Finding Love and an Eternal Family
Here’s a tidbit of information many Latter-day Saints might not know about our new prophet: he was born with perfect pitch.
While interesting in itself, the most remarkable thing about this fact is that it played a key role in leading President Nelson to his first wife, Dantzel White.
His first year as a student at the University of Utah, Russell Nelson landed a leading role in the school production Excursion. The following year he was begged by theater faculty to appear in their next production: Hayfoot, Strawfoot.
Nelson sensed that this gorgeous woman would become his wife, according to Russell M. Nelson: Father, Surgeon, Apostle.
Two years later, in the summer of 1944 at the tender age of 19, President Nelson knelt down in a pea patch to propose to Dantzel. A poor student, Russell had no ring, just the promise that she was the one he wanted to spend his life and eternity with.
The two married the following summer on August 31, 1945, and what followed were 59 years full of love, sacrifice, tenderness, and even heartbreak.
Dantzel sacrificed much to support President Nelson as he strove to achieve his goals, even donating her own blood to help them get by when times were tough.
“The power of love between a man and a woman is special,” President Nelson shared in “Protect the Spiritual Power Line.” “The love shared with my beloved companion, Dantzel, has increased the power of love for both of us. . . . Once when things were exceptionally tight, she even sold her blood in between her two jobs to keep us solvent. (Her dear parents may have wondered what kind of a son-in-law they had on that occasion!) I thought of that many years later when she needed a transfusion urgently and her blood couldn’t be matched readily with donor blood from the blood bank. What a privilege it was for me to donate mine directly to her.”
Through their years of sacrifice and service, the Nelsons had nine daughters and one son, their final child. On a summer evening in 1957, Dantzel first saw this precious little boy in a vision she had while dreaming. “He was a very special, handsome child. . . . he looked just like you,” she told President Nelson (Russell M. Nelson: Father, Surgeon, Apostle). Over the next almost 15 years, Dantzel regularly mentioned seeing their little boy, even though during that time the Nelsons brought home four more baby girls.
But, on March 21, 1972, Dantzel and Russell became the proud parents of a little boy, a face Dantzel recognized the moment she saw him.
Though full of love, President Nelson’s family life was also full of patience and sacrifice. During this time, he came to understand how to give himself more fully to others and how to rely on the Lord’s timing, not his own. But, it was during these times that President Nelson learned what is most important in life and how dear that can be in reaching a fulfilling, transcendent happiness even on earth.