‘She loved us’

Ardeth Kapp hosted at reunion with Laurels of 40 years ago

BOUNTIFUL, Utah — One after another, they said nearly the same thing. "We didn't remember the lessons, but we remembered she loved us."

"I remember she loved us."

"Always, always we knew that you loved us."

Those telling comments were made about or to Ardeth G. Kapp by women looking back 40 years to a Laurel group in what was then the Bountiful (Utah) 9th and then 18th wards. These women, now in their late 50s, shared memories of a fashion show to raise money for a stake building fund, of lessons on making good choices and of the thought that one woman never forgot — "All things work together for your good."

But most important, they always knew she loved them, and to teenagers, that can make all the difference. It did to these women.

The Church News often hears of reunions of teachers and classmates — whether Primary, Young Women or Young Men — and they all come with similar sentiments. An afternoon visit Jan. 8 with one such group emphasized this. Forty years after their high school graduation, nine of 10 former Laurels hosted a luncheon for Sister Kapp, who served as their Laurel leader in the early 1960s in Bountiful, then later as Young Women general president (1984-1992).

"What a special day this has been," Sister Kapp said as the event came to a close, complete with tears and hugs. "If I were to single out (in my life) an event that was more significant than any other, it would be what's happened today."

Sister Kapp emphasized that this day was "priceless, precious" to her, not because of the kind words said to her, but because of the influence she said youth leaders can have on "such noble women." It's a lesson she hopes Young Women leaders can gain from today as they love and lead the youth with whom they work.

"It's a miracle," she added.

Looking around at the women gathered in the home of Bonnie White Evensen, Sister Kapp said, "I had a feeling in my heart that your loyalty to the gospel would sustain you."

And it certainly has. All the women became mothers and grandmothers, with 51 children, 77 grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren among them. They have watched their children grow and learn, and go through heartache. They spoke of their callings, some as Laurel leaders today. One woman, Marsha Gurr Richards, is a member of the Young Women general board.

The other seven women attending were Phyllis England Allred, Janet Barber Bagley, Judy Averett Mitchell, Kathie Rampton McMillen, Suzanne Griffiths Fowler, Karen Hunter Hafen and Nancy Molhman Sherwood. Unable to attend was Susan York Casper.

Sister Richards said that a few years ago her mother found a 4-by-6-inch card with the words, "All things work together for your good," written on it. Sister Richards recalled this lesson from Sister Kapp and how the then-young woman had written those words on the card and put it on her mirror. She said as she looked at this card years later, she said to herself, "All things had worked together for my good."

Sister Kapp remembers a lesson she learned as well. She was developing close relationships with each young woman when, one day, "The Spirit whispered, 'You must not take the place of their mothers.' "

She said she felt the prompting to encourage close relationships between the girls and their mothers. She responded to that during the fashion show by assigning tasks to the young women with the help of their mothers.

Now, four decades later, these women are still close with their mothers. But their Laurel leader will always hold a special place in their hearts.

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