Many may not know that former Young Women General President Ardeth Kapp never had children. She and her husband, Heber, have adopted family in many places—the missionaries who served with them in Canada Vancouver mission, the temple workers they spent time with in the Cardston Alberta Temple, and young women all over the world. Still, Sister Kapp was never able to give birth to children of her own, and on this week’s All In podcast, she recalled how it was a prophet’s setting-apart blessing that brought her peace in this aspect of her life.
In a February 2020 interview with LDS Living, Sister Kapp spoke of the heartache associated with this experience.
“You go through this agonizing procedure of thinking, ‘Well, we must not be worthy,’ and then [my husband] is called as a bishop and I’d think, ‘It must be me that’s not worthy,’” she admits.
Sister Kapp spoke more of this time in her life in the excerpt below.
You can listen to the full episode here or in the player below. You can also read a full transcript here.
Morgan Jones: The two of you have had some pretty incredible opportunities. You’ve had some challenges together. I think that that’s an important thing to note, serving together as temple presidents and mission presidents, and then your service as Young Women General President, and then you had the challenge of not being able to have children. How did those things play into the marriage that you feel like you and Heber shared?
Ardeth Kapp: I look back on it and realize that the some of the things that were the hardest for us were the things that brought us together. And so in that sense, let me just say that it was a hard time. My younger sister, who during an extended period of time, had 11 children, would always call with excitement. And I would think, “Why can’t we have the answer to our earnest prayers? What are we not doing?” And so the thing that makes it hard. And I’m being very personal about this, but good people and dear friends would say, “Don’t be selfish, you could adopt. You could learn to love children.” And I thought, “Learn to love them? We both went into education so we could be with children.” And the neighbor kids always said, “When your husband comes home, can he fix my bike?” I mean, we love children. So what do you do? How do you decide what to do and what not to do?
And I remember talking to my dad because I loved him. He was such a perfect father. And I’d say, “Dad, what do I do? How do I decide for sure?” And he says, “Your husband is living the way he should. And if he has some strong feelings about it, follow your husband, not your dad at this point.” And I thought, “That’s the priesthood line.” And I felt so at peace about it. And he would say, “We’ll keep asking. But when the time is right, we’ll know.” And I remember one time thinking, “But how will we know?”
I was teaching at BYU, and I was driving back and forth and had some friends in my home. It was [general] conference time. And every time I’d come back, around the point of the mountain, I would have this feeling that I was going to be asked to do something really hard again. I’d been a counselor in the Young Women’s presidency before, but I thought, “Well, what would it be? I mean, Heber’s stake president, he needs my time and so forth.” But it just kept saying, “No, there’s something left undone that you need to do.” And I just was so concerned. And the Friday before general conference, I got this phone call. And it said, “Could you and your husband come in, meet with President Hinckley?” And I just felt relieved. I didn’t know what he was gonna ask. If he was gonna ask Heber to do something or me. But I thought, “If I’d had that strong feeling, and nothing happened, how would I know how to trust that feeling in the future?” So I just said, “Okay.”
So we went in, it was a very significant time, and I was called to be the General Young Women president. And one of the priesthood leaders confided to me and said, “There were some who did not approve of your calling because you wouldn’t be a good role model as a woman, married and no children.” And he said, “But others said you would be.” And so I thought, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Lean not on your own understanding.”
And so we kept continuing on and we were both very, very busy for so many things to do in the Church. And then, when I was actually called and set apart, the Prophet said, “You will raise your children during the Millennium when Satan is bound.” And I just remember thinking, “Oh, if I’d have just known that 30 years, sooner, it would have been so much easier.” But I needed to be tried and tested. And it continues.
Editor’s note: This article was originally published on LDSLiving.com in March 2022.