LDS mom serves as mrs. usa 1993

People are hungry for family values, said the reigning Mrs. USA, Sandra Earnest. And throughout her yearlong reign, she has become a spokeswoman of sorts for values long espoused and lived by her own family.

Sister Earnest, 44, of the Laguna Niguel 1st Ward, Laguna Niguel California Stake, was crowned Mrs. USA 1993 on Aug. 15, 1992, in Plano, Texas. She will crown her successor July 31 in Tyler, Texas.For the past year, this mother of 10 has had plenty of opportunities to stand up for positive family values as she has appeared on many well-known television talk shows - mainly in the United States, but also two outside the U.S.

In most of these appearances, she has been accompanied by her husband, Stan, and their children: Aaron, 22; Adrienne, 21; Rachel, 18; John, 16; Mary, 15; Mark, 13; Joseph, 11; David, 9; Spencer, 8; and Anne, 5.

In addition to television appearances, Sister Earnest has been the subject of numerous newspaper and magazine articles. She has also addressed various civic organizations and has spoken at LDS Church gatherings.

"I have become a reminder of family and marriage values, and of integrity and honesty, and most people love what they hear," she told the Church News during a telephone interview. "Most people in this country recognize good, and they love it when we stand up for it. They want to be a part of that good.

"Most people are looking for what we have," she continued. "They spend their lives searching for that inner peace, the knowledge that we have, our eternal perspective and the joy. There are so many good people who want what we have, but they don't know where to find it."

This was why Sister Earnest decided to participate in "Mrs." pageants - to share with others the positive marriage and family values that she and her husband have fostered since their marriage in the Los Angeles Temple on June 26, 1970. Brother Earnest explained that the decision for his wife to participate was made as a family.

"We felt this was a way that Sandra could be a missionary in a unique way," he said. "She could represent the values and strengths of families, and the importance of families in the strength of our nation.

"She's a great role model for people to look to on how to rear children, on how to be a wife and on how to make a difference," he added. Sister Earnest's occupation has always been listed as a homemaker.

Her road to Mrs. USA began in 1989 when she was a finalist in the Mrs. California Pageant. Winners of the state competitions then participated in the Mrs. America contest. She won second runner-up in 1991 and in 1992 in the state pageant. She then participated in the Mrs. USA Pageant because, she explained, it has a reputation of honoring families. On June 6, 1992, in Ontario, Calif., she was crowned California's representative to the national pageant.

She said many pageant contestants asked her questions about the gospel. "A lot of questions were about morality, and how I was teaching my children. We teach our children that as they make good choices, they will have great peace.

"Because of the gospel, we have the plan that works for families. We have a lot to share."

In fact, on pageant applications, when asked for a quote that best expresses her life, Sister Earnest quoted from a hymn in the LDS hymnbook,"Because I have been given much, I too must give." (Hymns, 219.)

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