Latter-day Saint Life

The simple tradition that strengthened Ardeth Kapp’s marriage (that feels straight out of a storybook)

In honor of former Young Women General President Ardeth Greene Kapp, who passed away on March 30, 2024, we’re looking back at her episode with Morgan Jones on the All In podcast.

Sister Ardeth Kapp exuded love. From 1984 to 1992, she served as the Young Women’s General President, impacting countless women in the Church through developing the Young Women Values and Personal Progress program.

Although she couldn’t always individually greet everyone after she spoke at events throughout the world, Sister Kapp often received letters from young women who felt her deep love for them individually. For example, she once received a letter that began: “Do you remember me? I was the one in the green jumper on the second row!”

Letters were clearly a love language for Sister Kapp. She sent thoughtful handwritten notes to young women, friends, and family throughout her service-filled life.

On an episode of the All In podcast, which originally aired on March 9, 2022, Sister Kapp spoke about true partnership in marriage, sharing some of her favorite love letters from her husband, Heber B. Kapp. She and Brother Kapp served as mission leaders of the British Columbia Vancouver Mission and president and matron of the Cardston Alberta Temple, where they were sealed for time and eternity in 1950.

Ardeth G. and Heber B. Kapp in Bountiful, Utah, after Sister Kapp was called to serve as Young Women General President.
Ardeth G. and Heber B. Kapp in Bountiful, Utah, after Sister Kapp was called to serve as Young Women General President.

Although Brother Kapp “graduated” from this life—as Sister Kapp liked to say—in 2017, she felt peace remembering the temple covenants they made together. “It gives me an eternal perspective,” she shared. “Whatever the crisis is for today, for whatever it is, I’m not alone.”

She kept a box of love letters they wrote spanning over 50 years, referring to them often to remember her husband and share relationship wisdom and comfort with others.

▶You may also like: The inspiring truth about Ardeth Kapp I want to shout from the rooftops

Before sharing one of her favorite notes from her husband on the podcast, Sister Kapp said, “It reveals a challenge—[marriage is] not always smooth sailing.” Brother Kapp wrote:

“Ardie, darling,

“I love you more by far than your mortal mind or heart will ever know or have the capacity to believe.

“I am most sorry to have upset you when I have made suggestions, of which I hoped might strengthen our interactions together. Twice now, you’ve described those overtones to be, ‘You’ve just undercut me and destroyed some of my self-confidence.’ For that happening, I apologize most completely and wholeheartedly. I promise to try to not let that ever happen again.

“Surely, with thousands of loyal admirers and supporters, and most important, your Heavenly Father, you won’t allow yourself to fall into what Satan whispers in your mind to be allowed to stay there. You are a daughter of your Heavenly Father. He loves you, and you love Him. That must outweigh everything else.

“I have such a strong desire that we’d be able to develop a synergistic working together that my anxiousness has overpowered my patience. I know I should not be so impatient that I pull up the plant to count the roots, to seek the number of root hairs, thinking that it would stimulate growth. I do understand how dumb that is. Thanks for your putting up with me. I plead for your continued patience with me. … And I’ll try to remember.

“I’m grateful for your graciousness, your beauty in spirit and physical beauty. You know I have said how grateful I am that I didn’t marry an ugly wife. However, if the effects of growing old ever should take any glint from the blossom of your beauty, trust that that beauty will be in the eye of the beholder. And I will always see you beautiful in the spirit and physical. Will you still let me try again?

“Oceans of love with a kiss on every wave, my love.”

Even though they had been married for 52 years when Brother Kapp wrote this letter, he still asked her if he could “try again,” demonstrating how the couple believed in continuously improving and putting effort into their marriage. He would prepare letters for her when they would be apart for longer than a week so that she would have reminders of his love and encouragement.

He was committed to supporting Sister Kapp in her professional and spiritual development, often using humor to help defuse her nerves before public speaking events. For example, Sister Kapp shared, “If I needed a lift, he would say, ‘Well, don’t worry about it. But if things don’t go well, be sure to use your maiden name.’”

Sister Ardeth Kapp speaks with friends during a Zoom call to celebrate her 90th birthday at Thanksgiving Point on Sunday, March 21, 2021.
Sister Ardeth Kapp speaks with friends during a Zoom call to celebrate her 90th birthday at Thanksgiving Point on Sunday, March 21, 2021.
Annie Barker, Deseret News

All humor aside, Brother Kapp was deeply proud to be associated with Sister Kapp, writing in another letter: “I’m thrilled that it has been my privilege to pull with you on your handcart. What a journey it has been. I will always thrill whenever I’m introduced as Sister Kapp’s husband.”

Sister Kapp cherished these written assurances and believed in the importance of expressing her love often. She said:

“I can say after 70 years, it’s still nice to know [someone loves you]. We need to be able to reinforce that statement of love and not just assume, ‘We’re getting along okay. We don’t have to repeat it.’ Yes, we do have to repeat it!”

Just as Sister Kapp demonstrated the importance of writing and reading love letters in human relationships, she often spoke about recognizing evidence of God’s love. In the October 1985 General Women’s Meeting, she referred to the scriptures as “letters from home”:

“Can you imagine being away from home and receiving a letter from your parents and not bothering to open it or read it? This is what happens when we don’t read these precious records. The holy scriptures are like letters from home telling us how we can draw near to our Father in Heaven. He tells us to come as we are. No one will be denied. He loves everyone.”

Sister Kapp was a dedicated disciple of Christ throughout her life, focusing on supporting those around her and continuously deepening her commitment to the gospel. Toward the end of the podcast episode, she reaffirmed her dedication to serving the Lord in her earthly life and beyond:

“I will be ‘all in’ [the gospel of Jesus Christ] when I can say what Heber said when he was ready to go. He said, ‘I’m excited about leaving mortality. It is time to go, and I want to start my work on the other side. I’ve had a rich and wonderful life, and I have no regrets because I’ve done what I came to do.’

“And I feel the same way. I really do. I hope I can keep being an example or being a help to somebody, but I feel like I’m ready to cross the bar.”

Listen to the full episode in the player below or on your favorite streaming platform. 

▶You may also like: What I Learned from Spending a Morning with Former Young Women General President Ardeth Kapp

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