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

by | May 12, 2018

Mormon Life

Kathy Williams Andersen

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Image from Facebook

Hometown: Tampa, Florida

Married: March 20, 1975

Education: BYU 

Hobbies: Piano

Sister Kathy Andersen grew up in Tampa, Florida, and went to BYU for school. While at BYU, Kathy met a young man campaigning for student body office—Neil Andersen. She was stricken. She recalls, “I thought he was the most remarkable man I had ever met, and that holds true to this day and forever.” Kathy was eager to help with his campaign and would even wake up at 4 a.m. to hand out fliers, hoping she would see him. Their first date was on her birthday, and they were later married in the Salt Lake Temple on March 20, 1975. Elder Andersen has said that after marrying her, his standards were lifted by her strong and devoted faith. Sister Andersen helped raised a family of four children and has faithfully followed her husband wherever he has been called, including Bordeaux, France, and Sau Paulo, Brazil, among others.

Melanie Twitchell Rasband 

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Image from Mormon Newsroom

Hometown: Moved around a lot

Married: September 4, 1973

Education: University of Utah

As the daughter of a career military officer, Melanie Twitchell Rasband is no stranger to being uprooted and replanted. However, the faith of her parents, especially her mother, helped keep the family strong in the Church despite their many moves. In college, Sister Rasband was a “dream girl” for the Delta Phi fraternity and helped with their different service activities, which so happens to be how she met her future husband, Ronald Rasband. Sister and Elder Rasband were married in the Salt Lake Temple on September 4, 1973. In 1996, her husband was called to be the mission president of the New York New York North Mission, and she faithfully followed, calling on her ability to pick up and move. Though the work was challenging in New York, she found it invigorating, and in addition to her missionary service has served in many different Church and neighborhood organizations. Throughout her many years of service and living all over the world, Sister Rasband has loved the opportunity of getting to know diverse groups of people and has shown her love to them.

Lesa Jean Higley Stevenson 

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Image from lds.org

Hometown: Arroyo Grande, California, and Idaho Falls, Idaho

Married: April 20, 1979

Education: Bachelor’s degree in home economics education from Utah State University

Career: Home economics education teacher before becoming a full-time homemaker and mother

Lesa Jean Higley Stevenson grew up in Arroyo Grande, California, and Idaho Falls, Idaho. For college, she moved to Logan to attend Utah State University, from which she graduated with a bachelors in home economics education. While at Utah State, Lesa attended an Old Testament course, which was where she met her future husband, Gary Stevenson. The two were married back in Lesa’s hometown in the Idaho Falls Temple in 1979. Post-graduation, Lesa worked has a home economics education teacher at a high school. She later transitioned into her role as a full-time mother and homemaker, raising four sons. But being a homemaker did not keep her homebound. Lesa was an active participant in many community groups, including acting as a board member of American Mothers, Inc., PTA president, and committee member of the Governor’s Coalition on Families.

Ruth Lybbert Renlund 

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Image from Mormon Newsroom

Hometown: Salt Lake City, Utah

Married: 1977

Education: University of Utah, University of Maryland

Career: Personal injury trial lawyer

Salt Lake City native Ruth Lybbert Renlund had her whole life figured out. After she graduated from the University of Utah and married Dale Renlund, she planned to teach until her husband finished medical school, and then she would raise their medium-sized family and eventually go back to graduate school. But before she could actualize this plan, her life took a turn. When she was only 25 and had a baby girl, Ruth was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, causing her to reevaluate her future. Fortunately, the cancer was caught early, and Ruth was cured—but her life would never be the same. Heartbroken at the sudden halt to growing her family, Ruth felt impressed to begin a new path and become a lawyer. For the years following, she balanced her roles as lawyer, wife, and mother, continually seeking ways to touch the lives of others. After years of serving individuals through personal injury cases, Ruth’s life took another turn when her husband was called to the Seventy in South Africa. But she faithfully left her industrious career to serve the people of South Africa because of her commitment to her faith and her church. She and Elder Renlund just recently co-authored the book The Melchizedek Priesthood.

Susan Lindsay Gong 

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Image retrieved from lds.org, taken by Jeffrey D. Allred of the Deseret News

Hometown: Taylorsville, Utah

Married: January 1980

Education: Bachelor’s degree in English literature and master’s degree in creative writing from BYU

Career: Chinese teacher and professor

Hobbies: Gardening, reading, hiking

Sister Susan Gong has dedicated much of her life to the learning and teaching of Chinese. Sister Gong served a full-time mission in Taiwan, speaking Mandarin Chinese. When she got back, she continued to foster her love for the Chinese language. After completing her education at BYU and her certification to teach Chinese, Sister Gong went on to teach Chinese classes at BYU and Provo High. She was also the co-coordinator for the Chinese immersion program that was implemented in Utah elementary schools, and she edited the Step by Step series, which is a set of illustrated readers for children learning Mandarin. Sister Gong has served in the Church alongside her husband for years and has loved being among the members in every place they’ve gone.

Rosana Fernandes Morgado Soares 

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Photo from the LDS Church News, taken by Marcos Escalona of BYU

Hometown: Sao Paulo, Brazil

Married: October 1982

Education: Degree in Portuguese and literature

Sister Rosana Soares is well acquainted with patience. As a young girl, Sister Soares was introduced to the Church by her neighbors who were members. Sister Soares desired to be baptized, but her parents wouldn’t allow it. For years, she faithfully attended Church meetings, patiently waiting for her opportunity to enter the waters of baptism. Finally, on her 17th birthday, her father gifted her his permission to be baptized. She later went on to serve her mission in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. After her mission, she dated Ulisses Soares, whom she married in the Sao Paulo Brazil Temple. Sister Soares’s next righteous desire was to begin their family, but again, she had to wait. After many years of doctor’s appointments, surgeries, and other hardships, she delivered a son, and later two daughters were born. Sister Soares has dedicated her life to her religion and to her family–both on earth and in the spirit world—as she has served in Church callings, done family history work, and cared for her loved ones.

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