When Sister Kristen Oaks married then-Elder Dallin H. Oaks in June 2000, she wasn’t just marrying an Apostle—she was stepping into a brand-new family.
On a recent episode of the Church News podcast, Sister Kristen Oaks shares with Sister Sheri Dew how she adapted into her new role in the family. She says that President Oaks would include her in every activity, from baseball games to baby blessings. “I wanted to be part of it. Yet, I was still on the outside, a lot of the time. I think any second wife or divorcée, or single person can testify that you kind of feel that way,” Sister Kristen Oaks said on the podcast.
“The big jump for me came when a daughter, I got a letter from her, and she asked me if I would please be a grandma to her children,” Sister Kristen Oaks said. “Because she wanted them to know what a grandmother was like, so they’d actually love her mother. And that was a big turning point for me, because I saw myself, ‘Oh, my job is to keep our family together, my job is to complement their grandma, to give access to my husband, and create opportunities for our family to get tighter.’ And actually, from that moment on, it became a lot better for me. It was happier.”
Sister Kristen Oaks also shares that she wanted Sister June Oaks to still have a prominent place in the family’s life. Sister Kristen Oaks’s mother also had a stepmother when she was young. Her stepmother took away all of the pictures and remembrances of her late mother.
“I made a pledge before I ever entered the Oaks family, that I wanted my family to never have a negative experience,” Sister Kristen Oaks says. “I wanted them to be able to speak about their mother. I wanted them to share stories and experiences and stay an eternal family.”
In a touching tribute, Sister Kristen Oaks ends the podcast by reading a journal entry Sister June Oaks wrote shortly before she passed away and added a few words of her own (emphasized in italics). She said Sister June Oaks’s thoughts mirror her own and that this is her wish for those listening:
“My wish for all of you is that you will take up the cause, . . . bringing souls to Christ. Write more notes of encouragement, offer a listening ear, give small gifts to others so they know they matter. . . . Across the miles and across the veil, we belong to each other. . . . I will be there to welcome you. I want no tears of sorrow. Only tears of joy for a life lived with fullness and purpose, a life dedicated to the Church and committed to Christ’s example.’’
Listen to the full episode at Church News.