Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred

In honor of Mother's Day this Sunday, here is a list of quotes from leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints about how the women and examples of motherhood in their lives have impacted them for the better.

President Gordon B. Hinckley, former President of the Church
Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred

I’ve tried to recognize my wife’s individuality, her personality, her desires, her background, her ambitions. Let her fly. Yes, let her fly! Let her develop her own talents. Let her do things her way. Get out of her way, and marvel at what she does. ...

We had a garden in our backyard. When I came home from one of my long (church) assignments, I found that it had all been planted to lawn. (Marjorie) and the children had spaded up that backyard, sown lawn seed, and there was a beautiful lawn! The garden didn’t suffer because we could plant another garden to the south of us. But that whole backyard became a beautiful patch of lawn.

That’s typical of the way she did things. She was independent and had a great eye for beauty.

—President Gordon B. Hinckley in an interview with Church Magazines

Elder Richard G. Scott, Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

Once I learned an important lesson from my wife. I traveled extensively in my profession. I had been gone almost two weeks and returned home one Saturday morning. I had four hours before I needed to attend another meeting. I noticed that our little washing machine had broken down and my wife was washing the clothes by hand. I began to fix the machine.

Jeanene came by and said, “Rich, what are you doing?”

I said, “I’m repairing the washing machine so you don’t have to do this by hand.”

She said, “No. Go play with the children.”

I said, “I can play with the children anytime. I want to help you.”

Then she said, “Richard, please go play with the children.”

When she spoke to me that authoritatively, I obeyed.

I had a marvelous time with our children. We chased each other around and rolled in the fall leaves. Later I went to my meeting. I probably would have forgotten that experience were it not for the lesson that she wanted me to learn.

—Elder Richard G. Scott, "The Eternal Blessings of Marriage"

Sister Elaine S. Dalton, former Young Women general president
Photo by Tom Smart

Recently my magnificent 92-year-old mother (Emma Eliza Martin Schwartz) passed away. She left this mortal existence as she had lived — quietly. Her life was not what she had planned. Her husband, my father, passed away when he was 45, leaving her with three children — me and my two brothers. She lived 47 years as a widow. She supported our family by teaching school during the day and teaching piano lessons at night. She cared for her aging father, my grandfather, who lived next door. She made sure that each of us received a college education. In fact, she insisted on it so that we could be “contributors.” And she never complained. She kept her covenants, and because she did, she called down the powers of heaven to bless our home and to send miracles. She relied on the power of prayer, priesthood, and covenant promises. She was faithful in her service to the Lord. Her steadfast devotion steadied us, her children.

—Sister Elaine Dalton, "We Are Daughters of Our Heavenly Father"

President Thomas S. Monson, President of the Church
Associated Press

Since we lived just a block or two from the railroad tracks, frequently men, unemployed, without funds for food, would leave the train and come to our house for something to eat. Such men were always polite. They offered to do some work for the food. Indelibly imprinted on my mind is the picture of a gaunt and hungry man standing at our kitchen door, hat in hand, pleading for food. Mother (Gladys Monson) would welcome such a visitor and would direct him to the kitchen sink to wash up while she prepared food for him to eat. She never skimped on quality or quantity; the visitor ate exactly the same lunch as did my father. As he wolfed down the food, Mother took the opportunity to counsel him to return to his home and his family. When he left the table, he had been nourished physically and spiritually. These men never failed to say thank you. Tears in their eyes revealed ever so silently the gratitude of their hearts.

—President Thomas S. Monson, "The Mighty Strength of the Relief Society"

Elder M. Russell Ballard, Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
Photo by Gerry Avant

(Barbara) tried to explain what it was like to sit on the back row in sacrament meeting with our young family. Then the day came that I was released (from the bishopric). After sitting on the stand for 10 years, I was now sitting with my family on the back row.

The ward’s singing mothers’ chorus was providing the music, and I found myself sitting alone with our six children. I have never been so busy in my whole life. I had the hand puppets going on both hands, and that wasn’t working too well. The Cheerios got away from me, and that was embarrassing. The coloring books didn’t seem to entertain as well as they should.

As I struggled with the children through the meeting, I looked up at Barbara, and she was watching me and smiling. I learned for myself to more fully appreciate what all of you dear mothers do so well and so faithfully!

—Elder M. Russell Ballard, "Daughters of God"

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
Photo by Kristin Murphy

As we encourage missionaries to do, I had saved money and sold personal belongings to pay my own way as best I could. I thought I had enough money, but I wasn’t sure how it would be in the final months of my mission. ...

(After returning from his mission) Hesitantly I went to the local bank and asked the manager, a family friend, how much was in my account. He looked surprised and said, “Why, Jeff, it’s all in your account. Didn’t they tell you? Your parents wanted to do what little they could to help you get started when you got home. They didn’t withdraw a cent during your mission. I supposed that you knew.” ...

(W)hat I did not know but then came to know was that my mother (Alice Holland), who had never worked out of the home in her married life, took a job at a local department store so that my mission expenses could be met. And not one word of that was ever conveyed to me on my mission. Not a single word was said regarding any of it. How many fathers in this church have done exactly what my father did? And how many mothers, in these difficult economic times, are still doing what my mother did?

—Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, "Because of Your Faith"

Chieko N. Okazaki, former member of the Relief Society general presidency
Courtesy Busath Photography

Kigatsuku means “an inner spirit to act without being told what to do.” ...

When I was just a little girl, my mother began teaching me to be kigatsuku. When she swept the floor, she would say, “Chieko, what would a kigatsuku girl do now?” Then I’d run and get the dustpan. I recognized my mother’s teaching when I read that wonderful scripture:

“Verily, I say, (you) should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of [your] own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness;

“For the power is in (you), wherein (you) are (an agent) unto (yourself).” (D&C 58:27–28.)

—Chieko N. Okazaki, "Spit and Mud and Kigatsuku"

Elder Dallin H. Oaks, Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

Before Elder Oaks turned 8 years old, his father, Dr. Lloyd E. Oaks, died of tuberculosis. His mother Stella H. Oaks was left alone to raise three young children.

“'I was blessed with an extraordinary mother,'” Elder Oaks recalls. 'She surely was one of the many noble women who have lived in the latter days.' Before her death in 1980, Stella Oaks was known as a force for good in Provo, in both Church and civic service.

"'She gave me a great deal of responsibility and freedom. She encouraged me to have a job,' Elder Oaks explains. From the time he first worked for pay, 'at 11 or 12,' he has been continuously employed."


Sheri Dew, former Relief Society general presidency
Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred

When I was growing up, it was not uncommon for Mother (JoAnn Peterson Dew) to wake me in the middle of the night and say, “Sheri, take your pillow and go downstairs.” I knew what that meant. It meant a tornado was coming, and I was instantly afraid. But then Mother would say, “Sheri, everything will be OK.” Her words always calmed me.

Today, decades later, when life seems overwhelming or frightening, I call Mother and wait for her to say, “Everything will be OK.”

—Sheri Dew, "Are We Not All Mothers?"

Elder L. Tom Perry, Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
Photo by Kristin Murphy

My mother (Elsie Perry) understood the value of teaching her children about standards, values, and doctrine while they were young.

I used to think some days as I ran home from school that I was through learning for the day, but this illusion was quickly destroyed when I saw my mother standing at the door waiting for me. When we were young, we each had a desk in the kitchen where we could continue to be taught by her as she performed household duties and prepared supper. She was a natural teacher and far more demanding of us than our teachers at school and church.

—Elder L. Tom Perry, Mothers Teaching Children in the Home

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, First Presidency
Photo by Scott G Winterton

Since learning that I would be with you today, I have thought about the many women who have shaped my life: my wonderful wife, Harriet; my mother; my mother-in-law; my sister; my daughter; my daughter-in-law; and many friends. 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.

—President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, "Happiness, Your Heritage"

Julie B. Beck, former Relief Society general president
Photo by Ravell Call

I have often heard my father describe my mother (Geraldine Beck) as a woman with a “mother heart,” and that is true. Her mothering influence has been felt by many hundreds, perhaps thousands of people, and she has refined the role of nurturer to an art form. Her testimony of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ and strong sense of identity and purpose have guided her life.

She took longer than most women to find her husband, but during her single years she had devoted her life to progress. Though it was uncommon at the time, she was university educated and advancing in a career. Following her marriage, children arrived in quick succession; and in a short span of years, she was the mother of a large family. All the knowledge she had acquired, all her natural abilities and gifts, all her skills were channeled into an organization that had no earthly bounds. As a covenant-keeping daughter of God, she had prepared all her life for motherhood.

—Julie B. Beck, "A Mother Heart"