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
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
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.”
President 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.
InRussell 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.
President Oaks and June Oaks
Images from lds.org.
According to lds.org, President Oaks met June Dixon when he served as a radio announcer at a high school basketball game. After a year and a half, the couple married in the Salt Lake Temple on June 24, 1952. June died from cancer in 1998.
President Oaks and Kristen Oaks
Image from Deseret News
Two years later, President Oaks met Kristen M. McMain, who soon became his second wife.
Sister Kristen Oaks shares in her book A Single Voice that she met President Oaks through a general authority who was helping her with a future job opportunity. Shortly after her visit with the general authority, President Oaks called him and asked if he knew someone he should get to know as part of his search for a wife. President Oaks later phoned Kristen and arranged their first meeting at Liberty Park with his daughter.
Sister Oaks describes their first meeting as three longtime friends having a relaxing conversation. President Oaks felt their dating should be private, and the two often took walks, went on picnics, and spent time with their family members.
The two were married in the Salt Lake Temple on August 25, 2000. President Oaks shares in his book Life’s Lesson Learned that before June passed away, she told her daughters to help President Oaks to find a companion that would fit into their family. “Kristen’s many years of being single, her service as a missionary (in Japan), her doctoral degree from Brigham Young University (in education), and her intelligence, faithfulness, skills as a speaker and teacher, and her loving outreach to others ideally fitted her for the responsibilities that came to her with our marriage. In the way I was led to meet her, in the answer to my prayers for guidance, and in the sacred assurance I received of June’s approval, I had the revelatory confirmation I sought.”
In a Church that is focused on family, singles can feel somewhat discounted and discouraged. Oftentimes the very resources meant to support people can inadvertently cause pain. In the book A Single Voice, author Kristen Oaks addresses questions most of the single adults have and offers valuable insights, personal reflections (including the story of the author's courtship and marriage to President Oaks), and rich advice for living life to the fullest as a single member.
President Eyring and Kathleen Eyring
Image from lds.org.
According to I Will Lead You Along: The Life of Henry B. Eyring, President Eyring was a single 27-year-old doctoral student studying at Harvard when he first saw his wife in 1960. One day after walking out of a church meeting, he saw Kathy in the parking lot wearing a red and white dress. He was immediately impressed by the goodness she radiated. He thought, “That’s the best person I’ve ever seen. If I could be with her, I could be every good thing I ever wanted to be.” President Eyring got her number from the ward clerk and asked her on a first date. While Kathy attended Harvard’s summer program, they often played tennis together and shared their testimonies and spiritual feelings with each other.
"I knew Hal (President Eyring) was someone special. He thought deeply about important things," Kathy told lds.org. President Eyring was impressed by Kathy’s lack of pretense and her spiritual maturity. When Kathy returned home to California after the summer, she could afford occasional flights to Boston for visits, but for the majority of the time, the couple courted through phone calls and letters.
In 1961, eight months after their first meeting, Kathy made a final visit to Boston and told President Eyring that she would not be returning. President Eyring had been seeking revelation on whether or not he should marry Kathy but had not received an answer. That night, before Kathy returned to California, President Eyring prayed with greater fervency than ever, telling God he would not proceed without approval. Finally, the answer came: “Go.”
The next morning, while President Eyring drove Kathy to the airport, he stopped the car and said to her, “I’ve been told to ask you to marry me.” Kathy only replied with tears. They were married in the Logan Utah Temple in 1962.
Learn more about President Eyring's life in I Will Lead You Along: The Life of Henry B. Eyring.
In 1970, Hal received an impression to make a daily record of his activities. Years of journals form the backbone of this personal biography, a candid look at his walk through life with his beloved companion, Kathy. "The journal shows how a good-but-imperfect man works each day to win divine approval," write the authors, and this window into his past provides unforgettable insights about the man the Lord has shaped him to become.
Readers will love these richly designed pages, filled with photographs, sketches from the pen of President Eyring himself, and scores of entries straight from his journals woven into an engaging depiction of his life's journey.
President Ballard and Barbara Ballard
Image from lds.org.
According to a 1986 Ensign, President Ballard met his wife Barbara at a University of Utah “Hello Day Dance” in 1950. President Ballard had just returned from his mission, and a friend of his introduced Barbara to him at the dance. President Ballard was only able to dance with her for 30 seconds before he was tagged out, but that was the start of a courtship of 11 months.
In his talk “Following up,” Elder Ballard shares, “Having learned the importance of follow-up on my mission, I got her telephone number and called her the very next day to ask her out, but she was busy with school and social commitments. Thankfully, my mission taught me to be persistent even in the face of discouragement, and I was eventually able to make a date. And that date led to others. Somehow during those dates, I was able to convince her that I was the only true and living returned missionary—at least as far as she should be concerned. Now, 64 years later, there are seven children and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren who stand as evidence of the significant truth that no matter how good your message is, you may not get a chance to deliver it without consistent, persistent follow-up.”
Elder Ballard says in the 1986 Ensign article, “She was not only beautiful, but had a sparkling personality. I knew from the beginning that I wanted to marry her, but she didn’t share the same feelings. It was a little hard convincing her. I kid her now that getting her to agree to marry me was the greatest sales job I ever did.”
Elder Holland and Patricia Holland
Image from Mormon Channel
According to lds.org, Elder Holland was very involved in athletics when he was in high school and college, which is how he met his wife, Patricia, who was a cheerleader. However, Patricia’s first impression of Elder Holland was not the most complimentary. Sister Holland says, “I remember writing home to my cousin about how I had just met the smartest boy in school, who was a terrible tease and even though I couldn’t stand him at the time, I had the strangest feeling, even then, that, when I was older, I would marry him.”
During their courtship, Patricia strongly encouraged Elder Holland to go on a mission, and she waited for him during that time. “No one in my family had ever gone on a mission. But when I met Pat and we became reasonably serious, I could see that she was very firm about the fact that I should go,” Elder Holland says. “Her (Patricia) faith has always been as pure and as powerful and as strong as any person’s I’ve ever known.”
After his return, Patricia went to New York to study music for a year. She says, “When he returned we knew immediately that it was all there and in a couple of weeks we were engaged. But then it was I who was leaving. We thought that if our romance had endured two years and was still that good, then surely it would endure another year while I continued my music training.” At the same time, Elder Holland decided to pursue a career in teaching. When Elder Holland told Patricia that they wouldn’t have much money, Patricia simply replied, “Who cares?” They were married in the St. George Utah Temple in 1963.
Elder Uchtdorf and Harriet Uchtdorf
Image from Deseret News.
Elder Uchtdorf shares in his talk “Happily Ever After” that he first spotted his future wife when Harriet and her family started investigating the Church. “I think I fell in love with her from the first moment I saw her. Unfortunately, this beautiful young woman didn’t seem to feel the same about me,” he says. But Elder Uchtdorf was persistent and made sure he found ways to get close to Harriet. Whenever they had special activities at church, Elder Uchtdorf would ride his bike to Harriet’s house to take her to church. One day, her mother answered the door and said Harriet would be going to church later, but she would be happy to ride with him. Elder Uchtdorf says, “This wasn’t exactly what I had in mind, but how could I decline?” Elder Uchtdorf later found out it wasn’t so bad to be “on good terms with the mother of the girl of your dreams.”
Years later, after Elder Uchtdorf finished his training as a fighter pilot in the German Air Force, Elder Uchtdorf experienced what he calls a “modern miracle." He recalls, "One day she said, ‘Dieter, you have matured much over these past years.’ I moved quickly after that, and within a few months, I was married to the woman I had loved ever since I first saw her."
The two were married in the Bern Switzerland Temple in 1962.
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Elder Bednar and Susan Bednar
Image from lds.org.
Sister Susan Bednar shares in a Face to Face event in 2015 that she first met Elder Bednar at a family home evening activity when they were both attending Brigham Young University. However, they did not fall in love with each other at that time. Elder and Sister Bednar both agree that people don’t just fall in love; they choose someone with whom they can create the love they desire. “I can honestly say we are more in love today than we were 40 years ago,” Sister Bednar says.
“Marriage is fun and demanding,” Elder Bednar says. “It can be sad, and it requires relentless work. Early on we tried to figure out how to do that work and enjoy that work.”
In his first general conference talk as an apostle, Elder Bednar shares, “My wife, Susan, is a virtuous woman and a righteous mother. . . . I love her and appreciate her more than words can express. I thank her for the woman she is, for the lessons she has taught me, and for the love we share.”
Elder Cook and Mary Cook
Image from lds.org.
According to a 2008 Ensign article, Elder Cook first met his future wife at a seventh-grade talent assembly. Elder Cook remembers, “This little-towheaded girl gets up and sings ‘On the Sunny Side of the Street.’ Even in junior high school, she had a remarkably mature, deep voice. I was absolutely amazed.”
Elder Cook and Mary had many opportunities to work together in their school years. He was the student-body president, and she was the vice president. They were also both on the debate team together. “We were friends long before we were anything else,” Elder Cook says, “I admired her before I fell in love with her, and marrying her was the best decision I have ever made.” They were married in the Logan Utah Temple on November 20, 1962.
Elder Christofferson and Katherine Christofferson
Image from lds.org.
Sister Katherine Christofferson shares that she first met Elder Christofferson at the Brigham Young University football stadium. They were both accompanied by friends, and their interaction was only for a moment. As they walked away, Katherine turned to her friend and said, “Well, isn’t that just my luck? I’ve just run into the kind of guy I would like to date, and it’s never going to happen.”
But what she didn’t know was that Elder Christofferson couldn’t forget about her after the meeting. “I remembered her,” Elder Christofferson says. “That face stuck in my mind.” He later asked his roommate, who knew Katherine, to set them up on a date. “He had a hard time talking her into it. She wasn’t really keen on doing a blind date,” Elder Christofferson says.
The two dated through the school year and married at the end of the following spring in the Salt Lake Temple in 1968.
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Elder Andersen and Kathy Andersen
Image from Facebook.
According to lds.org, when Elder Andersen returned from his mission in France, he got involved in the student government at Brigham Young University. He met Kathy during his campaign for student body office. Elder Andersen jokingly says, “Kathy was our best campaigner, and we got married to repay a campaign debt.” Kathy says, “I thought he was the most remarkable man I had ever met, and that holds true to this day and forever.”
During their courtship, Elder Andersen tried to impress Kathy by speaking French. He says in a BYU deovtional, “When I fell in love with Kathy, I wondered how an insecure Idaho farm boy could attract a beautiful, intelligent woman from Florida. I then remembered one talent I possessed: I had served my mission in France, and I spoke French. I had been told that young women loved to hear French spoken to them. But, to my dismay, I realized I did not know the French words of romance. I only knew missionary words. I won Kathy’s heart with ma chérie at the front, jet’aime at the end, and the plan of salvation in between.” Their first date was on Kathy’s birthday, and they were married in the Salt Lake Temple in March 1975.
Elder Rasband and Melanie Rasband
Image from lds.org.
Sister Melanie Rasband shares that she and Elder Rasband met at a class in the University of Utah. However, both of them were dating someone else at that time. One day after the class, Elder Rasband said to Melanie that they should go on a date sometime since they were such good friends. As they started walking in opposite directions Sister Rasband ran back toward him. “I reached in my purse and pulled out a little Hallmark calendar, put my hand on his shoulder and hopped in front of him, and I said, ‘When?’ And that was it,” Sister Rasband says. They were engaged eight weeks later and married in the Salt Lake Temple in 1973.
About his wife, Elder Rasband says, “My wife has taken me like potter’s clay and molded me into something that really matters.”
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Elder Stevenson and Lesa Stevenson
Image from lds.org.
According to a 2016 Ensign article, Elder Stevenson met Lesa Jean Higley at an Old Testament class at Utah State University’s Institute of Religion. He says, “The teacher asked Lesa to role-play as Eve and for me to play the role of Satan to tempt her. As a result, it took a while for me to convince her to go out with me.” They dated for over a year and were married in the Idaho Falls Idaho Temple in 1979.
About his wife, Elder Stevenson says, “Hers is a life punctuated by selfless service and unconditional love of all. I will strive to remain worthy of the blessing of our eternal union.”
Elder Renlund and Ruth Renlund
Image from lds.org.
Elder Renlund attended a ward at the University of Utah, where he met Ruth, according to 2016 Ensign article:
“She was the daughter of a member of the stake presidency, Merlin R. Lybbert, who later served in the Seventy. Dale’s recollection is that he mustered the courage to ask Ruth out on a date, but she said no. When he tried again a few months later, she said yes. Ruth’s version is a little different. She remembers that when he spoke in sacrament meeting about his mission, she was impressed. They got better acquainted, and she was thrilled when he asked her to go on a date, but she was hosting a party that required her to decline. She was pleased to accept when he asked again.”
They were married in 1977 in Salt Lake Temple. About his wife, Elder Renlund says, “Aside from the decision to be active in the Church, marrying Ruth has been the most amazing thing in my life.”
Elder Gong and Susan Gong
Image from lds.org.
According to the Deseret News, when Elder Gong worked at the MTC after returning from his mission to Taiwan. It was there that he met Susan, who at the time was a young missionary preparing to serve her own mission in Taiwan. When they briefly met, Elder Gong felt “this was somebody I’d always known.” When Susan returned from her mission, Elder Gong spent some time with his family in Provo and dated Susan every day. The two-week stay extended to four weeks, and they continued their courtship even when he went to Hawaii for an internship.
“We felt the Spirit guiding us to bring us together,” Sister Gong says. They were engaged over the telephone, and when he came home for Christmas, they were married the first day the Salt Lake Temple opened in the New Year in 1980.
Sister Gong says, “We've been married 30 years now, and we're still getting to know things about each other we didn't know from the start, and there's more to know because we've had different experiences.”
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Elder Soares and Rosana Soares
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Elder Soares met Rosana while they were both serving in the Brazil Rio de Janeiro Mission. When Rosana returned home, Elder Soares was engaged at the time. However, Elder Soares knew his current engagement was not right when he met Rosana again at a dance. He broke the engagement and dated Rosana for two years. They were married in the São Paulo Brazil Temple in 1982.
About his wife, Elder Soares says, “I take solace also in the love and support of my beloved wife. She has been an example of goodness, love, and total devotion to the Lord and for me and my family. I love her with every ounce of my heart, and I am grateful for the positive influence she has had on us.”
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