Letti Hawks

"Any two man can do anything, as long as one of them is God."

-Elder Neil A. Anderson

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Letti has recently captured my attention as a wonderful person; she radiates a warm and welcoming spirit that always makes me smile. As I conversed with her during our lunch of grilled cheese sandwiches and pie shakes, I discovered that this wonderful woman, and who she has become, is nothing short of a miracle.

Letti was raised in the most unfortunate of circumstances, circumstances that make anyone who hears them weep. She was born into a polygamist family that was constantly moving from state to state —13 in all— and constantly adapting new identities.

As a child, Letti grew up thinking abuse was normal. She was subject to both emotional and sexual abuse, and most of it in the name of a church. Her stories were so heart wrenching that I had difficulty understanding, or even imaging, the magnitude of the events she was put through.

As Letti grew older, and more weary of her life, she had the opportunity to meet with missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. This wasn’t her first experience with the missionaries, she was baptized as a child during one of her previous identities. As she progressed with the missionaries in becoming an active member of the church she was given opportunities to visit the family of one of the Elders that helped to reactivate her. While visiting his family, she met another family who would soon adopt her as their own.

At age 23, Letti had enough of her arduous life. She ran away from home and the family she had previously met took her in. Her new family taught her a new way a life, a life that did not include selling your body, but did include had work and righteous living.

I asked Letti if there was one person she could accredit her new self to, she was quick to tell me about Neeka, her new sister. Neeka was an observant friend, when Letti was having a difficult time, Neeka would lock herself and Letti into the bedroom, not allowing Letti to leave until Letti had let out everything that she kept bottled up inside her.

Neeka helped Letti to voice her frustrations to help her work through her trials and to become a better person. The two of them are now inseparable. Neeka constantly helps Letti to learn new life skills. She helps Letti to manage finances and life in general. Letti is forever grateful for the opportunity to have met such a wonderful family.

Letti now works for BYU in the catering department. She holds a degree in psychology and a degree in culinary arts. She hopes to pursue a PhD in in psychology where she can make a difference in other people’s lives. She knows that as a psychologist, she can relate to others and encourage them to make differences in their own lives to get themselves out of bad situations.

As a spiritual person, Letti strives to ensure that no one goes without feeling the love of the savior. She loves having personal relationships with people where she can coach them on life, or just be a good listener. She strives to always be available for friends, even “at 3 in the morning when they want to talk about boys.” She carefully listens to the spirit waiting for promptings such as needing to bake cookies for someone needing to know they are loved.

Letti is that friend that we all need and want. Thank you Letti for being the wonderful friend that you are.

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