Personal Challenges

January 21st, 2015 by admin

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Ashlee Birk was living a simple life as the mother of five children and wife to a successful lawyer. One cold night in March 2011, her worst nightmare came true when she found out that not only had her husband been having an affair with a married woman, but he had been murdered by the woman’s husband. Grief-ridden, angry, and hurt, Ashlee learned how to pick up the pieces and put her life back together again.

January 14th, 2015 by admin

3 Comments

Moving Past Forever

Moving Past Forever

Kenna Christensen

At the age of 20, Kenna Christensen was newly married in the temple and beginning what she thought was an eternal marriage. Nine months later, she found herself divorced and shattered from the disappointment. Though it wasn’t easy, Kenna found healing through counseling, blogging, and a deepened sense of spirituality.

January 7th, 2015 by admin

4 Comments

The 3 Browns

The 3 Browns

Deondra, Desirae and Melody Brown

Deondra, Desirae and Melody are three of the 5 Browns, a piano performing quintet composed of siblings. The sisters all attended The Juilliard School together and tour and perform with their brothers, gaining the highest accolades in the classical music world and performing in some of its finest venues. Three years ago, their father was sentenced to ten years in prison for sexual abuse involving the girls, and Deondra and Desirae founded the The Foundation for Survivors of Abuse, which focuses on changing the statute of limitation legislation across the country.

November 25th, 2014 by admin

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Searching for Kayelyn

Searching for Kayelyn

Suzie Louder, Madi Rodriguez, and Amy Fugal

On a cold and rainy November morning, more than 170 volunteers with ponchos, hand warmers, and GPS trackers canvased a one-mile radius in Murray, Utah, in hopes of finding clues that would lead to Kayelyn Louder, a 30-year-old social worker who’s been missing for nine weeks. Kayelyn was last seen on a surveillance video running barefoot in the rain, wearing a white tank top and jean shorts. She left behind her keys, wallet, cell phone, and her beloved Chinese pug, Phyllis. Her disappearance has stunned and confused family and friends. After the most recent search, Kayelyn’s mother Suzie Louder, sister Madi Rodriguez, and cousin Amy Fugal shared their heartaches and hopes in their search for Kayelyn.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Kayleyn Louder’s death was confirmed on December 2, 2014, a week after this interview was published.

October 29th, 2014 by admin

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“Prayer Changes Things”

“Prayer Changes Things”

Willie Mae Wright Douglas

Willie Douglas has weathered some storms. She has been part of many of the tumults in America’s history over the last fifty years. She battled racism while working to integrate her place of employment in New Orleans. She lost one of her sons to fatal illness during the AIDS epidemic. She fled her home in the face of Hurricane Katrina–and then returned to New Orleans to help rebuild her city. But Willie’s faith has sustained her throughout. In the words of her favorite hymn, “The world may crush you, but you don’t have to fret / My God remembers when others forget / One thing I know, yes, I surely know / Prayer changes things.”

May 22nd, 2014 by admin

5 Comments

In Darkness, In Grace

In Darkness, In Grace

SNAPSHOT PORTRAIT: Hillary Stirling

“A psychiatrist prescribed medication that did more to lift the darkness of depression than all my prayers had. Though I was grateful for that partial relief, I also felt surprisingly angry. Are we not promised over and over that the Gospel brings peace to our hearts and that our Heavenly Father’s plan is one of happiness? So why could I get those things from a pill but not from Him?”

April 24th, 2014 by admin

10 Comments

A Calling and a Purpose

A Calling and a Purpose

Snapshot Portrait: Katie Jennings

“It was a few years, a million tears, countless Mother’s Days hiding in the bathroom at church, doctor’s visits, medications, more tears, and lots of nieces and nephews before I understood that I was not going to be a mother in this lifetime.”

March 19th, 2014 by admin

5 Comments

Miraculous Ways

Miraculous Ways

Olivia Foo Fung Leung Luk

A job loss. A family member’s illness. A cancer diagnosis. All difficult trials, made even more difficult when they all happen at the same time. Olivia Luk and her family faced this unimaginable series of events in 2002. They met their challenges with tears, prayers, and faith—the kind of faith that Olivia had developed when she joined the Church as a young woman in Hong Kong. And she found that Heavenly Father responded to her family’s needs in unexpected ways.

March 13th, 2014 by admin

27 Comments

Loving Allegra

Loving Allegra

Alison Sprouse Pulley

In 2010, Ali Pulley and her husband, Mitchell, learned the baby they were expecting had severe chromosomal defects. They were suddenly faced with urgent and wrenching decisions. In preparing for their baby’s birth, they were also preparing—spiritually and physically—for their baby’s death. But in the months awaiting baby Allegra’s arrival and in the 29 days of her short life, Ali says, loving and caring for Allegra was a sacred experience.

February 12th, 2014 by admin

1 Comment

A Pioneer in Paris

A Pioneer in Paris

Josiane Lazeras

When Josiane Lazeras was thirteen, she was baptized and joined a small, close-knit group of pioneering Latter-day Saints near Paris, France. Even as the gospel helped her develop spiritually, Josiane found that the Church also encouraged her creativity and talents. And it made her consider the significance of becoming “a mother in Israel,” where love, spirituality, and action combine. Motherhood, she says—like the gospel of Christ—is a stimulant: “It pushes you to action. It’s something that permits you to go beyond your strength.”

January 31st, 2014 by admin

7 Comments

Finding A Lifeline

Finding A Lifeline

Rhyll Anne Croshaw

For twenty-seven years, Rhyll Crowshaw and her husband have been working through the effects of his sexual addiction. With the help of therapists, bishops, introspection and prayer, Rhyll has developed the strength she needs to keep herself safe. She now also helps other victims of sexual addiction feel safe through her organization S. A. Lifeline.

January 15th, 2014 by admin

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Dawn’s husband, Eric, suffers from bipolar disorder. Over the course of their twelve-year marriage, the two of them have learned to deal with the challenges the illness brings, grow in their careers, be active in the Church, and live happily together.“I used to always feel like his mental illness was something happening to me, Dawn says, “But now it feels more like a blanket that we’re wrapped in together.” And together, they have learned to share their challenges with the Lord.

November 20th, 2013 by admin

33 Comments

Rescued From Exploitation

Rescued From Exploitation

Stephanie M. Larsen

Stephanie comes from four generations of women who were trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation. Her own mother was sent into the trade at age twelve and had her first child when she was sixteen. But Stephanie’s mother broke the pattern by refusing to exploit her own children, allowing Stephanie to grow up outside the sex trafficking industry and join the Church in high school. Stephanie is now a wife and mother and the founder of two non-profits, Child Rescue and Backyard Broadcast, and she is an activist fighting against human trafficking.

November 6th, 2013 by admin

13 Comments

Authentic Life

Authentic Life

Laurel "Lolly" Weed

Laurel “Lolly” Weed is a wife and a stay-at-home mother to three daughters, but says she has no natural housekeeping skills and doesn’t feel like a typical Mormon mom at all. And she’s okay with that. Her marriage is also atypical; her husband, Josh, is gay. Last year, Lolly and Josh published a blog post about their story. When it went viral, the Weeds were surprised by the resulting publicity, criticism, and outpouring of support. Read what Lolly says she has learned about following the Spirit and leading an authentic life.

October 15th, 2013 by admin

8 Comments

Knowing Her Worth

Knowing Her Worth

Elizabeth Smart

On June 5, 2002, at the age of 14, Elizabeth Smart was abducted from her home in Salt Lake City and spent nine months in captivity. Her kidnappers, Brian David Mitchell and Wanda Barzee, were both sentenced to prison in 2011. Since her captivity, Elizabeth has become an advocate for the prevention of child sexual abuse. On Friday, October 11th, MWP editor Neylan McBaine spent a few minutes with Elizabeth as part of her media tour promoting her new book, My Story.

September 17th, 2013 by admin

41 Comments

Global Mom

Global Mom

Melissa Dalton Bradford

Melissa Dalton Bradford raised four children in the midst of an international life: Norway, France, Singapore, Germany. But what appears glamorous to many has its costs, and Melissa honestly talks about the lack of community and permanence that has defined her years abroad. She also reveals how important those intangibles can be when struck with a tragedy, like the loss of her 18-year-old son in a drowning accident, and how we all can learn to mourn and comfort more compassionately. Melissa’s memoir, Global Mom: A Memoir, was published this summer.

August 14th, 2013 by admin

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When Pam Shorr decided to stop attending church, she doubted she would ever go back. She recalls thinking, “I really want to find who I am and what I believe. I just want to do my own thing for a while.” But eventually, Pam found herself prompted to return, and an inspired Relief Society president showed her the way. She describes her reactivation in the Church as difficult, terrifying, and inspiring. “When I returned,” she says, “I was ready for the whole thing, and I have never looked back.” Pam is interviewed here by her daughter, Krisanne.

August 7th, 2013 by admin

11 Comments

In the Lord’s Time

In the Lord’s Time

Peka Holmes

As a wife and mother in a part-member family, Peka draws on the inspiration of her mother — who was also a “single parent in the gospel” — to support her husband as he learns about the Church and teach her daughter what she believes. Issues of race have proven challenging for her non-white family, and Peka discusses how much she appreciates member friends who embrace her husband for who he is and not for what they want him to be.

July 31st, 2013 by admin

25 Comments

Cherish One Another

Cherish One Another

Cathy Stokes

Cathy Stokes is a firebrand, common-sense Mormon. A pioneering member who was baptized in 1979, Cathy’s willingness to speak her mind has shaped her faith and helped bridged gaps among members of the church. Cathy recalls some painful memories of growing up in Mississippi, shares a beautiful reflection on tenderness, recites her favorite hymn, and speaks of the abounding goodness of God and the strength of Mormon women.

June 27th, 2013 by admin

14 Comments

A Grief Observed

A Grief Observed

Julie Hall

Nearly two years ago, tragedy struck when Julie Hall’s 14-month-old son died before her eyes. She now understands what C.S. Lewis meant when he said sorrow is not a state but a process. Gently, slowly, and with great pains—and joys—Julie began a cathartic journey of discovery.

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