The Wives of the Prophet and Apostles: A Brief Look at These Remarkable Women

by | May 12, 2018

Mormon Life

We know the First Presidency and apostles sacrifice much to serve the Lord and members around the world, but sometimes we fail to recognize the women who travel with them, stand beside them, and sacrifice just as much for our Church. Learn a little more about the wives of the apostles.

Wendy Watson Nelson

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Image from Mormon Newsroom

Hometown: Raymond, Alberta, Canada

Married: April 6, 2006

Education: Bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Hawaii; master’s degree in marriage and family from BYU; Ph.D. in family therapy and gerontology from the University of Calgary

Career: Marriage and family therapist

Wendy Watson Nelson had a flourishing career as a marriage and family therapist before she married President Russell M. Nelson. She blessed the lives of families for more than 25 years, and she passed on her wisdom through teaching. Over the course of her career, Sister Wendy Nelson has written numerous articles and presented at over 200 national and international scholarly conferences. In addition to her scholarly works, she has written multiple uplifting books, including Covenant Keepers, Change Your Questions Change Your Life, Rock Solid Relationships, and What Would a Holy Woman Do?, among others.

Dantzel White Nelson

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Image from Mormon Newsroom

Hometown: Perry, Utah

Married: August 31, 1945

Died: February 12, 2005

Education: Bachelor’s degree in education and secondary teaching certificate from University of Utah

Career: Teacher in Salt Lake City and Minneapolis until the birth of her first child

The late Dantzel White Nelson was blessed with a beautiful voice; she was a soprano soloist and the leading role in multiple theatrical productions, one of which changed the course of her life. While performing as the lead soprano in a university play, she met a fellow cast member who would later become her sweetheart, Russell M. Nelson. Sister Dantzel Nelson continued sharing her talents with others and joined the Mormon Tabernacle Choir in 1966, where she sang for 20 years. In addition to her musical talents, she enjoyed needlework, sewing, and quilting.

Kristen McMain Oaks

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Image from Mormon Newsroom

Hometown: Salt Lake City, Utah

Married: August 25, 2000

Education: Bachelor’s in English and master’s in special education from the University of Utah, Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction from BYU

Career: Educational consultant and professor

Kristen McMain Oaks grew up in Salt Lake City in a home of daughters, the oldest of four. Much of Sister Kristen Oaks’s life has been spent teaching, whether that be in schools, for training programs, or even on a mission, which she served in Sendai, Japan. Sister Kristen Oaks has also worked for 15 years in publishing as an educational consultant and has even published a few of her own books herself. One of her books, A Single Voice, details the struggles and insights that came from being a single adult in the Church.

June Dixon Oaks

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Image from lds.org

Hometown: Provo and Spanish Fork, Utah

Married: June 24, 1952

Died: July 21, 1998

Education: Bachelor’s in sociology from BYU

Hobbies: Running, gardening, refinishing furniture, sewing, knitting, writing music

The late June Dixon Oaks was a woman who would not give up easily. June attended BYU but left after her first year when she married Dallin H. Oaks. She chose to stay home and care for her family, but that didn’t keep her from finishing her degree. After years of personal sacrifice—which included toting her young children to Provo for summer classes while her husband stayed in Chicago—and 14 years after her freshman year at BYU, June finally completed her bachelor’s degree in sociology. She applied that same tenacious devotion as she served in many Church callings and as she lovingly raised her children. President Oaks said of her, “She made every sacrifice possible for every professional, church, and a family goal we pursued.”

Sister June Oaks passed away after battling cancer for more than a year.

Kathleen Johnson Eyring

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Image retrieved from lds.org, taken by Gerry Avant of the Deseret News

Hometown: Palo Alto, California

Married: July 27, 1962

Education: Bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of California

Hobbies: Writing, learning foreign languages, playing tennis

Kathleen Johnson Eyring is a woman who puts her all into whatever she does—whether that be her faith, her education, or her family. In grade school, Sister Eyring attended an all-girls’ school in California. While there, her teachers challenged her faith, but she stood strong for what she believed and continually shared her testimony. Despite the trials school offered, Sister Eyring remained diligent in her studies and was the assistant editor of the yearbook and even served as the student body president one year. After high school, she attended the University of California, where she received her bachelor’s degree in political science. During her college years, Sister Eyring spent a summer at Harvard, where she met Henry Eyring. In 1962, they got married in the Logan Temple.
Despite her many interests as a young woman, above all else, she is a mother. She was a talented writer, even writing a book that received a state-wide prize in young adult literature, but she put any authorial aspirations aside because she wanted to focus on her six children. She continually shares her love with others and is a joy for all to meet.

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