Now they never had fought, yet they did not fear death; and they did think more upon the liberty of their fathers than they did upon their lives; yea, they had been taught by their mothers, that if they did not doubt, God would deliver them.
And they rehearsed unto me the words of their mothers, saying: We do not doubt our mothers knew it. - Alma 56:47-48.On Dec. 7, 1941, the day that Pearl Harbor was bombed, I was a 19-year-old carpenter on Wake Island, an American possession 2,200 miles west of Honolulu. The first bombings over Wake Island were about six hours later.
We were captured and taken to China. Later, we were transferred to Japan where we remained until liberated in August of 1945. The treatment, lack of food, absence of any heat in the barracks, and sickness made for a discouraging and depressing situation.
The first mail I received while a prisoner of war was on Thanksgiving Day, 1942, and was from my mother. I will always cherish the counsel she gave me. She said, "Remember your priesthood and keep it holy, and also remember that in your patriarchal blessing, the day before you left home, the patriarch said `you will go to the isles of the sea and safely return.' "
My mother raised our family in the Church and had taught us the principles of the gospel. Through her faith and prayers, we knew it was true. The counsel and reminder to keep my priesthood holy and the words of my blessing were a great comfort during the remaining years of my captivity.