Annette has been a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints all of her life. Her father also grew up as a Mormon, but her mother –a native of Helsinki, Finland –was baptized into the church at the age of 17. Annette has been married for just over 15 years. She has four children; the oldest is a teenager, and the youngest is approaching 7 years old.
Annette has many roles in her life. First and foremost, she says she is a stay-at-home-mom: “That’s my most important role. But I’m also a novelist, freelance writer, and editor –something a bit easier to do now that the kiddies are in school.” For the last three years, she has been serving in the church as a counselor in the Relief Society Presidency in her ward (congregation). Now she teaches the 17-year-old Sunday School class with her husband, which she finds very enjoyable.
Annette does not have much free time, since writing takes up most of it, but she loves to read and knit (as well as write!). Family is very important to her. She loves to go out with each of her children, one at a time, even if it’s just for errands or a special treat. On weekends they play a lot of board games, and lately she has been showing them a lot of classic movies (such as: Some Like It Hot and Singing in the Rain) and getting the kids hooked on them.
The following is Annette’s description of a spiritual experience she had:
“One of the earliest moments of what I feel was a real connection and communication with God was when I was sixteen and approaching jaw surgery. I was completely terrified, and the very mention of words like ‘doctor,’ ‘hospital,’ and ‘surgery’ made me instantly burst into tears. The day before the surgery was a Sunday, and my father gave me a Priesthood blessing. It promised that angels would be in the operating room guiding the surgeon’s hands and that through the experience I would learn wisdom, compassion, and understanding.
“From that point on, I didn’t cry again. I had a simple knowledge in my heart that everything would be okay. I was still nervous about the unknown, sure, but if I got emotional, I’d remember the peaceful feeling from the blessing, and the tears dried right up–even at the most intense moment when they wheeled me away from my parents. I won’t say that the next few months (horrid nausea, ICU, liquid diet, mouth wired shut, etc.) were easy by any means, but every time I was on the verge of complaining or whining, I’d be reminded of what I was to learn from the experience–wisdom, compassion, and understanding. And I believe I did.”
To Annette, being a Mormon Woman means having the vision of what a valuable being a woman is, what her place is in the Plan of Salvation, and why she is here. Motherhood, to her, would not be as significant, nor would it be as enjoyable. She says, “I wonder if my marriage would survive the ups and downs without an eternal perspective, knowing why marriage is so important, and the covenants I’ve made with the Lord about it.” She says she loves knowing that she is a beloved daughter of God and has “infinite worth,” as the Young Women value states [go here to read the Young Women’s Theme and to learn more about the values stated in the theme (please note that the value “virtue” was recently added to this theme)].
Such knowledge brings her life purpose and peace. She says she doubts there is any other organization in the world that honors women simply as women more than the Mormon Church does, and she is grateful to be a part of it.
For more Portraits on Mormon Women, please click here.