Blessings and Beauty– Marjorie Hinckley

For Mormons, April 6th is a date of unique significance. It’s the day the church was organized 179 years ago and it’s the day we believe was the true birth date of Jesus Christ. No special meetings or celebrations hallow the day– it is simply and quietly noted as the work of the world goes forward.

Mormons are like this, we don’t have great feast days or high holy masses, choosing instead to focus on the significance of each Sabbath Day(though we love the pomp and beauty found in other faiths– you’ll see lots of Mormons visiting Passover feasts and Good Friday Mass this week). But because April 6th is a day of such profound beauty it seems fitting that it was the day Marjorie Hinckley passed from this life to the next 5 years ago.

I fell in love with Grandma Hinckley on the day her husband was announced as Prophet and President of the LDS Church(March 12, 1993), on this sober and momentous occasion she sent the entire press conference into fits of laughter by saying, “How did a nice girl like me get into a mess like this?”

With delight I watched as she went from interview to temple dedications to formal banquets laughing, giggling, kissing babies and offering compliments. She began an interview at BYU Women’s Conference fumbling with her notecards, resting her head in her head and confessing, “This is how it it with us; nothing ever works out.”

As a young mother, Marjorie Hinckley was a revelation to me. She believed that unstructured summer days taught more than a relentless pursuit of talents; she gave me permission to laugh and make my own rules and even complain a bit. “I hope you enjoy your children; if not, you’re in trouble.”

And who can’t love someone who says, “I decided that if I live to be 85 I’d stop counting calories and eat anything I want. And I do! I would make my mother’s lemon pie but I’ve given up cooking too.”?

Maybe it’s hard to explain anyone outside the church? Mormon women felt generations of pressure to conform, to keep up appearances, to be saintly and then the woman at the head of the church(like’s Isaiah’s wife to give you some sort of parellel) shows a way to be faithful while eating chocolate and telling jokes and wearing red shoes.

The beauty of Marjorie Hinckley’s talents are that everyone can try to emulate them– she didn’t write symphonies or examine scientific theories or climb Mt. Everest; rather, she laughed at troubles, refrained from judgment, cheered the lonely and offered the counsel to “Be kind. Everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”

And though she spent conference weekends sitting behind the podium, I know she’d approve of our days spent playing Lego’s


and taking long naps.


And I know she’d admire of Mary’s way-too-beautiful Easter dress


and compliment my red sandals and just drink in the loveliness of sweet baby Eden’s blessing day…




“The only way to get through life is to laugh your way through it. You either have to laugh or cry. I prefer to laugh. Crying gives me a headache.”

note: I should mention that I never met my hero– but I moved into her neighborhood shortly after her death and have found her daughters and granddaughters to be every bit as wonderful and funny as Marjorie Hinckley herself.

April 4, 2009



  1. Claudia

    April 7, 2009

    This is so lovely. I too loved Sis. Hinckley. Her legacy lives on.

    And those pictures are heavenly. I especially love the one of your boys holding baby Eden. Gorgeous!

  2. Michelle

    April 7, 2009

    Thanks for the reminder, she was a wonderful woman.

  3. sarah

    April 7, 2009

    Oh, I just love her too. She gives me hope and strength in being a mother. What a great and noble woman she was. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Derek and Mary

    April 7, 2009

    The best part about her is that she was probably pleased as punch knowing that we are all down here missing her. I’m so glad I got to share her with you.

  5. Kate

    April 7, 2009

    Has it been five years?? I also love and revere Marjorie Hinckley- she is one of my idols- I have the tape of her from women’s conference with her daughters and when I need a good laugh I watch it… she was/is an amazing person and I can’t wait until I can give her a big hug on the other side!

  6. Christie

    April 7, 2009

    I’m telling you – she is my hero. I loved her and connected more with her than any other “first lady.” (Excuse the phrase, you know what I mean.)

    And your conference weekend looked just like ours. Heavenly, wasn’t it?

  7. Linkous

    April 8, 2009

    thanks once again michelle for spoiling us with your talent, love and goodness!
    And thanks Erik for being so patient with us and letting us steal her for most of the evening!
    And Lehnardt boys thank you so much for coming to Eden’s blessing what a treat to have you all there to share in her special day! We love you guys!

  8. martha corinna

    April 8, 2009

    Sister Hinckley was really special.

    A couple that my husband and I are good friends with have a brother who married a Hinckley granddaughter. I’ve met her a few times and she is really sweet. I wonder if you know her as well.

    Those blessing pictures are beautiful and so is the blessing dress. And Mary’s photo is so sweet and so little girl.

    We are finally blessing Rosemary this Sunday.

  9. Linn

    April 9, 2009

    Her book, while not meant to be, is the best parenting book I have ever read. Ever. I absolutely LOVE Sister Hinckley!

  10. Travelin'Oma

    April 10, 2009

    What a great post! She was so real!

  11. Linkous

    April 10, 2009

    What a great tribute to a wonderful woman. Thanks for being you and so much like her! I loved your red sandals and dress and Mary’s twirling masterpiece that day. And I hate to say this, but I think your boys really need another baby :).

  12. Queen Scarlett

    April 11, 2009

    These are breathtaking pictures.

    When I grow up …I want to be more like Sis. Hinckley. I love that she couldn’t wait for her kids to come home from school… I miss her…I miss them.

  13. FIEF

    April 17, 2009

    I don’t know you but I was looking for a Sister Hinckley quote on Google and found your blog post.

    What a lovely reminder of her goodness and lasting influence on us.

    (And I don’t know the family in your pictures but that father and new baby picture is just about the sweetest thing! Look at the expression on his face. Just lovely.)

  14. Valerie

    May 11, 2009

    What a beautiful tribute to a wonderful woman. She was so wise and I wish to be like her one day.

  15. Kira Rae

    July 13, 2009

    Hello, I found your blog while searching quotes from Sister Hinckley. I know she has one about. “Pretty dress, sensible shoes.” Ring a bell. Maybe you can help me track it down. I am in the the Young Womens presidency in a Santaquin, Utah stake and sis Hinckley is our ward hero this year for Girl’s Camp. If you know where to find anything good from her, please let me know. Thank you so much and what a beautiful family you have.

  16. Lyndsey

    January 18, 2013

    Hi Mary
    I found your blog while looking for sister Hinkley’s quotes. I have been looking for a blessing dress for my daughter and saw yours and fell in love. I was hoping you could tell me where you bought this dress because it is beautiful. It tells a story and i love what it says. I too have 4 boys and now to finally get our sweet spirit sent to us I am delighted. Please e-mail me with any information on the dress, thank-you so much. ( I live in Canada and I am assuming you bought in Utah, a store name or website I could order from would be such a great help, thanks)

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