A tribute to mothers and women: Church leaders say thank you

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, 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.

Watch Mother’s Day video: ‘You are enough’

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

President Russell M. Nelson

“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.”

— President Russell M. Nelson, “Sisters’ Participation in the Gathering of Israel,” October 2018 general conference

‘One of the many noble women’

President Dallin H. Oaks

“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 7 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.”

President Dallin H. Oaks with his mother, Stella, brother Merrill and sister Evelyn. President Oaks’ father died when he was 7 years old, and his mother raised three children on her own.
President Dallin H. Oaks with his mother, Stella, brother Merrill and sister Evelyn. President Oaks’ father died when he was 7 years old, and his mother raised three children on her own. Credit: Courtesy Dallin H. Oaks

Susceptible to the Spirit

President Henry B. Eyring

“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.”

— President Henry B. Eyring, “Women and Gospel Learning in the Home,” October 2018 general conference

The influence of a righteous woman

President M. Russell Ballard

“There is nothing in this world as personal, as nurturing, or as life changing as the influence of a righteous woman.”

— President M. Russell Ballard, “Mothers and Daughters,” April 2010 general conference

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.
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. Credit: Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

‘Saviors on Mount Zion’

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland

“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.”

— Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, “Behold Thy Mother,” October 2015 general conference

‘Happiness is your heritage’

Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf

“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.”

— Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “Happiness, Your Heritage,” October 2008 general conference

Gratitude to women everywhere

Elder David A. Bednar

“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. I express my profound gratitude to mothers and women everywhere who spread goodness and love.”

— Elder David A. Bednar, Facebook post, May 12, 2019

Elder David A. Bednar posted this picture with his mother on Facebook on May 12, 2019.
Elder David A. Bednar posted this picture with his mother on Facebook on May 12, 2019. Credit: David A. Bednar Facebook

Divine qualities

Elder Quentin L. Cook

“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.”

— Elder Quentin L. Cook, “LDS Women are Incredible!” April 2011 general conference

‘A certain virtue’

Elder D. Todd Christofferson

“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.”

— Elder D. Todd Christofferson, “The Moral Force of Women,” October 2013 general conference

A calling

Elder Neil L. Andersen

“‘Motherhood is not a hobby, it is a calling.’”

— Elder Neil L. Anderson, “Children,” October 2011 general conference (quoting Rachel Jankovic)

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

Women of faith

Elder Ronald A. Rasband

“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.”

— Elder Ronald A. Rasband, Facebook post, May 14, 2017

‘Example of pure goodness’

Elder Gary E. Stevenson

Elder Gary E. Stevenson described his mother as an “example of pure goodness.” He said of her in an Ensign article: “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 with his mother from the Ensign article “Elder Gary E. Stevenson: An Understanding Heart,” by Elder Robert D. Hales. (June 2016)
Elder Gary E. Stevenson with his mother from the Ensign article “Elder Gary E. Stevenson: An Understanding Heart,” by Elder Robert D. Hales. (June 2016) Credit: Screenshot, ChurchofJesusChrist.org

Following an example

Elder Dale G. Renlund

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.

A love for people

Elder Gerrit W. Gong

Of his wife, Elder Gerrit W. Gong said to Church News, “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.”

‘True hero and inspiration’

Elder Ulisses Soares

Of his wife and mother of their children, Elder Ulisses Soares said in an Ensign article, “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.”

Elder Ulisses Soares with his wife Rosana from the Ensign article “Elder Ulisses Soares: A Man without Guile” by Elder Neil L. Anderson. (October 2018)
Elder Ulisses Soares with his wife Rosana from the Ensign article “Elder Ulisses Soares: A Man without Guile” by Elder Neil L. Anderson. (October 2018) Credit: Screenshot, ChurchofJesusChrist.org