Woman of the Month

Meet a few of the inspiring women you'll find in the volumes of Women of Faith in the Latter Days.

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October

Kirsten Marie Sorensen Jensen

1868-1973

Kirsten Marie Sorensen Jensen gives a firsthand account of girlhood in the unique town of Orderville, Utah. Photo courtesy of the author. Used by permission.

Excerpt from “’I Bowed Myself before the Lord’: Kirsten Marie Sorensen Jensen” by Diane Sampson in Women of Faith in the Latter Days, Volume 3 ebook, pg. 118-20.

“I wish I could tell you how that town looked when we moved there. One big house, two story, with a porch all around was in the center. . . . All the houses joined except at the corners of the square. A little ditch ran close by. . . .

“The big kitchen and bakery on back of the big living room which was in the center of the square was where all the meals were prepared. When Brother Robertson blew the bugle, we knew it was time to eat. All the children ate at one long table. There were some women who stood behind us. One woman we all remembered, Auntie Harmon. She saw to it that we always cleaned our tin plates of all the food, and when we were through eating, I learned to say to her, ‘Auntie Harmon, please, I’m done.’ She would nod her head and away we would go as full and satisfied as if we had sat at a Queen’s table. The women took turns cooking and girls waited on the tables. A Brother Black baked all the bread. There were double fire-places—openings at each corner of the room. All our meetings were held in this room, also Sunday School.

“My first school in Orderville was in a bowery south of the big house. A Brother Marshall, who had a stiff leg, was our teacher. He would let us take turns in ringing the bell. . . . I only had to stand in the corner on one leg once, for not getting my lesson. We had planks for seats, no desks. . . .

“We all dressed alike in homemade clothes. Zina Young, Mirinda Black, and others did the spinning and weaving. They colored the yarn and wove it into good cloth for our dresses. They were good and warm. I can’t remember of ever having a coat. We also had homemade soap. Brother Fackrell was the head man in making soap. . . . Brother Meeks made combs of horns, they would last forever but would pull our long hair. Thomas Blackburn was the head of the shoe shop. A pair of shoes would last a year as we went barefoot in the summer.”

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September

Ida Frances Hunt Udall

1858-1915

Ida Frances Hunt Udall is seen here around the time of her wedding, in 1882. She became the second wife of David K. Udall the year the Edmunds Anti-Polygamy Act was passed. The following excerpt from her journal describes the joy and trepidation she felt on her wedding day. Photo courtesy of Utah State University. Used by permission.

Excerpt from “’No Matter How Severe the Trial’: Ida Frances Hunt Udall” by Kristin Owens in Women of Faith in the Latter Days, Volume 3, pg. 241-42.

“21st Sunday: was a beautiful day. The bright fields of lucern, green orchards, and singing birds made Kanab seem almost like a paradise. . . . After meeting repaired to Ella’s sister Sarah’s, wife of L[awrence] C. Marriger, where we partook of a bounteous repast. . . . Spent a pleasant evening, in conversation, songs and music. But with all the merriment, I felt lonely and depressed. Like a stranger in a strange land. The sorrow another was passing through seemingly on my account, though I was powerless to help it; the constant strain my mind had been on during the whole journey lest by word or look I should cause her unnecessary unhappiness, had weighed upon my spirits greatly, and I retired from the scene that evening with a feeling of dread and fear at my heart impossible to describe. Afterwards was greatly reassured by a moonlight walk and conversation with the one dearest on earth to me, who brought light and hope to my heart once more, with his loving encouraging words. So that I finally went to bed, feeling that in striving to obey the commandments of God, with a pure motive I had everything to live for. No matter how severe the trial, what a privilege to pass through it, in such a glorious cause.

“Thursday, May 25th 1882   This afternoon at half past 5 oclock in the Holy Temple of the Lord, I was sealed for Time and all Eternity to David King Udall, the only man on Earth to whose care I could freely and gladly entrust my future; for better, for worse. Ella and Bro and Sister Farnsworth walked down to the Temple with us, and after a talk with Prest. J. D. T. McAllister, (by whom the ceremony was performed,) she, Ella seemed to feel much cheered. Oh! if she could only feel happy and reconciled, I should feel that my life was indeed a happy one. Why is it, that in carrying out the commandments of God, his children need be so sorely tried? Today I have made the most solemn vows and obligations of my life. Marriage, under ordinary circumstances is a grave and important step, but entering into Plural marriage, in these perilous times is doubly so. May Heaven help me to keep the vows I have made sacred and pure and may the deep unchangeable love which I feel for my husband today increase with every coming year helping me to prove worthy of the love and confidence which he imposes in me, and to always be just and considerate to those the Lord has, and may give unto him in a similar way. When he bade me goodnight, the sacred name of wife was whispered for the first time in my ear, causing my heart to flutter with a strange new happiness. During the night, Ella,being unable to sleep, and thinking likely I was the same, came into my room, and mentioned for the first time to me our relationship to each other, and we talked long and earnestly of our hopes and desires for the future, both feeling much happier for the same.”

Mary Chamberlain

August

Mary Elizabeth Woolley Chamberlain

1870-1953

Mary Elizabeth Woolley Chamberlain, center, was the first female mayor of Kanab. She is seen with the all-female town council, circa 1911. Courtesy of the Church History Library. Used by permission.

Excerpt from “‘A Strong and Abiding Testimony’: Mary Elizabeth Woolley Chamberlain” by Janelle M. Higbee in Women of Faith in the Latter Days, Volume 3, pg. 33-34.

“In the fall of 1896, . . . [the] sewing for the family well under way, the canning, pickling and preserving for winter out of sight, my next venture was politics. Utah had just been admitted into the Union,the first election under statehood was approaching; Democrats and Republicans alike were anxious for the honor of electing the first state officers. The precinct primaries and county conventions of each party were duly held. I was nominated on the Republican ticket for county clerk of Kane County. . . . Women had never held office in Utah and the propriety of her doing so was a moot question which was thoroughly “mooted,” I assure you. The parties waged a vigorous campaign, and the last week before election, Henry E. Bowman, who was on the same ticket for county treasurer, Joe Robinson, the present deputy county clerk, my cousin Louie Woolley, and I, formed a quartette, and toured the county, holding rallies in every town. We had a book of current campaign songs, many of which we localized to fit our needs and all of which we sang with great gusto. . . . The halls were packed to the doors every night, some following us from town to town, as they said we were staging the best show they had seen for a long time, and enthusiasm ran high.

“I wish now that I had a copy of some of the speeches I made on the trip, but they were never written, being only spontaneous outbursts of my enthusiasm regarding woman suffrage and her right to stand shoulder to shoulder with man in public as well as private life, etc.

“Election day finally came November 3, 1896, and excitement was rife, both parties working hard to secure votes, and each feeling sure of success. They literally carried people to the polls, the halt, the lame, the blind, none were overlooked.

“That night while waiting for the election returns, a grand ball was held which lasted until nearly morning, before the last precinct was heard from. When reports were all in it proved that the county, state, and the nation had gone Republican, and I was elected on the ticket, headed by William McKinley for President of the United States, and I was the first lady county clerk in the State of Utah. . . . It was a valuable experience for me, which I appreciate, and have always considered profitable. The knowledge acquired during those two years has been a benefit to me in many, many ways throughout my life. It broadened my acquaintance with people, especially men, and taught me how to meet and deal with them, which I have had to do all my life.”

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July

Sarah Maria Mousley Cannon

1828-1912

Sarah Mousley Cannon kept a detailed account of her family’s 1857 journey from their home in Delaware across the plains to Salt Lake City. This portrait of Sarah was taken circa 1883. Courtesy of Roxanne Davis. Used by permission.

Excerpt from “‘Joyful Were My Feelings’: Sarah Maria Mousley Cannon” by Madelyn Stewart Silver Palmer in Women of Faith in the Latter Days, Volume 2, pg. 23-25.

Wednesday July 1st we bade adieu to civilazation and started across the plains in company with some of the St. Louis saints. . . .

Sat [July] 4 rested from travelling washed ironed & baked. Attended two meetings and a musical entertainment consisting of dancing singing &c. Prayer by President Hart benediction by Jos Foreman. Retired to rest at eleven and refreshed our self by sleep. . . .

Monday 6 started at seven and travelled about fifteen miles encamped early which gave the sisters a chance to bake and cook which by the bye is quite necessary for comfort and convenience. . . .

Tuesday 7 . . . we have seen no Indians since for the past four or five days. An incident connected with the indians I will here relate as they have been very friendly with us we returned the compliment in the same manner. They called at our table for refreshment and accordingly I was making lemonade which I offered to one who had watched the process of preparing and to whom I had handed a chair. He seated himself with great dignaty and took in his hand the cup I offered but would not touch the drink untill I would drink with him. I began to drink from another cup but he

handed his to me as much as to say drink from this. I took it drank and returned it. He drank, said good squaw with many gestures of satisfaction he drank exclaiming good good. . . .

Thursday 23 . . . encamped near the cool spring which is really beautiful and so refreshing to the thirsty traveller. The water boils up from a bed of sand so as to afford drink plenty for the cattle. Surely our God is good for his mercys to us in our unworthyness in causing the fountain to burst forth as it were on the sandy desert. I feel to say Lord we will praise the[e] whilst life and thought and being last or immortality endures. . . .

Monday 27 Started early and travelled well our cattle very quiet to all appearance but on the afternoon of this day I was called to witness the most terrific of all scenes a stampeed on the plains. The cattle started all most all together and Oh my father my heart sickens as I recall the scene and my soul is grievd in memory of the painful occurrance I beheld men thrown woman leaping from their wagons children screaming as team after team ran on in wild confusion dashing headlong on the wild parari without power to impeed their progress in the wild scene of apparent death God gave me presence of mind sufficient to remain in my wagon which I did and alone except the unseen guardian who in God’s wisdom did not leave me alone but shielded me from the shafts of the destroyer. I set or remained unhurt and beheld the cattle stoped and their affright calmed in answer to my fervant prayer….

Tuesday 28 Arose not very well from excitement and anxiety remained all day in camp were visited by Indians noble and true. They deeply sympathised with us in our bereavement or distress. . . . One wept and said he loved the pale faces of those by whom he was surrounded and would pray to the good Spirit for their recovery. . . .

Wed [August] 5 . . . came in sight of chimney Rock [Nebraska] and indeed passed some of the most splendid edifices apparently my eye ever beheld. Oh how I wish mine were a painters pencil or poets pen—I would portray if possible the beauty of the scenes through which we have been called to pass. . . . .


June

Sarah Ann Taylor Howard

1856-1945

Sarah Ann Taylor Howard as a missionary in Birmingham, England in 1911. Carefully holding her scriptures on her lap, Sarah is pictured with missionaries also serving from her hometown in Davis County, Utah. Courtesy of Karol Chase. Used by permission.

Excerpt from “Wonderful to Me” by Karol Gerber Chase in Women of Faith in the Latter Days, Volume 3.

In 1910, at age fifty-six, Sarah accepted a call to serve an eighteen-month mission to the Birmingham, England, Conference, where her sons and husband had served. She was one of the few sister missionaries in England at that time, and this mission restored her spirit and renewed her energy. Her zeal and love for missionary work was so strong that, despite health problems, at age sixty-three she accepted a second mission call to California, serving in San Francisco from November 18, 1919, to October 24, 1920. “Sister Howard” kept a daily handwritten journal of this mission:

[May 1920] Mon. 24 Visited Mrs. Copperfield & she had a Mrs. Peterson from Ill. visiting her. We all conversed freely on religion. Parted good friends. They did not believe in formal creeds or organizations. Said if we have faith, & love the Lord with all our souls, minds &c. we will be alright. I asked how we could show we had faith & love, only by obedience. Knowledge is promised us by doing the will of the Father. We the Latter day Saints believe in Organization as an outward evidence of the true church and combined with the doctrine that Christ taught makes the True church of which He said One Faith, one Lord & one baptism. Good night, I’m going to bed.

[June 1920] Fri. 4 class, Tracting with Sis. Stoker, 763 So. 2nd st. Man & woman railed out against us, against Joseph Smith & against our church. There was no reason in either one of them. We could not get to talk for their confusion until they got a little of the venom off their tongues. We tried to keep calm & when we did finally get a chance, we gave them something as straight as a line and although they resisted everything we said we stayed until they turned & shut the door with a bang in our faces. They said they were sorry for us. We told them to save their pity for themselves. We bore testimony to them that we had told them the truth & we knew our message was true. . . .

[October 1920] I cannot describe the feelings on being released, but do desire it understood that I am grateful to my Heavenly Father for the wonderful privilege of being a missionary in the great cause of spreading the Truths of the Everlasting Gospel. . . . My! I do raise in praise to my Fathers name for these great opportunities. 2 1/2 years in Missionary work. Wonderful to me.