Be of good cheer; I have overcome the world
"These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." John 16:33
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Brother Trent Allen is married to Rachelle Allen and they are the parents of eight children, four girls and four boys. He has taught for the seminary and institute programs of the Church for over 18 years. He has developed a deep love affair with the scriptures, as they have been a powerful influence in helping him come to know the Savior. That love affair with the word of God is evident in every part of his life. Through the lens of trial, he has learned to cherish every moment he has with his loved ones. His enjoys reading, running, snowboarding, photography, and cliff jumping with his family. Born in Mesa, Arizona, he is the oldest of six children. He served his mission in Osaka, Japan. He received his bachelor’s degree in Finance from Arizona State University, and his master’s degree in Educational Leadership from Northern Arizona University.
Brother Bartholomew and his wife, Kristen, are the parents of seven children, ages 16–31. Brother Bartholomew is an avid cyclist, regularly competing in century and longer rides. After serving a mission to Pusan, Korea, he received bachelors and master’s degrees from BYU and a doctorate in the Sociology of Education from the University of Buckingham in London, England. He has been a religious educator working for LDS Seminaries and Institutes for 33 years and for BYU Continuing Education programs for 29 years, including Especially for Youth, Especially for Parents, Best of Especially for Youth, Know Your Religion, Education Week, and Adult Religion classes. He currently holds a faculty position at the Orem LDS Institute of Religion adjacent to Utah Valley University. He has also held adjunct faculty positions at BYU Provo, BYU Salt Lake Center, and BYU-Idaho for the past 17 years, including two years as a full-time visiting professor in the BYU Religion Department. His passions include research, writing, and teaching. He has published scholarly articles in academic journals in the United States and Europe and has written several chapters in various published volumes. His research interests include nineteenth-century missionary work in rural Europe as well as assorted topics in Ancient Scripture and Church History. He has taught all four standard works and has developed a specialty in the history of Christianity, LDS Church History, and the study of the history of LDS missionary work.
George Durrant was born and reared in American Fork, Utah. He taught seminary, institute, and was a professor at BYU where he met his wife Susan. George served as the Director of Priesthood Genealogy, president of the Kentucky Tennessee Mission, president of the MTC in Provo, and Regional Representative of the Twelve. He is a popular lecturer and author. George has served missions in England, Canada, the Nauvoo Temple, and the St. George Temple Visitors’ Center. He is the father of eight children and the grandfather of many. He enjoys painting watercolor pictures, writing children’s stories, and sports. He married Susan because he believed she deserved the very best.
Susan Easton Black was born and reared in Long Beach, California. Susan was the first woman to teach religion at BYU and the first woman to receive the Karl G. Maeser Distinguished Faculty Lecturer Award for her research and writing, the highest award given a professor at BYU. Susan has served two missions for the Historic Sites Department, a mission as a psychologist for LDS Social Services, a mission to the Nauvoo Illinois Temple, and a mission in the St. George Temple Visitors’ Center. Susan is the mother of three sons. She enjoys writing, speaking, and being with George.
E. Jeffrey Hill, PhD, is a professor of Family Life at Brigham Young University and teaches classes on family finance and family processes. He has written numerous scholarly articles, book chapters, and books, and has contributed five articles to the Ensign. Most recently he published “Fundamentals of Family Finance: Living Joyfully within your Means” which is an LDS-oriented book about finances.
Tammy Hill, LMFT, is a licensed marriage and family therapist with a practice in Provo, Utah, and serves on the Utah State Marriage and Family Therapy Licensing Board. She is an adjunct professor of Family Life at Brigham Young University and teaches classes in marriage preparation and healthy sexuality in marriage. She was also a high school Family and Consumer Sciences teacher for 17 years.
Tammy and Jeff are both widowed. Tammy’s first husband, Mark, passed away in 2002 and Jeff’s first wife, Juanita, passed away in 2005. Tammy and Jeff celebrated their tenth anniversary this year and have experienced the challenge and joy blending a family of 12 children. They now also have 25 grandchildren.
Norman Hill is the Associate Managing Director of BYU's Ballard Center for Economic Self-Reliance. Previously, he served as the Ghana Accra West Mission President for two and a half years until his wife's untimely death. He also served as the Sierra Leone Mission President for 15 months during the Ebola crisis in West Africa. He is the author of two books published by Bookcraft (now part of Deseret Books) and a dozen articles included in either the Church's Ensign or New Era magazines.
Chris was born and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah. He graduated from the University of Utah and is currently employed as a Sales Executive at IBM.
He married the former Michelle Dorny and they are the parents of four children: Michael (a student at the University of Utah), Benjamin, Anna, and Sam (a student at Skyline High School).
On February 9, 2007, the Williams family’s vehicle was hit by a drunk driver. The crash killed his wife Michelle (who was five months pregnant), 11-year-old Benjamin and 9-year-old Anna. Sam and Chris survived the crash. Michael was not with them in the car.
Chris’s story of immediate forgiveness, healing, and hope has inspired many.
He has since married the former Mῐkkel Jones, whose husband succumbed to bone cancer in 2006. She has two children from that marriage: a boy, Parker, who is 13 years old; and a girl, Arli, who is 12. Chris and Mῐkkel have since been blessed with two more children: Emma, who is now seven, and Caroline, who is five.
They currently reside in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Kent is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who has been in private practice since 1991. He specializes in working with adolescents, couples, and families. Prior to private practice, he worked for Weber County Drug and Alcohol as the Associate Director of Youth Services. He also worked as an adjunct professor at Weber State University. For the past 25 years, he has been involved in helping individuals through the grieving process. He has presented many times at Grieving Conferences throughout the West, such as WSU Families Alive Conference, GIFT (Governor's Initiative on Families Today), Generations Conference, Good Grief and numerous other organizations throughout Utah, Idaho, and Wyoming. Mr. Allen is an accomplished speaker and facilitator who brings excitement and energy to any topic.
Karla Ashton has been speaking on the professional circuit for over a decade now. She loves being able to share her experiences and her pursuit to find happiness and joy every day to uplift people’s hearts. She has traveled the globe speaking for the Life Insurance and the Financial Planning Industry. Karla was born and raised in Idaho Falls, Idaho, and graduated from BYU in early education. She is a preschool teacher by day and has the funniest collection of stories from her adventures with her students. She has been blessed with three wonderful children, but her favorite role is getting to love and adore four grandchildren. Besides her love of spending time with her family, Karla loves to cook, read, serve others, and cherishes the friendships she has and continues to make. Karla is currently serving as the Stake Young Women’s President, and loves working with the youth. The greatest love in her life is her husband Dave. They were married for 25 years, and she has been a widow for 14 years, but is still finding the joy in her eternal marriage. Life has presented many rough challenges but Karla has learned that even in the very most difficult and painful situations, joy is a choice.
Dr. Bair is trained in Internal Medicine, Geriatric Internal Medicine, Psychiatry and Geriatric Psychiatry. He obtained a special MBA for physician administrator from the David Eccles School of Business at the University of Utah. He is a professor of internal medicine and psychiatry at the University of Utah School of Medicine and an adjunct professor of nursing at the University of Utah School of Nursing. He is currently the Director of the Veterans Rural Health Resource Center–Salt Lake City, which is a field office for the VA Office of Rural Health located in Washington D.C. He is also the Director of the Geriatric Medicine and Psychiatry Program as well as the Geriatric Medicine Psychiatry outpatient clinic. His research interests include rural health care delivery systems, decision support systems for healthcare providers, and disruptive behaviors in cognitively impaired elders. He is the father of six children and grandfather of fifteen. His wife of 29 years passed away nine years ago to cancer. He has served as Elders Quorum President, in several different High Councils, and is currently serves as a Stake Clerk.
Michelle is a professional IT specialist who has been working in technology for the last 20 years. She is currently working at the manager of technology for Robert Redford’s Sundance Stores. Michelle has served as a Relief Society president, YW president and is currently serving as a Laurel Advisor. She has been widowed not once, but twice. She is the mother to five sons, four daughters, one granddaughter and one more grandson on the way.
Jennifer is originally from San Diego, California but has called Austin, Texas home for 26 years. She is the mother of 8 and grandmother to 2.5 children.
On September 15, 2010 her husband of 26 years, Rod Dial, died suddenly in an accident. Her mantra since then has been to “find Joy in the journey that I didn't even know I signed up for.” She is proud of her children for staying the path she and Rod set for them which so far includes 3 missions, 4 college graduations, 2 temple marriages, and 5 temple endowed kids.
Ryan Dunn grew up in California, Brazil, and Utah as the second youngest in a family of nearly 20 “siblings” from different life and family backgrounds. They each stayed with his family for different periods of time during Ryan’s most formative years.
He completed his undergraduate degree in exercise science and psychology at USU in 2001. He started a business in financial and investment consulting, yet was always drawn to observe and support family relationships surrounding trials and stress (including those associated with money). These interests led Ryan back to USU for a PhD in family relations and human development. He researched young widowhood, family economics, and parenting. He has presented, written, and published on these topics.
He is currently an assistant professor at Weber State University in the child and family studies department. He is married to a cheerleader from a rival high school, and they have 5 1/2 darling little children at home. He loves to teach and has been invited to speak/present all over North America. As a fun fact—he draws every birthday/anniversary/special occasion card he gives to others.
S. Ted Elder graduated from Springville High School and went on to graduate from the School of Accountancy at Utah State University. He served in the Scotland Edinburgh Mission from 1979–1981. He has worked as a forest fire pumper crewman, a smoke jumper, an IRS revenue agent, a special agent for the U.S. Treasury Department, and an expatriate for the LDS Church Tax Department. He currently works as an investment manager for Bountiful City Treasurer. Ted married Christy Gailey and together they have 5 children: Jacob, John, Hillary, Jeremy (deceased), and Justin; they also have seveb grandchildren. He is a former bishop and stake presidency first counselor and currently teaches gospel doctrine. Ted enjoys hang gliding, scuba diving, motorcycling, bicycling, golfing, hiking, and camping. He loves the pursuit of truth and strives to understand life through the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Bruce Hafen grew up in St. George, Utah. After serving a mission to Germany, he met Marie Kartchner from Bountiful, Utah at BYU. They were married in 1964.
Elder Hafen received a bachelor’s degree from BYU and a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Utah. After practicing law in Salt Lake City, he went to BYU as a member of the original faculty of BYU’s Law School. He taught family law and constitutional law.
He served as the President of BYU-Idaho from 1978 to 1985. Then he was Dean of the BYU Law School and later served as the Provost—the second in command--at BYU. He was called as a fulltime General Authority in 1996, serving in area presidencies in Australia, North America, and Europe. He also served at Church headquarters as an adviser to the Priesthood Department, the general auxiliary presidencies, Church History, and the Temple Department. He became an Emeritus General Authority in 2010, then served as president of the St. George Temple. He is the author of several books on gospel topics, including the biography of Elder Neal A. Maxwell, and books on marriage, the temple, and the Atonement—including The Broken Heart and, more recently, The Contrite Spirit.
Marie K. Hafen is a homemaker and teacher. She has a Master’s Degree in English from BYU and has taught Shakespeare, freshman writing, and Book of Mormon at BYU-Idaho, the University of Utah, and BYU. She was also on the Young Women General Board, the Board of Directors of the Deseret News, and was matron of the St. George Temple. She has edited and co-authored books with her husband, including Covenant Hearts and The Belonging Heart.
The Hafens have seven children and 46 grandchildren.
Betsy Hughes Barrow is the mother of five children, two of whom were adopted from China at ages 4 and 9. This unexpected blessing of adoption taught her about miracles and trusting in the Lord. She was able to draw on these lessons during the darkest time of her life, when four and a half years ago she lost her husband, James, to suicide. His battle with mental illness was a trial throughout their twenty-one-year marriage that taught them both about the power of forgiveness and the enabling power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Betsy recently remarried and she and her husband, Jeff, have a blended family of 8 children, ages 15–27. Betsy is studying Family Science at BYU with the goal to become a marriage and family therapist.
Kelly Kimber was raised in Kearns, Utah as the youngest of five children. On returning home from his mission to England, he attended the College of Eastern Utah on a baseball scholarship where he met and married Melody Cox. After 23 years of marriage and two children, Melody passed away due to a prescription drug overdose. For seven years, Kelly struggled to navigate the crazy ups and downs of dating and raising a family. He learned some hard lessons along the way. Finally, he found and married Denise Free. They have been married for 5 years and together they have four children and 12 grandchildren. Kelly has served as a Bishop, High Counselor, and Counselor in the Stake Presidency. He and Denise are currently serving as ward missionaries. Receiving a Master’s in Public Administration from BYU, his career has been in the public sector where he currently is the Director of Information Systems and a Data Analyst.
Richard G. Moore received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from BYU in American History and his doctoral degree in Education from the University of the Pacific. He retired after teaching 38 years for the Church Educational System as a seminary teacher, institute instructor and director, and as an instructor for the Ancient Scripture Department at BYU. He is the author of four published books and more than a dozen articles, and has spoken often at Education Week. Rich and his wife, Lani, live in Orem, Utah. They have three children and eight grandchildren.
Dale H. Munk grew up on a wheat and alfalfa farm in Southern Idaho near the small town of Montpelier. In addition to farming, his father was a high school English and Spanish teacher and taught for 45 years.
Elder Munk received BS and MBA degrees from the University of Utah where he met his wife, JoAnn Hammond, a graduate of Utah State, who was from Oxon Hill, Maryland. They were married in 1974 and had five children over the next nine years. All the children are grown and married at present, with 19 grandchildren living in Dallas, Greensboro, Atlanta, San Francisco, and Carson City.
Following school, Elder and Sister Munk moved to the Boston area where he began a 38-year career in the computer and software industries, leading troubled companies, turnarounds, and restarts. After 14 years in the Boston area, the family moved to San Diego and later to Mapleton, Utah, to start a software company. He is currently working on another startup software company located in Orem. Sister Munk received her Master’s degree at BYU when the children were grown and teaches in the Special Education Department there today. On occasion, Elder Munk teaches a class in entrepreneurship to computer science students, also at BYU.
Elder Munk has served as bishop three times, including one YSA ward, and in two stake presidencies in New Hampshire and Mapleton. He was ordained a Seventy in April of 2014.
Elder and Sister Munk are avid hikers and snowshoers.
Brock Lance Richardson grew up as the oldest of seven children in Idaho Falls, Idaho. He served a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Montevideo, Uruguay. While serving his mission, his father passed away with complications related to Crohn’s disease. The desire to honor his father’s memory has continually driven Brock to search for the spiritual warrior within himself. Returning from the mission, he played football at Snow College and later at BYU.
He met his sweetheart Stephanie at Snow College and they married in 2009. They since have had three children: five-year-old daughter Kinlee, three-year-old son Kade, and one-year-old son Hunter. Brock adores his wife and children with all of his heart. He is currently a seminary teacher and is part of a non-profit organization called “Marked Generation,” organizing events and seminars for children that have lost parents. He loves the youth and believes in the tremendous potential that they have. He hopes to be able to share insights from your children’s perspective that can help them to discover the warrior they have inside themselves.
Susie Rose was born and raised in the Philippines and first came to the US on an American Field Service scholarship. She attended the University of the Philippines on a softball scholarship. She joined the LDS church in 1965. She married Earl Rose in 1969 and moved to Tooele, Utah, where she raised seven children. She has 37 grandchildren. She is a seamstress, a gardener, a dancer, a self-proclaimed Crossfit junkie, a hiker, an avid 5k finisher, a pageant queen, and a power lifter. She can speak Tagalog, some German and Spanish and according to her children who love to tease her about her accent, is still working on her English. She turned 75 this year but has never let her age define nor restrict her. She has continued to set personal goals and has bright plans for her future.
Marné Ruesch was born and raised Salt Lake City, Utah. She became a widow after her husband passed away 8 years ago. She often says widowhood is one of the greatest blessings in her life because of the growth it has created in her and her 4 children.
She has had many wonderful opportunities to serve since the passing of her husband which has brought purpose and healing to her life. One of those opportunities has been to serve in the temple for the last 8 years, and another, the wonderful blessing to serve as Co-Chair for the LDS Widow and Widowers planning committee for the last 6 years. She also serves as the Chair for the South Jordan 46+ Singles planning committee which is so rewarding. To overcome her fears of heights, she decided to learn to rock climb, which not only worked but also developed into a healthy addiction. Last year she decided to try something new and is now studying Hebrew. Although she misses her husband at times, life has moved forward with joy as her motto has become: Life is a gift, try new things, meet wonderful new people and get busy creating happy new memories.
Dr. Matt Townsend is the founder and president of the Townsend Relationship Center, a relationship skills-building organization. He combines his talents as a coach, teacher and speaker to empower people and companies to connect and communicate more effectively. Through entertainment and humor, Matt teaches life-changing skills that help improve our most important relationships. His humorous speaking style helps him impact a wide range of people in various church and corporate events.
Matt trained for 9 years with the training industry leader Franklin Covey. He earned his Bachelors and Masters Degrees in the area of Communication as well as a second Masters degree and his PhD in the field of Human Development. Matt is a weekly contributor to KSL TV’s morning show “Studio 5” and has a weekday radio show on BYU radio on Sirius XM 143.
Matt’s greatest love in life is his wife Mardi. They have been happily married for 25 years and have 6 children: 1 girl and 5 boys, ranging in ages from 12 to 22, a son-in-law, and a granddaughter.
Jody is a native Texan, born in Oak Cliff hospital in Dallas during the time of poodle skirts and car hops. She is your typical fourth-generation Texan, who loves tall glasses of iced lemonade, wide-open landscapes with star filled Texas skies, and mesquite barbeque. She can make potato salad for 100 and the Boy Scouts say her cinnamon rolls are to die for!
When all the children flew the nest, she returned to school to complete a degree in Social Work and is now a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. She has a private practice working as a Child and Family Therapist in the Arlington and Plano, Texas, areas.
Many years ago she found her sweetheart and they married in the Salt Lake City Temple. They celebrated 32 years of marriage before he left to go prepare their mansion on the other side of the veil. Since that time nine years ago, she is busy being the grandma to 17 grandkids, helping others through her work and in the community, trying out new recipes, planning parties and loving life!
In 2000, Sandra married a widower who had lost his first wife to suicide, giving her the opportunity to be a step-parent to his three teenagers from his first marriage. She is grateful for the two beautiful daughters they have together.
In 2013, just six months after her mother died, Sandra’s husband lost his battle with stomach cancer and died—leaving her a widow to raise her two young daughters. In 2015, after feeling like she was getting her feet back on the ground, her father died.
Sandra began blogging about their journey through cancer at the time of her husband’s diagnosis. As the author of the blog www.hopeanchorsyoursoul.com and co-founder of the website www.howdoigoon.org, a non-profit organization, Sandra continues to share her journey through the many different facets of loss and the grieving process—which includes learning how to navigate through all the challenges associated with being a single parent.
Sandra believes that one of her greatest tender mercies after her husband died came when the bishop called her to be Relief Society President the day after her husband died. Because of this calling, she quickly discovered that through serving others she was greatly blessed and able to forget about her own worries. Prayer, scripture study, gratitude, service, eating healthy and exercise have been fundamental in helping her meet the challenges of widowhood.
After serving as a missionary in the England Manchester Mission, Sandra attended Weber State University and received her bachelor’s degree with a dual emphasis in Family Studies and Communication. She loves spending time with her children, listening to good music, hiking, reading, beautiful art, playing outside (especially on her UTV), traveling, and hopes to get more time to use the creative side of her brain again.