First married at age 18, Kimberly White emerged from an abusive marriage to earn a degree from BYU in philosophy and marry in the temple. She is the mother of five children, one of whom was stillborn, and currently lives in New York City. She shares her thoughts on the unfinished stories of women who struggle with suffering children, the death of a loved one or trials of every kind.
Raquel Johnston is a former Cuban refugee who came to America at age 10. Among the blessings she discovered in the United States, Raquel learned the value of education and became converted to the Church. She has passed both of those legacies on to her seven children.
At a very young age, Heather Farrell began thinking about her role as a woman and the place of women in God’s plan. That led to a Women’s Studies focus at BYU, a passion for studying women in the scriptures, the publication of her blog, Women in the Scriptures, and deep-seated feelings about birth and motherhood.
From Doha, Qatar, Erin Fairlight Olsen shares her adventures raising four children in co-parenting homeschool abroad. A doctrinal candidate with Jewish and Islamic influences in her spiritual heritage, Erin is doing research on women’s narratives of the Arab Spring and environmentalism in oil producing nations of the Gulf for her PhD in cultural sociology from University of California, San Diego.
As the first professional midwife elected to a state legislature in modern times, Holly Richardson already has an impressive influence. But her reach doesn’t end there: as the author of one of Utah’s most influential political blogs, Holly on the Hill, and as the mother of 24 children (20 adopted from 8 countries), Holly desire to serve, improve others’ lives and be involved in her community inspire countless people. Holly talks about her journey into adoption, the death of four of her children, her love of politics and her desire to follow the Spirit wherever it leads next.
Janet Hirano moved to Japan in her 20s to teach English for one year and ended up staying for 50. She married and raised a family, overcoming obstacles such as learning a new language, initial disapproval from her husband’s family, and her children enduring teasing for being “foreigners.” Janet recounts the importance of the Church in transitioning to her adopted country, how commitment and a sense of humor have helped her navigate the cultural waters, and that in some ways, she’s now more Japanese than American.
Faced with her husband’s liver failure, Amy Jones turned to the resource she knew best: homeopathic medicine. As a doula and childbirth educator, she had spent many years teaching herself about the body’s many wonders, but in the time of her husband’s crisis Amy taught herself about herbs, essential oils, and, most importantly, the divine powers that come from living the Word of Wisdom to the fullest. As the founder of the LDS Holistic Living Conference, Amy helps others discover the “hidden treasures of knowledge” that come from God’s natural gifts.
As a Protestant growing up in Northern Ireland, Florence Slease experienced first hand the extreme conflict between people of her faith and the neighboring Catholics. In her highly engaging conversational style, Florence describes her lost Catholic friend, her abusive early marriage, the miracle of joining the Church and the joy and triumph that has blossomed from her colorful childhood.
When Lindsey Redfern and her husband were told they would never be able to bear their own children, Lindsey wondered why she was denied the opportunity to be a co-creator with her Heavenly Father. But because of her husband’s professional experience and a number of miracles along the way, Lindsey discovered the joys and challenges of open adoption and now helps others to navigate that same path.
While many moms juggle kids and a career, Bonnie has juggled kids as a career. She has been a mother to her own four biological kids as well as her six adopted kids, and many foster children have been blessed by her care and love. She didn’t know that this was part of the plan for her, but she has come to understand God’s word, and follow it. He has trusted her, and she has learned that the difficult things in life bring many blessings.
Sherry Young raised five highly educated and successful children (including Hall of Fame football quarterback Steve Young). Now she’s reveling her own opportunities to have a newspaper column and look back on a life full of life lessons. Among other words of wisdom, Sherry reflects on the hard work of marriage, the importance of friends and the realities of parenting a famous child.
Lorinda Belnap has lived in Manhattan for the past 20 years with her husband, Brent, and their six children in a three-bedroom apartment on the Upper East Side. In addition to mothering six children in a small space, Lorinda has been a mother figure to countless New Yorkers as the wife of the stake president there for ten years.
Marnie Spencer’s body has been ravaged by cancer. But in a world where women are told that beauty is an indication of their worth, this mother of seven has found a different source of confidence: her knowledge that she is a beautiful spirit in the eyes of God.
Catherine Crittenden was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 1987, as the mother of three young children. With a husband engaged in international business leadership, Catherine initially felt guilty she couldn’t do all the things other moms do, but prayer, time and an understanding of the Atonement allowed her to adapt her mothering style to meet her abilities and feel a sense of self-worth in the face of her disease. Today, she is grateful for the time she has to be a grandmother — not the grandmother who swims and goes to sporting events, but the one who listens, reads and is a friend.
A student of Latin and Greek and a budding education reformer, Lia Collings is already engaged in teaching her three young daughters about these things she loves. Lia takes inspiration on how to intertwine her scholarly and motherly pursuits from the passel of mothers in her New Haven, CT, branch. She solicited and compiled a book of essays about their experiences, which she entitled Choosing Motherhood.
Melissa Puente is an Emmy-winning television editor and a mother of two sets of twin boys, ages 4 and 2. With four boys under three, Melissa felt tension in her home that didn’t reflect her gratitude at having her children safely with her. She challenged herself to read parenting books and document her responses on her own website, Learning Mommy. She now takes her education as a mother as seriously as her education as a TV editor.
Sydney Young has five children, but she has never been pregnant. In this interview, Sydney describes her journey through four open adoptions and the assumption of guardianship over one teenager. She exemplifies devoted stewardship over children who have not been birthed to her, but who have been sealed to her.
Although Nancy McNabb lost a 22-month-old daughter to SIDS, her greatest challenge has been raising her autistic son Stewart. Nancy describes her tireless work with her 19-year-old son, her secrets to staying happily married with a special needs child, the role the gospel has played in her journey, and her work at the University of Illinois in autism education.
As a graduate of Caltech with a PhD in Chemistry, Elizabeth Krider understands science. She also understands that spiritual experiences are real. Elizabeth uses her knowledge of science and her faith in God to ask questions about how the world works, and she is now passing along that skill of scientific deductive reasoning to her children so that they, too, can understand the world around them.
Always drawn to art and the artistic process, Rebecca discovered hooked rugs when the youngest of her six children was in kindergarten. In the years since then, she has produced a large collection of rugs that reflect her spiritual searchings, her love for her children and family, and the joy she finds in creating something that inspires thoughtful contemplation in her audience.
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