How Church Leaders Have Paid Tribute to Their Mothers, Wives, and All Women

Contributed By Eliza Smith-Driggs, Church News staff writer

  • 6 May 2020

Emma Salerno, 7, prepares her Primary talk at home with her mother, Norma, and sister, Alice, in Rome, Italy, on Sunday morning, November 18, 2018. Photo by Kristin Murphy, Deseret News.

When President Russell M. Nelson said “the highest and noblest work in this life is that of a mother” in the April 1999 general conference (“Our Sacred Duty to Honor Women,” Ensign, May 1999), he was talking to all women, past, present, and future .

He, along with other Church leaders, honor mothers and women all around the world. As Mother’s Day approaches, their teachings of motherhood and womanhood uplift and inspire members of the Church.

Listed below are quotes from each member of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles about motherhood and womanhood.

Every Woman a Mother

“No one can duplicate the influence of a mother.”

“Anytime I use the word mother, I am not talking only about women who have given birth or adopted children in this life. I am speaking about all of our Heavenly Parents’ adult daughters. Every woman is a mother by virtue of her eternal divine destiny” (Russell M. Nelson, “Sisters’ Participation in the Gathering of Israel,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2018, 68).

“One of the Many Noble Women”

“I was blessed with an extraordinary mother,” said President Dallin H. Oaks, whose mother raised him and his siblings alone after his father died when President Oaks was eight years old. “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” (Don L. Searle, “Elder Dallin H. Oaks: In the Footsteps of the Other Apostles,” Ensign, Nov. 1985).

President Dallin H. Oaks with his mother, Stella; brother, Merrill; and sister, Evelyn. President Oaks’s father died when he was eight years old, and his mother raised the three children on her own. Photo courtesy of President Dallin H. Oaks.

Susceptible to the Spirit

“As daughters of God, you have an innate and great capacity to sense the needs of others and to love. That, in turn, makes you more susceptible to the whisperings of the Spirit. The Spirit can then guide what you think, what you say, and what you do to nurture people so the Lord may pour knowledge, truth, and courage upon them” (Henry B. Eyring, “Women and Gospel Learning in the Home,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2018, 59).

The Influence of a Righteous Woman

“There is nothing in this world as personal, as nurturing, or as life changing as the influence of a righteous woman (M. Russell Ballard, “Mothers and Daughters,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2010, 18).

“Saviors on Mount Zion”

“To all mothers in every circumstance, including those who struggle—and all will—I say, ‘Be peaceful. Believe in God and yourself. You are doing better than you think you are. In fact, you are saviors on Mount Zion, and like the Master you follow, your love “never faileth.”’ I can pay no higher tribute to anyone” (Jeffrey R. Holland, “Behold Thy Mother,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2015, 50).

Voahina Alvarez gets a kiss and a flower for Mother’s Day from Mataunui Vasthi at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Papeete, Tahiti, on May 26, 2019. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.

“Happiness Is Your Heritage”

“All my life I have been surrounded by women who inspired, taught, and encouraged me. I am who I am today in large part because of these singular women. Each time I meet with the sisters of the Church, I sense that I am in the midst of similar remarkable souls. . . . As spirit daughters of our Heavenly Father, happiness is your heritage” (Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “Happiness, Your Heritage,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2008, 117, 120).

Gratitude to Women Everywhere

“Through the simple consistency of her example and testimony, my mother kindled in me the first flames of faith in the Savior and in His latter-day Church” (David A. Bednar, “Clean Hands and a Pure Heart,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2007, 80).

“I express my profound gratitude to mothers and women everywhere who spread goodness and love” (David A. Bednar’s Facebook page, post from May 12, 2019,

Divine Qualities

A mother helps her son make cookies.

“Our Latter-day Saint women are incredible! God placed within women divine qualities of strength, virtue, love, and the willingness to sacrifice to raise future generations of His spirit children” (Quentin L. Cook, “LDS Women are Incredible!,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2011, 18).

“A Certain Virtue”

“Women bring with them into the world a certain virtue, a divine gift that makes them adept at instilling such qualities as faith, courage, empathy, and refinement in relationships and in cultures” (D. Todd Christofferson, “The Moral Force of Women,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2013, 29).

A Calling

“Motherhood is not a hobby, it is a calling” (Neil L. Andersen, quoting Rachel Jankovic, “Children,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2011, 28).

Women of Faith

Elder Ronald A. Rasband said: “When I think of those who have helped make me who I am, I think first of my sweet and selfless eternal companion, Melanie. . . . I am also thankful for my own mother, who was a loving leader in our family and who nurtured my love of the scriptures. . . . Women of faith have profound influence upon families and the world. Please know you are cherished and loved” (Ronald A. Rasband’s Facebook page, post from May 14, 2017,

“Example of Pure Goodness”

Elder Gary E. Stevenson described his mother as an “example of pure goodness.” He said, “Her expectations motivated me. Almost every action I made was measured against the thought, ‘I do not want to disappoint my mom’” (Elder Gary E. Stevenson: An Understanding Heart,” Ensign and Liahona, June 2016, 26).

Following an Example

Elder Dale G. Renlund’s mother, Mariana Andersson, was from Sweden. When she and Elder Renlund’s Finnish father, Mats Åke Renlund, decided to get married, they were determined to be married only in a temple. Following his parents’ example, Elder Renlund and Sister Ruth Renlund married in the temple. “Aside from the decision to be active in the Church, marrying Ruth has been the most amazing thing in my life,” Elder Renlund said (“Elder Rendlund ‘Will Look to Heaven for Direction,’” Church News, Nov. 5, 2015,

A Love for People

Of his wife, Elder Gerrit W. Gong said, “Susan is an extraordinary person. I think it’s fair to say that some of the opportunities that we’ve had are because of her and her being willing to go and try new things and meet new people. I’m grateful for that. She goes everywhere and does everything. People love her, and she loves them” (in Greg Hill, “Elder Gerrit W. Gong: ‘A Nice Guy’—A Man of Faith and Learning,” Church News, Mar. 31, 2018,

“True Hero and Inspiration”

Of his wife and mother of their children, Elder Ulisses Soares said: “She is the true hero and inspiration in our family. She’s loving, kind, and patient with everybody. She unites our family, and she sees good in everyone. She has contributed enormously to what has happened in my life” (in Elder Neil L. Andersen, “Elder Ulisses Soares: A Man without Guile,” Ensign or Liahona, Oct. 2018, 37).

Elder Ulisses Soares of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles poses with his wife, Rosana, in two family photos. Photos courtesy of Elder Ulisses Soares.