The other day I was working on a sewing project and decided to listen to another conversation on the Mormon Channel. I selected Kitty de Ruyter-Bon (ep. 12), a woman whose name I did not recognize, but whose story looked interesting. She was born and raised in Indonesia, and put in a Japanese concentration camp during WWII with her family when she was 8 years old. I was surprised to discover that she was the source of a story (about a decision her mother made to protect the virtue of some young women while in the concentration camp that resulted in harsh punishment) I had heard in my youth and have remembered all these years, but could not remember where I heard it or if it was even a true story at all. I'm guessing I heard her speak at EFY?
The faith, strength, teachings, and example of her mother is great evidence of the impact mothers have on their children. Kitty's family was not LDS when she was growing up, but her mother's faith made a huge impact on Kitty and her ability to endure the tragedies of war with hope. She encouraged her children to pray despite it being forbidden at the camp, and also taught them as much as she could about the scriptures, science, math, etc. during the 3.5 years at the camp because they were provided no education in an attempt to override their culture (i.e. education is more than just a back-up plan for stay-at-home moms). Here is an article in the Deseret News (Oct. 31, 2010) that gives a brief background on her.
Below is a portion of her interview that I liked.:
What have you learned about war?
"War is a horrible thing to go through. And yes, atrocities are committed. And it seems to be that people only make war either for land or for an ideology or a religion. And I'm afraid that they still haven't learned that even though war is a horrible thing if you stay with the teachings of Jesus Christ and you let that influence your soul, then you can overcome all things."
What do you tell groups to whom you speak about freedom?
"...I tell them this is the best country in the whole world. That freedom is something to be cherished. Because people take freedom for granted; it's freedom of speech, it's freedom of movement, it's freedom that you aren't being confined. And here in America you are not going to be put in prison for no reason at all. You will have your day in court. Because the law protects you this. And so many other countries you don't. That's what I usually tell them. And I tell them also, we are so grateful for the Allied and the American armed forces that delivered us and what they are doing for us. And that they bring liberty for so many, so many people."
What do you say to groups about faith?
"I always try to be a missionary, and when I speak to non-LDS groups I tell them about my mother's faith. But faith is something that you have to work on, you have to give your whole soul to it, that Heavenly Father will be there to help you, that he answers prayers, and that all blessings are predicated on laws that you follow, and commandments that you follow."
What do you say about courage?
"Courage comes from deep inside of you. And sometimes it is difficult to be courageous, but you always have to remember when you do something that the Lord will walk before you on your right hand and your left hand and angels will uphold you. And so you never have to be afraid. I've seen my mother be very courageous and I like to be courageous as well."
What do you tell them about fear?
"Fear is something to avoid. Always know that fear comes from the adversary. Fear is not something that Heavenly Father puts into you, yes, sometimes the scriptures say 'Fear God' but it means 'Worship God and obey Him'. Fear comes from the devil and it's darkness. And I always say turn your face to God and you'll receive light."
What do you say about strength?
"Strength is something that you develop. You have to overcome shyness. Build on your self-esteem. Always know that you are a daughter of God and that He has made you in His image and he has given you the strength and the power to overcome any adversity any trial that you have. And then you'll find strength."