Stories about each of the Prophet’s Mother’s
1. JOSEPH SMITH When I was 7 years old, I had to have surgery on my leg. I was trying to be brave, but my biggest worry was for my mother. She often carried me so I wouldn’t have to walk on my sore leg. She was so tired from all of her work, I didn’t want her to get scared if she heard me cry. I made her leave the house until the surgery was over. My Mother was also the first person I told
about the experience I had while praying in the woods. She never doubted me.
Lucy Mack Smith
2. BRIGHAM YOUNG My mother was sick with consumption when I was just a few days old, so my 13 year old sister, Fanny, took care of me. I would cry if anyone tried to take me away from her. She had to carry me on her hip while she did her chores, even while she milked the cow. My mother was often frail and sick while I was growing up, she died when I was 14 years old One thing she taught me that I would never forget was to “Do everything that is good, help people in distress, and don’t ever become angry.”
3. JOHN TAYLOR My Mother thought it was very important for me to go to school. She taught me about religion and to love God, and to pray. In 1830 my family moved from England to Canada, and I became a minister for the Methodist church. One day a missionary named Parley P. Pratt came to Toronto. What he had to say was exactly what was taught in the Bible, soon myself and other members of my congregation were baptized.
4. WILLFORD WOODRUFF My mother died when I was only 15 months old. Even though I was a baby, I could sense that loss of me mother, and I sobbed. Shortly after her death, my father remarried and I was raised by a loving step-mother. She had her hands full taking care of me, because I was always getting into accidents. I fell into a kettle of boiling water, fell from the top of the barn landing on my face, fell down the stairs breaking my arm, was kicked by an ox, buried alive when a hay wagon fell on me, caught in a blizzard, fell 15 feet out of a tree, chopped my foot with an ax, and was bitten by a dog with rabies. All of this happened before I was 20 years old. My step-mother had a huge job, just trying to keep me safe. She made sure I went to school when ever I wasn’t needed to help on the farm, and she also was in charge of my religious education.
5. LORENZO SNOW My mother taught me about hard work. She always said, “idleness was disgraceful and sinful”. She was an excellent housekeeper, and taught my sisters the importance of keeping house. She also taught us about literature and history.
6. JOSEPH F. SMITH When I was 6 years old, my father was killed, so my mother had to head west on her own. The wagon master didn’t want us to come because we didn’t have a father to do the heavy work. But my mother insisted that we would be just fineshe would even get her wagon there first! We had many spiritual experience on the trek west. I watched as my mother’s faith and a priesthood blessing healed our sick oxen. Once our oxen wandered off, and no one could find them. I came back to camp hungry and tired from looking, and I saw my mother on her knees praying. She got up confidently and went in the opposite direction from where the oxen were last seen. The men in the camp were yelling at her that she was wasting her time, she wouldn’t find them in that direction. I followed my mother, and sure enough she had found our oxen. My mother was a women of great faith and her ability to get answers to prayer left an unforgettable impression on me.
Mary Fielding Smith
7. HEBER J. GRANT I was very close to my mother. My father died when I was only 9 days old. My mother worked hard to meet our families expenses, she would sew for other people, and I slept in a closet so she could rent out my room in order to make extra money. My mother had a lot of faith in me. She taught me that I could succeed in the business world, and become a leader in the church. When I was a little boy, Heber C. Kimball, a counselor to Pres. Brigham Young prophesied that I would be an apostle and great leader in the church. My mother always reminded me to behave so that the prophesy would come true. I was ordained an apostle when I was 25 years old!
8. GEORGE ALBERT SMITH When I was 13 years old my father left to go on a mission. I got a job at the ZCMI clothing factory, sewing buttons on overalls for $2.50 a week. I used this money to help support my family while my father was gone. We lived in a home that had clay like dirt all around it, with no grass. The ground was either ankle-deep dust or sticky mud depending on the weather. I always wished there was grass and a shady tree I could sit under after working all day. My mother and I made it a goal to have a lawn before my father came home from his mission. We planted grass and soon it was growing. Then a thunder storm washed out our months of hard work in one afternoon. The only money we had left to buy more grass seed was the extra money I had heard doing small jobs at school. I was going to use this money to buy a new suit. I finally decided to spend my extra money to buy the new grass seed. This time the grass grew, and the lawn was a nice surprise for my father from my mother and me. Sarah Smith
9. DAVID O. MCKAY My father was called on a mission to Scotland, my mother was expecting her 6 child. We had just made the last payment on our farm, and were hoping to add a new room. My father going on a mission would mean that these plans would have to wait. My mother and father knew that they must do has the Lord wished. I was told that I must take care of mamma while my Dad was gone. I worked hard, and tried to take care of things. The neighbors came and helped us harvest our crops, and mother stored our grain until the next spring when the prices were better. We made such a good profit that we were able to build the addition onto our home after all. When my father returned he was surprised to see his growing daughter, a bigger house too. There were always Indians out around where we lived. One day, an Indian came into our house and told my mother to be his squaw. She grabbed a wet towel and struck him in the face and ran to get my father. The Indian was so stunned he ran into the woods and we never saw him again. When I was 14 the Patriarch to the church came to give me my patriarchal blessing. After the blessing the patriarch looked into my eyes and said, “My boy, you have something more to do besides playing marbles.” I went into the kitchen where my mother was preparing dinner and told her, “if he thinks I am going to stop playing marbles, he’s mistaken.” My wise mother tried to explain to me what Elder Smith had really meant, even though she did not fully realize to full meaning at the time either. Jaenette McKay
10. JOSEPH FIELDING SMITH I was very close to my mother. She taught me all about prayer and Joseph Smith and his vision.. During the summertime when I was done with my chores I knew them to be true. My mother taught me to read, and saw that I read often. I loved to read the scriptures and in the summertime I could often be found sitting under a tree reading and memorizing the scriptures. My mother lived long enough to see a covered wagon and an airplane.
11. HAROLD B. LEE Mother was an excellent seamstress and when I was 4 years old and my brother was 6 she made us suites trimmed with lace and ruffles. As soon as we were out of sight, we would tuck the lace and ruffles under so our friends would not make fun of us. When I was in high school I went away on a debate trip. After I was done with my debate I tried to call my mother to tell her about the competition. She said that she already knew all about it. When I got home, she explained to me that when she knew it was time for my debate she prayed I would not fail. She had faith and knew that I would do good. My mother was a very prayerful woman, and was led by the spirit to know what to do. She always made hot homemade tomato soup after church on Sunday. Lousia Emaline Lee
12. SPENCER W. KIMBALL Whenever sacrament meeting was boring, my mother would always let a child, no matter how old, lay their head down on her lap and go to sleep. I was always told that I was the child who took advantage of her lap the most. We lived in Utah and loved it there, but we were called to move to Arizona to help settle the area. My mother was very sad to leave Utah. When we arrived at the train station in Thatcher we were met by a lot of happy people and the church grew there. My mother only made fancy food when we had conference visitors at our house. I used to pray silently that they wouldn’t eat it all, so that I could have the leftovers. She died when I was 11 years old. I loved her more than anyone else in the world. I tried to be like my father, but always felt I had been paid the nicest compliment when anybody said that I reminded them of my mother. Olive Kimball
13. EZRA TAFT BENSON My mother was a very detailed very organized home-maker and an outstanding cook. She took an advanced sewing class and was able to clothe our family at a very low cost. I had 6 brothers and 4 sisters, so all of these homemaking skills helped her take good care of us. The day my father rigged a water pipe into the kitchen sink, my mother cried when the water came out of the tap right into the sink! But when he talked about installing indoor plumbing she said, “Taft are you talking about bringing the privy inside not in my house you don’t!” When I was 12 my father went on a mission. He was my best friend and I missed him very much. But my sweet mother comforted me, we had a special bond and were a strength to each other while my father was gone. My mother raised the other 10 children to look up to me because she felt there was “something distinctive” about me, her oldest son. My mother loved me dearly and thought I could do no wrong. Sarah Benson
14. HOWARD W. HUNTER When the neighborhood bullies kept taking my hat and put it on the railroad tracks so it would get flattened by the trains whizzing by. My mother was tired of buying me new caps and marched up to the bullies and said, “if you don’t lay off, I’ll beat you up!” Her proudest thing to do was to sew boy scout badges onto my uniform. I earned my eagle scout badge when I was 15, I was the second scout in Boise Idaho to receive my Eagle. I earned 32 badges! My mother was active in the Boise branch of the church, my father wasn’t a member. But my mother took us to church and church activities faithfully.
5. GORDON B. HINCKLEY My mother always insisted that we use perfect grammar in speaking and writing. She always corrected our grammar. She often invited our school teachers to lunch. We had to walk our teachers home, it was the longest walk of my life. When I started 7 grade, the school building we were supposed to go to was too crowded and we were told we would have to stay at the elementary school. Some boys and I decided to show them a lesson by not going to school at all. The next day the principal told them they had to have a note to get back into school, signed by their parents. I was embarrassed to ask for the note. But my mother wrote it, asking the principal to excess her son’s `impulse to follow the crowd.” My mother’s words hurt me, and I decided then and there to never follow the crowd again, on any decisions. Another time in 7 grade, I came home from a hard day at school and said a swearword. My mother immediately washed out my mouth with soap and I never said a swear word again!
Ada Bitner Hinckley
16. THOMAS S. MONSON Young “Tommy” witnessed many in need. He also learned to help from the example set by his mother. “He grew up in a less affluent part of Salt Lake, and in those early depression years when he was growing up his mother often would provide food to those homeless transients who would come on the railroad, or other places there, and I think from his mother’s example he realized the importance of alleviating the stresses and trials of other people,” said Jim Mortimer, of the Deseret Morning News. A funny story….as a child, he remembered, “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?’ “Not wanting that experience to occur, I would then make my way to Sunday School.” “Mother also taught me lessons relative to the Golden Rule, rather than by preachment.” He remembered a man named Robert whose home was demolished in the name of city progress, leaving him with no place to go. His grandfather Condie gave Robert a key to a house he owned, and never charged him rent to stay there. From that day forward, Robert became almost a member of our family.” On Sundays, President Monson’s mother would fix a large dinner and send a plate of food with her son to Robert’s home. “Mother would also insure that no person who ever knocked at her door in search of food would go away hungry.”
16. Thomas S. Monson
Gladys Monson lay in Salt Lake City’s St. Mark’s Hospital on Sunday, 21 August 1927 with her first son, and her husband, G. Spencer Monson, told her a new bishop had been installed in the Sixth-Seventh Ward of the Pioneer Stake that day. His mother’s response, “I have a new bishop for you,” proved to be prophetic. On 7 May 1950 this son, Thomas Spencer Monson, was sustained as the bishop of this ward. He was not yet twenty-three years old, the son, named for his father and his maternal grandfather, Thomas Sharp Condie, was perhaps the youngest bishop in the Church. The ward, numbering more than a thousand members, including eighty-five widows, had the largest welfare responsibility in the Church.
Thomas Monson’s mother was Scottish. She taught him charity and hard work, among other virtues. Because where they lived was not far from the railroad tracks, transients often knocked at the Monsons’ back door and asked for food. Gladys Monson never turned anyone away. She would invite them into her kitchen to sit at the table while she prepared a sandwich, served with a glass of milk. President Monson remembers taking plates of hot food his mother had prepared to a lonely neighbor fondly called “Old Bob.” “God bless you, my boy,” Old Bob would say, his eyes often filled with tears. “You have a wonderful mother.” These were not isolated cases of kindness; they illustrated a consistent pattern of charitable conduct. The example was not lost on the growing boy.
GORDON B. HINCKLEY’S MOTHER ADA BITNER HINCKLEY
Less frequently known are accounts describing the goodness of individual women in subsequent generations. Through their singular sisterhood they have maintained a continuity of active faith that has served as a legacy of strength for our Church today.
One of these devoted sisters was Ada Bitner Hinckley. Ada exemplified a ready willingness to do the Lord’s bidding, a zealousness for excellence in the good and the beautiful, and a steadfast support of the cause of Zion. While still a young woman, she went East to receive the best training then possible. Upon her graduation, she was given a position at the LDS Business College-the only woman on the faculty. Sometime after the death of his wife, the principle of the school, Briant S. Hinckley, asked Ada to marry him. She tells of feeling that it was the Lord’s design, and so she was pleased to accept his proposal of marriage and assume the mothering responsibility of his eight growing children.
Their life together was rewarding. In addition to their already large family, she and Briant had five children of their own to nurture through such experiences as the flu epidemics of the early twentieth century, World War I, and the rigors of rural life. The family did not have a surplus of money, but they always had what they needed due to Ada’s wise management of the home.
She died of cancer before all of the children were fully grown. While their grief at her passing was not easily assuaged, they found comfort in the continuing evidences of her loving concern for them. One such example was the money she had put away, out of their meager means, for her sons’ missions. When her eldest, Gordon B. (now a member of the First Presidency), was called to serve in the British Mission, the world was in the depths of the Great Depression. The family’s resources, like most other families’, were depleted; but the fund that Ada had carefully saved for this purpose made it possible for Gordon to serve his mission. That he had this important preparation for the position he now fills is high tribute to his noble mother.
WILFORD WOODRUFF’S MOTHER BEULAH THOMPSON WOODRUFF
Mother was a great lady. I remember sitting by her and having her read to me from a little white Bible. She loved the scriptures. She also loved poetry and prose and history; she was a deep reader and a deep thinker. She helped instill in her children an appreciation for good books.
“When I was about thirteen years old, my mother had prepared a delicious Thanksgiving dinner. Before she could get the table set, an emergency call came, and my mother and father had to go to be with my brother, who was very ill. After my parents left, I went to a friend who didn’t have a mother and whose father wasn’t well. I knew that he wouldn’t have a Thanksgiving dinner, so I invited him to our home for dinner. I got out Mother’s best linen, crystal, and silverware, and I set a table that was fit for a king. After our dinner together, I sent some food home for my friend’s father. I was trying to follow my parents’ example to serve others.