'Mother power' is touted at convention

Having American Mothers Inc. in "every city, every state and every village" was the much-discussed goal at the 59th annual American Mothers National Convention in Salt Lake City April 29-May 3.

During the five-day event, Barbara B. Smith, president of American Mothers Inc., urged participants to help the organization grow from 3,000 members to 3 million."We believe in `Mother Power,' " Sister Smith, who served as Relief Society general president from 1974-84, told convention participants. "American Mothers can change the chilling statistics on violence, crime, drug and alcohol abuse, child abuse, teen pregnancy, school drop-outs, divorce and other problems."

Hundreds of mothers and others from throughout the country gathered for the convention, which was based on the theme, "Our Business: The Family." Events included meetings, workshops, craft shows, a banquet during which the 1994 National Mother of the Year and the National Mother of Young Children were honored, attendance at the May 1 broadcast of "Music and the Spoken Word," and a special worship service in the Salt Lake Tabernacle after the broadcast. President Gordon B. Hinckley, first counselor in the First Presidency, addressed American Mothers Inc. during the worship service. (Please see accompanying story on page 3.)

During the banquet May 2 in the Marriott Hotel in Salt Lake City, Corinne (Lindy) Claiborne Boggs of the District of Columbia was announced as the 1994 National Mother of the Year. During the previous evening, Pam Satterfield of Kansas was presented as National Mother of Young Children. Mrs. Boggs and Mrs. Satterfield were chosen from among state representatives of Mother of the Year and Mother of Young Children attending the convention. Fourteen Latter-day Saint mothers represented their states. (Please see biographies and photos of LDS representatives on this page and in the April 30 issue of the Church News.)

Also attending the banquet were many former national mothers of the year. Master of ceremonies was Carole Mikita, an anchor at KSL-TV, Channel 5 Eyewitness News. The evening included dinner, musical performances and a special program that focused on the challenges of families and children today and how American Mothers Inc. can help.

After the banquet, Mrs. Boggs, who is a former member of Congress and whose husband, Hale Boggs, served in Congress, spoke with the Church News about President Hinckley's address to American Mothers. "I felt that the speech was so pertinent to the physical, moral and psychological needs that parents have. I think that speech should be shown all over the country, not only the content, but also his demeanor, his delivery.

"He was the father figure that had the compassion and yet the understanding in practical terms of what was happening and what needed to be done. I felt that with his instruction we could go far in helping to solve some of the dreadful social and moral problems our country faces."

American Mothers Inc. can help provide solutions to many of these problems, said 1993 Mother of the Year Ruby Washington of Nebraska. Speaking to the Church News, Mrs. Washington said, "We can all come together and share problems and a lot of answers. We have the solution to a lot of the problems of Americans today."

And members of American Mothers Inc. are enthusiastic that 3 million who work together can make a difference today, and in the future. New York Mother of the Year Claire Freedman, a member of the Westchester 1st Ward, New York New York Stake, said during an interview: "With Barbara Smith's goal of getting 3 million members, we will as a major force create an awareness of the need to restore old-fashioned values to our homes and families."

Mrs. Satterfield added: "Just having the large number of people is going to be an inspiration for everybody. It's going to help mothers because we'll be able to get the word out that we're trying to strengthen moral and spiritual values. And the more people you have doing these things, the more they're going to influence the media."

Speaking of the goal of 3 million members, Sister Smith said during an interview: "I think this whole convention has made that goal a reality. Everyone has been so impressed."

Beside Sister Smith, other Latter-day Saints who will be involved in national positions for American Mothers Inc. throughout the next year include Elaine S. McKay of the Bountiful 25th Ward, Bountiful Utah South Stake, who has been appointed national membership chairman; and Mildred Barthel of the Mount Vernon Branch, Cedar Rapids Iowa Stake, who is the national speaker's bureau chairman.

Winning national service awards were Sherri Zirker of the Mesa 22nd Ward, Mesa Arizona North Stake; and Jenneice Beckstrand of the Providence 5th Ward, Providence Utah South Stake.

Subscribe for free and get daily or weekly updates straight to your inbox
The three things you need to know everyday
Highlights from the last week to keep you informed