Latter-day Saint Life

Why This Latter-day Saint Gave Up Becoming an International Opera Star to Become a Mother


TheDeseret News recent featured opera singer Celena Shafer—her career, her life of faith, and her role as a mother. In the article by Lottie Peterson Johnson, the Deseret News shared the moment when Lottie realized her most important upcoming role would be that of a mother.

"Shafer had her first miscarriage near the end of 2002. "It happened during her time with Chicago Lyric Opera, where she was singing the role of Johanna in Sweeney Todd. She and her husband, Bradley Shafer, had been married for about four years. "'We were trying to start our family, and it made my husband and I step back and think, 'What do we really want for our lives?''' said Shafer, who studied vocal performance at the University of Utah. "'And it was at this point my career had just really started to take off and I could see work lining up for years ahead of me.' "Before the miscarriage, the plan was for Shafer to take some time off to have the baby and then return to her demanding performing schedule while her husband took care of their child. "To that end, she canceled several upcoming engagements and decided to prioritize work that wouldn’t keep her from her family for long periods of time."

Shafer testified, “It was a huge leap of faith, but I knew that we had been given the answer that we needed. God really was saying, ‘This is your plan. It’s not the plan for everybody, but it’s your plan. This is where you’re going to find your true happiness.' So that was our leap of faith. Sometimes you have to take that step into the darkness before you see any light ahead of you.”

Lead image of Andrew Stenson and Celena Shafer in the production of The Magic Flute. Image by Laura Seitz, Deseret News.
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