spiritual one. Many of my own experiences came out in the meeting but when the audience started to Participate, thats when the Spirit became really strong, so all I really did was start, turn it over to the kids, they shared their examples and Ideas then closed with a spiritual thought and testamony. Wow, the Spirit was really there. It's neat what the lord will do for you. Then last week, as we were teaching a meeting with Pete Genover + wife and Alxis - we were giving the last part of the Joseph Smith Story, when the lord blessed us with a very Spiritual experience. the Holy Ghost Came into the room, and bore witness to 4 out of the 5 of us. Pete Sat back wondering what was happening to Alexis you could see for just a few seconds her whole countenance change. then she wondered if she should tell us how she felt So she Proceeded to explain how she felt, the tingling and warm feeling in her heart, well after she finished we told her she had just recieved the Holy Ghost She acknowledged the fact, then we proceded to challenge them to baptism. she accepted and Pete also accepted, saying if this is what you feel I want it. He accepted the challenge but with reservations, if he hadn't felt that Peaceful feeling about the gospel.

(I hope you can understand all this) I know the church is true. It's great to once again feel the Spirit so strong as to tingle your whole being. and to have the Spirit bear witness again to you that the things which we teach are true.

The Master Jesus Christ is the Head of this Church, I know it. All My love, Elder Mark Whitaker

13 May 1976 - 41711 Newport #B, Tustin, Calif. 92680

Dear Family,

Thank you for your letters and concern over this past weekend. Sorry to make you so conserned about how I was getting along but boy was it bad!!! Maybe if I could explain some things it might clear the Air.

First all when I first met my Companion he was in the Parking lot waiting there he stood with one arm in a sling, He stands about 5'10" and has black curly hair like Bills, only short. All 5'10" of him looked very proud. But when I first talked with him he seemed like a friendly enough guy. Thursday we came to our new apt. after picking up his stuff at his apt. then after we arrived we found that moving in while 1 was getting ready for the Hospital wasn't that easy. So thursday was compleated with not much work done - we were left in a threesome when the 1 Elder Went to the Hospital. (We were left with his companion.) Now this guys companion along with my own new companion was such a difference that it was hard to get used to 3 people's Ideas at the same time.

(Just a side note, Elder Forsyth can't get around that much because he's supposed to keep his arm immobile yet he doesn't listen that well to counsel and Drove anyway.) Friday rolls around and we are supposed to do the work of the lord. But Elder Forsyth wants to go to a place in his last area to pick up some tickets to Knotts berry farm for today - (Zone leaders today told him he shouldn't go) But I got upset bacause he shouldn't be doing that and so I had to turn around a at a certain point because of a dead end street. Because I was angry I drove back to the apt. + told them if they wanted to mess around they would do it without me, and when they were through messing Around to come and get me. Well, we had a heated arguement and he said that he would take the responsibility upon his own head. So I got in back and the other guy drove. (Elder Broadhead oh, he's a wishy washy missionary, who wants to do whats right but would rather mess around, so he does) (no backbone) Well for some time our Personalities conflicted, and last night we finalize to have companion inventory. We spent 2 hours discussing our Problems and tryed to figure him out. (us out) He is very interest. He hasn't led a normal life as I would see it. Before He came on his mission he was quite Radical,. He worked as a guard and then as a desiel mach etc. He said He was usually the head of the crew. I figured this might have something to do with his Proud look + attitude. The real hard part of it is, is that he also hit the drug scene real bad. So bad that he had to go into a hospital and part of his stomach was taken out. Well after our little talk things got better. He also mentioned that because of accidents he has been out on his mission 6 mo. but worked only 3 months. He mentioned he was discouraged, and it's hard for him.

So we talked things out, he wants to help me become co-equil and I'm glad of that. The Berlin Wall is being broken down between us and I can reallly see where he's comming from I still don't know what teaching with him would be like but I'm sure we will make. Your conserne and worring were worth while, and especially your prayers I've fasted for 1 3/4 days and it's really helped also.

The President said a lot of Prayer and fasting went into this special transfer, so I know we are here to help each other. He said that he was impressed to put us together so I realize it's for a Purpose. This Ward is very neat!! It's got super potential. The members seem very friendly and look like they are ready to go to work. I hope we can get out and meet them more. THEY ARE GREAT!!

So did everyone have a happy Mother's Day? I hope to hurry and get these discussions out of the way so I can teach a new missionary, or be Sr. companion, cause I think most of the senior compaions take too much authority to themselves rather than help the jr. companion. But I'm sure it will be a challenge also . Anyway I have got to get my nose into the books. I sure love each one of you and I'm very grateful for the Prayers and I know that we are doing the work of the lord. and also tht it's really the greatest thing that has Happened to me in my short Existance - But it's the greatest!!-

Hey! I hear Skp had to come home early, I'm sure the Lord will bless him tho and I know he will have success where ever he goes cause he is so great of a spirit. I would sure like the oportunity to work with him. Wow! What a Spirit! He really has a great Spirit. I wish him the best. and Send all my love to each [of you. Say hi to Jackie!! what a nut - I got her letter Sure Love Ya All - Elder Whitaker

7 June 1976 - 14711 Newport #B, Tustin, Calif. 92680

Dear Dad, mom, and Family,

Everything seems to be going a lot better now and I sure appreciate your letters and all the support you give me. This last week I found out a lot about my last area, in West Covina. The chance to go back finally came when three of the people whom we challenged were baptized. Pete Genova was baptized, he was (is) pretty special, his wife and kids are members of the church. And he was the one who wanted to have the same feeling that his friend did when they were being taught. (Alexis) is his friend and she was the one I had the operunity to be an instrment in the lords hands to confirm her a member of the church. It was a neat experience to confirm her. She is part Hawian and her middle name shows it...Its Alixis Kekuakapuoklani Carter. Wow! if you don't think thats a mouthful. then Ralph Price was baptized by his Dad who was baptized a few weeks earilier. It was a real choice experience. after that (Elder Naone),(we went down together) and I went over to some of the members homes, the Owens and Nelsons--they sure can talk alot but its great I loved every min. of it. I took some more pictures of the people down there and they will be getting developed soon.

We are just starting to get a few more ideas to get the real programs going. Programs that prove to be successful in other areas of the church, Its great. This is a brand new ward and it's going to be great doing the work here. Both me and my companion are learning together, HIs attitude has changed and we are getting along, If we can get along with him then we can get along with anyone. Elder Naone is a spiritual giant. this past week I have herd more of his conversion and how he takes life by the hand. Its great!! and he's special. He has taught me a lot and Im still learning.

We still live in a sixsome and it's affecting the lords work somewhat, Im really pushing study hours so I can reach my co equil goal. then I'll be starting the Book of Mormon again. (can't wait) I really know that the church is true. we owe so much to the lord that we don't have any reason to think that he is punishing us because things don't always go right. in fact we should ask for forgiveness for thinking that way. We should be thankful even to be alive. we have so much, and I know I fall into thinking this way at times. It's wrong, and I need to correct it. I love you all very much we'll see you later. Love Mark--Elder Whitaker

14 June 1976 - 14711 Newport #B, Tustin, Calif. 92680

Dear Mom, Dad & Family,

Your letters which were bunched up together were really a lift. I am 5'8" 160 lbs. Just in case you've forgotten, But Never Worry...Proverbs 7:19-20. [] Everything is going great and I am reallly learning a lot about good study habits and also about people and everything that goes along with them.

I passed off a discussion Friday and I am ready to pass of another one and by the time you get this letter I will have learned the last one. Then I have some scriptures to pass off so I can get this all behind me, as of yet I have been working more with the people then studing. But when I keep trying to get these discussions out of the way It gets me down, so Im doing it and I'll have a great load off of my shoulders then I can do the work ever better. It's only taking me a month to get everyting else under my belt. I wish I could see it much earilier then I feel much of the depression I went through would not have had to be endeared, but I brought it upon myself. So here I am practially starting my mission. Already I can feel the load lighten.

Last night I called a family in my last area, one of the contacts whom we taught was there, (she hasn't been baptized yet) So I talked to her and wow she really is going through an awful lot of confusion. She lifted my Spirits when she mentioned she wanted to reallly learn more. (Im afraid my charm was showing) (thats terrible, huh!) Hey! Hey! I only hope She really does recieve a testamony again. I have a feeling that I will get transferred soon from this area. Probibly after I become co-Equil. I really have been lax in pushing them. But Im burning on them now. It sounds neat that all of you are keeping busy. Hows the food storage comming along? That genology Chart sounds great!! and Big! What Are your plans for this year?

I again want you to know that I love all of you very much, and I know that this church is true, I also love the Missionary work and everyting that goes along with it. Good and Bad, I learn from it all. I know that Joseph Smith did see the Lord and that Truth and authority was restored through him.

This week my companion tracted out a guy and his wife who say they saw God the Father and his son and Joseph Smith and Peter, James and Johm, Boy! What a challenge, and he knows alot about the Church, hum!? interesting isn't it! Well, we'll let you know what happens, ok? Love ya Lots. Elder Whitaker

16 June 1976 - 14711 Newport #3, Tustin, Calif., 92680

Dear Family,

I hope this letter finds you all well and out of trouble. I am takeing a few min to write you because I'm getting to where I'm accomplishing much in the way of study and by habits are getting better towards studing. I just need to know if you can send me my Scripture cards that I bought last summer. It will help in memorizing the scriptures, already written out etc. On becomming Co-Equil I need to set my goals higher so I can become more efficent in all I do - My plans are to memorize 1 scripture a day. for the rest of my mission. I sure love the work and I know I am learning alot about life. The people are great and smart too.

I can see where I can get a lot more excitted about my mission than I now am.

Hey! I sure love all of you a lot!! I wish all of you a happy Good day. + a Happy Fathers day! Sure Love ya Lots, Sincerely, Mark

10 July 1976 - 14711 Newport #B, Tustin, CAlif. 92680

Dear Mom.

I have got to stop and ponder on the wonderful blessings that I have recieved because I am your son. Mothers day is Just another excuse to be able to tell you how much I love you. & I really do love you. As I look back on my life I see you in everyting I do, you were always there supporting us. Helping us to see whats right. I have seen you happy, sad, hurt, & glad, and maybe once mad. (That was when you were jokeing) I've seen how you effect different things. Your smile has brought me to understand the joy of living. You and Dad make a great couple. YOu work together and are as one. I am so greatful that I was born of goodly parrents, and you both are goodly. The way you mannaged to comfort me when I was down, and help me when I was hurt, all these things and more help me to realize that I have the greatest Mom on earth. This is your day, but Everyday is still not enough to be worthy of Honoring you. Mom I love you with all my heart, I thank you for sharring your life, in helping me become what I am today. I realize that you are very special to everyone you meet because of your great spirit. It's strange that I can't find enough words to say, or the right words to express my love for you, and how much you mean to me. Your love was very much appreciated in everyting we did. When you took time to talk with me you will never know how much I depended upon your strength and dads - I love you so much and everyting you stand for. Thank you for life, thank you for your love and concern - and most of all Thank you for being my mom! All my love, Forever, Mark

19 July 1976 - 14711 Newport #B, Tustin, Ca. 92680

[Outside of envelope "Do Not Bend Fold or Mutelat or Whatever") - Dear Family,

I'm sending you a copy of our Reports [] that we fill out weekly, and you can see how much I've done, and spent in 6 months. I have Kept a running talley on the monthly basis and have totaled it up so we all could benifit from it. Anyway I would like to hear what you think about the 1st 6 months. My Companion is getting Transferred, so now he's mad and wants to go out and break more rules. What a bite!! I'll just let him know and if he persists, he'll have to go with this other guy in this apt. so if everything goes right, I will once again be a D. L. C. A District Leader is comming in and we'll be opening a New District. I really can use a good change to try and get the Spirit. Well I want you to know I've had a very good Experience with Scott and I'm gladd I've had the opertunity to work with him.

I can see where we need to love everyone for just what they are. I have a testamony of the work and the Church, I know that we need to live the commandments so we can have the Spirit of the Lord at all times and it's so important. I really like to read more on Joseph Smith and try to see the kind of Man he was. So I can start there.

Sometimes I reallly feel a lack of faith and the need to have more faith. I fell I need to first understand faith in it's fullest sense. I love the gospel very much and I know the lord helps those who keep his commandments. I love all of you. Take Care, All My Love. Elder Whitaker

29 July 1976 - 14711 Newport #B, Tustin, Calif. 92680

Dear Family,

Hey! I'm really enjoying my mission, I really am. Today is Monday and it was kind of a Special Day for my Companion and also for myself, because today I got to meet Elder Cox's parents and sisters. They are really great people and they live in Delta Utah His Dad is Dr. Cox and is the only Dentist in Delta Utah. Thats pretty close to Kanosh Utah. His family took us to Disney Land and we spent most of the day there. It was fun, [all righ!] his Dad must have spent 20.oo on me and wow! he insisted, so I couldn't refuse and we went on a lot of fun rides together and did a lot of fun things. In other words today was kind of a relaxed day. At least untill 5:00! Thats something else about Elder Cox. He's percise - (on time) Mom and Dad, He is the greatest! He is really well organized and he cares about the lords work and he is helping to help me get back where I should be!! And I'm getting there!

I really felt a drain for a while now the circumstances have helped a lot. I can see how important it is to do whats right always.

I sure love all of you and I love the gospel very much. Take care All my love Mark. P.S. its 10:30 so we're turning in.

(On another sheet) You can start here if you want. Start . Written Tuesday Morning 26 July 1976

Hi! Everyone. Thank you muchly for the package and for the insides of the package.I was reallly glad you sent out this stationary too. I'm sure it will last me awhile. Mom your cookies went like hotcakes, we all felt bad about eating them because we knew what it would do to us, but they were so good that we couldn't help ourselves. Thank you for Every thing, did you meet Cindy from down here? I hope so, she's alright! And did she come back and ask for my D + C Commentary? I hope so, then she could just bring it back with her. If not could you send it out to me? it really helps to read it twice and get more meaning from it. I really need to study, right? Oh! yes I almost forgot what do you think about me being able to get some tapes of the B.M,D&C,+New Testament for $55.00? It's reallly effective to listen to tapes and read along. They are on sale and missionaries can get them 10.00 cheeper then normal. It a good price when you consider Elder Cox bought just the BoM tapes for $100.00, now its $34.95 for the Triple Combination and $19.95 for the New Testament. What do you think? Well I better go so, we'll see you later I Sure love all of you.

3 Aug 1976 - 14711 Newport #B, Tustin, Calif. 92680

Howdy Folks,

Hey, Mom and Dad did you meet Cindy and the gang? Well I know you did but I had to ask anyway. They said they thought you were just great and they really liked you. But they couldn't make it back in time to pick up the doctrine and covenents comentary so if you could send that up it would help in my studies. Of coarse Im not saying I can't study without it, But i would help.

These leaders here in this ward are very different from my last ward. Although we're going to get them excitted and get this work moving!! Its so important to get the leaders on the ball with missionary work. `Cause then everything else will fall into place. So we've got to get them to see that. We're having a meeting with the 7 pres. of the seventies and I hope I get to go! The District leaders are invited and I hope their companions are too. Hey, so how is every one back home?

How is Bill and Karen? Well I got to go, everything is great! and the work is picking up. Thanks for your letters and support and prayers. I sure love all of you. and I am greatful for being here on my mission! Love always, Mark.

12 Aug 1976 - 14711 Newport #B, Tustin, Calif. 92680

Dear Dad,

It was sure good to hear from you the other night. Its what I needed. You will never guess what is happening, we recevied a call from the zone Leaders Last night and they told us that we will be getting 2 new missionaries for 2 weeks. These are youth missionaries, about 17 or 18 years old, And for these 2 weeks they will act, look, feel and be a missionary. It should be excitting, because they will really be enthusiastic!! they will be learning the discussions and everything! It's great! but it humbles me to think of the responsibility that is given to each of us.

My goals are this month to memorize 1 scripture a day and also to lose 10 pounds, which will help both spiritually and physically. I really think you can help me a lot by sending me your ideas and words of encouragement and even chastizement. Because everything you said on the phone was really true and is something I needed. I'm so greatful for you and mom for raising me the way you have. I am realizing the meaning of "Goodly Parrents" in my Patriarch Blessing. [] I know its true. I love you very much and hope you will go on this mission with me. All my love, Mark.

Dear Wendy, Hears a little note that decided to write to you! Ta, Da! How are ya doing anyway, it's been awhile since Ive heard from you. Can I tell you whats happining here!? Well, we're teaching about 1/2 again as many people as we were a few weeks ago, and we're preparing to pop the question of baptism for a family of 4; Tonight we are having family home evening with them, and it should be fun. Today we tried to do some Christmas shopping. Boy, it's hard. Merry Christmas Wendy and remember I love you very much. Your sure special; and loveable. Love, your Bro. Elder Mark. P.S. The Church is true.

Dear Teri, How are ya? Sorry I took so long to write back. It's good to hear from you and know that things are going good for you. I miss your sweet smile, funny and witty remarks, and your fast 2 step dancing. But right now I'm recieving a certain kind of joy that I wouldn't give for anything. It's the opertunity of a lifetime. I love the work and when we get more then 60 hours in thats when we really feel good because we know we are doing all we can and then the lord will bless us for any blessing we need! It's neat, as I look back I can see that I was given certain things as a trial of my faith. and believe it or not I even wanted to chuck ti all because I just felt that I wasn't doing anything for the lord or for myself. Well I did some study on faith and found out that you only recieve blessings after a trial of your faith. I really wondered how, why, and if it is all worth it. But I know it is. Teri, their were times when it seemed so black that I couldn't go on, I was confused and uncertain, not sure of who I was, why I'm here on my mission..I can even remember one night when I just wanted to take off. As I look back, I think it was dumb to think that way and it was. But thats how confused I got, I couldn't do what I needed to recieve the spirit of the lord as I needed so I could have a clear mind and unclouded thinking pattern. The last week I was in my last area things really looked up then I got this transfer and I knew everything was going to work out for the best. and while I've been here I've seen the lord at work. He would change the hearts of our contacts, and soften them. I have really gained a lot of faith in the lord, But according to a scale of 1-10 my faith is still probibly 1/2 so I can really improve. Teri I love this great work and I know the church is true. I thank God that I have a family such as ours, it's the best!! I want you to know that I love Dad and Mom very much they are the best! and they know what they are doing becuase I know they are led in their prayers by the lord. I also love you very much. Of course Cindy & Windy!! Love ya always, Mark.

19 Aug 1976 - 14711 Newport #B, Tustin, Calif. 92680

Dear Dad and Mom and family,

its about 5:30 this morning and I haven`t written you yet this week and I really have a lot to tell you. One of the greatest and most excitting things is that we have two youth missionaries, from this area around here. I'm with Bro Morgan from Riverside and he is really great! He wants to learn about the work and he is doing real good. It's a good experience working with him he is like a new missionary for too weeks and he lives with us and does everything that we do for 2 weeks.

Bro. Morgan reminds me a lot of Bob English and he is really sincere and wants to do his best. So were trying to find more meetings so we can teach more and give Bro. Morgan so real spiritual experiences. We have tracted and then yesterday Bro. Morgans bike tire went flat and we had a time fixin it. we had to buy a new one and so we got that out of the way. We're praying for this area and that we might find those people who are sincere. I know they are here. Maybe Im not sincere enough. Im trying! The experience with Bro. Morgan has been great! and Im looking forward to seeing how these next weeks will be handled.

I sure love all of you. and I know that this church is very special and true. We have so much. I'm just greatful that the lord let us live in a time when the true church is restored on the earth. this is a great chuch! and a great mirical--I hope to see many of the people here soften their hearts and accept the gospel. Because its the greatest thing on earth. I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet and that the lord appeared to him. again I love you very much, Love Elder Whitaker Mark.

23 Aug 1976 - 14711 Newport #B, Tustin, Calif. 92680

Dear Family,

I am sure glad that I live in this great country and that we are free. And Im most greatful for my family. All of you.

This past week has really been an experience that I want to remember and cherish. there are many times when I dont show my love for my mission or for my family, But still all of you are so special and I am proud and greatful that Im a Whitaker. I am proud of all of you, for the individuals that you each are and for the unity that you have in one great family. One little saying I've run accross lately is "parrents were never parrents before." That is so true; and for being parrents for the first time you have really done great! You seem to be old pros or rather young pros. and as far as I can remember I have wanted to go on a mission. I had very high ideals of what a mission would be like. Well I have found that I can reach those ideals which I had as well as the spiritual level.

Sometimes my letters may seem short and without much feeling, and I know that it is because I do not take the time to express the feeling side of my experiences all the time. So for those letters which seem void of real meaning I would hope you would remember that I sometimes write just a few short lines so I can run with the other missionaries. As I look at my mission, which is really our mission, and that is another reason why I need to share more experiences with you, I know that I would never give this up for all the success of the world. I think it is so neat because I can either take the challenges and grow and watch at the same time or I can pass by the challenges and see what I could have had. Again I know that I should be in this mission and I am just now seeing how much I really don't know. I have got to rely upon the lord and just the testamony which I have to serve to the fullest of my ability. I just dont know how to express to you all in words the beauty of the gospel and even more the beauty of sharing the gospel. I eally know that Pres. Reeve is Inspired and that he is truly a man of God. Then I know that the Prophet is even magnified even more, and that he truly recieves inspiration and guidence from the lord. I really love the gospel and I will do my best to tell others of the beauty of the message which we carry. Thank you for being the great parrents and Bro. and sisters that you are. All my love, Elder Mark.

7 Sep 1976 - PO Box 2541, Capistrano Beach, Calif. 92624

Dear Family,

How is everything? Did everyone get to school alright? I hope this letter finds you all very well, and in good spirits.

It's great being here just last week we met a wonderful person and her family, and she wants to join the church and be active in the church. Well there is a good spirit about her. and we know that she is a special person. Her husband we haven't met yet, but were praying that he too will be interested and ready for the gospel. the others we are teaching are older contacts one of which is getting baptized this comming Sat.

Thank you for sending the check, I have to be a lot more aware of what I do with money especially since our rent is $82.50 a month. But things are going great! we need to get out more then we have been but every day last week our biks broke down. Now we're waiting for a part to come in that we ordered. I'm going to try and put a new hub in. which isn't going to be too easy. Anyway so much for troubles we have a great stake missionaries group here in this area. and it's real neat how they help...

I love all of you very much, and I'm going to show that love by first increasing my faith in God. That is my goal this wek. is to really learn about faith and then to put it to use. Next week it will be hope and the following week will be charity. So anything that you feel might help would be appreciated. I want to thank you again for all you have done to help me, and support me. give my love to everyone OK? It sure seems like I haven't been out very long. All my love, Mark--Elder Whitaker.

15 Sep 1976 - PO Box 2541, Capistrano Beach, Calif. 92624

Dear Dad, Mom, and Family,

How are ya? Everything seems to be holding together pretty good here. Things such as, this last week we had 2 compleat familys come out to church, and 2 other single investagators. One family we didn't even know about, until we were introduced to them.

I'm starting to really catch hold of things, this comming Sunday we're having a Young Adult fireside. It's going to be great, especially with the help of the Lord and the young Adults. In fact I've got to finish planning out the rest of the program, this evening. We talked to the young adults Sunday and they seemed to have some desire to help us out, especially the Y.A. Leader. They each are going to see who they can bring that is a nonmember. That is one way we're trying to get more referrals.

This past week we've decided to put out a lot more, and really push, so we're aiming for 60 hours and more meetings. I know we can do it. We had a neat experience with this family. Hey! Guess What!? Someone, just called and asked to have the missionary lessons and be baptized on Oct 9th: All Right! plus she said she had a couple of friends who wanted to look into it also--Talk about blessings! Something to ponder about also is that she said she has already converted many others to the Church. Boy thats great!! I'm sure glad I'm writting this letter to you. (I hope you can read it.) Thats all it takes, Sure Love Ya All, Elder Whitaker.

P.S. Bob English just sent me a swett suit from Japan green with white racing lines. It's great! Sure love that Elder! he sure goes out of his way for others.

19 Sep 1976 - PO Box 2541, Capistrano Beach, Calif. 92624

Dear Mom, Dad, and family,

Hey! I got your letter with the pictures they were great! Only I hardly recognized Tiffiney (sp); wow at three years old Im sure she will even look a lot more different. It was good to see pictures of all of you again, tho. Mom, don't worry to much about me, I know that the lord is blessing us, not only when things go wrong or rather right but even when they go wrong. I can kinda see why I went through many of the things that I did. at times I thought I was all alone, I really wondered why I was going into a state of mind or a state in which I felt that I was of no service.

In a way I feel that as far as converting anyone (which I know can only be done by the spirit so thats really not the right word to use) The circumstances under I worked I felt I could not work with the spirit I wanted to. It's hard to explain just what I felt like but I learned a lot there, one thing is that I need to accept missionaries for what and who they are. Even now with Elder Bond, It's funny because he's so intelligent (or something) and we always seem to disagree on about everything but its so bad we can laugh about it. (alot of the time) But we're just doing the regular hit it hard kinda work and I want Dad to know that when you recieve a message for the lord and use it then it will go forth.

Dad the lord is really blessing us, I can't take any credit because I know that by putting our faith in the lord then doing the work so that you can manifest the faith that you use in your prayers.(prayer of faith) He will soften hearts and make things happen for His Glory. I testify that he is there. He is answering our prayers and the prayers of many others in this area. The missionary spirit is catching and it's growing. We're using the cottage meeting approach and it's beginning to be effective. Im afraid that if I speak to much, that I might boast of myself, which is displeasing to God. I recognize that the lords hand is in all of our work. (thats good work) So it's enough for me to say that He is Blessing us. Please pray that I might have more tasks and strength to fill those tasks.

I love this work and I testify it's Gods work. There is a compleat family we are working with that I hope the lord sees fit to touch their hearts to join the church, they've attended S.S. two weeks in a row now. Thats just a small part of whats happening, I love you all and hope the lord is blessing you there. Love, Elder Mark.

27 Sep 1976 - PO Box 2541, Capistrano Beach, Calif. 92624

Dear Mom, Dad, and Family,

Im sure getting excitted here, we're teaching the family I told you about last week, and Friday we dropped by just to say hi. they recieved us as well and better then most members of the church. It's excitting. they are just a younger middle aged couple with 3 daughters, They sure have a wonderful spirit. They have been attending church for 3 weeks now, and also they went to Sac. (or fast & Test. Meet) It's just excitting to see the progress that they are makeing. this is the first compleat family that I have had the opertunity to teach. Its great!! Then we are still teaching more and slowly but surely we are finding more through the direction of the lord. we are teaching about 21 people altogether and since I've been here we've been blessed with an increase of 2 meetings a week to 9 a week. We would like to get that to 20!! All Right!! Everything is great here.

The apt is a little more expensive but its a real nice place. I finally got my bike fixed and it runs like new. We are even planning on touching up the scratches--It sure feels good to be able to fix your bike with out taking it in to have ti fixed. a lot cheaper too.

I really love this church and for all the teachings it has and for being able to live at this time and be serving my Father in Heaven. and I sure love all of you. I sure feel that I needed to prepare more financially and spiritually. Im really greatful that your supporting me as you are. I would like to make up for being so selfish all my life and somehow I'll help you.

I sure love and appreciate you and thank you so much for your love and patience.

Dear Cindy, How are you doing? I hope ok! Things are really good here in San Jan Capistrano Ward. everyone is really friendly they remind me of our ward. the one you go to each week!! Oh, How is your music lessons comming? are you still takeing them? Thank you for all your letters, sure love you. Always, Elder Mark.

11 Oct 1976 - PO Box 2541, Capistrano Beach, Calif. 92624

Dear Family,

Sorry to not have written last week. I had real good intentions, anyway hers last weeks news. First off I want to thank you for sending the extra money It sure helped a lot. (now my companion can eat again) just kidding. The people we are teaching are really neat. Last Monday we taught two guys again George and Andy, we challenged Andy and he accepted for the 23th of this month, while George was concerned and wants to work it out in his mind then decide whether or not he wants to be baptized. after the lesson they were eating clams, and they asked us to stay and eat with them, clams are really good to eat. We had a good talk with them and a real good meal! They are both real good people and just fun also, but I'm kinda worried because George didn't attend Sac. meeting this week, Andy did tho.

It's sure excitting to do the lords work here, because even the people who aren't so receptive are in a way. we also went to Mrs. Kroll's place and once again talked to her inviting her out to church and Relief Society. (She was interested and gave us a call along time ago about the church.) thats how we met her. Now she is trying still to get her family active and into a church. So shes starting off with the Methodist Church. Well when we visited her reciently she enjoyed the visit and again I just about gave her the baptismal challenge. Everything but the accual challenge. She was touched by the spirit and I really believe that someday she will be a Mormon.

Then their is an experience that I have to realte to you. It's an experience that has been building up the past 3 weeks. First off I hope you know that I am not out here to look around for my future wife, It probibly sounds that way, because I just keep writting to you about all the girls we're teaching. Anyway, If I happen to accendently run into "the one" it would probibly be the way it's supposed to happen. Anyway here's the experience!!

You should have gotten a letter about a month ago saying that we just got a call from someone saying they wanted the lessons and to be baptized over the ph. this was the begginnig of some very spiritual experiences with a girl whose name is Anita Muller. We went to teach her the first discussion and she had the Joseph Smith story so well known I just asked her certain questions about Joseph Smith and she related the story to us. It was very differnt, different from anything I have experienced. The next lesson I was priveledged to take a stake missionary there to teach and this time we did teach, and she learned a few things. The spirit was again very strong in that meeting. I found out that she was very active in sharring the gospel with everyone she came in touch with. (which I later found the truth to that statement). Each successive meeting was very spiritual and the questions which were brought up were for her non-member friends. She was trying to answer many of the questions for them. Finally the baptismal date came, only to find out that she invited all her non-member friends she felt close to. there seemed to be about 50 of them there one of the larger crowds I have seen at the baptisms. We had the opertunity to watch her baptism, (which had to be done twice) after which she retired and with a shout for joy she was heard throughout the room. Her 5 year wait had now became reality. she just turned 18 Tuesday. It was also special to participate in her confirmation; Then came the most spiritual part of the baptism, I'm sure it's not done to often, but they asked Anita to bear her testamony. If you can just picture the scene, Anita's mom was there, and her uncle and aunt & Friends she had gone to school with. She stands before them all and bears one of the most sincere and honest and touching testamonys I have ever heard. Of hiwch the pirit bore witness to me personally that this was true. I'll try in part to share with you Her testamony.

She said," It all started before I was born" which to her is as sincere as everything but caused the audience to laugh a little. She went on to explane the pre existance and while there she explained that we lived with our Heavenly father and dwelling in his presence. Then through the plan of comming to earth passing through the veil and forgetting our premortal life. Anita can remember her birth in some ways, she remembered the darkness and then upon being born into this world she rembered comming into the light. But she also remembered to have forgotten, or "lost" something very important. She didn't know what it was but was sure she did lose something. Her mother later explaned to her that she always found her in the middle of the night out in the kitchen, or in the basement as if she was looking for something, as a baby she rembered that she needed to find that which was lost at birth. As she grew older she was still looking, only not knowing for what! then while watching TV she saw the Osmunds, and she knew that, that was good, she couldn't explain how but she knew it was good. It was imprinted on her mind.

A few years later she went to Mexico and while there she again saw the Osmunds and this time she heard they were Mormons. What's a Mormon? She knew that she must find out what a Mormon was. then she came home to school and while there she found out there were a couple of girls who were labled "Mormons" She went up to them and said she wanted to know everything about the Mormons. She read the Book of Mormon with a desire to know that it was true, and she found out. only when she went to her parrents they destroyed her dreams by telling here she could not join the church. Since the church taught that we should honor our parrents she honored there wishes to wait until she was 18, she turned 18 Tuesday and has prepared herself so she could be baptized the following Sat. then with every feeling of her heart she petitioned her family and friends, that if they wanted to know the truth they could ask her and she would be more then happy to tell them. She ended her testamony in tears and there was hardly a dry eye in the chapel. her friends were touched as well as her family. It was the most spritual baptism I have so far been to. and it was a real experience teaching her. now her friends will soon be taught. I know it.

Through experiences like that I have a strength to my own testamony. I know that at times I just want to shake people and let them know it's true, but I'm seeing that if I can personally over come the flesh and the desires then I can really become a teacher for the lord, so thats what Im working on now, first to get up at 5:55 everyday. I got up at 5:40 this morning, its even P day. So Im looking forward to reaching this goal for this comming week. It will be an accomplishment for me. It's great. I know the lord will bless us as we try to overcome our weaknesses. I know the church is true, and that I better go because I don't have anymore ink.

I love you all and very much, I love being hear, its the best mission in the world. Love, Mark Elder Whitaker.

27 Oct 1976 - P.O. Box 2541, Capistrano Beach, Calif. 92624

Dear Family,

This past week has been another very Special week. It started off with us being able to teach a Spanish lady and her husband (They let us teach the Spanish people here because the Spanish missionaries are so far away). It was a good meeting and we had a good feeling tere. The wife is one who looks into a lot of different religions. Then latter that week we had a good meeting with Andy Nelson, where we taught him the commandments. He is preparing for this Sat to be baptized. It's really great to see the growth he is makeing and also to see the change he has made in his life. He's only 16 but he really has a great spirit.

Then came a most Spiritual experience with the Greens, myself and a stake missionary went to teach them durring the meeting I felt hot and clumseyI wasn't giving the concepts right; I was fumbling for words all through the lesson. It was imbarrising, But the Stake Missionary is a returned missionary of a year or 2 and he really fit well with this family and I believe made up for a lot of my errors. Then we came to the challenge we gabe it, and then asked the family to be baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of L.D.S> durring the challenge I really felt a good Spirit. And when I asked them to be baptized I was looking right at the mother, (she is one who is holding back) and it seemed as if her countenance changed and she was touched by the Spirit. I had previously asked each Individual if they wanted to follow the Savior and were sincere. "Yes they were." Then we directed the question of baptism to the father, and he spoke for the family, sugesting in so many words that they would probibly be baptized (and soon) but not nessesarly all together. He wants each one to make that discision on their own.

Yesterday he hd a chance to sit down with the bishop and talk to him about the church. The feedback from the bishop was very Promising. He also talked with Andy Sunday - and told us he felt Andy was ready. which is good to have confirmed by the bishop. We also recieved last week about 4 refferals from members of the church and ll of them turned out very Promising. One lady we called on Invited us in and Spoke very highly of the Relief Socity Program. She lived in Salt Lake and just moved out here. They have a family of four kids and are Just great!! She even looks like a member. I sure hope that the lord will protect that family from the Advisary, and let us teach them the gospel, they would be a fine family to have in the church.

Then Last night we had another Spiritual experience. We finally got the kids together for a Missionary fireside. The first speaker was this R.M. Stake Missionary who went with me to Greens. He did a great job, Then Anita Muller spoke and she did a good job. Some of the experiences she related were `different' but very appropriate for the occasion as we later learned. It seemed that it was what a lot of young adults needed. She talked about how powerful Satan really is, she had felt the influence of Satan just before she was baptized. One way was that she was retireing after the days activitis and she felt a force come upon her that she couldn't move. And it scared her very badly. But she command the evil spirit to leave in the name of Jesus Christ and it left her. Satan reallly works upon people just before they are baptized.

The meeting was very good and we had about 25 or 30 young Adults there with about 4 non-members. Its great! I sure love it here and hope to be able to continue for some time here. the people and potential here are great! Love you all very much, Mark. P.S. thank you for the beautiful letter. It's great to hear how the experiences at home are helping the family to grow. Sure love ya.

1 Nov 1976 P.O. Box 2541, Capistrano Beach, Calif. 92624

(On back of envelope):"Things won are done; Joy's soul lies in the doing." P.S. Read the Shakespeare (small plates) included. M.W.

(On a small sheet) Dad, Mom, & Family.

The 7th to the 23rd is a special time for us here in the mission. We will fast Sunday, with the intent to ask the Lord through fasting + prayer to Lead us to a Family who would be interested in Joining the church, whom we can teach. And also to be able to have the inspiration nescesary to touch the hearts of those Families we are already Teaching. "The Hansons' and the Greens and the Mcdonnalds in Particular," Would you like to Join us in that Fast day for these Families? I know the lord will bless you and us for it. To open and close the Fast with Prayer. Thank you.

Dear Mom, Dad, and Family,

I'm grateful to have recieved your letter as of last week, everyone is doing well I presume. I sure hope the lord is blessing you with all the tings that you stand in need of having, especially at this time.

This past week we have dropped in meetings and the most growth has come from within. Tuesday was Zone Confrence, and we had the pleasure of talking again with that great man of God Pres. Reeve. He is so powerful and wonderful. I really love him. Up untill tuesday I was bothered with personal weeknesses like the Physcial over the mental and along that line. The Main Problem being unable to Arise in the Mornings Consistantly on time, 6:30; so I "girded up my loins" and brought it up with the Pres. Talk about having love for those who are working together. he treated me and not the problem; gave me a different outlook at the situation and gave me confidence that I could over come it. Then I asked for the Additional help of a Priesthood blessing which he gave, and Pronounced a beautiful blessing upon me endowing me with a desire to keep the commandments and to gain strength from this.

I Personally have a testamony of the Priesthood Power, For I do have a great courage and desire to do whats right, and to demonstrate that desire. Let me give you an example: The following day of the blessing I still have felt the excitement of the blessing, we had to get up at 5:00 to get ready for seminary, so I set the alarm and by golley it went off at 4:45 and I sprang out of bed, This also is in my goals, that of when I hear the allarm I just get up then and don't wait for the right min to come because it never does.

I also have organized my time in the morning so that I can shave and shower in 15 min and dress in 10 min and have study time, every day since last tuesday with the exception of today, I have over shot my goal by 5 min to 1/2 hour. It's great!! I have to Repent for today because instead of Rising at 5:55 and studying I got up at 6:10 and went and played Tennis with the Zone leaders. Because I have discplined myself this past week I have increased my study time and comprehension. It's great!! Overcomming this will be a real lift for me, because I have usually been the Second one up and if my companion Slept in I would too, (all this is being Repented of). I haven't completely overcome it until 3 more weeks of perfect one days go by. I have to take it a day at a time. for 30 (one) day periods. Because there is always today that I have to perform my best.

It's easier for me to get along with others when I have a high Ideal of myself.It's all makeing it easier for the spirit to control this temperal Temple. And when I overcome the desire of the flesh then I can much easilee have control of Spiritual things.

There have been two experiences this week that I feel are worth shareing with all of you. first is an experience in which we have a Spanish lady to call on and she is a dry mormon, only a few hangups, her husband is still to to Aware of the need for the Spiritual. Buy my companion and I had an opertunity to Just sit and talk with her for quite a while, during this talk we found out she is preparing herself for baptism, (She and the family have had the discussions from other elders). She is setting the date for Feb. 8th when her little boy turns 8 years old. She wants him to be in it also. She really wants her whole family but the husband may take awhile. (Maybe) God willing they will come in as a family. We just reallly felt a great spirit as we were there. Then I think I have Spoken to you of the Hanson family, 3 great boys at home and 1 girl, the parrents are typical top class Mormon People. We had a meeting with them Sat. 30th in which we first had dinner served by the wife, sh's a great cook. and then we played their organ for awhile, and talked about our missions, which was neat because the boys were asking questions and wondering. then we showed "Meet the Mormons". It was on a 16 mm. Projector. After the film we talked about it and they are just so neat and they have such a great Spirit about them. I just loved every min. of it. They then fed us desert, "Apple Pie" out of this world. Better than a good restrant even,(I guess thats not saying much.) But it was good. They sent us home with a pie and want us to come back. I still have to write the compleat story about this family in my diary. WOW!!

I want you all to know that I know the gospel is true. I know that the power and authority of the Priesthood of God is on the Earth and that this authority is contained in the Church of Jesus Christ of L.D.S. How much more planess can the lord give us, "the Church of Jesus Christ." I have seen great things here in the mission field, and I have also seen the reality of Satan. He is so real to me that it's terrifying what he can do. I've seen him {in part} distroy the work of God {referring to People} and I've seen Him tear down the Immage of People we are teaching so they think that they are inadiquate.

I know God lives, and wants each of us to exersize greater faith in him, and return to him with our families, I say to all of the family, It's true, It's true, It's true!! Listen to the Prophet. Its true - Love always Mark.

8 Nov 1976 - P.O. Box 2541, Capistrano Beach, Calif 92624

Dear family,

Well, how is everything there? I have one more week here before elder Bond finishes his mission and his parrents come to get him, they are planning a trip around Southern Calif. But Elder Bond cant go swimming or anything. After he leaves I have heard through the grapevine that a little more responcibility will come my way. Moe then likely training a new missionary which means cooking all the meals; I've really had it easy here, Elder Bond is the cook. But Im going to get some recipies from him + I have a Book from one of the members here. also I am getting some of his sourdough start. so I can make sourdough waffles and pancakes and bread an a number of other things. The rest will come from what I've learned from home, which I find is more then I thought. I can't tell you any more about what I've heard because it's pretty frightening and a lot of...well if it happens I'll then let you know.

I let you know last week that I have been reaching my goals well it's continued through this week; I already feel stronger because of it. first to be able to be in bed at 10:30 is a feat in itself then to arise at 5:55, is something else. and part of the time I arise at 4:45 to prepare for seminary. That's another story. we at times get to influence the semenary towards finding people to share the gospel with and we have seen the kids really get in and try. It's neat. Oh, something I have to share with you is last nights meeting at Costa Mesa chapel, the 70's group leader invited us to go with him to this meeting at which Pre. Reeve spoke, I recorded it and also the new converts who were there. That was just a superb spiritual meeting. The spirit was so strong there that I couldn't help but really feel it.

I'm very grateful for your prayers and supporting me here on this mission. Its fantastic!! Things are happening here, when the members get involved we will be teaching more then ever before; I really hope I can mature my feelings to become more then ever before unselfish; I feel thats where my companion problems lie. Within my own soul. I know that the lord has prepared me and Pres. Reeve to be here at the same time, because of the help he personally gives to me. I love the gospel and I know it's true. I hope I can more then rise to the occasion. love you all so much, all my love, Mark. PS. Teri, you have probibly recieved a letter from Sis. Judd. She sure is a great lady and I am grateful that she has us over once a month; every fast Sunday. Somehow we got to talking about her husband who isn't a member yet and some of the things she said made me think of you. The conversation changed until she wanted to write and I thought you might like to hear from some one who was in that same position. I respect her very much and her husband is a great guy. He is missing out on the blessings that she has though. I hope that everything is going great for you. Because I too miss our heart to heart talks. Teri, I really love you. Mark.

15 Nov 1976 - PO Box 2541, Capistrano Beach, Calif. 92624

Dear Family,

Today is D day on P day, Elder Bond is moving out. He can't stand it; or should I say he con't wait? Anyway he's Trunky. I guess I can understand it being his last day in the field. Word has come in since last night that I will be getting a missionary from the Salt Lake Mission home; In other words Im training. Its fun to look back and see how I felt the first couple of weeks out in the field, my thoughts and fears, my compleat faith in the lord, knowing my inadiquecies (sp)--etc. I realize now that it is that kind of faith that will sure help things go. We need to depend on the lord!!

This last Sat. Andy Nelson was baptized and has been voted in a member of the congregation. I still feel that he will need special attention and special friendshipping for about the 1st year. I was a special experience though. This comming week should prove to be very interesting; we will be teaching semenary Wed, thurs, and friday, and next Monday, I'm looking forward to it because the spirit is sure great among semenary kids. I just hope that we can prove helpful durring those few days. I'm sorry that this letter is so short but I need to clean up this place and get some things ready for my new companion; on Thursday. I will be living with the DL until then. Oh, for the next 2 months--I will be cooking all the meals and doing all the dishes and all the odd chores. So any helpful easy rescipes will be appreaciated. I already have a few but not enough to last 2 mo. we'll be eating a lot of waffles and sourdough pancakes. also I make a mean orange Julius. and the greens aren't to hard. But will that last???

I sure love all of you very much, your the greatest!! Thanks for being such a strength. "We hope all things" Hope those letters will start comming a little more often. But I'm not complaining because I know an Elder who didn't get mail for 3 months. The church is true--The gospel of Jesus Christ is one of the greatest things that has happened to our family; Im thankful to be a part of what you are. Its the only lasting influence on the earth. I know it's true. Love, Eternally, Elder Mark Whitaker. S.L.Y.

Tues. Nov 23 "76" - P.O. Box 2541, Capistrano Beach, 92624

Dear Dad, Mom and Family,

I am so glad to hear from all of you again this week, everyone sounds so busy. Bit's good for you.

I'm one tired Jose, yesterday was Prep. day and the Elders in our zone got together to have a baseball game which was allright, then the strain came when we played tug-a-war. It was brutal! After that we came home for an early meeting, but it fell through; I had a feeling it would but I wasn't sure. then we came back and We went shopping. We bought 10.00 worth of food apiece. after shopping we were invited to a family home evening with a family in the ward. we went there and ate dinner then shared F.H.E. with them which included a lesson and then a tennis match. Bro. Kennid isn't to active, probibly because he feels self-concious about smokeing, But we played the game with him and he is a nice guy. I hope he comes out to church. I hope all of you had a very nice Holladay Season and I want you to know we are eating out.

Some members have invited us over along with their N. M. family that is showing up, and so we will be doing 2 things at once. We have really been busy lately and it's going to reallly pick up in this area. I know it will, or rather I have Faith that it will, Because we're committed to put out the work nessessy, and we Know the lord will bless us for what we do.

The HANSON family is going through their problems this week, their little boy is being given a kedney from his mom. So we are very conserned about them and our prayers are with them to have a speedy recovery. They are really a special family. Another family is the Green family, we need to find a way to help them out. We had a neat meeting with them last week and I really need to know what they are going to need for the next lesson. Maybe a family Home Evening would be the thing they need to have in their home. We'll pray about it and find out, we are slowly but surly finding more people to teach and talk to...I love my mission and the experiences Im having. I guess I haven't yet told you how neat of a missionary comp. I have, I feel like we're really brothers and hes doing a great job studying.

We have already had some great experiences together; He's a lot like Elder English, only more farm and southern type. I really love him and I never knew that it could be so great. Just with a companion. We are still getting up before six oclock and we are really allways on the go--It's great and I love it. I have missed 5 days of getting up on time, once it was an hour late, next it was 15 min. then 10 min, and 5 min and 4 min. late, but Im sure attaining the goal, because their are days t=like today when you beat your goal by 15 min. or 1/2 hr. or 1 hr. Its grea! I love you all very much. the gospel is true. Mark.

No date - Dear Family,

Things are very busy and it's really a challenge to organize and get the whole thing together, The district etc. And the zone leader is in the Home with burns so his companion Elder Athens is over with us. Its great!! We need to get more organized! I do!! Hey tonight we had a neat meeting with the Kennadies who are very special people with the father who is inactive. We shared with them Bebee's Christmas! It was sure special and the story touched the lives of those listening.

Yesterday we were involved with the sacriment presentation. I narrated and Elder Carpenter sang in the chorus and now they want me to play the getar as accompanist in sac. I dont feel to good about that though. this ward is really blessing us this time of year and we are really grateful.

Next morning. Well I had better hurry and close so I can study. It's great to learn about the Word of God and about the things which will help us out through his teachings. May each of your testamonys grow this year and may life treat each of you so that you may see the blessings of the lord. I love each of you very much and I love the gospel of Jesus Christ! Its so special and true. May the Lord bless us all and help us to realize the importance of keeping the commandments. The church is true...even in Calif. Merry Christmas & Happy New Year, Love Elder Mark.

- No date - Dear family,

Again the time is getting short to write to you. It's been like this all week, hardly time to write, But the experiences are valuble and growing. Yesterday we had an opertunity to Bless a contact through the power of the priesthood. She had broken her arm and was going in to have her arm checked again and possibly surgery to reset the arm, they arn't as close as we thought they were to Baptism. at least as far as the ffling is I got from the father.

The other day we were tracting (in the rain) and we tracted this lady who wouldn't even open the door, But said to come back the following day. So we did and to our suprize she let us in and we held a prayer and talked to her about the Book of Mormon and invited her to read and pray. It was pretty neat to be able to find her.

I know that as time goes on that the letters seem shorter and shorter But the truth is that the feeling is still a great as ever toward the greatest family ever. I really love each of you and I appreaciated the letters at Christmas confrence. It's great! It's special to hear from you all as a family. I love the work Im doing and Im trying to be better and grow and be more effective for the lord. See ya later and I love ya, Mark. Happy New year-- PS Mom, the Jello was fantastic we had the whole district over for dinner and I cooked a turkey--dressing, jello and heated up the yams--and the jello toped it off. Thanks muchly. The turkey was given to us by members.

No date - Dear Dad,

How has the greatest dad in the world been? Busy and hard working Im sure, and I want you to know Im learning to follow your example. I know Im not anywhere near the busy ness you are involved in but I'm working towards that. we got up yesterday at 5:15 and we we're going till 10:00 PM. But every min. was worth it!!

Today, even tho Monday we're teaching a young man named Dan Murry and he's preparing for bapt. It's great! It would be neat to see him go on a mission also. He's only 19 years old. Last week we held 11 meetings with 2 of those new good contacts! And the people we're teaching are special. Dad, I really love this work. Last week we got 58 hr. in and the week before 54 and the week before we had 62. Pretty neat getting 62. Average 58 hr. we need to get an average of 60 hr. So we're working on it. This last week was transfers again and our District leader has been moved out. which left an open space to be filled in. So I have the opertunity of serving the lord in a new capasity, as the District leader of this District. I just hope that we can do the job effectively and loveingly and with one purpose in mind.

Dad, I love you very much and I love your testamony of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Your a great man that I not only can have as a Dad, but a friend I can respect and love and admire. Merry Christmas, Love Mark.

Dear Wendy, I had to send you a picture with a smile! So here it is! Love ya lots, Mark

Dear Mom, What does this remind you of? "apple of my eye," you say please dont remind me. huh!? Thank you so much for your support and letters. I recieved a loaf of bread from grandpa and grandma, and some fudge and I think some smoke beef?? It's different but good. I just hope you wernt' supposed to cook it! Otherwise I'm in dutch!

We really have some good times and experiences just reciently. We're finding new members, or rather old members that are inactive and need fellowship. I got a beautiful letter from Elder English. And also from members in the ward. If you have a chance you might thank them for me. Mom, your the greatest! You really are, and I'm sorry for not writting last week. Because I do miss telling you about my experiences we taught the Greens just last week and they are so special. I wish that we could carry the message much greater so they can feel the spirit more to desire to be baptized. Because even as much as we refer to baptism I feel that unless I'm really moved I will wait till they desire in there hearts to be baptized. Mom I love you and always Im greatful for the love you share with everyone, again your the greatest mom anyone ever had. And I sincerely want to wish you a merry Christmas. I love the work its the work of God. I know it's true and that we can be together as a family in the kingdom of God. All my Love, Mark.

No date - Hi Dad, Mom, Teri, Cindy, Wendy, and the rest of the family where ever you are,

Wow, Im just getting over the shock of the past 2 weeks, and it's a big shock--I guess I told you about being called as a zone leader, well I'll be moving the 20th of this moth, and I won't know where till the 16th then I'll be dropping back hopefully to see this family get baptized the 22nd We're teaching the Hansons this week and we need to challenge them to baptism. Now a lot of time will be taken up with giving PPI's to the District Leaders and also time spent in transfers etc. We will also have the opertunity to organize a zone Conference every month where the Pres. will come down and speak and where we will speak and also put on a certain type of constructive Illistrations. Well in other words we'll be busy and if put in a car the will take $25.00 a month for rent and about $30.00 to $60.00 for gas depending on the months activites. The Lord wouldn't have called me to this position if he knew that we couldn't handle it. and I know that thats true. I've been blessed many times for doing the things the lord has called us to do I know he will continue to be God and will continue to pour out his blessings upong the Faithful. I love the gospel and the church and I love the Lord and his work--I love each one of you--I promise you the lord will bless you. Love, Elder Mark.

26 Jan 1977 - 9241 Walker #1, Cypress, CA 90630

Dear Mom, Dad, and Family--

Hey, Life is great, and it's good to be alive. This past week was filled with great experiences, first was a week ago Monday and Boy what an experience. our lives were on the line.

After a full day of playing Racket ball and Basketball we came home, and thought of where we should go. But we got a call from a member and he said to come over for dinner so we did. After we ate we were getting ready to go when he asked us to stay just a few minuts longer and we would be able to listen to some things he wrote. So we did. Then before we left he asked if we could kneel and have a prayer before we left his home, He offered a very beautiful prayer and we were feeling very greatful when we left. as we discussed the events of the evening we were commenting on how quite and serene the night was, oh, by the way, Because of our tiredness we were walking instead of rideing buses--Just before we steped down from the curb we heard a loud screach of tires and "smash"--then we saw that a white cadilac which was parked on the oppisite curb was being pushed in the parked position by a ford Granada. At first glance we thought it was someone who was mad at someone else and wanted to take out his frustrations on this guys car. But, looking again we found that neither car had a driver; and if you don't think thats weird, wow, because the Lord pushed the cad. up over the opisite curb and across the intersection into a lamp pole which fell over the two cars, then the cad strated turning around toward us, they passed right in front of us, and started heading down the intersection it crossed. Continued in it's turn and ramed into the corner of someones garage. (pretty amazing) So I had by this time handed my books to Elder Carpenter and dashed to the two cars, the Ford still in hear going full throttle, But, the weight of the parked cad and garage made it so that it couldn't go any further. I tried putting the car into park only it didn't go all the way and I was afraid I might put it into Reverse so I shoved it back where it was. The back wheels still screaching against the Driveway. By this time the keys wouldnt come to turn it off so I pulled and threw the keys to the other side of the car, it kept going. By this time I saw the engine catch fire so I started pulling the guy out of the car. He had his face all cut up and he put it on my sholder when I pulled him out, so I had to get my suit cleaned. It's ok, I didn't mind. So we got him out and the police came. Well the guy was drunk as far as we can make out, or stoned or something, although I didn't smell anything on his breath. and everything is ok! All Fires were put out and the gas leak was shut off and the garage is getting fixed. Well, thats one long experience.

Thursday was tranfers and friday was Zone Conrfrence and I spoke for about 5 min. As a Zone Leader we, (I do had two companions, one is the Lord and the other is Elder Rogers) we work a lot with the missionaries--and it has a tendency to take away from our proseliting. But we aren't going to let it because we're really going to work as a team and still get the top...in everything as far as we can help it. Sunday we were going right from a 6:00 meet. (arose at 5:00) to 9:30 PM meet with 1/2 hr. to fill out reports, a good 15 hr day and another 2 hr. of busy work. here. I love it though and I really know this is the lords work. Im greatful for the letters you send and I want you to know they are uplifting and really help me to increase my work here. Thanks for everything I really love the gospel and all of you very much--Love, Elder Mark.

PS Dad, what do you do when you get someone in your class who is ther just for the reason his parrents made him come and sing, when he doesnt like it at all? and Dosen't believe he can sing. So he won't sing. But he might help out in other ways? I could really use some help in this. Keeping in mind D & C 121:41. [] Thank you, Love, Mark.

26 Feb 1977 - 9241 Walker #1, Cypress, Calif. 90630

Dear Family,

How is everyone? Im sure doing fine here. I love the work and love the people, they're great!! I have been blessed with the opertunity to help Elder GreeWood get CoEquil, or he just passed it off to me. Which really helped me get close to him, he set a 2 month goal to be co-equil and so we stayed up till 3:00 AM one morning, passing off scriptures It was fun and yet tireing--But the rewards sure were great to see him pass off all the scriptures and the discussions so expertly. I really know that this is the Kingdom of God on Earth. I know that by living the commandments that we will be blessed. Do you remember me talking to you about Randy Hanson? or the Hanson family? With Rusty. Well Randy came over today and took off a whole days work. It was neat to see him again and to see him doing so well. He said that he wants to be baptized soon and I'm excitted about that. He's just like a brother. and acts, just like an Elder of the CHurch--Its neat!!

Dad & Mom and everyone, I really love you and thank you for supporting me here in the field, I sure know that this is the greatest work ever! The commandments are sure manifestations of the Lords love for us. Thinking of you always and I sure love you--THIS WORK IS THE BEST May the Lord Bless you always, See ya later, Mark 21 Mar 1977

9241 Walker #1, Cypress, Calif. 90630

Dear Dad, Mom, Cindy and Wendy,

This past week has really been special, as we have been able to meet with a fmily we sure feel good about. We met them because of a Referral that they sent in on "It's Next Week" program. Just Sat. we gave them a part of the 1st discussion and Sunday we started all over and gave it to the kids and grandma. That family really has a special spirit about them. They are the kind of people you want to know for ever. The only thing that I can see that would hold this family back from bapt. is that the father has a smoling problem; other then that the family is just so receptive! I really feel blessed to have been able to meet this family from the beginning.

Elder Rogers and I have had some neat things happen to us this week. We sharred with the leaders a tracting record which we started and they want to use these Ideas in the mission. The Blessings of such Ideas I know come from the lord!! We also had an opertunity to share with the other leaders in a new program which we're trying to see if it will work. that of getting those people who are baptized to get there family and friends interested and get the missionaries introduced. Then to upgrade our baptizamal services. we will be involved with some of the first experiences. We get the trial runs--It's great! we work with the assistants to the pres. and it's great to feel their great spirit. Today we field special meetings to prepare for the near future.

This work is true and I know that the lord wants to see it go forth with greatter strides.

I recieved your check for $50.00 and I really thank you. This month I'm going to write down everything that we spend and send you a copy. I feel bad that I haven't done it sooner but I will never learn any older. So now is the time. The things we are learning here are great, fantastic, fun, sometimes and many times not so fun. But worthwhile. People are super, I really need to continue to learn and grow and gain the knowledge nessesary to explain this great gospel in simplicity and truth. I would like to just tell you all some of the small every day fun experiences, but it would be almost impossible. the missionaries that we work with are really special and are trying to work hard. It's neat to see each one as an Individual and as their own special person, all united in one cause. It's humbling. God lives today, his Begotten son and our Lord and Savior is alive today and the Power of God given to man has been restored to the earth. It's true. Thanks. Love, Mark Elder M.W.

31 Mar 1977 - 9241 Walker #1, Cypress, Calif. 90630

Dear Family,

Hi! how is life treating you there in S.L.C.? We have recieved many, many blessings this past week, 1st I got sic, then my companion got it and I got better, now we both have it. So you can see that we are really close we share everything! But even with the sickness which we have we still have had top notch experiences. One took poace a week ago Monday or today. This is when we had the assist. to the pres. call us in along with some other zone Leaders and asked us to Improve our baptisms and to unite our forces by inviting all the friends of those who were to be baptized Sat. so we got on it and went our and invited everyone we could bothe member and non-members. first by haveing a meeting that same day with the district Leaders. well it started Monday. Tues, it was out to every Elder and given with a special spirit from the District Leaders. then it was put into action. The excitting thing is the results. They came Sat. at the Bapt. guess how many were there! for the 12 baptisms we had 160 people attend and 29 of these were non-members. It was really special, we went there and showed the Film called "The First Vision" a new film about Joseph Smith's first vision. Just think 29 people have just had a 1st discussion, all in 1:45 min. which was really good for 12 baptisms; now were going to follow up and see how many people of the 29 want to enter into the waters of Bapt. (first to take the lessons) Well that was the best bapt. I have ever seen on my mission, Dads was the best--and we're going to make them all that good. Something else happened Sunday night. Sunday night we had a meeting with the Butlers, a family we just met off of the show it's next week Referral. Because we were sick we felt it would be better to go in to the youth fireside and sent Bro. Tiereny and a span-AM to the meeting with an Idea that they were to challenge the family for baptism. This they did and the family accepted for the 23rd of April. Its Great!!! They are a real special family and carry a special spirit. 4 kids and 2 parents and the Grandma should also come in. Its so neat. I love it!!!

Sunday, one of the stake missionaries was pretty clever and caused us to really crack up. In the Elders quorum they were haveing a lesson on missionary work and read the 4th section of the D & C, Verse 5, which states Remember, faith, hope, charity and Love with an eye single to the glory of God qualify him for the work. Well he rose his hand and siad, "their is one more thing that qualifys him for the work". He made it sound like this, "Remember faith, hope, charity and love with an eye single to the glory of God, "and a referral card" qualify him for the work. We really got a kick out of him because he's really funny anyway. Im hopeing that the lord will continue to bless us with the familiesthe teach--we already have 3 families comming into the waters of Bapt. this next month with the last part of another family we bapt. this month. The work is really moveing forth, this area is the greatest! or rather the lord is really blessing us here. I know that the lord is blessing these areas because of the work that is put forth by the Stake Missionaries. The are really putting forth an effort-- This work is the lords work and its great! I really love it. Sure love all of you too. Love, Mark/p>

15 Mar 1977 - 9241 Walker #1, Cypress, Calif. 90630

Dear Family,

I hope that everything is going as well for you as it is here. I'll have to apoligize for not writting sooner and more often but I really have been on the go lately.

If you can recall when I first came out how many months went by and though I had many experiences the baptisms wern't comming through; at least untill about 4 mo. out. Well I feel a great spirit here and this area is the most excitting place I've been because we have so much active help (the stake missionaries). It's really beautiful working here. In the Buena Park III Ward we have about 10 being baptized this mo. and in Cypress we should also have 10 baptisms; and those baptisms are neat because of the way they happen. We met one family just the other day and found out that 4 out of 5 wanted to be baptized in one family, and now it looks like even the familys father will be baptized. of coarse we need to get the whole family out to church. at the present the father is working on Sunday wile the mother is haveing trouble with alergies. But it is pretty special to just Walk in and ask when they want to be baptized. The first meeting came about as a result of the 3 boys going to church with their neighbors. and one of the boys just piped up in Sunday School class one morning saying he wanted to know how to be baptized! Well, that started it. then the meeting was set by the neighbor friend, since they were Spanish, (or rather spoke Spanish) We called in the Span-AM missionaries.

I had the opertunity to go with one of the Span-ams. When there we just asked about the instance where Jr. said he would like to be baptized and Elder Stuart said, who all wanted to be baptized? and all 3 boys raised their hands and the father said that he would come later. and the mom said she wanted to be baptized also. It was great! The second meeting we shared with them the Joseph Smith story and they accepted it readily.

I think that there are many experiences that I'm having now in this area that Im sure I wouldn't have the chance to have anywhere else. Such as conducting a stake missionary meeting, and helping the stake Brethern in their calling. they are very busy and dedicated to the work; and it's excitting to see them go out and challenge and testify of the truth.

This is the first stake in Southern Calif. where if we are pulled out the Stake missionaries will be able to carry it on their own shoulders and its the most organized of them all. Many times over we feel impressed to do certain things. and when we follow through or not we feel the consequence. Obedience brings blessings while it's vice brings sorrow.

I truely love this great work and I know it's true, even with its little hang ups every now and then the best thing I could ever do was to follow your counsel and follow a desire to come here on this mission. I sure love each of you. You all mean so much to me and I really look forward to seeing you again even if I don't say it very often. I do miss the family and all the other types of good times, however the work here is worth the sacrifice and the people, here especially need it. I just hope and pray that I can become the type of man I should be. [] With the help of the lord and a greater desire and alot of work we can do it. The church is True--Mark. Sure love ya, Elder Whitaker.

9 Apr 1977 - 9241 Walker #1, Cypress, Calif. 90630

(On back of Envelope: "I wrote this last week - Sorry I was out of stamps -")

Dear Family,

(Written in purple ink): In Deep Purple I'm writting to all of you. You might ask yourslf why, and I'll tell you. Two main Reasions: 1st because I Felt Kinda Deep + Purple, and 2nd I'm Tired of Regular ol ink pens. So we're writting on borrowed Ink: "Oh, you asked me about the new family where the Father smoked, well that whole Family is challenged to bapt. and is preparing for the 23rd of April...It's great: These past few weeks I've been down with a cold and not a whole lot of work got done, But I'm aBout over it. So I got to dig in again and word 2ice as hard. My Comp. Elder Rogers is all better...

Hey I can't believe you want me to ask about leaving the mission So Soon, But I Realize you miss me a Whole lot and just can't Wait to See me again and it must be torture just seeing the mo.'s go by. not to mention that you just need to know so you can plan ahead and get off work. - (Well I tried.) Ha! Ha!

Hey, Guess who got a cold shot this week? Elder Rogers? No- one more guess... oh... how did you guess - yes it was me.

Do you remember someone by the name of Ca , Katt oh Kathy Martin? Yes - that's the name. Anyway to get on with it, about the cold shot... I didn't send her a card so I thought - no biggie I'll just ph. in the early morning hurs and wish a happy Birthday - So I did and I found out that she's getting married the 23rd of April - Well that didn't bother me untill about 1:30 when we got our mail. and she had planned to just send an old, Announcement and that it!! Well no biggie just a cold shot...

Now the important news!!... This stake is really progressing in missionary work and is moving out to #1 place. Soon it will be #1. The missionaries are really dedicated and putting in the Effort (Especially their leaders) and the Excitement is catching on. The mission is comming out with a lot on how to challenge and Testify and ConVersion. It's about time they got to the basics - And teach Repentance and a New way of Life and Baptism.

It was Neat to hear about the Reunion and the Excitement it brings - I just hope that it can continue and tht Uncle Ted's words will be heeded. We need to live the gospel - and share it with our Friends - if we don't share it it start's to be taken for granted. So if you have people you are Working with then share the gospel and you will find you begin to live it Even better then you do already -

Thank's for being Such a great Family. I Really love all of you and wish the best for Each of you. The Church is true and I know that its the only way to Reach Salvation- P.S. We're teaching a Part Member Family and challenged the wife to become a member and the kids are preparing to become members - his wife came out to church. I love it!! All my Love Mark

21 April 1977 - 9241 Walker #1, Cypress, Calif. 90630

Dear Dad, Mom, and Family,

How are you all? I guess I had better clear up everything or at least try. I don't want everyone to think that I'm getting really down, etc. First, a couple of weeks ago I had come down with a sickness called Streup throught, and the Doc. had given me some medication to help. It did help. I felt much better, and I stayed in one day and laid down all day. It helped a lot in fact about 4 days later I felt much better. for about 1 week I felt real good, then a few days before you called I began to feel a sore throught again. and you know me, rainney days and sickness always get me down. today the throught is still a bit sore, and I hope it will go away soon - we will be going to the doctor again today. I hope we can get over all these sicknesses - That's what can pull me down. Oh, and about Kathy, the letter I got from her I guess it did pull me down a little mainly because I didn't think she was the type of person who would send that type of card - It was just an Invite to her wedding and I guess I thought she was the type who would think more of people then to just send a past friend a card with just a invitation - (I really think its the thought behind it that counts) Ha! Anyway, I tell you these things so you will know my real feelings. I probibly just felt bad because she beat me in writting the other off. Anyway, that's just to let you know where I stand there. It's stupid to worry about it, so I'm going to forget it. AMEN!

Sorry not to write for a couple of weeks, I feel I've left you out and I shouldn't do that. Well it seems like we just get doing being busy and we get something else to get busier. This week we have a zone confrence to prepare for and a baptism and we're going to try and get Elder Howard W. Hunter to come and talk to our zone - He will be donw here for a Stake confrence anyway - and we will be preparing for another workshop for a group of youth missionaries on tracting and this Sat we will be preparing for a young adult tract out. So are we busy!! The only reason I would get down is because we get into leadership positions and find that we are taken from the work of acual prosoliting and thats what get me down.

I have seen what leader ship is here in the mission field and I feel it has a very important place in the work but if there were some way to get all the information in and not have to spend so much time writting I feel it would help the work. Don't get me wrong I love the work, but have you ever felt that you had so many meetings that you couldn't do the work, that they become so much of a hinderance to teach you how to labor that you don't have time to labor - ! Its mad.

Well, don't let me burden you with such problems, for I love the lord and love this work, I know it's true and am beginning to feel the urgency of it, to spread to every nation, kindred, tongue and people. This Sat. we're preparing to Witness one of the neatest experiences I have had on my Mission - and thats to baptize a fmily compleatly, the Breon family is crippled, 4 out of 5 are, the father is not crippled and how he takes care of these kinds and his wife is just beautiful. Its experiences like these that make it all worth it. I Know that the church is true, Jesus is the Christ and God lives, May the lord bless you in all you do I would pray in the name of our Savior, All my love Mark.

(Crazy face on back of sheet): " if you can't raise the corners of your mouth let the middle sag. " ) Smile.

5 May 1977 - 9241 Walker #1, Cypress, Calif. 90630

Dear Mom,

I'm greatful for Hollidays like Mothers day to Give special mention to those you love. I don't always take a lot of time to send you my feelings of how much I reallly love you and have appreciated all you do. So I'm takeing this time to try and express to you the Love I have inside. When I hear of others who say how great their moms are and what they mean to them, my heart fills with warmth as I think of the greatest mom on earth. It's times like these that I begin to appreciate so much more the blessing I've had to be "born of Goodly Parents"

I have always looked forward to being with you and talking about things that really didn't matter a whole lot, I just liked to talk and be with you. Mom, you are So Special in So many Ways. Its hard for me to comprehend how a person can have so many qualities as you do and still be here, you ought to be translated. (smile) I've not to often thought how hard it must be to be a mom, but you have filled the Position so well. I guess I'm trying to say in so many words that "I Love You." Thank you for all the Wonderful times; I miss being with you and the family on Special ocasions like this one and I miss the many times of good thoughts and times like ... "Get up Mark", "your going to be late." And the glass of Water, you know, Times we all remember - Mom I really love you, that you for everyting. All My love, Mark.

(On back of envelope, a happy face and "S.L.Y."

17 May 1977 - no address Long Beach Postmark

Dear Family,

I'll have to apologize for not writting last week and I know it's not to common, (or is it?) We've almost finished giving confrences and we're about ready to start again. this is turning into a confrence orenented Mission. Almost to many of them, (smiling face, "not really). We do have a lot of them but they all are for a good reason, and I'm even beginning to enjoy makeing up different Sorts of Material to present Ideas with. Our teaching has dropped as a result of all these confreneces but we are still meeting people and letting them know the Church is true.

We have had some good experiences lately and one's that help us also . . . If it seems like Im all Scrambled up it's because I am. Elder Rogers is getting transfered this thursday and I'll be getting another Elder who has his first time as being Z.L.; So we'll be learning much as I did, and Elder Rogers, Elder Rogers Was a Z.L. for 2 months when I came, so We learned together.

I really need to learn a lot and learn how to handle everything. Live is really being Good to me and I sure love all of you there and appreciate you. Thank you for all you do. The Church is true. Talk to ya later cause we gotta get ready to go. Love Mark. Its great to get your letters. (Picture of an Elder hurrying, saying "Hurry Elder -")

24 May 1977 - No address, Long Beach Post mark

Dear Mom, Dad and Cindy & Wendy & anyone Else,

Hi! Boy, It seems like awhile since I've really Sat down an Wrote you a letter there has been a lot happening Since we've last corasponded.

Elder Rogers got transfered to Riverside he was the greatest Elder I've ever worked with and Now, I'm part with .. well a guy thats Probibly going to be the next best companion that I've ever had. His name is Elder Kevin Olsen from Provo Utah, he lives near the Temple there in Provo, and he was a football player in college - (Dixie) went (1) quarter then came on his mission. He's really alright!

Yesterday we were talking to an Investagator at Church and she said that she wanted to be baptized this Sat. so we said Sure! and oh,!! do you remember Randy Hanson? the guy I met in San Jwan has been up in Pasadina and he call late last week and said he was baptized at about 11:00 at night and then he said or rather he called Sunday night and told me he had just recieved the Arronic Priesthood and ordained a Decon in that Priesthood and is Preparing to go on a mission. His folks know about it and are excitted that he's doing what he wants in that area. It's so great to be on a mission. I sure love this great call and hope to be able to live up to your expectations or rather to live up to my own expectations and the Lords - Right now we need to Find More Families - and teach them.

Some of the families are Comming along real good, the Breons were baptized 2 weeks ago (the ones in the wheel chairs) Real Special. They recieve the Priesthood next week - The Butlers are starting up the lessons again and really have a great Spirit, Sure love 'em. Sunday we were really busy (had an opertunity to sing in Cypress II ward and also had the opertunity to speak in Buena Park III Ward. We had meetings all Day long. It was great!!

Saturday we had a Special experience. We went to the garden grove Ward where my companion just came from. After a very special Bapt. we went to a members home to have dinner and to talk to the new convert to the church. After dinner a good Brother stood and Presented a fireside or Cottage Meeting on the spot. We're going to try to do that here. It really was a Special Spirit.

Hey, I reallly appologize for not writting sooner then this but I've sure enjoyed your letters. Is everyting ok? How Cindy and Wendy? Whats happening? Sure Love Ya . Mark Elder Whitaker

Mon. June 6 (1977) No address (Long Beach Postmark)

Dear Mom, Dad + family

Sometimes life is great! I felt this last week was Super fast, almost to fast. I can hardly believe that it's Monday again. I look back over the week and I can hardly believe We've done everything that we've done, But I think about it and it dosent look like much. We Spent most of the time with other Elders and trying to help them overcome their sickness and also help out their area's while they are sick. Our own Area has suffered a little and we really need some encouragement. "encouragement", "encouragement", "encouragement"!! ah thats better. Were working with many families at this time, and a few are comming into the Waters of Bapt. Soon. On the 11th about 4 or 5 will be comming in - It's great.

More and more I can see the type of life I really want. Sometimes it gets further and further away. I figure I need this time to reallly work and make of myself a specialist teacher. If I could learn even more how to teach I feel I would accomplish a great deal. Sure is great being here. wouldn't trade it for anything in the world. Everytime I teach a lesson I learn so much and I'm greateful for the blessings that the Savior great Sacrifice has brought into my life and has made possible a way back to the Presence of God - Sure love all of you - Hope everyting is ok!? Love Elder Mark A. Whitaker

(Enclosed in letter: an orange tag: WARNING This set may be Haz- ardous to your Growth.

Try: * .. Visiting with your family. * .. Studying about your Eternal Future. * .. Reading good Books. * .. Something Musical * .. Something Artistic (Written on the back): Most people are entering the service with a 4th grade reading ability. The manuels are written on 11th grade levels. Sounds like trouble? Major cause, "the t.v." Hang this on the on + off knob - It should help.

14 June 1977 - 9241 Walker #1, Cypress, Calif. 90630

Dear Dad,

This fathers day I hope that you have one of the best days you have ever had. I'm so greatful for you and all you do. I feel like Enos, who said I (Mark) knowing that my father is a just man, for he taught me in his language and also in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, and blessed be the name of my God for it.

Dad I sure feel that way about you and I love you. Dad you really mean so much to me and I have recieved many great blessings being your son.

Im Proud to wear your Name. Remember I Love you. Always Mark - (On back of envelope, one of his funny faces and "Hi! Ya All")

(Same Envelope, a letter to the family) Mon June 13 (1977)

Dear Dad, Mom and Family, and any one else who wants to say hi! Hello!

Hey, Im sure glad to know everything is going good bakc there and I hope you keep it up. If there is anything that I can help out with in any way please let me know. My former companion Elder Rogers has been called to work with Pres. Reeve, as an assistant. He is such a great missionary and person. I am greatful for the opertunity to have worked with him for 4 months. Oh! The greatest news, guess who called Sunday night!? I'll bet you could never guess well it's my good friend who I met in San Juan Capistrano, he called to tell me that he was just ordained a priest. and now has the authority to baptize. He's also getting into reading the D & C. There is no greater joy then this. to have a friend come into the Kingdom It really feels great to see him so excitted about a mission. He'll really go a long way. and Randy said to say Hi! So Hi! some day you'll have to meet him and his family. their great!

This comming week we will be having youth missionaries, Remember last year and Elder Morgan? Well this week, or rather this Friday, we'll have some excitting new experiences to share with you. Because Elder Fitzgerald will be moveing in Thursday and we'll be in a threesome and then we will get 2 more Friday--5 in an apt as big as Dads office down stairs. Just reciently I've had experiences in which it really makes me think about my mission and about my life. Last Thursday I went in and had a personal Priesthood interview with Elder Brimhall after that Pres. Reeve called me in and talked to me, I did some heavy thinking and repenting for I really felt a strong spirit in his presence and that spirit, stayed and helped me to overcome certain problems that I was being troubled by. Now I feel much better. two days later Pres. Reeve asked me while in a confrence to just meet him for one min. after the confrence. Well we finished eating and were about to go, when I went back with him for only a min. and he talked with me for a min.

The things he said in just a few seconds, made me believe that my new companion was to be Elder Craig Rogers in a few weeks. He's going in this week and I will be takeing Elder Brimhalls place in about 2 weeks. Wow!!! Talk about humbling, but I really feel that the lord is answering only what I ask for in the name of the Savior. (not that I ever asked to be assistant to the Pres.) But I've prayed to be able to emulate Pres. Reeve, and learn how to be like him. Well I can't see anyway better to become like someone then to work with them. He's such a great man. a real man of God. I sure have learned much and know so little. Anyway if you didn't know already I thought I'd better tell you. I'm going to need more prayers--and help especially from the Lord to be able to fill this new calling the way it's supposed to be.

It's so great to be here I really love every min. and I'm hopeing that I can stay until you can drive up if you want to; I don't want to put you out but I think everyone should see a Calif. Christmas. What ever you feel is best...Maybe I can stay for Christmas Confrence and such. and you could probibly come too. I love the gospel, it brings happiness to all who follow it. and sadness to all who "try and fail and fail to try again," I'm still trying!! I would hope to be a Rightous Priesthood Leader and a honored father in Zion one who can teach, preach, and expound the gospel to all I come in contact. I love my family and every thing you bring in my LIfe. I know the tender mercies of the Savior and the love he has for us is never ending, otherwise I wouldn't be here today; as I talk to other ministers of the different churches I feel a real void and even more I feel a lack of the Spirit flowing from them. it's no wonder that the people of America are becomming discouraged in man, and even their brother. It's because the ideas of men are weak and won't hold for eternity. Somehow we have to take this gospel to everyone we meet. No matter if they are members or not we need to call mankind to repentence and to live the gospel as we should, come back to the true and LIving Christ. (as you can see I've had more time to write)

It may sound strong but I realize man has his weaknesses and I have more then they all. I need to humble myself first. Hey I sure Love all of you. See ya Cindy, Wendy, Mom & Dad, Bill & Family, Cathy & Danny.

20 June 1977 - No Address, Anaheim Postmark

Dear Dad, Mom, and Wendy and Cindy and family--

Hi! It was good to talk to all of you the other night on the phone. I am doing better and I really love the opertunity the lord has afforded me; Its excitting and right now I need to overcome these sniffles. after I had a cold.

The lord is showing me how real he is and I am also seeing more and more the reality of Saten--The other day an elder was hurt terribly just riding his bike. HIs front wheel hit a bump--and a truck driver said he went up in the air fliped and landed on his sholder and arm and I imagine struck his head. he had a mark on it. but the deal was--that he wasn't going fast enough to go that high or get as much dammage as he did, for a while he was in intensive care. And his parrents have come down--he had internal bleeding. and man it's scary. it's as if the adversary picked him up and threw him down. Trying to beat on him and distroy his life...not long ago a great Elder, one who before his mission was a great motor cross rider and could handle bikes greatly, put em down and pick em up without a scratch in him. (He fell into temptation to ride it on his mission, well he couldn't control it, he couldnt get off it, couldnt lay it down couldn't stop it or turn it. Later had a hold of it and ran it into a tree. the Elder broke his leg and arm in three places. Now he's home recuperating. (getting better)

He's real, but also the lord is real, and wen we obey his commandments he blesses us. I love the mission, and love all of you you are all so special. Sure love ya, E. Mark W.

4th July 1977 - The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints -California Anaheim Mission 710 North Euclid, No. 110 Anaheim, California 92801

Dear Mom, Dad & Family,

Sorry Dad to be so late for your birthday I want you to know I really love ya and appreciate you and the family. Thanks for the great support you give me.

This mission experence is truely the greatest in all my life I have never felt closser to the lord then I now fee; some of the things that have happened in the last month which come to mind and are excitting to me is first,. The lord has belessed me with the oportunity to work with President Rex C. Reeve. He really is a man of God and I have grown close to him.

There is something special about my companions that I have to tell you, I have worked with Elder Rogers for four monghs before. We had some great times together as Zone Leaders. Now we are once again companions in the office. It's not to often companions will get together like that. But I really love working with him, he is the best companion I have had. Then we both are being taught how to serve as assistants to President Reeve by Elder Jeff Brimhall, who will be leaving on the 20th of July. Elder Brimhall is the finest --- teacher I have ever known on my mission. It's also uncommon for an assistant to stay in to the end of his mission, but because Elder Hammand went home in late June, which was when he was suposed to go, they needed to have us come in and have a chance to learn what to do. Elder Brimhall is taking the responcibility of showing us the ropes. He's really great.

When it comes to teaching, we do a lot less then we have done in the past. Most of our time is spent in teaching missionaries and not so many contacts. Mrs. Allen is one of the few contacts the A. P.'s have been teaching. When I met him I learned a great lesson. Mr. Aleen has been a fighting man ever since the age of 15, He has fought in World War II, and also the Koren war. He wasn't just a soldier, But for 36 years he was the best there was. He has shown us some of the pictures he took in Germany, Korea, Japan, and many more. He recieved the rank of Master Sargent and says he was the meanest. So if you can picture a very rough - stone, not only rough but hardened, you will be able to come close as to know what he was like. The Gospel of Jesus Christ has taken this rough stone and smoothed it out. It's so special to see what the gospel can do to a man who at one time thought God was nothing. To hear him say "Im going to be baptized" is a testamony to me that God lives. To see the lives of men and women change is the greatest experence I know.

This morning we just Recieved a call from a Mrs. Beingham who we were teaching in our last Area. She has set the 16th of July for a Baptism Date. It's so excitting to see and feel the Spirit Bear Witness of the truth. She's planning to come up and visit after my mission and get sealed in the temple (probibly the Manti temple, She has the greatest family the kids are really cute. Also Jerry is preparing to enter the waters of baptism He has really come a long ways.

I would like to leave you my testamony that I know God lives and he cares and Answers prayers, that Jesus is the Christ the Prince of Peace, and Lord of Lords. Joseph Smith was called of God to restore the Church and Kingdom of God to the Earth, I testify that this is true - God speaks to man - Sure Love ya Mark A. Whitaker

(On three small slips of paper): "Read letter first) Hey, Did you see Elder Hammand lately? If so you Probibly know he's comming back with his family for the 11th. I Wonder if thats the Way I should do it. Then there is no Problems with Rules and trying to do what would be fun for the Whole family. Maybe then the family could still come down for Christmas. See President Reeve, etc. I really love this Mission, Just Yesterday We went from 6:30 a.m. to 12:00 midnight giving a Zone Confrence out in Palm Springs and on the Way out and after both Confrences were over we had the great Priviledge of talking and learning from Pres. Reeve and Sister Reeve. We ate dinner out in Psalm Springs and then rode 2 1/2 hours home. It was great! We had some car trouble on the way home but it smoothed out and we finished our trip. The Church is still true. Sure love ya Mark PS. E. Neil Hammand was and is a great missionary.

11 Jul 1977 - 710 No. Euclid, Anaheim, Calif.

Dear Dad, Mom and Cindy and Wendy and Family,

This past week has been great, and I still can't believe how fast it has gone. It seems like yesterday that we were in the Mission home learning a few prosolyting ideas. Thank you for sending out the paper of the Ward.

There needs to be a little adjustment in some of the things that were said though. The meetings held in the movie theatre was just in the planning stages We had talked to the manager and he was checking on films for us. So the acual meeting has not yet been held. And the public meetings were held in the Relief Society Rooms. I was hoping that a public building would be available. And there were only 2 of them held while I was there.

I appreaciate you putting the article in the paper but I can't take the credit (as it sounds). Because if anyone comes into the church or is converted it's only by the power of God. And I feel uneasy having such a elaborate article on me. I only know the church is true. the lord does the rest. and it wouldn't be possible to be here if it weren't for my Good parrents. I really love and appreaciate this great chance to do the work of God. But still to take credit would distroy the very Joy of the work. The Church is true and I love working here. It's special to Assist Pres. Reeve. I just hope I can get on the stick and know what Im suposed to do.

For my own use after my mission I would like to make a short list of things what we've done in this last week.(Well I guess I won't need to I'll just save the calender.

Sure love all of you I hope the lord is blessing all of you as he has me. I'm greatful for the gosple I know its true. God lives and his son has helped me so much. Just learning about him. Sure love ya, Mark.

12 Jul 1977 - 710 N. Euclid, Anaheim, Calif.

Birthday card reads: Your BIRTHDAY is a baffling case...It comes and goes WITHOUT A TRACE! Happy Day!

Dear Dad,

Now I would like to wish you a Happy Birthday, sorry it's so late. The last 3 weeks are and have been amazing. I can't believe how fast time flies. It really has wings of lightning. I hope you won't mind getting this late. I just want to wish you a Good Day. Sure Love ya Dad. PS. You will enjoy meeting the Hammand family I met them today--It's great!

18 July 1977 - 1944 East Wilson #F, Orange, Calif. 92665

Dear Mr. & Mrs. Whitaker

Our names are Elders Snook and Elder Bunker. We are serving with your fine son here in the California Anaheim Mission. Your son is now serving in the Anaheim Zone, of which we have been called to be Zone Leaders. Let us first thank you for the privilege of working with your great son. It's a thrill for us to wath him grow as he serves our Heavenly Father unselfishly. We as leaders have decided to have a Zone Devotional with all of the Elders and Sisters in our Zone and need your help to make this a success. What we would like to do is to have you write a brief letter that would provide some inside information about your sons childhood and teenage years. Something humorous and out of the ordinary would be terrific.

We would also like you to share with us some of the fine attributes your son has along with his talents, hobbies, likes and dislikes, etc. In order to make this a success we will need your full and prompt support and would appreciate it if you were to make sure that your letter is in the mail by July 26th. This would give us time to organize and make this devotional a great success and a good memory for your son. We again thank you for the righteous desires of your son. We look forward for the success of this devotional and appreciate your support. We also ask that you keep this a secret as that it will be a surprise to all. Thank you. Elders Snook & Bunker.

20 July 1977 - 2040 W. Main, Suite 312, Rapid City, S. Dakota

Letter from Grandpa Whitaker

Dear Wilford Mary and Girls -

We are at Fort Thompson So. Dakota an Indian reservation. We have been busy the Past 10 days, too busy. I haven't had time to write, or even felt like writing. We have about 12 different people including indians signed up for bees next spring We delivered to 7 different ones this year. The Sioux Indians are fine people. Quite a lot are attending and antisipating on going this fall to B.Y.U. I attended a Pow Wow for about 2 hours on way to conference Saturday One family by the name of Widow had a big feast for their daughter who graduated from high school. Her father is a cattle man, has over 200 head cattle. They killed a big fat steer and cooked it in a 100 gal. iron cooker, it it all up bone and all. stirred it with a long handled iron pitchfork. People brought in Pies, cakes, salads, Pop everthing. It was good. When everyone was filled, people filled pans, buckets, plates and never left anything, which was the custom. When an indian dies people come and take everything that belonged to him, Horses, saddles, blankets, etc. also custom - I am waiting now 6:30 p.m. to go out to see Pres. They call all the Indians here who have charge of the Indians in different town on the reservation Pres. It kinda sets them apart. I am well and feeling better healthwise than when I was home. I havent taken any Pills for 2 weeks now, and feel fine. I was taking 4 pills a day. Give my love to all, call lBob and tell him to tell all the ones he sees. I am ok.

July 21st U:a.m. Breakfast about ready. We leave to go to Bro. Pres. Roger Reed, a white man married to a full blooded Sioux wife. We will set him up for Bees for next year. He will be a big influence among the Indians. Give my love to all - I hope you success in your work. How was the Reunion this year. May the Lord Bless you. Dad & Grandpa

I just received letter from Ryan. Ryan said he was on his way home. Give him any love, Grandpa.

2 Aug 1977 - 710 N. Euclid, Suite 110, Anaheim, Calif. 92801

Mom, Dad and family,

I'm writting this letter from the back seat of a car; so if it gets a lot better (the writting) it's only because the bumps in the road make it better. This past week has really gone by fast I can hardly believe that time is so easily lost. we have finished 10 zone confrences and are getting ready for 10 more this next month we did 10 of them in 1 week having Bi and Tri Zone Confrences. Which is the first time that three zones got together in the history of this mission.

The confrences were great! Pres. Reeve talked about getting your life in line and putting the qualities that are mentioned in the 4th section of the D & C, and Sister Reeve talked about many things but the main thrust of her message was about lifting your voice when speaking. She too is a great speaker. and she puts a lot of feeling into her words and she just great.

Becky was bearing her testamony about an experience she has in Texas while on her mission. the experience took in the following. She was sent to an area and was told she was going to close down the Area, well whe couldn't accept this because she knew the lord wouldn't send a missionary to close an area, so she was determined to see the area go. The sisters there at the time were just growing fat--they said that the work was poor but the members sure fed you good. Well one day while tracting the thought came to her, "Why aren't we on the campus?" the other sister gave her a look of "Look stuipid" and said we have been warned to stay off the campus...Well who would warn a Mormon missionary? Satan of course. So with new vigor and determination she went to the campus. The lord litterally opened the way before them. They saw a miracle take place for when they went in to ask about setting up something on campus or even finding out if they could tract the head guy said (before they could ask anything) why haven't you got an Institute here? She had helped them a lot. Then Elder Rogers Brought up the new Report we are bringing to the mission. It is beginning August 1st, then I had the opertunity to speak on bapt., the worth of a soul and the importance of bringing the Soul into the waters of Bapt.

The confrences were great, and it's neat how you can feel the Spirit of the Elders when your sitting in meeting. You can almost tell just what they need. It's Humbling is what it is. To really learn and know that without the Spirit of God we wouldn't even exist! It's so great! Pres. Reeve is a great man and I really love him. We have that great opertunity to be around his family and learn about them. Becky Reeve is really a stalwart. She's a missionary that everyone in the mission looks up to.

The most important part of my life has been being able to be born of Goodly Parrents who knew the gospel and taught it in the Home. Parrents who love the church and have instilled that same love in me.

Dad and Mom, you both are truly the worlds greatest! I feel I have had so many opertunities to grow and learn that today I can see how it has helped. I can still remember kneeling in Prayer as a family and praying that we would go on missions and get married in the temple and I thank you for instilling this into me, I have seen it happen other ways and I know that the Happiness comes from those who first fill missions and marry in the temple. Its almost nessary and for me it was absolutly nessary. Again I thank you for the teachings of God and the Savior and Joseph Smith. He's a prophet! Cindy and Wendy Love ya Hi Thanks for the notes sure love both of you muchly. I'll be your geeting pretty Big - I'd ask for a picture but Im afraid I'd be shocked at how much you've grown. Sure love ya. Teri & Cary) Hi - Sorry I missed you on the phone the other night. if you ever have time drop me a line or (maybe call) and let me know what your up to. Life is Great!! Love ya all Elder Mark A. Whitaker

4 Aug 1977 - California Anaheim Mission, 710 N. Euclid 110, Anaheim, CA 92801

Dear Mom, Dad and Family

Sorry not to have written sooner but I was ... never mind, I know excuses are no good. This song was written by Pres. Reeve, It's Pretty neat. I don't think he wants it published around because he's not sure what the world would think. But it's fun to sing.

We will Probibly sing it at our next Zone Confrence - which is starting Tues the 26,27 and 29. I feel that I've got to either eat right or sleep right or something. It just feels like we're going in a daze - anyway it's great! I love the work and don't think Im complaining because I'm not. I truely love it. One of the most spiritual experiences came the other day while teaching a new family - (we were in a foursome) Anyway its great! Im taking your advice and trying to write some of these things down - Sure love ya all - E. Mark

Ye Elders of Isreal

Ye Elders of Israel, come join now with me
And baptize the righteous where'er they may be.
In Hemet, in Cypress and Anaheim too,
There're many choice souls who are waiting for you.
O Timid heart, o timid heart,
We bid thee adieu
We'll baptize a thousand
Before we are through.
The harvest is great and the laborers are few,
But when we lace them, we'll baptize more, too.
We'll invite their neighbors & friends down each street,
To come to the service, the members to meet.
O Doubtful heart, O Doubtful heart
We bid thee adieu,
We'll baptize ten thousand
Before we are through.
We'll lengthen our stride like our Prophet has told,
And find many families, both silver and gold.
We'll visit them morning & afternoon, too,
And teach them the gospel & challenge them too.
Oh Faith filled heart, O Faith filled heart
We all things WILL DO,
We'll baptize a million
Before we are through!

29 Aug 1977 - Mission Home Address

Dear Dad, Mom, Cindy, Wendy and Family,

How are you all? I hope this letter finds you all in good health. Just thought I would try and type this letter to see how it would turn out. So here goes.

Sunday Augest 28, we had our first speaking assignment in a Stake Confrence. We spoke at the Cypress Stake.. It was great. President Reeve was going to speek but he was up all night the night before. So he asked if we would take his speaking assignment. YOU BET. We both took 6 min. each and I know the lord blessed us. Things sure are pileing up on us these past few weeks. I beelieve it was because of the youth missionareis. WE had 56 come out within the last two weeks. It was a big load but it was worth it, Every Min..Now, just to see the change that comes upon these Priests, and Elders, is so great, if you had no other witness that the church is true, these young men would be enough to tell you that it's true.

Tonight we are going to hold a fairwell at the mission home. This includes dinner for the elders and a special meeting where the Elders get to bear their testamony for about the last time in the mission field. Also, friends of some of the Elders come and share their feelings about the missionary. Then we go to bed about 11:00 and arise about 4:00 to take the Elders in to Los-Anglous to the airport. These fairwells are some of the most spiritual meetings that I have ever attended. We truely feel the presence of heavenly beings. The testamonies come straight from the heart of these servents of God. I am so greatful to be in the service of my God. I am learning that in order to acomplish the work He sent us out to do, we must have our lives in order. WE MUST obey the commandments of God, and we must listen to the spirit at all times. I have found this out in the last few days more then ever before. I felt i was going to talk, I didn't listen, the next day I was called on to speak. Im so greatful that he gives us more then one cance... God does live and I feel bad when I don't listen to him. I know he is there. Also, I'm greatful for the Savior Jesus Christ. So thankful that He would give up his life for us. The message we carry is the greatest message in the world. Jesus Christ lives and is the son of God and the kingdom of God has been restored to the earth. I know this is true.

I love each of you so much. thank you for makeing it all possible. I love this work. I just wish I could do everyting that needs to be done. President Reeve is truely a man of God. I have seen him go through maney trials and he has done as a profet would have done. He's a great man, I love him like I love my own Dad. May the good Lord bless and keep you till we meet again. I sure want you to know how much I turly love you. I send you all my love. Elder Mark A. Whitaker IN THE GREATEST MISSION ON THE EARTH . . . .

1 Sep 1977 - Mission Home

Hello again Family

I am once again here at the Laundry not trying to get more then one thing done at one time. I really think a big Portion of learning and growing comes from always being active and moveing in doing something good. I recieved your letter last week and Cindy's this week, and Wendy's next week??! I hope so!! Its good to hear how everything is going there and how everyone is doing one thing or another. Are Bill and Cary going into bussiness together? What's happening to the Roofing Co.? I was wondering if we could get on and work for a year or so or take up Business in Provo, But for now thats neither here nor there. I really don't think you Would have believed everything that goes on here in the Mission field.

This last week a great young Elder came out and he sold his car his motorcycle and left what family he had and even a very close girl friend all to serve the lord and when he came out he was put with a new trainer and a new area for both of them and a new Apt. Well, it Started to wear on him as I'm sure it would anyone - and he just didn't feel he could do it. Well he came in and talked with Pres. Reeve and wanted to try and get things straightened out. He did and was very pleased when he left (at least he was going to give it another try.)

But life is great. We had a Special experience the night before when we dedicated the apt and bleesed it for the work of the lord. We are in the Process of Working through Zone Confrence and this week will be full. I guess the Pres. just tryes to test our faith and Love in the lord as he asked if we wanted to change it. Well I thought we should but E. Rogers Wants to go through with it. and were going through with it. I just felt that Pres. Reeve would be Run to hard. But I guess not; cause here we are. This is one of the busier Months and it's one in which we can really learn from. I need to get even a greater positive attitude.

I am so greatful for all of you and the support you give to me. I am gainning a greater testamony of the truthfullness of the gospel. I'm studying through the life of Christ and he was and is the Christ. Well, I better go - The gospel's true - Jesus Christ did Sacrifice his all for us and tht was so that we could return to our Father in heaven.

I sure love you all and wish the lords blessings to be with you. P.S. Jackie called . I couldn't take to much time between meetings but I got to say Hi! - Shes great - Tell her hi for me also Terrie, Tell her Hi if you see her again. let me know whos comming home from the missionfield now!? ok? Sure Love Ya Mark A. Whitaker

7 Sep 1977 - 710 N. Euclid, #110, Anaheim, Calif.

Dear Dad, Mom, and family,

Hello, once again. I have just sat down to drop a note and say hi! So Hi!!! I really dont know where to start, except that some of the greatest experiences of my mission took place this last week.

It was pretty neat, Sept 1st (I still can't believe its Sept. already) was when we went to Mission Viejo Stake Center and we had a choice opertunity to speak to the Leaders of the Youth.

First they put on a program that was really fantastic and outstanding in every way. towards the end we were given 10 min to speak and (I took 20 min) It was embarising too--Because the Stake Presidency wanted most of the time. Well the words came out ok I guess! I sure felt great about it. and the talent there in that stake is unbeleaveable!

I just recieved your letters and I'm really thankful--everything sounds great! Dad, tell Bro. Slight (coach) hi and I am glad to hear from you and a hi--from him and Ralph Rogers thats neat!! Last night I was writting a letter to Randy Hansen and I just thought of Ronney Martin so I gave him a shot call which was good cause Pres. Marting was there and he's asking for some sheets for Baptisms that we are using here in this mission. I plan on sending him some today. It was good to hear him and talk to them all.

Wendy, Elder Rogers and I will write you a letter soon OK? (he really liked your letter to him, and so did I) Thanks-- Cindy, you will love french--it's great! then I might be able to take it again and we can talk to each other. OK?!! Dad congrats again for the "Mikado"--I really think its neat!! I have had the opertunity many times to sing out here, in different wards and also in zone confrences, zone leaders confrences and even while Im walking around on the street. Life is great!! Mom--Thanks so much for the letter and lettin me know how the family is doing I sure am glad to here that everything is so good!!

President Martin said that Cary was a great man and he could see Great leadership in him. I sure love all of you and know the church is true--Its the greatest! It changes lives: Love Elder Mark Whitaker.

12 Sep 1977, written at mission home, 4-5 PM - 710 N. Euclid #110, Anaheim, Calif. 92801

Dear Family,

Hi! how is everyone? I was sure glad to recieve your letter this last week! It sure means a lot to get a letter from one or all of the family. Elder Rogers sure loved that letter Wendy sent again too! Thanks Wendy you should have seen him grin, it was from ear to ear. You know something I have the best family ever, and its so excitting to see the great growth that each of you make, and I can see a lot of growth in all of you, spiritually I have seen a lot of growth. And it's a sacred thing to be able to share sacred and special experiences with a family who is excitted and ready to hear. You know there are Elders out here who when they send letters home they get them back in the mail. So to have too great parrents who give me such great support is so special. I will never be able to express to you my overwelming love and thanks for the love you have shown me.

We are having some great experiences here in Teaching at Stake confrences and Leadership meetings and youth confrences. The youth leadership is so great!! Im excitted to live in these last days. It's great!! It's a humbling experience to stand before great leaders of the church and try to express how they can become better missionaries in their lives.

We also have the privelage of serving with the Regional Representatives of this area--who are Bro. Talmage Jones and Donnald McArthur. great leaders whom the lord called to represent him throughout the world. I had never thought that the lord would bless me, so unworthy to have so many great experiences. I hope that I can be worthy enough to bring some of these great experiences to benefit others. especially those who are so close to me. There are some great things that are beginning to happen here in this mission and I hope that I will be around when the Bubble Breaks and the lord opens the hearts and minds of these people. Because when he does you will see excitting things happen.

I am so greatful. to be here. God really does live and he is the father of us all. it's so important to change our lives and repent! and prepare for the comming of the Savior Jesus Christ! It's close and the people are ripening in eniquity. (sin) Repentance is so important to do and learn about. Because no unclean thing can enter into the Kingdom of God. Therefore we need to be cleansed from the sins we've committed and follow the Savior. By accepting the great attoning sacrifice of the Savior Jesus Christ. I know this church is true. this is the only true church on the face of this earth. We are led by a prophet of the God of Heaven and earth. Its true--It all fits together and the spirit will bear record of the truth and I know that the truth has been recorded in my heart and mind. that its true may the lord bless all of you continually that the scriptures may reach your hearts each day! and I cant express that too much. we need to read the scriptures dayly as a family for at least 30 min a day. Pres. Reeve said that if he had to do it over again he would have his family miss breakfast before they would miss reading the scriptures. Dad and mom, those scriptures can come alive in our hearts and especially you will give all the kids a firm foundation, for the rest of their lives. Those scriptures are so valuable that we shouldn't over look them. They are true!! I know it, I love it. Its not easy but it's true, Love Elder Mark.

13 Sep 1977 - Mission Address

Dear Dad

I'll have to tell you of the excitting news that goes on here, But first I wanted to tell you about something that is really Super!! Its' a P.P.I. Now Im sure you are Wondering What a P.P.I Stands for!! Right? Well let me tell you. It means a Personal Priesthood Interview. And it's an Interview that a person Recieves from their Priesthood leader. Other Elders have told their dads about it and found a lot of success. From it their Parrents grow and even more the Elder and Rest of the family grow.

President Reeve has a neat way of helping the others out. every month he sits down with his Leaders and missionaries and givems them an Interview to See how they are and what they are up to. And he lifts them and helps them to set Personal challenges and then solutions to acomplish that challenge or goal before them. Then the following Month the Elder will Report his Progress on accomplishing that Particular goal or challenge. The way that we give them to the Zone leaders is that we open with a Word of Prayer, and usually the one giving the Interview Will Say the opening Prayer. Sharring apprection for that Elder and the Work and love and grattitude of that Elder or Rather the Personal attributes that you can see in the one you are interviewing. (And you mention these in the Prayer and also tht the Spirit of the Lord will be in the interview with you. Prior Preperation is very importantto making it as Sucessful as it should be. Study what you feel the person needs to improve on and first the good qualities. Then you Could go about it in almost any Way but We just talk directly (with love) and Plainly and Honestly. Mention what you like about the Person, clean, sharp, Honest, Relates well, Intelligent daughter (like Cindy or Wendy) important in your eyes, etc. etc. Something that you feel from the heart. They Say "Not too much" they won't feel you are sincere. Just the Right amount of Praize will suffice. Then ask if they feel good about everything in general! Keep them Relaxed, then try to feel by the Spirit what they can use in their life to improve and have a more successful life. Its really Special and that spirit is really strong. Then have them close with Prayer and it usually should take about 45 min. depending on the age and type of person. (I have taken up to 2 hours.) Time sure goes by fast when you are having a good time in the gospel!

Dad, I sure have a testamony of the Program it's a Way to Keep close Relationships strong and also it helps the Priesthood leader (father) etc. to know the deep feelings of those he is over. Dad I sure do love you and appreciate you for the love and support. It really means so much to me. Thanks for being so great!! Sure love you lots and the family - Elder Mark A. Whitaker P. S. Say Hi To the family! (fancy script writing) Do you like this New Style of Writting? I'm Just trying to improve it a little bit. Sure Love Ya!!! (Enclosure:) Blank P.P.I. forms and one carbon as follows: Elder Whitaker 6-7-77 Challenges Solutions Get close to zone mem. Better D.D. instruction + activities with Elders Read "The Value of a Veil" June Enzine Lift others on Disc. Help on memorizing Explain/why you're saying it 1. ask how they feel about it 2. ask for support Be Positive Don't think anything bad about anything ________________________________________________________________ GOALS 1 / 2 disc. a Day Read 1/2 "Jesus the Christ" Read 10 min Pray 10 min Meditate 5 min Re-co Equils 3-7 Study + memorize (Signed)

3 Oct 1977 - No address (Anaheim Postmark)

(On back of envelope:) P.S. Do you mind if I send others through you. Sometimes I don't have access to the add.

Dear Family,

Let me tell you My feelings of a Day before I write this letter. But first I would say that I sure love you all and appreciate the Special Interest you take in me while here on a mission and let me tell you that its a Sacred thing to have a family who supports me so well. I would never feel that it wasn't Worth it. Some Elders have a rough time because of their families. So I am continually thanking my father in Heaven for you.

Yesterday, we had a Special experience and I would like to relate it, in Part, to you. We had a great Sacriment Meeting but the greatest was Confrence over the Radio, (Remember Washington?) A lot like that. The Priesthood meeting was Special and brought many things to my memory. President Kimball said he wanted to go home and be a better man, well I have those same feelings and know that I need to improve So much. Well after confrences we went to President Reeve's place and there they were being visited by an assistent who Served while I was just comming in the mission. So it was excitting.

His name is Elder Kevin Jones and he is married. He's a great Elder!! But the Special time came when Becky Reeve and I had started to talk, (about confrences) then we started talking about Patricial Blessings. Well 1st I had a Sacred oportunity to share mine with her and she got hers out and shared hers with me, And as we Read together it was just a neet Spirit. She helped me to understand a lot that was contained in my Patrical Bless. and then we talked about hers and also her fathers blessing, She Recieved from her Dad - Both were very Special and it's neet to see the things that are in them as well as what s in my own. That is one special experience - (I wish I could write and let you feel the feelings I have. Also we had some great Zone Confrences this past week.

Pres Reeve is talking about obedience and is using many good scripture. Elder Rogers is talking about setting goals and the importance of specific goals. My talk has been based around building faith and having specific prayers. I'll have to show you a String trick that we use. Everything is great! I love you all. - Love - See ya - Elder Mark A. Whitaker

25 Oct "77" ouyes? pm 710 N. Euclid #110, Anaheim, Caoif. 92801

Dear Family,

I am so glad to have a family as great as you all are. Your always so Patient and have a lot of Long suffering with me. I am just so glad to heave been born to such a great Family.

Next month I will be working in a new calling, as a teacher or just a helper to an older couple who are comming to the mission. I will have another companion and I will be working in Elsinore, and that area. I don't know a lot about it but I do know it will be a change. I am looking forward to teaching more non-members and trying to find (if the lord is willing) a group or congregation to teach and Preach the Restoration of the Gospel to.

(Now this next experience happened tonight but don't get to excited because it might not work out like I have in my mind it will work.) But, Tonight I took over a letter which was left here but had a Reverends address on it. So we took it to his place This is the first night in about 10 days that he's been home. I recieved the letter about 2 weeks ago. Well, we were invited right in and he told us that he was working with members of the church to Pass a Bill - anyway we managed to get a few choice words in and he may be able to get us appointments with other churches to speak. (Now at this point things don't look real good but there is a slim possibility of that happening - talking more on the family life - But I have an appointment to call him next week and ask about showing him family films and the "first vision". More then less try to get him to feel the Spirit and recieve a witness. Then to the better stuff.- I do feel I need this experience that I am having as assisting President Reeve. He is truly a great man and has the greatest spirit. Remind me to send you a copy of "Leonna's letter to Aggie" an experience I am greatful to have been a part and I hope to send you more information soon. How do you feel about the comming home date. Im talking it over again with Pres. Reeve tomarrow. I love you all and will write again soon. Thank you for your letters. Love Mark

31 Oct 1977 - 710 N. Euclid #110, Anaheim, Calif. 92801

Dear Family,

I recieved your letter today and I was really glad to hear from you. Everyone sounds like they are having a real success in life and doing good in what they are doing. Hi Tiff. how are you? I love you and Im looking forward to seeing you again when I come home. You are such a cutie!

3 Nov 1977 - We are preparing to hold a sisters conference this friday. (or tomorrow) and I'll be talking about "the law of the harvest" and then friday night we're going to see and hear Paul H. Dunn speak.

Yesterday we held a meeting with the deaf and Jewish and spanish Elders in the mission and tried to prepare for the comming months--and today we are welcoming in 9 mexican Elders--8 Elders 1 sister who are waiting for their visas.

4 Nov 1977 - Elder Rogers Birthday today and it started off well with a sisters conerence and Sister Barbara Smith cam to speak to the Sisters which was very special--Shes in constant contact with the general Authorities. Sister Smith talked about Relief Society. But also related it to missionary work and told us of a few different ways to use the Relief Society for missionary work. It was very good. Elder Rogers and I had a chance to speak for 10 min. each on a year of plenty and "the law of the harvest" respectively. as soon as this mgt. was over, we left for Newport Beach to hear Paul Dunn speak, after a great meal at the same place. He gave an outstanding talk and taught both member and non-member Just super, His examples of home life and marrage life and his baseball life was well brought out--we left uplifted and excitted even more about the gospel. he used (as does Brett Nickles) over exagerate Its great to see how he holds the group captive and they laugh and they cry and the spirit is there. Of coarse they are prepared. (I put some of these things do so I can refer to them as future notes and history).

5 Nov 1977 - Today we had a conference in fullerton and Plecentia zone--at 8:30 am it was a good conf. and we finished at 3:00 and came home and ate and left at 3:40 for a stake leadership meeting in the orange stake with President Barren--Elder Royden Derric (a general authority) or (area supervisor) was there and spoke. It was very good. we are being very blessed by being able to hear all these general authorities in so short a time.

6 Nov 1977 - Priesthood Mgt. (Brett Nickels) Stake conference in Orange--an area where I served on my mission.--It was good to see some of the people whom we served with before. (Picture of Snoopy showing Book of Mormon to Woodstock)

Now it's Monday and I just wanted to share with you some of the things which happened Sunday night. Sunday night we were all together (President and Sister Reeve, Becky, Deanna Elder Rogers and Myself) for the cause of organizing our time for the next few weeks. Now as we were planning I was so special to see another side of the Reeve Family. When we planned out a certain day it brought up different ideas to our minds and soon we found ourselves talking about some personal experiences in the Reeve family, Sister Reeve made a funny remark and Becky and each one of us just broke out laughing. We spent about an hour or 2 learning of these great people and laughting and crying with them, they are so special. They have gone through much to be where they are today. Becky has been parralized now for 15 years (as of Nov. 17) and that has been a great trial. Yet when Sister Reeve speaks of serving Becky these 15 years she says--well she has helped me for 20 years before I still have a long ways to go--She's so patient President Reeve said that in all these years that he has never heard a word of complaint from her. only praise and love etc. And Becky, when she tells of her experiences she speaks with faith. one occasion was when she was first hurt that they finally placed her in an ambulance and were takeing her to a hospital no one was around her and her striker frame began to turn when she felt that someone picked up her elbow and placed in in the window so as to stop her from turning. if she had turned she would have been hurt badly and maybe even killed.

And she told how when people came to the hospital to see her they would begin to feel sorry for her and she couldn't stand it. So she began to lift them and send them out laughting instead of crying. such a great soul and a great family. It's things and time and feelings like that, that we remember.

Even in our own Family its not the T.V. programs but the special times together that we remember and always cherrish The church is so great and the gospel is True! They are having a National Family Week from the 19th of Nov. to the 26th and are asking members to have a friend over for a family home evening. to teach the rest of the world of F.H.E. Our Family ought to have someone over for this week--can you think of someone? It sure would be special--you remember what it's like to have people to come over for cottage mgts in Prosser Wash!!!? it was great and even now I refer back to those days.

I want you to know I love each of you--and Im still in need of talking to Pres. Reeve about comming home on the 14th as you would like--I'm sure we can work it out. PS: Im getting excitted about teaching this new couple the discussions and preparing them for their mission However Im also looking forward to teaching again. more then before--Love ya all--Elder Mark A. Whitaker.

21 Nov 1977 -

Dear Mom, Dad, and Family,

I'm sure sorry for not writting sooner; I'm now in Elsinore and I find it to be a very excitting place to be. It reminds me of Prosser Wash. They have just compleated a chapel (the 1st 2 phases) and are really excitted. They haven't had full time Missionaries for over 20 years. So with a new building and 4 new missionaries the feeling and spirit of the members is very high. Comming in the first day we had some special experiences, we drove in about 8:45 PM hungry and to an empty apt. so we went down to the Circl K store (like a 7:11) and bought an apple pie for 30 cents and then went and taught truthes of the gospel for 1/2 hour to the store people. they both took a pamphlet and an articles of faith cards. They seemed interested. Then we went to a phone booth and called a number we were given before hand. We soon found out that they held dinner for us till 6:30 PM then went ahead without us. But said that a family had prepared to have us over for the night. they were an older couple and they came and picked us up. they fed us and gave us a place to sleep. (oh) I missed a part. When we came to the empty apt. our neighbors came out to greet us and we set up a meeting with a young man about 20 who the zone leaders had talked to. The next day we met our neighbors and cast out an evel spirit from one man, but it was bad because he entered again into him and he was in need of a blessing. We couldn't finish the blessing. The next morning he came over and we narrated the film Christ in America to Him. he wants to quit the bad life he's living and wants help. Then we checked a referral and the lady said I've been waiting for you. This area, I believe, is ripe. It's excitting!

I know that this truly is the church and kingdom of God on the Earth--Through Many great blessings I've felt and know that this is his Kingdom. The church is true and the truth seekers are here I am so greatful for this chance to serve and, try as I might, be of some small use to our Great Lord, and Savior, the work has the greatest feeling and blessings that I have ever felt so far in my life

The Church is True

I thank you for being the best family in the World. I send you all my love. Elder Mark A. Whitaker Thank you for the Great cake your are all so super and the extra money I sure love you all so much.

His dad's story he spoke of:

THE CHRISTMAS SPIRIT

Today I touched Christmas. Briefly, fleetingly, but beautifully, I touched the true spirit of Christmas today.

Preparations had been hectic. The choirs were rehearsed and lectured and were noisily waiting their turn to sing at the Christmas tree at one of the areas large shopping malls. The harried shoppers, stopping briefly to listen to the well-coached choruses, quickly took up their packages and cares and passed down the halls.

My entire morning had been one frantic rush. We had left home quite early to see our son off at the airport, on his way to the California, Anaheim Mission. His Bishop, Elder's quorum President, and proud parents, sisters, brother-in-law and young niece and close friends crowded around him, wishing him the best and giving last minute instructions and messages. Finally, the last goodbye and his final wave from the door of the airplane, and we were on our way to take me to the large junior high school where I teach seven classes of vocal music each day, coming into contact with about 350 aspiring singers and crooners.

Traffic was heavy, the fog had settled in and was quite thick and hard to see anything. The cars crawled along at a snail's pace and I was already late for work. I finally arrived at school a half hour late and had just 30 minutes to arrange everything to get our 120 students ready to board the two buses to travel to one of our shopping malls for their annual Christmas caroling.

Two boys had been fighting and had to be left at school to discuss their problems with one of their counselors. The accompanist forgot her music at home and had to have help gathering the correct music from the files. We finally got ties tied for the seventh grade boys and had given out extra safety pins to the girls for their long dresses. After looking in the library, the office, teacher's lounge and finally the print shop, we found the librarian so she could make an announcement, dismissing the choruses to come to the buses. One hundred and twenty students were finally herded down the halls, out the doors and into the two buses and we were ready to start when our guitarist said her guitar was still locked up in the music room. Walking back to the music room, I began to wonder if it wouldn't have been easier to have remained in the insurance business.

One junior high boy, not in the choruses, had to be evicted from one of the buses. He just thought he'd take a ride with a buddy and sluff a few classes.

Riding down the street, I thought I would have an opportunity to think quietly and get my head together, but my seat-mate was an unusually talkative seventh grader who was quite interested in Citizen Band (CB) radio and he kept up the conversation all the way to the front door of the mall.

One of the groups I had taken this time was a class of 64 seventh graders who had been put into general music and started out by saying they didn't like music and they thought singing was sissy and generally had a negative attitude. We combined two of these classes and called them our seventh grade mixed chorus and gradually they had come around to where we felt we could take them singing in public. They were pretty well-behaved but had had no experience in this kind of activity and were excited and boisterous.

My arms were loaded with a camera (which I didn't get to use) hymn book, song book of favorite Christmas carols, notebook of octavo music and 46 copies of joyous carols to be distributed to the seventh mixed choruses later. (I have used students to carry my music but found they have a tendency to put things down and then forget where they left them.)

Students also wanted to leave purses, wallets, lunches, coats, scarfs, gum (only slightly chewed) half-eaten ice cream cones and popcorn and sugar canes with me but I refused. Finally, I was able to put the music down and sat on a bench a little distance from the "Singing Christmas Tree" and had the time to look around me.

The shoppers had stopped their hurrying and some had settled on the bleacher and chairs and were listening to a group which was singing on the tree. Starting on the ground floor were several bright-eyed students in wheel chairs, on the first row of the "tree" the youngest students stood, their heads barely rising above the railing, some, their arms bent and misshapen by disease and other misfortunes, were beating time to the piano as it was played gustily by a young teacher.

On the second row were older students smiling, attentive, bright-eyed, but disadvantaged, either mentally or physically. The third and fourth rows were the same only older, ranging in age from about six to about 18.

Here I discovered again what music is all about and why I had decided to go into vocal music education. Listening to these wonderful spirits singing their songs of praise and love, rejoicing at the birth of their Saviour, and watching the pride and love and joy and exuberance they radiated, I again felt the reason we need Christmas.

Forgotten for a few brief (too brief) moments were the cares, the pressures, the problems of the day. And I basked in pure love for a few moments. Forgotten were the wrong notes, the raucous voices, the voices off-pitch, the wrong words, the missed entrances, the too-shrill and piercing voices, that once may have grated upon my ears.

Oblivious to all around me, I let myself become immersed in the spirit of singing. Singing that was from the heart and from the depths of one's very soul. Oh, they couldn't run and jump and play like other children but they could express themselves so eloquently, so fervently, so beautifully.

From the little scarred and twisted bodies of these great spirits came an expression of Christmas love and joy that I inwardly thanked God for permitting me to share that moment. The choirs and audience were spellbound as they, too, partook of that spiritual Christmas feast, given to us by those lovely children of God. I thought how God had told His children to sing songs of praise unto Him. But He hadn't said "make a beautiful sound," or "sing pure notes," or "sing in pitch." I was reminded that that kindly old Gentleman up there (and I've often wondered if He was a retired music teacher with a slightly `tin ear') admonished His subjects to "make a joyful noise unto the Lord," and I was touched, briefly, by Christmas today.

The Man I want to Be

About the first of June, 1980, Mark wrote a letter to his mother asking her to type up a list of goals for him. He said that he "wanted to start living each day with the man I would like to become." His mother complied with his request and typed the following for him:

"Taken from scriptures and my Patriarchal Blessing, the following is my guide:"

THE KIND OF PERSON I AM

1. I live and obey all the Gospel Principles.

2. I enjoy the Blessings promised the faithful Children of Israel.

3. I am a descendant of Ephraim, the chosen son of Joseph that was sold into Egypt.

4. I have a great responsibility upon this earth. I take this responsibility seriously.

5. I can and do teach and preach the Gospel to my friends, my neighbors and those with whom I come in contact. I learn the Gospel so that I do teach the Gospel by the Spirit in its plainness and divine power and beauty. Many people change their lives.

6. I have been born of great parents and I listen to their words of advice and counsel. I honor and love my parents.

7. I live in a time when the Gospel and Kingdom of God is here on the earth.

8. I hold and honor the very Priesthood of God.

9. I preach, teach, conduct and preside in the auxiliaries of the Church.

10. My life has been spared for a great cause.

11. I am preparing to fulfill a Mission for the Church and I have the financial means and wisdom and knowledge to go wherever the Lord may send me and my family.

12. My purpose is to prepare bodies to house the spirits that are yet waiting to come into this earth.

13. I am faithful and true in my Priesthood assignments and in my callings in the Church.

14. I am a great leader. I lead in righteousness. I lead the way. I show others how to follow the Savior. I lead with humility and love.

15. I am a great provider. Money is abundant. We have enough food for several families for several years. We have all our needs satisfied. We are self-sustaining. We teach our children to follow in our footsteps of hard work and learning the principles that bring such success.

16. I am a great instructor. I stand before the people and explain the Gospel in and out of the Church in classes and throughout the world. I am a very motivating speaker. I get people to do and to act.

17. My testimony is being strengthened every day as I gain knowledge, I increase in testimony. As I gain in years I increase in testimony.

18. I am an honored father in Zion in righteousness.

19. I study the scriptures daily and I have excellent recall of detail in the stories in the scriptures.

20. I teach and train my children to grow up in the ways of the Lord. I trust them.

21. I live and obey the commandments that the Lord has given me.

22. I treat my wife with respect, trust, love and kindness. And teach our children to do the same.

23. I obey the laws of the land.

24. I am very prayerful and humble in my work, church work and temporal work. The Lord guides and protects me so that I do all that is asked of me to the very best of my ability.

25. Because of the blessings of the Lord Jesus Christ I have a knowledge and inspiration that is given to those who are faithful and true.

26. I live long. I have a great posterity. I live a life that makes me worthy to return to the Lord.

MEN WHOSE QUALITIES I STUDY

and

INCORPORATE INTO MY OWN LIFE:

1. The Savior JESUS CHRIST

2. President DAVID O. McKAY

3. President REX C. REEVES

4. Bishop MARK D. BLACKHAM

5. President ABRAHAM LINCOLN

Mark's mother and I both had a strange feeling as we read this, almost as if it were a benediction to his life rather than the beginning, as Mark had accomplished most of these goals in his short, intense life. I am particularly impressed by his statement that he wanted to spend time each day with the man he wanted to become. [Editor]

D.& C. 121:40-43 Hence many are called, but few are chosen.

No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned; By kindness, and pure knowledge, which shall greatly enlarge the soul without hypocrisy, and without guile - Reproving in betimes with sharpness, when moved upon by the Holy Ghost; and then showing forth afterwards an increase of love toward him whom thou hast reproved, lest he esteem thee to be his enemy

PATRIARCHAL BLESSING

of

Mark Almon Whitaker

Richland Stake No. 1642 11 November 1971 Richland, Washington

A BLESSING given by George Levitt Karren, Patriarch, upon the head of Mark Almon Whitaker, son of Wilford Woodruff Whitaker Jr. and Mary Jane McCulley, born 9 November 1956 at Ellensburg, Washington

Brother Mark Almon Whitaker: By virtue of the holy Melchizedek Priesthood which I hold, and as an ordained Patriarch in the Richland Stake, I lay my hands upon your head and give unto you thy Patriarchal Blessing. I ask our Heavenly Father to give unto me the words that will be a blessing and a comforting influence in directing and couseling you throughout your life here upon this earth, and to go with you throughout all eternity because Patriarchal Blessings are eternal blessings; and if you live and obey the Gospel principles, you will enjoy the blessings promised the faithful children of Israel.

You are of the lineage of Ephraim the chosen son of Joseph that was sold into Egypt; and because of this lineage and heritage, you have a great responsibility upon this earth. First, you are supposed to be a missionary, one who can teach and preach the Gospel not only to your friends and neighbours, but all with whom you might come in contact. President David O. McKay, years ago, said "every member should be a missionary" - and that means you; and may you learn the Gospel so you can teach it in its plainness and divine power and beauty.

You have been blessed to be born of good parents; and you should be very happy, thankful, and proud of this great blessing. Your parents have done the best they could, and have done very well in leading and counselling and directing you in this life; and may you always listen to their counsel and their words of advice, and honour and love them.

You have been blessed to be born in the time when the Church and Kingdom of God is here upon the earth.

You have been blessed to receive the Priesthood which gives you the right to work and serve in the temporal affairs of the Church such as gathering the fast offerings and helping with the sacrament. In the due time of the Lord, you will be given the Melchizedek Priesthood which will give you the right to work and serve in the spiritual affairs of the Church, in preaching and teaching the Gospel, and presiding and conducting in the auxiliaries of the Church. You have been blessed many, many times that you could grow into manhood and have the privilege of enjoying all the blessings that have been promised the faithful children.

Now in your future, make your plans with your parents so you can do the things for which the Lord has placed you upon this earth. First of all, you should prepare to fulfill a mission for the Church. Make your plans so you will have the financial means and the wisdom and knowledge to go wherever the Lord may send you to teach and preach the Gospel.

Another great promise, and another great blessing is temple marriage. Now I bless you to meet and marry a good girl whom you can take to the temple where you can be married and sealed in holy celestial marriage for time and for all eternity, and that your life upon this earth will be for the purpose of preparing bodies to house the spirits who are yet waiting to come into this earth.

If you are faithful and true in your Priesthood assignments, and your callings in the Church, and in doing the things that are required of you, you will be known as a great leader, a great provider, and a great instructor, and you will be able to stand before the people and explain the Gospel not only in the classes in the Church, but throughout the world. Your testimony of the Gospel will be strengthened as you increase in years and knowledge, so gain the knowledge that is so important.

I bless you to become an honoured father in Zion in righteousness, and that you will have children that you can teach and train and help to grow up in the ways of the Lord.

Live and obey the commandments that the Lord has given to you, and that He will make known to you through your teachers. Obey the laws of the land, and enjoy the spirit and influence that comes to those who are faithful and true to all the laws and covenants.

Be prayerful and humble in your work - not only in your spiritual assignments in the Church, but in your temporal work. The Lord will bless you if you will sincerely ask Him in humility to guide and protect you so you will be able to do all things that are asked of you to the best of your ability, and will help you to gain a great knowledge and inspiration that is given to those who are faithful and true.

I bless you to live long, to have a great posterity, and to have a life that will make you worthy to return into the presence of the Lord.

This blessing I give and seal upon your head according to your faithfulness, by virtue of the Priesthood I hold, and in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen. (signed) George Leavitt Karren, Patr.



THE PATRIARCHAL LINE OF AUTHORITY

GEORGE LEVITT KARREN was ordained a Patriarch 28 November 1954 by LeGrand Richards.

LeGRAND RICHARDS was ordained an Apostle 10 April 1952 by David O. McKay.

DAVID O. McKAY was ordained an Apostle 9 April 1906 by Joseph F. Smith..

JOSEPH F. SMITH was ordained an Apostle 1 July 1866 by Brigham Young..

BRIGHAM YOUNG was ordained an Apostle 14 February 1835 under the hands of the Three Witnesses: Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer and Martin Harris..

THE THREE WITNESSES were called by revelation to choose the Twelve Apostles and on 14 February 1835 were "blessed by the laying on of the hands of the Presidency", Joseph Smith, Jr., Sidney Rigdon and Frederick G. Williams, to ordain the Twelve Apostles.

JOSEPH SMITH, JR. and OLIVER COWDERY received the Melchizedek Priesthood in 1829 under the hands of Peter, James and John.

PETER, JAMES and JOHN were ordained Apostles by the Lord Jesus Christ




REPORT of Mark A. Whitaker


Companions: Lennard E. Laxton & Mark S. Wright & Scott F. Forsyth

6 mo. period ending 2 July 1976. District: La Puente, Tustin. Zone: San Gabrial West, and Orange East

6 months - West Covina 1st Ward and Tustin 3rd Ward.

Church Convert Baptisms - Everyone we have challenged are not all baptized as of yet! but I really feel they will be soon.

Area Meetings: I have kept all Area meetings on my weekly Reports, not on my monthly Reports.

PROSELYTING

Time Tracting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 60 Time Checking Referrals . . . . . . . . . . 147 Time Teaching Standard Disc . . . . . . . . 232

Subsequent Visits with Investigator . . . . 267 Public Relations . . . . . . . . . . . . . 71 Ward, Conference, with Investigator . . . . 179

Time Member Training . . . . . . . . . . . 239 Total Proselyting Time . . . . . . . . . . 1195

EFFECTIVENESS

No. of Meetings Held (with Prayer) . 169 People Committed for Bapt. Date . 20 Tracting 1st set (time and date) . 21

Ref. & Other 1st Set (time & date). . 32 Copies of Book of Mormon Placed . . . 23 No. of Disc. Taught to Members . . .. 50

Referrals Obtained From Members . . . . . . 44 People Contacted (first time) . . . . . . . 797

STUDY

Gospel Study Individual . . . . . . . . . . 180 Gospel Study With Companion . . . . . . . . 56 Area Planning and Preparation . . . . . . . 40

D.D., Miss. Conf., Office, Trans. . 75 Pass Off Discussions . . . Co-Equal Money Spent Each Day . . . . . . . . . 696.87

Miles Driven . . . . . . . . . . . . 1735 Food a lot still 10 lbs over . . .240.00 Travel not much maybe. . . . . . . 20.00

Clothes not much . . . . . . . . . . - Rent about . . . . . .. . . . . . .322.50 Phone you know . . . . . . . . . . . -

Misc. about . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40.00

Co-Equal Status . . . . . . . Now Co-Equal Discussions Passed Off . . . . . CDEFGHIJ

Scriptures . . . . . . . . . . 47 Scriptures . . . . . . . . . 30 Was Companion Inventory Held? . . yes

Was Report filled out each day . not always Was Correlation Meeting Held . . yes

No. of Stake Missionaries . . . . . . 2 - 3 No. of times split with stake Miss. .usually 3

Dear President Dad and Family,

This just tells you a little bit about what I have been doing, and I'm surprised that it's so much more than I thought But it's still very little. Now I've got some goals to work for to Improve my next 6 months.

I'm really Proud of all of you for the great family you are, and especially to you Dad for makeing it possible, and giving me all your good advice. You can go over this report and tell me what you think I could work on. And also to Mom, because she's so great, and the family. I sure love all of you. Take good care of yourself. Love Elder Whitaker

April 1999 - TRAGEDY AT SALT LAKE FAMILY HISTORY CENTER

by Wilford W. Whitaker

(12 Nov 2004) I was browsing the web today, searching for Rev. Thomas Woolsey, and found the following, which brought up some vivid memories. It's hard to believe it's been over five years! I wrote this shortly after the event and it was posted by one Allen Green.

[Dear Friends: This is the most complete and cogent account of this tragedy that I have seen, so I am forwarding it for your information. Let us pray for those who have suffered in this trial. Allan E. Green]

[The following account by Wilford W. Whitaker.] We learned today, to our horror, that Salt Lake City, and the Family History Center, are not immune from the actions of a crazed individual.

I was on the main floor of the FHL, reading "The State of Franklin", in which Rev. Thomas Woolsey signed his name to a petition for a new state, pondering the imponderables, (my wife says I was asleep). 10:35 a.m. MDT (approx.)

She had been on the second floor, and had walked down the curving staircase, and through the front lobby, just a minute or two previously, and was in the stacks looking for a couple of books, when a man in a baseball cap and full beard, in army fatigues, began systematically to fire a gun in the front lobby.

I wasn't the first one under the table, but I may have been the second. My wife hid behind a big column in the stacks. The gunman must have fired 20-25 shots, not rapid but slowly, as if he was picking targets. He either had two guns or someone got a couple of shots at him, because I heard a louder, deeper shot twice.

He killed the Church security guard at the entrance, and a woman, a patron, of the library, and shot at least five other people. I think he did most of the shooting in the lobby of the building, but I wasn't about to stick my head out and see what was going on. I was doing a good job of playing dead.

After about eight or ten minutes under the tables, we were evacuated out the rear of the building where I met up with my wife, both so relieved we were all right.

We all went into a near-by hotel and waited for word. Finally, we began to get news from the TV which stated that the gunman was holed-up in a room and shots were being exchanged with a Salt Lake City Swat team. Rumors were rife.

This may have been a man who had had an altercation at the library last evening. He also appeared at the "Triad Center" (KSL t.v.) this morning and was asking directions to the FHL. There was a yellow Rider U-Rent truck parked next to the Triad Center and so a bomb squad was called and people were evacuated from there and also from the Delta Center (Jazz basketball).

The Swat Team killed the gunman and they announced that he was not wired to any bomb. They then made a careful sweep of the building because it was thought there may have been a second gunman. I don't know about that, yet. About 20 or 30 people in the FHL could not come down from the second floor (where the census records and microfilms and readers are) so they locked themselves into a couple of rooms and are still there, the last I heard a few minutes ago.

About 13 other people were "injured" during this senseless attack, heart-attacks, anxiety attacks, etc. So they are saying about 20 people have been "injured". With three dead, security guard, one woman, and the gunman.

Oh, how I long for a return to a simpler life, a more sensible life, a better life. "Sow the wind, and reap the whirlwind". A terrible, terrible tragedy, and a sad commentary on the world in which we live today.

I was amazed at how long this gunman shot, carefully and deliberately, it seemed like an hour, but was probably about 10 minutes, while we cowered under the tables, not moving, nor speaking, not wanting to call undue attention to ourselves. I wasn't too scared, as I didn't notice any bullets coming close to me, but not knowing when the next shot would come or from where. It was not rapid fire, but slow and deliberate.

One of the Church missionaries, a sweet man, was shot in the chest, I don't know how he is doing at the moment. One woman was shot in the shoulder and another woman had facial lacerations.

I am relieved to report that we are all well, though my glasses, note book, and briefcase and coat are still in the library. I'll go back tomorrow and retrieve them. All of Downtown Salt Lake was cordoned off and six of seven emergency teams (units) were at the scene.

The gunman has since been identified as a 70 year old schezophrenic, and hadn't taken his medication. Will stop for now and catch my breath. Wilford W. Whitaker

Next

Back

Home

End