“Mary Ellen Wood Smoot Relief Society General President,” Ensign, May 1997, 108
Family is important to Mary Ellen Wood Smoot, mother of 7, grandmother to 44, and newly called Relief Society general president. She says, “One of the important things we have done as a family is to set up family values, and one of those is, ‘As an eternal family we build, support, and edify one another.’ We believe strongly in that.”
Extending love and support beyond her family is also important to Sister Smoot, who has served with Church hosting since 1986. After serving on Temple Square for one year and in Church hosting for seven years, Sister Smoot and her husband, Stanley M. Smoot, were called as directors of Church hosting for VIPs. “Our primary responsibilities have been to host prominent individuals who visit Church leaders,” says Sister Smoot.
Born in Ogden, Utah, on 19 August 1933, Mary Ellen was raised in Clearfield, Utah, the fifth of six daughters born to Melvin and Lavora Smith Wood. In 1952 she and her husband were married in the Salt Lake Temple.
“With six of our seven children born during the first eight years of our marriage, I was grateful to be a full-time homemaker,” says Sister Smoot, who believes that a mother’s first responsibility is to build confidence in her children.
Sister Smoot, who has been a ward Relief Society president, served on a Church writing committee and also wrote a column for youth for a Davis County newspaper.
In 1983, her husband was called to serve as mission president for the Ohio Columbus Mission. After one year, he was called as mission president of the newly created Ohio Akron Mission. With Kirtland and Hiram as part of this mission, the Smoots were part of the activities surrounding these historical sites, including the dedication of the Newell K. Whitney store in Kirtland. “That’s where I became immersed in public affairs,” says Sister Smoot, who met with the press and out-of-town visitors often, “and I’ve been involved as much as my circumstances would allow ever since.”
Now, as president of one of the largest womens’ organizations in the world, President Smoot will be able to continue to do that which she enjoys doing: providing love and support to others.