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Meet 7 of the inspiring women in ‘Saints, Vol. 3’


One way “Saints: The Story of the Church of Jesus Christ in the Latter Days” differs from earlier Church histories is it focuses on the lives and stories of ordinary Church members. The third installment in the “Saints” series, “Boldly, Nobly and Independent, 1893–1955,” begins after completion of the Salt Lake Temple and ends with President David O. McKay dedicating the Swiss Temple, the first in Europe. As it portrays world wars, technological changes and unprecedented Church growth, “Saints, Vol. 3” highlights many Latter-day Saint women and their remarkable contributions. Here are some of them:

Toshiko Yanagida

 Toshiko Yanagida was instrumental in getting a branch established in her town in Japan. Her experiences are in “Saints, Vol. 3: Boldly, Nobly, and Independent, 1893–1955.”

Toshiko Yanagida was instrumental in getting a Church branch established in her town in Japan. Her experiences are in “Saints, Vol. 3: Boldly, Nobly and Independent, 1893–1955.”

Credit: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

A miscarriage and life-threatening operation fueled a desire within Toshiko Yanagida to find a church to attend. At the suggestion of her father, she visited a Latter-day Saint branch two hours away from her home in Japan. She loved what she found there and began attending every Sunday and weeknight meeting she could.

Her husband, Tokichi, soon became upset at her for spending so much time away from home, telling her she had to choose between the Church and their family. Toshiko prayed for help and experienced miracles in her family. She was instrumental in getting a branch established in her town and was called to be its first Relief Society president.

Helga Meiszus Meyer

Helga Meiszus Meyer grew up in East Prussia and was a teenager when Adolph Hitler and the Nazis rose to power, and she lost several close family members in World War II. Her experiences are in “Saints, Vol. 3: Boldly, Nobly, and Independent, 1893–1955.”

Helga Meiszus Meyer grew up in East Prussia and was a teenager when Adolf Hitler and the Nazis rose to power, and she lost several close family members in World War II. Her experiences are in “Saints, Vol. 3: Boldly, Nobly and Independent, 1893–1955.”

As a schoolgirl in Tilsit, Germany, Helga Meiszus was ridiculed by her teacher because she was a Latter-day Saint. Though she lost friends and was bullied by classmates, Helga stayed true to her beliefs. She was a teenager when Adolf Hitler and the Nazis rose to power, and she lost several close family members in World War II.

Rather than let her grief consume her, Helga accepted a call to serve as a missionary in the East German Mission as the war came to a close. Wartime missionary service was not easy; she was often cold, hungry and in physical danger. Helga drew strength from beloved hymns and scriptures, calling them to mind amid heartbreak and opposition.

Episode 80: ‘Saints, Vol. 3’ editors detail documenting a history that highlights globalization of the Church and overcoming trials

Ida Smith

Ida Smith’s husband, Hyrum, was called to be the president of the European Mission and they moved with their family to Liverpool. Her experiences are in “Saints, Vol. 3: Boldly, Nobly, and Independent, 1893–1955.”

Ida Smith moved her family to Liverpool, England, when her husband, Hyrum, was called to be the president of the European Mission. She rose above self-doubt to mobilize women to help with the war effort.

Credit: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

When her husband, Hyrum, was called to be the president of the European Mission, Ida Smith and their four young children went with him to live in Liverpool, England. One day she saw a written notice calling for female volunteers to sew and knit winter clothing for soldiers fighting in World War I. Ida wanted to help, but thought to herself, “What can I do? I have never knit a stitch in my life.”

Rising above her self-doubt, she mobilized her fellow Liverpool Relief Society sisters to make warm clothes. Ida herself learned how to knit and traveled throughout Britain organizing Relief Societies and encouraging them to make and donate clothing.

Jeanne Charrier

Jeanne Charrier joined the Church when she was 25 years old in Valence, France, and she decided to stay in France rather than move to the United States. Her experiences are in “Saints, Vol. 3: Boldly, Nobly, and Independent, 1893–1955.”

Jeanne Charrier joined the Church when she was 25 years old in Valence, France, and she decided to stay in France rather than move to the United States. Her experiences are in “Saints, Vol. 3: Boldly, Nobly and Independent, 1893–1955.”

Credit: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Jeanne Charrier joined the Church when she was 25 years old in Valence, France. Rather than moving to the United States, which had larger congregations and access to temples, Jeanne decided to stay in her homeland and serve the people there.

She had a curious, scholarly mind and published articles in the Church’s French magazine, L’Étoile, not longer after being baptized. As a young single adult, Jeanne attended the Swiss Temple dedication and was one of the first French Saints to receive the initiatory and endowment ordinances.

Evelyn Hodges

Evelyn Hodges worked for the Relief Society Social Service Department in Salt Lake City during the Great Depression. Her experiences are in “Saints, Vol. 3: Boldly, Nobly, and Independent, 1893–1955.”

Evelyn Hodges worked for the Relief Society Social Service Department in Salt Lake City during the Great Depression. Her experiences are in “Saints, Vol. 3: Boldly, Nobly and Independent, 1893–1955.”

Credit: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

As a young college graduate, Evelyn Hodges accepted an unpaid position as a social worker for the Relief Society Social Service Department in Salt Lake City. Eventually Evelyn secured a full-time, paid position working with needy individuals and families who were referred to the Relief Society by local bishops. She worked during during the Great Depression, and people were often in desperate circumstances. Evelyn created relief plans for her clients and managed distribution of government and church aid. She developed great compassion for others as she listened to their struggles and did what she could to lighten their burdens. Sometimes she took on more work than she could handle, and she often worked evenings and weekends.

Of the Depression, Evelyn wrote, “If we can emerge from this struggle with a keener understanding of the needs of human beings and can develop a social order which will more nearly meet these needs and prevent such disasters from recurring, society will be better for suffering through this one.”

Read more: 3rd ‘Saints’ volume shares global stories of hope, faith through pandemic, wars and challenges

Clara Daniels

Clara Daniels, of South Africa, served as the Love Branch’s Relief Society president. Her experiences are in “Saints, Vol. 3: Boldly, Nobly, and Independent, 1893–1955.”

Clara Daniels, of South Africa, served as the Love Branch’s Relief Society president. Her experiences are in “Saints, Vol. 3: Boldly, Nobly and Independent, 1893–1955.”

Credit: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Clara Daniels lived during a time of racial tension in South Africa. The Danielses were a family with Black and southeast Asian ancestry. Despite being members of the Mowbray Branch in Cape Town, they did not always feel welcome at church because of their skin color. So Clara and her husband, William, decided to host weekly “cottage meetings” in their home where they could study the gospel and share their testimonies.

Many others joined them over the years, and Church leaders organized this group of faithful Saints as a congregation called the Love Branch. Clara was called to be the branch’s Relief Society president. Though daunted by the calling, she was a woman of deep faith and testimony, telling the branch, “The Lord will help me in my work, as the same Lord has helped the first sister that started the Relief Society.”

Nan Hunter

Nan Hunter was one of the first early-morning seminary teachers in California and felt inadequate teaching the Book of Mormon. Her experience is in “Saints, Vol. 3: Boldly, Nobly, and Independent, 1893–1955.”

Nan Hunter was one of the first early morning seminary teachers in California and felt inadequate teaching the Book of Mormon. Her experience is in “Saints, Vol. 3: Boldly, Nobly and Independent, 1893–1955.”

Credit: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Nan Hunter was a busy mother living in Southern California when she was called to teach early morning seminary, the first program of its kind. Nan felt inadequate when she heard that the course of study was the Book of Mormon.

“No way I could teach that,” she said. “I haven’t even finished reading it because I always get stuck in Isaiah.” Nan was eventually blessed with a powerful witness of the book, and she became an effective teacher and missionary.

More about these inspiring women, and more extraordinary Latter-day Saints, is in “Saints, Volume 3: Boldly, Nobly and Independent,” which is now available in Gospel Library in 14 languages —  CebuanoChinese, EnglishFrenchGermanItalianJapaneseKorean, Portuguese, RussianSamoanSpanishTagalog and Tongan. 

— Leslie Sherman Edgington is an editor of the first three “Saints” volumes.

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