I found an email that was buried in my inbox from just after mother's day that John wrote to Whitney. These are what most of his emails to her consist of, words of wisdom or thoughts that he has had during the week. John consented to let me share this letter with you. You can read Whitney's letters home here.
It was so great seeing and talking to you today, even though things went nuts here and you had satanic music in the background there. I am glad you were able to go to Taranto for a day. Maybe it was just that it was my first city, but I loved that place. When I got there at the beginning of August we didn't have any investigators so we did a lot of finding. In the evening we did a lot of walking, and Taranto is the place that I remember the evening walk along main street being such a popular activity. There were all kinds of people out doing the passagiata (sp?)
I thought of you this morning as I wrote a letter to Gus for her to read on Trek, and I thought I would include that part here:
I believe you are much further than most on a path towards understanding and living truth. I am always interested in how pervasive and insidious Satan’s lies are, and to what extent he can create a culture entirely based upon these lies. In the world the pure and simple principles of the Gospel will always be radical and revolutionary, even at times within the church. I remember that when Whitney went on trek within an hour or two the young people in her family had already divided up into classes and for the whole time there were insiders and outsiders. This made Whitney sad, but it was a great learning experience and helped shape who she is. No matter how much we might question ourselves or situations because they might have sanction or cultural acceptance, being humble, kind, inclusive, faithful, and serving and sacrificing are always right. Christ was the most revolutionary being to live in this world, and he was almost always on the outside—from his birth in a manager to his death outside the city walls.
Like Isaiah wrote as cited in Mosiah 14:1-3:
..Who hath believed our report, and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?
For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of dry ground; he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him there is no beauty that we should desire him.
He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
Another thing I have been thinking about today is how little immediate and surface results meant to Christ. He saw the truth, and He acted according to the truth whether He was rejected or at times accepted. He always acted based upon revelation whether His influence would be effective immediately, in the future, or to others not present physically at the time. I have thought how much it is important to progress to the point where acting with self interest in more and more regards becomes repugnant and something we just can't do. For instance, your mother won't take money for anything she does with her blog. That is so important for her not to compromise in that decision. Being faithful to that principle gives her influence and power while compromising would take all that away. Jesus committed Himself to no one because He knew all things and knew what was in man. (paraphrase JST John 2:24-25) As a result of this He was free always to follow His Father. I remember once feeling like I was nothing and had no influence. As I was working that day God opened my eyes, and I saw that my words and actions were observed not just by mortals but by spirits around me, and that if I acted in truth that was all that mattered, and I would have righteous influence. You are in a situation right now that is certainly difficult and frustrating, but I know that you are very influential as you act in truth, following the spirit.
Well, again, I love you very much and am so happy with all you do.