BLACK LIVES MATTER TO CHRIST

Melodie Jackson grew up in a predominantly Black community in Mississippi and did not become fully aware of racial and social justice issues within the Church and in the United States until she served a full-time mission in Brazil and attended BYU in Utah. In response to the societal turmoil over the high-profile murders of […]

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THROUGH THE EYES OF A MOTHER

Rose Datoc Dall is a painter whose art has been recently featured in multiple books produced by LDS-affiliated publishers. Throughout her career, she has focused on a woman’s perspective in presenting scenes from the New Testament, particularly the life of the Savior and His mother, Mary. When and how did you start painting? I’ve been […]

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FAMILIES ARE FOREVER: AN ADOPTION STORY

Taylor Christensen was raised in an adoptive family. She has always known that she is loved and that she belongs. Taylor was also curious about her birth parents. In the 1990s, when Taylor was born and placed for adoption, it was common for adoptions to be closed. After taking a DNA test through Ancestry.com as […]

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Comfort in Christ from Racial Injustice

Marina Neto is a Portuguese woman of African ancestry. She was born in Portugal to immigrant parents from Sao Tome, and their family lived in Angola while she was a teenager. After returning to Portugal, she served a full-time mission for the Church in Cape Verde. She shares her perspective of racial injustice and micro-aggressions […]

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Standing for Stockton

Alyson Deussen is the mother of a gay son, Stockton, who came out at age 13 and died by suicide in 2016 at age 17. Alyson serves her community by supporting LGBT teens and young adults coming out, who may be estranged from their family, as well as focusing on suicide prevention. She and her […]

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EMBRACE YOUR PURPOSE AND THE JOURNEY

Following a spiritual prompting that came from the clear blue sky, Emily Farmer walked into a senior care facility in her neighborhood to play the piano. She became instant friends with one of the residents, a 99-year-old man called Mac, and discovered he played the harmonica. They played music together for the residents and were […]

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Pitfalls, Promises & Patience

While in a stressful life situation, Jocelyn Pedersen was prescribed a category of antianxiety drugs called benzodiazepines. She was severely injured by trying to withdraw too rapidly from the medication and now works to educate patients and doctors about the effects of these drugs and how to heal from the trauma. What was the beginning […]

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Happy All The Time

Tandi Bronston was diagnosed with a glioblastoma brain tumor at the end of 2013, with only a 50% survival rate past the first 18 months. Seven years later, after multiple surgeries, she maintains a positive attitude despite her continuing battle with brain cancer. Sections of this interview are from her blog. Tell me about your […]

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Finding Empowerment in Recovery

Sara Walker is working toward becoming a therapist to help women going through their own recovery process from their husbands’ addiction to pornography. Please introduce yourself and your situation. My husband and I had been married for three months when he told me he’d been looking at porn. We’ve now been married for almost twenty […]

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Healing Found in Family History

Miyamoto Jensen came home from her mission depressed and anxious. She found healing and purpose in doing her family genealogy. Her work as a professional genealogist has informed how she thinks about the gospel, family, race, and trauma.  You are a family historian and genealogist. How did you get started in that field of work? […]

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On My Road to Damascus

Robyn Burkinshaw is the secretary of her stake Relief Society, and a gay woman. She was raised in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and has always had a love of the Gospel. When she left the Church as a young adult and struggled deeply with depression, she felt a devastating distance between […]

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I Know That My Redeemer Lives

On April 6, 1994, the airplane carrying the Presidents of Rwanda and Burundi was shot down over Kigali. That moment was like “oil on fire,” setting off the devastating Rwandan Genocide. Yvonne Baraketse’s father, Chief of Staff of the Rwandan army, was also on the airplane and killed in the attack. Yvonne was 14 years […]

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Bravery and Love of Family

The decisions that have shaped María Felipa García Pérez’s life haven’t been made because they were the easy ones, but because they were the right ones. Her love of family and love of the Savior have given her the strength to have difficult conversations with family about her baptism, to serve a mission, and then […]

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Valentía y Amor de Familia

Las decisiones que dieron forma a la vida de María Felipa García Pérez no se tomaron por su facilidad, sino porque fueron las correctas. Su amor por familia y por el Salvador le han dado la fuerza para tener conversaciones difíciles con su familia sobre su bautismo,  hacer una misión, y luego regresar de la […]

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Taking His Name Upon Me

Mary Xavier was born and raised in Bangalore, India. She and her family were introduced to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints when she was a teenager. Mary experienced true conversion while teaching the basic principles and truths of the gospel in Primary where she served as the president. Throughout her life, Mary […]

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Searching for Truth, in Science and Faith

Listen to this interview at the Mormon Women Project podcast, available on all platforms. Emily Bates suffered severe migraines from a young age, leading her to pursue a career in science in order to study the genetic causes of the condition. She now is an associate professor at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, and runs […]

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A Path of My Own

As a registered nurse who experienced her own life-changing neck injury, Abi Schnell has developed an empathetic heart that will serve her well in her future as a midwife. Abi’s love of people and adventure has taken her to a study abroad in Jerusalem, an internship in Fiji where she spearheaded an evaluation of the […]

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The Bottom Line of the Gospel

Listen to this interview at the Mormon Women Project podcast, available on all platforms. This interview is part of our Mixed-Faith Marriage series. Leslie Schwartz-Leeper’s parents divorced when she was very young. Her mother raised her six children by herself, and taught them that the bottom line of the gospel is love. Leslie always had a testimony, but […]

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At Peace With Doubt

Eline Strand-Amundsen is a life-long member of the Church from Oslo, Norway. Raised in a family committed to the Church, Eline grew up with the gospel as a central part of her life, the lens through which she saw the world. She married in the temple, but six years into their marriage her husband Runar […]

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A Mixed-Faith Marriage

Listen to this interview at the Mormon Women Project podcast, available on all platforms. This interview is part of our Mixed-Faith Marriage series. Jennifer Kambourian is a lifelong member of the Church. At 42 years old she married John, a man of Catholic upbringing who had recently lost his first wife to cancer, leaving him to […]

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A Radiant Life

Camille Moffat was driving home late one night when she was hit head-on by a drunk driver. She suffered multiple fractures, a traumatic brain injury, and doctors thought that she might never walk or speak again. However, through a series of miracles, Camille relearned how to walk, and has retained her sense of wit, style, […]

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To Shine a Light

Listen to this interview at the Mormon Women Project podcast, available on all platforms. Elizabeth Ostler is a theater-maker, activist, and professor living in Brooklyn, New York. She specializes in directing and puppetry, and in coaching others on how to tell their stories. A survivor of childhood abuse and of an abusive marriage, she dedicates her […]

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Multiples and Miracles

Listen to this interview at the Mormon Women Project podcast, available on all platforms. Julie Grygla is the mother of six children under five years old. She and her husband achieved their first pregnancy with the help of fertility treatment, and gave birth to triplet boys. When their triplets were only five months old, Julie […]

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To Create is Our Birthright

Charity Sunshine Tillemann-Dick developed a strong testimony of faith and a love of singing at a very early age. These gifts helped comfort her through the death of loved ones, and saved her own life on multiple occasions. Charity is an opera singer, an author, a recipient of two double lung transplants, a survivor of […]

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Giving Her All

Kay Conder was only 34 years old when she and her husband of 13 years divorced, in 1984. She was left to raise six kids between the ages of 2-10 by herself. Now at 68, she discusses how she managed, how views within the church membership and leadership have changed over the years, and the […]

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Blended Grief, Blended Healing

Deborah Soderholm married at 19 and was widowed at age 30 when her husband died from suicide. She continued her beloved teaching job as she waded through shock and grief, but chose to look to the future and vowed not to let the experience be a dark cloud over the lives of her two daughters. […]

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The Full Scope of the Atonement

Briana Cullimore’s desire to be healthy led to a continuing struggle with multiple eating disorders and depression. She discusses using restriction/food as a coping mechanism, fighting with her parents over a treatment plan, coming to terms with needing help, and using the Atonement to help repair her parental relationship. She has seen her attitude change […]

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Taught By Her Mothers

Annalaura Solomon was raised by lesbian mothers and joined the Church 12 years ago, at the age of 18. In this interview, Annalaura describes her love for her upbringing and offers her perspective on the new policies added to Handbook 1 on gay couples and their children.

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Standing Firm When It All Falls Apart

Ashlee Birk was living a simple life as the mother of five children and wife to a successful lawyer. One cold night in March 2011, her worst nightmare came true when she found out that not only had her husband been having an affair with a married woman, but he had been murdered by the woman’s husband. Grief-ridden, angry, and hurt, Ashlee learned how to pick up the pieces and put her life back together again.

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Moving Past Forever

At the age of 20, Kenna Christensen was newly married in the temple and beginning what she thought was an eternal marriage. Nine months later, she found herself divorced and shattered from the disappointment. Though it wasn’t easy, Kenna found healing through counseling, blogging, and a deepened sense of spirituality.

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The 3 Browns

Deondra, Desirae and Melody are three of the 5 Browns, a piano performing quintet composed of siblings. The sisters all attended The Juilliard School together and tour and perform with their brothers, gaining the highest accolades in the classical music world and performing in some of its finest venues. Three years ago, their father was sentenced to ten years in prison for sexual abuse involving the girls, and Deondra and Desirae founded the The Foundation for Survivors of Abuse, which focuses on changing the statute of limitation legislation across the country.

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Searching for Kayelyn

On a cold and rainy November morning, more than 170 volunteers with ponchos, hand warmers, and GPS trackers canvased a one-mile radius in Murray, Utah, in hopes of finding clues that would lead to Kayelyn Louder, a 30-year-old social worker who’s been missing for nine weeks. Kayelyn was last seen on a surveillance video running barefoot in the rain, wearing a white tank top and jean shorts. She left behind her keys, wallet, cell phone, and her beloved Chinese pug, Phyllis. Her disappearance has stunned and confused family and friends. After the most recent search, Kayelyn’s mother Suzie Louder, sister Madi Rodriguez, and cousin Amy Fugal shared their heartaches and hopes in their search for Kayelyn.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Kayleyn Louder’s death was confirmed on December 2, 2014, a week after this interview was published.

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"Prayer Changes Things"

Willie Douglas has weathered some storms. She has been part of many of the tumults in America’s history over the last fifty years. She battled racism while working to integrate her place of employment in New Orleans. She lost one of her sons to fatal illness during the AIDS epidemic. She fled her home in the face of Hurricane Katrina–and then returned to New Orleans to help rebuild her city. But Willie’s faith has sustained her throughout. In the words of her favorite hymn, “The world may crush you, but you don’t have to fret / My God remembers when others forget / One thing I know, yes, I surely know / Prayer changes things.”

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To Be A Vessel

As a young woman, Jamillah Ali-Rashada prayed that Allah would let her live to raise children. In return, she promised that she would serve others for the rest of her life. She’s kept that promise by trying to be a vessel for the Spirit and its guidance. When Jamillah joined the LDS Church three years ago, she found her path leading to new and profound avenues for serving God’s children. “I have been purposed and called to this for such a time as this,” Jamillah says.”If that is the work and the service that I am supposed to perform, then it is my Heaven.”

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In Darkness, In Grace

“A psychiatrist prescribed medication that did more to lift the darkness of depression than all my prayers had. Though I was grateful for that partial relief, I also felt surprisingly angry. Are we not promised over and over that the Gospel brings peace to our hearts and that our Heavenly Father’s plan is one of happiness? So why could I get those things from a pill but not from Him?”

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A Calling and a Purpose

“It was a few years, a million tears, countless Mother’s Days hiding in the bathroom at church, doctor’s visits, medications, more tears, and lots of nieces and nephews before I understood that I was not going to be a mother in this lifetime.”

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Miraculous Ways

A job loss. A family member’s illness. A cancer diagnosis. All difficult trials, made even more difficult when they all happen at the same time. Olivia Luk and her family faced this unimaginable series of events in 2002. They met their challenges with tears, prayers, and faith—the kind of faith that Olivia had developed when she joined the Church as a young woman in Hong Kong. And she found that Heavenly Father responded to her family’s needs in unexpected ways.

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Loving Allegra

In 2010, Ali Pulley and her husband, Mitchell, learned the baby they were expecting had severe chromosomal defects. They were suddenly faced with urgent and wrenching decisions. In preparing for their baby’s birth, they were also preparing—spiritually and physically—for their baby’s death. But in the months awaiting baby Allegra’s arrival and in the 29 days of her short life, Ali says, loving and caring for Allegra was a sacred experience.

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PEOPLE LIKE US DO THINGS LIKE THAT

Raquel Cook’s biography so far might read like an adventure novel—living and working in Korea, meeting the Dalai Lama and Mother Teresa, studying at Oxford University, surviving the violence of 9/11 in New York City—but she’d rather you wrote your own adventure. Now a professor of education, Raquel reflects on her unique path and how she encourages her students to get out and see the world. And she explains how her study of world religions helped her better appreciate her own Mormonism. “There is truth everywhere,” Raquel says, “and there is happiness everywhere, and there is beauty everywhere, and people are good. Ugly is rare. People are just beautiful and good.”

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Une Pionnière à Paris

Lorsque Josiane Lazeras avait treize ans, elle s’est fait baptisée et a rejoint un petit groupe très uni de Saints des derniers jours près de Paris, France. Tandis que l’évangile l’a aidée à se développer spirituellement, Josiane a trouvé également que l’église a encouragé sa créativité et ses talents. En plus, elle a été encouragé à considérer l’importance des “mères en Israel,” un rôle dans lequel l’amour, la spiritualité, et l’action se mélangent. La maternité, dit-elle–comme l’évangile du Christ–est un stimulus: “Ça vous pousse à l’action. C’est quelque chose qui vous permet d’aller plus loin que votre propre force ne vous le permettrait.”

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A Pioneer in Paris

When Josiane Lazeras was thirteen, she was baptized and joined a small, close-knit group of pioneering Latter-day Saints near Paris, France. Even as the gospel helped her develop spiritually, Josiane found that the Church also encouraged her creativity and talents. And it made her consider the significance of becoming “a mother in Israel,” where love, spirituality, and action combine. Motherhood, she says—like the gospel of Christ—is a stimulant: “It pushes you to action. It’s something that permits you to go beyond your strength.”

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PATIENCE AND JOY

A Nigerian mother raising her family in France, Patience Omorodion is inspired by a line that her own mother used to sing, “I will build the house of God before my own.” Patience was baptized at age eighteen and has found the LDS Church to be a home full of happiness throughout challenges and changes. As she lives and shares the gospel, Patience says that her desire to serve comes from, “Just having the love of God in our heart and the love of all mankind. For when you love Heavenly Father’s children you’ll be able to use the language that He has for them. You’ll be able to hear.”

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Finding A Lifeline

For twenty-seven years, Rhyll Crowshaw and her husband have been working through the effects of his sexual addiction. With the help of therapists, bishops, introspection and prayer, Rhyll has developed the strength she needs to keep herself safe. She now also helps other victims of sexual addiction feel safe through her organization S. A. Lifeline.

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Sharing the Burden

Dawn’s husband, Eric, suffers from bipolar disorder. Over the course of their twelve-year marriage, the two of them have learned to deal with the challenges the illness brings, grow in their careers, be active in the Church, and live happily together.“I used to always feel like his mental illness was something happening to me, Dawn says, “But now it feels more like a blanket that we’re wrapped in together.” And together, they have learned to share their challenges with the Lord.

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Rescued From Exploitation

Stephanie comes from four generations of women who were trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation. Her own mother was sent into the trade at age twelve and had her first child when she was sixteen. But Stephanie’s mother broke the pattern by refusing to exploit her own children, allowing Stephanie to grow up outside the sex trafficking industry and join the Church in high school. Stephanie is now a wife and mother and the founder of two non-profits, Child Rescue and Backyard Broadcast, and she is an activist fighting against human trafficking.

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Authentic Life

Laurel “Lolly” Weed is a wife and a stay-at-home mother to three daughters, but says she has no natural housekeeping skills and doesn’t feel like a typical Mormon mom at all. And she’s okay with that. Her marriage is also atypical; her husband, Josh, is gay. Last year, Lolly and Josh published a blog post about their story. When it went viral, the Weeds were surprised by the resulting publicity, criticism, and outpouring of support. Read what Lolly says she has learned about following the Spirit and leading an authentic life.

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Knowing Her Worth

On June 5, 2002, at the age of 14, Elizabeth Smart was abducted from her home in Salt Lake City and spent nine months in captivity. Her kidnappers, Brian David Mitchell and Wanda Barzee, were both sentenced to prison in 2011. Since her captivity, Elizabeth has become an advocate for the prevention of child sexual abuse. On Friday, October 11th, MWP editor Neylan McBaine spent a few minutes with Elizabeth as part of her media tour promoting her new book, My Story.

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Global Mom

Melissa Dalton Bradford raised four children in the midst of an international life: Norway, France, Singapore, Germany. But what appears glamorous to many has its costs, and Melissa honestly talks about the lack of community and permanence that has defined her years abroad. She also reveals how important those intangibles can be when struck with a tragedy, like the loss of her 18-year-old son in a drowning accident, and how we all can learn to mourn and comfort more compassionately. Melissa’s memoir, Global Mom: A Memoir, was published this summer.

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When You’re Ready

When Pam Shorr decided to stop attending church, she doubted she would ever go back. She recalls thinking, “I really want to find who I am and what I believe. I just want to do my own thing for a while.” But eventually, Pam found herself prompted to return, and an inspired Relief Society president showed her the way. She describes her reactivation in the Church as difficult, terrifying, and inspiring. “When I returned,” she says, “I was ready for the whole thing, and I have never looked back.” Pam is interviewed here by her daughter, Krisanne.

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In the Lord’s Time

As a wife and mother in a part-member family, Peka draws on the inspiration of her mother — who was also a “single parent in the gospel” — to support her husband as he learns about the Church and teach her daughter what she believes. Issues of race have proven challenging for her non-white family, and Peka discusses how much she appreciates member friends who embrace her husband for who he is and not for what they want him to be.

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Cherish One Another

Cathy Stokes is a firebrand, common-sense Mormon. A pioneering member who was baptized in 1979, Cathy’s willingness to speak her mind has shaped her faith and helped bridged gaps among members of the church. Cathy recalls some painful memories of growing up in Mississippi, shares a beautiful reflection on tenderness, recites her favorite hymn, and speaks of the abounding goodness of God and the strength of Mormon women.

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A Grief Observed

Nearly two years ago, tragedy struck when Julie Hall’s 14-month-old son died before her eyes. She now understands what C.S. Lewis meant when he said sorrow is not a state but a process. Gently, slowly, and with great pains—and joys—Julie began a cathartic journey of discovery.

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"You Pass"

As a young wife and mother, Maria miraculously obtained a visa to leave Mexico and join her husband in the United States. However, the visa eventually expired and Maria lived for many years as an undocumented worker, trying to keep her family together and make a living for her children. Maria has now obtained a visa and is working towards her GED, while sending her children to college and serving as Primary president in her ward.

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A Vision of Eternal Perspective

Kristen Cox balances her family life with a career in government, negotiating a busy world with the added challenge of blindness. Having worked under three governors in Maryland and Utah, she currently works under Governor Herbert in the Office of Management and Budget. Here she discusses priorities, support systems, and the challenge of learning to be content while driven to achieve. And how the gospel message of eternal perspective makes all the difference.

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The Shining Light of Oakland

Betty Stevenson grew up in an African-American community near San Francisco. After spiraling through abusive relationships, drug dealing and jail, she joined the Church. Betty served for many years as the Relief Society president of the newly formed Oakland Ninth Branch, composed of some of Oakland’s poorest neighborhoods, and she is the founder of an organization that hosts free football camps. In addition, Betty is raising her three great-grandchildren.

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Seeking Peace That Passeth Understanding

Although a devoted mother to four children, Patty has seen each of her children walk away from the Church. The death of one of her adult sons, Kevin, left her desperate for the healing balm of the Savior. She’s found solace in her role as a temple worker and in immersing herself in the scriptures.

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A Champion for Diversity

As the founder of a consultancy that prepares and promotes women and minorities in politics, Sui Lang Panoke is trained to find opportunities for organizations to improve their representations of these groups. She sees her love of the Church as complementary, not in contradiction, to her professional training. As a single mother and Relief Society president in her Washington D.C. ward, Sui Lang shares her testimony of the Church’s divine organization and the opportunities the gospel gives each member to grow in her own relationship with the Lord.

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An Unfinished Story

First married at age 18, Kimberly White emerged from an abusive marriage to earn a degree from BYU in philosophy and marry in the temple. She is the mother of five children, one of whom was stillborn, and currently lives in New York City. She shares her thoughts on the unfinished stories of women who struggle with suffering children, the death of a loved one or trials of every kind.

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Snapshot Portrait: Meghan Decker

The hardest choice I’ve made in my life was to reveal my major depressive episode and my suicidal thoughts to an unknown audience of thousands.

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The Heart of His Servant

Siu Man has been a member of the Church in Hong Kong for about 40 years. Despite a congenital heart defect that has kept her homebound for most of her life, Siu Man learned how to read from the Book of Mormon. Today, Siu Man serves her family by caring for aging family members, researching her ancestors and sharing her handiwork crafts with others.

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What Marfan Means to Maya

Maya Brown-Zimmerman is an outspoken Latina mother of two special-needs children. She has Marfan syndrome. Maya earned a Masters in Public Health from The Ohio State University and has particular interests in patient advocacy for those with chronic illness. She writes for WebMD and teaches the Valiants in her ward.

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Humbled Through Affliction

Elizabeth Perry’s evangelical upbringing caused her to loathe The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. An eating disorder she developed in college helped soften her heart. An LDS boy from her high school introduced her to the Church; she later embraced the gospel, then married that boy.

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Fostering A Love of Science

Crystal came from a tumultuous upbringing, passed from foster home to foster home before settling with her grandparents as a teenager. It wasn’t until she was a young single mother that the missionaries knocked on her door and brought a whole new light into her life. Now she is a successful cellular molecular biology professor, a devoted mother, and advocate for women. Crystal embraces every opportunity to teach others the joys of science, of being a woman, and of the love Jesus Christ has for them.

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A Formula for Overcoming Abuse

In her profound story of personal healing and renewal through her relationship with the Lord, HDH describes a 30-year process of recovering from sexual assault when she was ten years old.

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Honoring Her Heritage

Janice was born into a Christian Palestinian family, but didn’t gain a deep appreciation for her heritage until she was a young adult. Now, as the Curator of Education for the Arab American National Museum in Michigan, Janice has daily opportunities to educate others about her culture. Balancing her Arab identity with her spiritual life as a Mormon, however, has been a challenging and isolating journey, even with the Lord’s continual presence in her life.

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Understanding Who She Is

Currently the president of Brigham Young University’s Understanding Same Gender Attraction club, Bridey Jensen has spent her college years coming to terms with the fact that she is gay. Although she’s suffered through years of struggle and depression, Bridey now feels more confident and loved by God than she ever has before.

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Personal Revolutions

As the 19-year-old daughter of a Communist leader, Rostya defected from Czechoslovakia in 1969 after the country was invaded. Although raised atheist, a powerful conversion experience while living in Brazil has led Rostya to a lifetime of dedicated service to the church abroad, culminating now in her position as Director of National Director for Public Affairs for Czech Republic. From Prague, Rostya vibrantly describes her life of faith and revolution.

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Goodness Has A Lunge to It

Raised in Bahrain and Dubai as the daughter of a falconer, Catharine had early exposure to the life cycles and rituals of animals, which deeply informed her understanding of the gospel. Today, she embraces the complexity and messiness of life, believing that answers to spiritual questions come from lifelong wrestles with God and interaction with other members of our church communities.

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A Conscious Focus

Families with trans-racial adopted children are becoming more common, both within the LDS community and without. But what is it like to grow up as that child in a family that doesn’t look like you? This anonymous perspective, from an Asian woman adopted into a white family as a baby, shares the pain and joy of being adopted into a trans-racial family.

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Living Proof

Faced with her husband’s liver failure, Amy Jones turned to the resource she knew best: homeopathic medicine. As a doula and childbirth educator, she had spent many years teaching herself about the body’s many wonders, but in the time of her husband’s crisis Amy taught herself about herbs, essential oils, and, most importantly, the divine powers that come from living the Word of Wisdom to the fullest. As the founder of the LDS Holistic Living Conference, Amy helps others discover the “hidden treasures of knowledge” that come from God’s natural gifts.

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Snapshot Portrait: Patty Pitterle

The first time I realized Heavenly Father loved me was when… I was a very young girl, and, one dark night, I was struggling to fall asleep. I looked up through the window to find the stars. Instead of seeing the brightness of the light, I saw a face looking into the window. I was […]

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So Many Miracles

As a Protestant growing up in Northern Ireland, Florence Slease experienced first hand the extreme conflict between people of her faith and the neighboring Catholics. In her highly engaging conversational style, Florence describes her lost Catholic friend, her abusive early marriage, the miracle of joining the Church and the joy and triumph that has blossomed from her colorful childhood.

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An Eternal Perspective

After 15 years of marriage, Meredith’s husband came out as gay and requested a divorce. In her interview, Meredith talks about how her husband’s announcement motivated her to look more carefully at the foundations of her testimony and turn to the Lord to know how to proceed. As she maneuvers her new situation, she is working hard to stay close to the Lord, do what is best for her children and continue to love her ex-husband.

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Unconventional Miracles

When Lindsey Redfern and her husband were told they would never be able to bear their own children, Lindsey wondered why she was denied the opportunity to be a co-creator with her Heavenly Father. But because of her husband’s professional experience and a number of miracles along the way, Lindsey discovered the joys and challenges of open adoption and now helps others to navigate that same path.

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Accounting For The Debt: A Sexual Abuse Collection

Over the past 18 months, as the MWP volunteers and I have asked over a hundred women to tell us the stories of their lives, we’ve been repeatedly surprised by how often childhood sexual abuse has been a part of their pasts. Because many interviews at the MWP examine women’s reactions to challenging circumstances in their lives — from disease to infertility to family losses — we felt that examining faithful LDS responses to childhood sexual abuse would be in keeping with our mission. In this collection, you will find three very different anonymous accounts of childhood circumstances, followed by an interview with Julie de Azevedo Hanks, an LDS therapist.

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Snapshot Portrait: Amanda Lythgoe

The hardest choice I’ve made in my life was when… …at the age of 19 I chose to follow the promptings of the spirit and place my baby for adoption. A sweet baby boy, just two days old, lay on the hospital bed between me and his birthfather.  I held his tiny hand as I […]

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As Sistas In Zion

Sista Beehive and Sista Laurel started their blog, As Sistas in Zion, as a way to keep in touch with each other and express their sense of humor. But because they invite others to laugh with them about what it means to be Mormon, and specifically, what it means to be an African-American Mormon, their blog has grown. It’s not all fun and games with these two though: They speak honestly about the loneliness and misunderstandings they’ve faced as a cultural minority in the Church and how humor, friendship, and faith keep them going.

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The Weight of A Soul

At 15, Beth lost a few pounds at camp and came home to increased attention and concern. Liking that attention, her mind was overtaken by anorexia. In college, her disorder evolved into bulimia. Seeing an eating disorder therapist allowed her to get pregnant, and Beth is now heading up the first Anorexic/Bulimic Recovery Program in the church.

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Snapshot Portrait: Mary Decker

The hardest choice I’ve made in my life was when… I chose to be happy. My life was crumbling around me. I was sad, angry, depressed, and mourning the loss of my marriage. My husband had kicked me and my baby out of our own home. I was homeless and helpless.

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To Smile and Talk Again

Agnes is a survivor of the Rwandan genocide. Although a witness to devastating horrors, Agnes has embraced the gospel of Jesus Christ taught by the first missionaries in Rwanda, Brother and Sister Andrus, and is working to forgive those who killed her family. Agnes recently graduated from university and works as an accountant in a hotel in Kigali.

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Daughter of a King

Marnie Spencer’s body has been ravaged by cancer. But in a world where women are told that beauty is an indication of their worth, this mother of seven has found a different source of confidence: her knowledge that she is a beautiful spirit in the eyes of God.

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Your Trial Is Your Greatest Treasure

A popular speaker to LDS youth and women around the world, Barbara Barrington Jones shares the events and lessons of her life that have allowed her to touch so many in her 24 years of public speaking. After a career as a ballet dancer and twelve years in an abusive marriage, Barbara married a much older man with whom she found the Church. With her trademark faith, strength and wit, Barbara tells her remarkable story and shares her pearls of wisdom.

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The Many Lessons of Multiple Sclerosis

Catherine Crittenden was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 1987, as the mother of three young children. With a husband engaged in international business leadership, Catherine initially felt guilty she couldn’t do all the things other moms do, but prayer, time and an understanding of the Atonement allowed her to adapt her mothering style to meet her abilities and feel a sense of self-worth in the face of her disease. Today, she is grateful for the time she has to be a grandmother — not the grandmother who swims and goes to sporting events, but the one who listens, reads and is a friend.

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The Way Already Prepared

Shu-Chih grew up in Taiwan, came to the United States by herself as a teenager and joined the Mormon Church. She had to overcome many obstacles, including family disapproval, living in a foreign country and raising three kids as a single mom. Shu-Chih is an accomplished artist and owns her own art school where she teaches a growing Chinese population in Irvine, CA.

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Stewards of Our Children

Sydney Young has five children, but she has never been pregnant. In this interview, Sydney describes her journey through four open adoptions and the assumption of guardianship over one teenager. She exemplifies devoted stewardship over children who have not been birthed to her, but who have been sealed to her.

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A Special Mother for Special Needs

Although Nancy McNabb lost a 22-month-old daughter to SIDS, her greatest challenge has been raising her autistic son Stewart. Nancy describes her tireless work with her 19-year-old son, her secrets to staying happily married with a special needs child, the role the gospel has played in her journey, and her work at the University of Illinois in autism education.

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When Pornography Hits Home

Four years ago, Bethany’s husband shared some startling news: He was addicted to pornography. As mother to four young children, Bethany had to continue to be mom, but she also chose to dedicate herself to her husband’s recovery. Recognizing she needed time and space to heal herself, Bethany sought out support systems and drew closer to the Lord. Bethany speaks about the need to tend to her own wounds, as well as support the man she loves.

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Peace Through Conflict

Raised near Bethlehem, only a few blocks away from the birthplace of Jesus Christ, Sahar Qumsiyeh intimately knows places that are considered holy by many religions. However, this significant area is marked by conflict and war, and as a Palestinian, Sahar faced barriers (both figurative and literal) to joining the Church. In this interview, Sahar describes how her introduction to the Church and understanding of the gospel enabled her to overcome the feelings of anger and frustration that accompanied her life in this turbulent region.

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Running Towards Her Future

At the age of twenty-three, Sabina Suggs was diagnosed with Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia (CML). Her cancer was in remission for over a decade when it unexpectedly returned in 2009. Sabina was also a member of the United States Air Force/Utah Air National Guard, served a mission in the Netherlands and Northern Belgium, and is the mother of one adopted daughter. In this interview Sabina compares running to life’s journey and lessons learned along the way.

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Critical Thinking for a Critical Time

Catherine Humphrey was married to her first husband for 28 years. Parents of six children, Catherine and her husband served together as mission presidents in Brazil when she was 32 years old. Their marriage slowly dissolved after she learned that her husband had embezzled from clients and been disbarred. As a single mother, she went back to school, completing a master’s degree and a Ph.D. Thirteen years after marrying her second husband, he was diagnosed with an acute brain disease that has slowly robbed him of cognition and function.

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Coming to Know Him Who Suffered

On June 10, 1990, Galina Goncharova became the first member of the Church to be baptized in Moscow, in what was then the Soviet Union. In this interview she describes her journey to the Church, the ravages of alcoholism on her family, and how the gospel has helped her to forgive and given her power to change her relationships with others.

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More Than Skin Deep (with Photo Essay)

Kimmie is featured in our first photo essay. After a difficult childhood, Kimmie joined the Church in Korea. Now a successful business owner, Kimmie talks about how the healing properties of the algae supplements from her cosmetics company help people overcome debilitating illness. She has started a non-profit to help those who can’t afford the treatments have access to their benefits.

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Keeping Pace With Noelle

Noelle Pikus Pace is a world-champion skeleton athlete. In 2005, she was ranked number one in the world when she was injured during an accident at the Calgary Olympic Park. The story of her miraculous recovery is told in the documentary 114 Days. Eventually she was barred from competition at the Torino, Italy, Olympic Games in 2006 but she reclaimed her Olympic dreams when she came in fourth at the Vancouver Games this past winter.

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Nothing Short of A Miracle

From Dublin, Ireland, Gina talks candidly about her struggle with infertility. A lawyer by training and a convert to the Church, Gina overcame a fear of doctors and hospitals to complete IVF treatments, resulting in the birth of her daughter Ella. Gina reveals a deep gratitude for her supportive husband, although not a member of the Church himself, and their precious daughter.

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Healing Body and Soul

After her fourth consecutive miscarriage, Heather Oman turned to blogging to express her feelings about her experience and Mormon Mommy Wars was born. Heather also founded Living With PKD, an online community for people, like herself, with Polycystic Kidney Disease. Heather talks about what she does to take care of her body in the face of chronic illness and the important role of online support communities like the ones she’s founded.

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A Tough Thing To Do

Although promised in her patriarchal blessing that she would be married in this lifetime and be the mother of children, Genie turned 39 still single. Demonstrating exceptional patience and humility in her prayers, Genie then met and married the father of seven children. The couple has since adopted two abused teenagers as well. Genie talks about being a stepmother and the challenge of giving up one’s whole will to the Lord.

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A Better Doctor, A Better Christian

After serving a mission in her native Venezuela, Ines Pinate married another returned missionary only to have the marriage end three years later in a divorce. Now, with an 8-year-old son, this single mother is attending medical school. In her interview, Ines expresses her love for her Heavenly Father and explains how being a doctor helps her be a better Christian.

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Finding Refuge in the Saints

From 1975 to 1981, Saroeun Eav fought for her life and the lives of her children as she suffered under the rule of the Khmer Rouge in her native country of Cambodia. In this excerpt from her life history, Saroeun tells of death-defying escapes, bearing children in labor camps, and, eventually, her escape to the United States where she joined the Church and raised her children in the gospel.

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The Journey Is The Reward

Blue married Doc thirty-five days after he returned home from his mission. Nine years later, he revealed to Blue that he didn’t actually believe in God. Blue discusses how spiritual laziness in her early marriage contributed to her husband’s crisis of faith, how her family now functions with its unusual dynamic, and why she stays in her marriage and in the Church.

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As Joseph in Egypt

In 2000, Thérèse Kanyanga was living in the Republic of the Congo as a wife and the mother of seven children when her husband, Gilbert, mysteriously disappeared. Thérèse discovered he had been accused of treason and exiled to South Korea. For the next six years, Thérèse raised her children alone. In 2006, she was able to join Gilbert in Seoul where she was baptized into the Church.

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When Mom Wears The Suit

After working as the executive assistant for the editor-in-chief of Mademoiselle magazine, Marcia Nelson studied for her business school entrance exam while nursing a baby. Now, she’s enjoying a fulfilling career in finance while her husband is a freelance writer and stay-at-home dad to their two children, one of whom has had a recurring brain tumor.

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Unexpected Motherhood

As a single 34-year-old, Tiffany followed her Patriarchal Blessing’s advice to seize the opportunities offered to her, resulting in a life full of career opportunities, travel adventures and spiritual highlights. But then, when her sister became overwhelmed with the responsibilities of single motherhood, Tiffany seized a different kind of opportunity: she assumed legal custody of her nine-year-old niece and became mother to an elementary school-aged child overnight.

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When Waking Up Is A Burden

As the mother of seven children, the last with Down syndrome, Kathy Soper is known for the emotional honesty of her writing (which includes personal essays and a book-length memoir) and her founding of Segullah, an LDS women’s literary journal. In this interview, Kathy talks candidly about her lifelong struggle with depression and the unique dynamic that exists in her family where mom and several children are working together to stay healthy.

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Rooted In Learning

In 2005, Shannon Cox founded Haitian Roots, an organization that sends 133 needy Haitian children to school each year. Shannon recounts the unexpected adoption of her Haitian son and the ways it opened her heart and mind to the plight of Haiti’s strong-willed people. This young mother of four affirms the unexpected course of her life is not the consequence of coincidence but divine intervention.

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The Cycle is Broken

After two sets of twins and a divorce, Myrna sought solace with her family. But she found little comfort at home: she fell prey to the family’s drug dealing business and lost 27 years of her life to heroin addiction. Three years ago, at the age of 51, she fell to her knees and felt the Lord’s loving embrace. She discusses the effects of her baptism on her ravaged body, her repentance process and the effect her conversion has had on her children.

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A World of Opportunities

Karen Bybee healed from the death of her first child by throwing herself into the planning of the 1994 Soccer World Cup event. Since then, Karen has developed a career in international sports management, and has been involved with six Olympic Games, four Soccer World Cups, and numerous other international sports events. She is returning to work now after a four year hiatus at home with her teenaged sons.

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"They Came!"

A 1983 issue of Reader’s Digest introduced Dominique Lam-Yam to the Church while she was living with an abusive father on the French island of Reunion in the Indian Ocean. She spent the next three years searching for the Church organization, with no success. Finally, two missionaries knocked on her door, launching her on a path of hope and triumph over challenge.

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A Road to Redemption

For almost four years Brittney has been writing about the 18 months she spent in Venezuela as a missionary. While she was there, her father, who was excommunicated from the Church when she was 14 and from whom she had been estranged for years, began sending her letters, photocopies from the journal he kept as a missionary in Colombia between 1973-75. This began a reconnection and reconciliation of their relationship which, by the end of her time in Venezuela, would become the most poignant and enduring conversion of her mission.

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The Small World of the Gospel

The first time Faustina Otoo went to church, in Nigeria in 1985, the members’ love made her feel like she was in a “wonderland”. Since that day, Faustina’s journey in the church has taken her back to her native land of Ghana where she now serves as the front office receptionist at the Africa West Area office complex at the Accra Ghana temple. As the single mother of two children, Faustina is especially proud that her daughter is about to graduate from college.

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Beyond This Mortal Coil

Two of Lynn Anderson’s natural born children carried a rare genetic disease — epidermolysis bullosa (EB) — which prevents a child’s skin from growing with their body. After thirty years of nursing her children and grieving their deaths, Lynn founded an organization that raised money for EB research at Stanford University. Lynn now rejoices in a newly-approved treatment that will save the lives of many EB children.

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Faith Unto Salvation

In December 2004, Patricia’s oldest son was charged with murdering his girlfriend. Tormented with grief and unable to sleep, Patricia saw a late-night infomercial for the Church on television and called for a Book of Mormon. What she has learned about forgiveness, compassion and the warm embrace of the Saints has carried her through the crushing experience.

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Nothing Is Impossible

As the mother of eleven children — ten adopted with special needs– Dee Dee Shipley already has her hands full. But add to that 42 years of diabetes and the fact that in 2002 Dee Dee lost her sight in a heart by-pass surgery. Still, Dee Dee sees miracles every day and unfailingly puts her full trust in the Lord.

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The LDS Women Project

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