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Remembering Mothers: Stories from Our Prophets

Remembering Mothers: Stories from Our Prophets

Joseph Smith

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As adults, the Prophet Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum became ill with cholera. As they lay near death, Hyrum suddenly leaped up, saying, “I have had an open vision, in which I saw mother [Lucy Mack Smith] kneeling … asking God, in tears, to spare our lives. … The Spirit testifies, that her prayers … will be answered.” Both brothers soon got well.

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Brigham Young

Brigham Young

When young Brigham pulled his wagon up to a toll bridge, the bridge keeper asked why his wagon looked so odd. Brigham informed the man that he and his father, John Young, had turned the wagon into a bed for his sick mother, Abigail Howe Young. Touched by Brigham’s kindness, the bridge keeper let him cross without paying the toll.

Joseph F. Smith

Joseph F. Smith

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While on the trail, the oxen belonging to young Joseph F. and his mother, Mary Fielding Smith, wandered away from camp. Joseph F. searched for hours with no luck. When he returned to camp, he found his mother praying to find the oxen. Immediately after her prayer, she was guided by the Spirit and found the oxen.

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Heber J. Grant

Heber J. Grant

Heber J. Grant’s mother, Rachel Ridgeway Grant, came from a wealthy family. After she was baptized, her family offered her a large sum of money to leave the Church. She refused. After her husband died, she worked hard sewing clothes and taking in boarders to provide for Heber.

David O. McKay

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David O. McKay

His father, David McKay, received a mission call to Scotland. He was somewhat concerned about accepting the call because it would mean leaving his wife (who was expecting another child) alone with the responsibilities of the family and the farm. However, when hearing of the call, Jennette was firm in her response: “Of course you must accept; you need not worry about me. David O. and I will manage things nicely!” With this encouragement and the assurance of help from neighbors and relatives, David accepted the call. His parting words to seven-year-old David O. were to “take care of Mama.”

Due to wise management by, the hard work of many, and the blessings of the Lord, the McKay farm prospered despite David McKay’s two-year absence. During this time and, indeed, throughout her life, Jennette was equally vigilant about the spiritual welfare of the children: “Family prayer was an established procedure in the McKay home, and when Jennette was left alone with her small family it seemed an ever more important part of the day’s events. David [O.] was taught to take his turn at morning and evening prayers and learned the importance of the blessings of heaven in the home.”

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Harold B. Lee

Harold B. Lee

One night, Harold B. Lee became dangerously ill with pneumonia. He told his mother he could hardly breathe.  She sliced juicy onions into a flour sack, put the wet sack on his chest, and prayed for a miracle.  The next morning he could breathe again. Soon he recovered completely. Harold felt that his mother had saved his life, but she said that the Lord had saved his life – He just expected her to do everything she could to help.

Another time, Harold was standing in the open doorway, watching a thunderstorm outside. Suddenly his mother shoved him away from the door. Seconds later, a bolt of lightning came down the chimney of the kitchen stove. It shot out the front door and split a tree trunk outside. He was thankful his mother listened to the promptings of the Holy Ghost. Several times she protected the life of the boy who would become the eleventh President of the Church.

Spencer W. Kimball

Spencer W. Kimball

As a child, Spencer loved spending time with his mother, Olive. After school, the first thing he did was to find out if she was home. Spencer: Ma! Ma! Ma! Olive: Yes, Spencer, what do you need? Spencer: Nothing. Spencer’s mother taught him to work hard. He had perfect school attendance, and he rushed home at lunchtime to do chores. Spencer wrote in his journal, “I just liked being with Ma.” He liked going for rides in the buggy with her and sitting next to her in church.  When Spencer was 11 years old, his mother became ill and died. He was very upset and prayed earnestly to receive comfort from the Holy Ghost. He never forgot his mother and kept her picture in his copy of the Pearl of Great Price. All his life he tried to follow her righteous and cheerful example.

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Gordon B. Hinckley

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Gordon B. Hinckley

Following his mother’s death, Gordon B. Hinckley was called to serve a mission. He accepted but didn’t know how his family could pay for it. Soon after, his family discovered a small savings account his mother, Ada, had left behind. The money from that account helped to pay for Gordon’s mission.