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10 Great Stories about Mothers from Church Leaders

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Over the years our Church leaders have shared stories of their mothers. These women are diverse, faithful, and inspiring. Here are 10 great stories about the mothers of Church leaders to help us all celebrate Mother’s Day.

President Thomas S. Monson | President Monson recalls influence of family on his life

“I would occasionally drag my feet going to Sunday School. I liked to watch the birds in the trees… Mother applied some psychology which at the time worked, but in retrospect, was a bit severe. She would point up to the top row of bricks on our duplex and say, ‘Now Tommy, if you don’t go to Sunday School, one of those bricks might fall off and hit you in the head. You don’t want that, do you?’

President Monson as a young boy.
President Monson as a young boy.

Not wanting that experience to occur, I would then make my way to Sunday School.”

President Henry B. Eyring | Write Upon My Heart

“There was a picture of the Savior on the bedroom wall where my mother was bedridden in the years before she died. She had put it there because of something her cousin Samuel O. Bennion had told her. He had traveled with an Apostle who described seeing the Savior in a vision. Elder Bennion gave her that print, saying that it was the best portrayal he had ever seen of the Master’s strength of character. So she framed it and placed it on the wall where she could see it from her bed.

President Eyring with his mother.
President Eyring with his mother.

She knew the Savior, and she loved Him. I had learned from her that we do not close in the name of a stranger when we approach our Father in prayer. I knew from what I had seen of her life that her heart was drawn to the Savior from years of determined and consistent effort to serve Him and to please Him. I knew the scripture was true which warns, ‘For how knoweth a man the master whom he has not served, and who is a stranger unto him, and is far from the thoughts and intents of his heart?'”

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf | The Infinite Power of Hope

“Finally, during the cold winter of 1944, my mother decided to flee to Germany, where her parents were living. She bundled us up and somehow managed to get us on one of the last refugee trains heading west. Traveling during that time was dangerous. Everywhere we went, the sound of explosions, the stressed faces, and ever-present hunger reminded us that we were in a war zone.

Along the way the train stopped occasionally to get supplies. One night during one of these stops, my mother hurried out of the train to search for some food for her four children. When she returned, to her great horror, the train and her children were gone!

President Uchtdorf and his mother.

She was weighed down with worry; desperate prayers filled her heart. She frantically searched the large and dark train station, urgently crisscrossing the numerous tracks while hoping against hope that the train had not already departed.

Perhaps I will never know all that went through my mother’s heart and mind on that black night as she searched through a grim railroad station for her lost children. That she was terrified, I have no doubt. I am certain it crossed her mind that if she did not find this train, she might never see her children again. I know with certainty: her faith overcame her fear, and her hope overcame her despair. She was not a woman who would sit and bemoan tragedy. She moved. She put her faith and hope into action.

And so she ran from track to track and from train to train until she finally found our train. It had been moved to a remote area of the station. There, at last, she found her children again.

I have often thought about that night and what my mother must have endured. If I could go back in time and sit by her side, I would ask her how she managed to go on in the face of her fears. I would ask about faith and hope and how she overcame despair.”

Elder L. Tom Perry | Mothers Teaching Children in the Home

“Please allow me to reminisce for a few moments and share a few of the lessons I learned from my mother about teaching the gospel in the home. My mother understood the value of teaching her children about standards, values, and doctrine while they were young. While she was grateful to others who taught her children outside the home at either school or church, she recognized that parents are entrusted with the education of their children and, ultimately, parents must ensure that their children are being taught what their Heavenly Father would have them learn. My siblings and I were quizzed very carefully by our mother after we had been taught away from the home to be certain the correct lessons were reaching our ears and shaping our minds.

L. Tom Perry and his mother.
L. Tom Perry and his mother.

I used to think some days as I ran home from school that I was through learning for the day, but this illusion was quickly destroyed when I saw my mother standing at the door waiting for me. When we were young, we each had a desk in the kitchen where we could continue to be taught by her as she performed household duties and prepared supper. She was a natural teacher and far more demanding of us than our teachers at school and church.”

Sister Julie B. Beck | A “Mother Heart”

“I have often heard my father describe my mother as a woman with a ‘mother heart,’ and that is true. Her mothering influence has been felt by many hundreds, perhaps thousands of people, and she has refined the role of nurturer to an art form. Her testimony of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ and strong sense of identity and purpose have guided her life.

Julie B. Beck giving her talk, "Mothers Who Know."
Julie B. Beck giving her talk, “Mothers Who Know.”

She took longer than most women to find her husband, but during her single years she had devoted her life to progress. Though it was uncommon at the time, she was university educated and advancing in a career. Following her marriage, children arrived in quick succession; and in a short span of years, she was the mother of a large family. All the knowledge she had acquired, all her natural abilities and gifts, all her skills were channeled into an organization that had no earthly bounds. As a covenant-keeping daughter of God, she had prepared all her life for motherhood.”

President Gordon B. Hinckley | Some Lessons I Learned As A Boy

“The next year we enrolled in junior high school. But the building could not accommodate all the students, so our class of the seventh grade was sent back to the Hamilton School.

We were insulted. We were furious. We’d spent six unhappy years in that building, and we felt we deserved something better. The boys of the class all met after school. We decided we wouldn’t tolerate this kind of treatment. We were determined we’d go on strike.

The next day we did not show up…

The next morning, the principal, Mr. Stearns, was at the front door of the school to greet us. His demeanor matched his name. He said some pretty straightforward things and then told us that we could not come back to school until we brought a note from our parents. That was my first experience with a lockout. Striking, he said, was not the way to settle a problem. We were expected to be responsible citizens, and if we had a complaint, we could come to the principal’s office and discuss it.

President Hinckley's mother, Ada Bitner Hinckley.
President Hinckley’s mother, Ada Bitner Hinckley.

There was only one thing to do, and that was to go home and get the note.

I remember walking sheepishly into the house. My mother asked what was wrong. I told her. I said that I needed a note. She wrote a note. It was very brief. It was the most stinging rebuke she ever gave me. It read as follows:

‘Dear Mr. Stearns,

Please excuse Gordon’s absence yesterday. His action was simply an impulse to follow the crowd.’

She signed it and handed it to me.”

Elder Richard G. Scott | The Eternal  Blessings of Marriage

“Once I learned an important lesson from my wife. I traveled extensively in my profession. I had been gone almost two weeks and returned home one Saturday morning. I had four hours before I needed to attend another meeting. I noticed that our little washing machine had broken down and my wife was washing the clothes by hand. I began to fix the machine.

Jeanene came by and said, ‘Rich, what are you doing?’

I said, ‘I’m repairing the washing machine so you don’t have to do this by hand.’

She said, ‘No. Go play with the children.’

I said, ‘I can play with the children anytime. I want to help you.’

Then she said, ‘Richard, please go play with the children.’

Elder Scott and his wife, Jeanene.

When she spoke to me that authoritatively, I obeyed.

I had a marvelous time with our children. We chased each other around and rolled in the fall leaves. Later I went to my meeting. I probably would have forgotten that experience were it not for the lesson that she wanted me to learn.

The next morning about 4:00 a.m., I was awakened as I felt two little arms around my neck, a kiss on the cheek, and these words whispered in my ear, which I will never forget: ‘Dad, I love you. You are my best friend.’

If you are having that kind of experience in your family, you are having one of the supernal joys of life.”

Elder Dallin H. Oaks | Official Biography

“I was blessed with an extraordinary mother…She surely was one of the many noble women who have lived in the latter days.

She gave me a great deal of responsibility and freedom. She encouraged me to have a job…”

Elder Oaks in the top left with his mother and two siblings.

“During World War II, my widowed mother supported her three young children on a schoolteacher’s salary that was meager. When I became conscious that we went without some desirable things because we didn’t have enough money, I asked my mother why she paid so much of her salary as tithing. I have never forgotten her explanation: ‘Dallin, there might be some people who can get along without paying tithing, but we can’t. The Lord has chosen to take your father and leave me to raise you children. I cannot do that without the blessings of the Lord, and I obtain those blessings by paying an honest tithing. When I pay my tithing, I have the Lord’s promise that he will bless us, and we must have those blessings if we are to get along.'”

Elder D. Todd Christofferson | Moral Discipline

D. Todd Christofferson with his mother.

“When I was about five or six years old, I lived across the street from a small grocery store. One day two other boys invited me to go with them to the store. As we stood coveting the candy for sale there, the older boy grabbed a candy bar and slipped it into his pocket. He urged the other boy and me to do the same, and after some hesitation we did. Then we quickly left the store and ran off in separate directions. I found a hiding place at home and tore off the candy wrapper. My mother discovered me with the chocolate evidence smeared on my face and escorted me back to the grocery store. As we crossed the street, I was sure I was facing life imprisonment. With sobs and tears, I apologized to the owner and paid him for the candy bar with a dime that my mother had loaned me (which I had to earn later). My mother’s love and discipline put an abrupt and early end to my life of crime.”

Sister Barbara W. Winder | Finding Joy in Life

“Mother taught me that we have an obligation to give, that others don’t owe us a living, and that more joy comes from giving than receiving.

Barbara W. Winder, the 11th General President of Relief Society.
Barbara W. Winder, the 11th General President of Relief Society.

As a child, I desired a birthday party. I invited all of my friends to come—it wasn’t even near my birthday—and I carefully instructed them to each bring me a dime. When Mother heard of my trick, she immediately gave me a scolding, sat me down, and carefully explained why what I did was not right. Then she went with me to each of my friends so that I could apologize. It was an embarrassing lesson, but one I have never forgotten.”

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Lauren Kutschke
Lauren Kutschke
Lauren is studying Journalism at Brigham Young University and considers the East Coast home. She has a passion for writing, photography, skiing, hiking, and traveling. She enjoys studying German and is married to her best friend.

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