Memories of Mothers
When LDS Church President Thomas S. Monson was a boy, going to Sunday School on Mother's Day meant handing each mother a small potted plant and listening as Melvin Watson, a blind member of the church, stood next to the piano and sang "That Wonderful Mother of Mine."
As tears flowed down Watson's face, young Tommy puzzled over why all the grown men were quietly dabbing their eyes with handkerchiefs, President Monson said in his October 1973 general conference talk, "Behold Thy Mother." Then he understood.
"You see, mother was remembered," President Monson said in 1973. "Each boy, every girl, all fathers and husbands seemed to make a silent pledge: 'I will remember that wonderful mother of mine.'"
In celebration of Mother's Day and wonderful mothers everywhere, here is a small selection of anecdotes, thoughts and tributes to mothers and wives by leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
President Heber J. Grant's father died nine days after he was born. Rachel Grant, his widowed mother, struggled to provide for her only child as a seamstress.
According to "Teachings of the Presidents of The Church: Heber J. Grant," Rachel's brothers offered to support her if she would leave the Mormon faith, but she declined. Her dedication to the gospel left a strong impression on young Heber.
"I, of course, owe everything to my mother," said President Grant, who was the seventh president of the LDS Church. "The marvelous teachings, the faith, the integrity of my mother have been an inspiration to me."
President Monson shared this quote from President Grant in the book "Favorite Quotations from the Collection of Thomas S. Monson":
"There seems to be a power which the mother possesses in shaping the life of the child that is far superior, in my judgment, to the power of the father, and this almost without exception. A mother's love seems to be the most perfect and the most sincere, the strongest of any love we know anything about."
Tributes to Mothers
President Thomas S. Monson
"Some years ago at a worldwide seminar for mission presidents, the parents of missionaries were invited to meet and visit briefly with each mission president. Forgotten are the names of each who extended a greeting and exchanged a friendly handshake. Remembered are the feelings which welled up within me as I took in my hand the calloused hand of one mother from Star Valley, Wyoming. 'Please excuse the roughness of my hand,' she apologized. 'Since my husband has been ill, the work of the farm has been mine to do, that our boy may, as a missionary, serve the Lord.'
"Tears could not be restrained, nor should they have been. Such tears produce a certain cleansing of the soul. A mother’s labor sanctified a son’s service. Loved are the hands of a mother."
President Thomas S. Monson, "Hands"
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland
"A wonderful young mother recently wrote to me: 'How is it that a human being can love a child so deeply that you willingly give up a major portion of your freedom for it? How can mortal love be so strong that you voluntarily subject yourself to responsibility, vulnerability, anxiety, and heartache and just keep coming back for more of the same? What kind of mortal love can make you feel, once you have a child, that your life is never, ever your own again? Maternal love has to be divine. There is no other explanation for it. What mothers do is an essential element of Christ’s work. Knowing that should be enough to tell us the impact of such love will range between unbearable and transcendent, over and over again, until with the safety and salvation of the very last child on earth, we can (then) say with Jesus, "(Father!)I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do." ' "
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, "Behold Thy Mother"