How the Prophet and Apostles Met Their Wives: Love Stories from Our Church Leaders

by | Jul. 14, 2018

FunMormon Life

Choosing an eternal companion is one of the most important decisions to make in this life. However, people fall in love and find their eternal companions in many different ways. Even our beloved prophet and apostles experienced times when they had butterflies in their stomachs and unrestful nights thinking about their significant others. Here are the stories of how our prophet and apostles found their eternal companions.

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President Nelson and Dantzel Nelson

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Image from lds.org

According to Russell M. Nelson: Father, Surgeon, Apostle, President Nelson met his wife, Dantzel, at Kingsbury Hall on the University of Utah campus in 1942. He was asked to participate in the musical Hayfoot, where Dantzel was cast in a leading role. While Dantzel was singing on stage, President Nelson was overwhelmed by her beautiful soprano voice. After meeting her in the musical production, President Nelson felt that this beautiful young woman might someday become his wife. President Nelson recalled, “My attention for her was so immediate and so compelling. I find it very easy to believe that my affinity for her may have been established in a holier pre-mortal sphere.”

Two months after they met and began dating, Dantzel returned to her home in Perry, Utah, for a three-month summer vacation. She announced to her parents that she had met “the perfect man.” As President Nelson and Dantzel’s relationship became more serious, President Nelson commuted to visit Dantzel as often as he could.

One day, while President Nelson visited Dantzel and her family, Dantzel’s mother asked them to harvest some fresh peas for dinner. As they walked through the pea patch, President Nelson held Dantzel’s hands and asked, “Dantzel, will you please marry me?”  Dantzel accepted his proposal on the spot. President Nelson says, “It didn’t seem to be a very official proposal, certainly not in a very romantic setting, but it was a verbalization of an unspoken agreement that we would marry when we could.” They were later married in the Salt Lake Temple on August 31, 1945.

President Nelson and Wendy Watson Nelson

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Image from lds.org

In 2005, after 60 years of marriage, Dantzel passed away. According to lds.org, their son, Russell Nelson Jr., said, “The passing of our mother, we could tell, was a deep hit for him (President Nelson).” However, he says the family saw “an immediate change” in President Nelson when he met Wendy L. Watson, whom he married in 2006.

One of President Nelson’s granddaughters, Katie Irion Owens, says, “With Wendy, he (President Nelson) has now found another amazing complement and match.” 

Wendy says after searching for her eternal companion, she never thought she would marry the member of the Quorum of the Twelve. “When I think about Dantzel why wouldn’t I love her? She and my husband had almost 60 years together to grow and help each other. So what do I get? I got a Danztel White improved version of Russell M. Nelson,” says Wendy in an interview with KSL News. “I try to do everything I can to make sure my husband feels loved, adored, wanted, and needed. We call it L.A.W.N. in our family.”

Image titlePresident Russell M. Nelson is known worldwide for his tireless service in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Many people, however, are not familiar with his pioneering work in the field of open-heart surgery, the life-prolonging operation he performed on President Spencer W. Kimball, his role in helping open Eastern Bloc countries to the preaching of the gospel, and his loving efforts to build relations with the people of China.

In Russell M. Nelson: Father, Surgeon, Apostle, readers are treated to an intimate portrayal that will help us come to know President Nelson as a man of testimony, a dedicated husband and father of ten, and a servant whose principal desire since his youth has been to serve God's children.

Full of insight and inspiration, this biography will take its place among other important works that chronicle the lives of the Lord's latter-day servants.

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