Jelaire Richardson

I grew up in Rochester, Minnesota, USA, but sadly never picked up a Minnesotan accent. During my six years of having paper routes as a child, I would randomly break out in hives during the winters. I didn’t find out the reason until I was in high school, when the doctor told me I was allergic to the cold (no, seriously!).

I grew up as a tomboy, swearing I’d never wear pink. Now, after lots of practice, I’ve made my peace with pink and finally feel comfortable wearing it. I played soccer through high school until a Jelaire Richardsonknee injury in college ended my soccer days and I picked up racquetball instead. When I have a spare minute, I love catching a game of the U.S. Women’s National Soccer team. I enjoy playing piano and violin and would love to one day have a little recording studio in my house.

I’m a wife, mother of four, and I can’t live without fruit snacks. I received a BS in Sociology from BYU-Idaho and an MS in Social Work from BYU. I served a Dutch-speaking mission to Belgium and the Netherlands (random fact: “the Netherlands” and “Holland” are the same country). My husband and I met through the carpool-coordinating “ride board” at BYU. He always says he’s grateful it was a ten-hour round trip, because if he didn’t make a good first impression, he had the extra time to make a second and third impression.

I currently live in Yuma, Arizona, USA. My four siblings and I grew up in a home where the gospel was taught by loving parents. My personal conviction that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was the Lord’s church and that he had chosen a prophet today came at some point when I was a 12 or 13, though I probably couldn’t pinpoint a specific moment when that happened. For me, it was very gradual.

I’ve had many experiences in my life that have helped solidify my testimony. If I had to choose just a few principles of the gospel that I feel the most strongly about and have had personal testimony-building experiences about, it would be these five:

First, that the Savior’s grace and enabling power are very real. I’ve felt him give me strength physically and spiritually many times throughout my life.

Second, that the Lord’s prophets and apostles really are his spokesmen, and we’d be wise to study as much as we can about what they’ve said about every topic—especially when we’re trying to make a decision having to do with that particular topic. Come to think of it, I can’t recall anywhere in the scriptures where people were chided for following the prophet too closely!

Third, that motherhood really is a sacred responsibility. If a nation will rise no higher than the strength of its homes, then, like President Gordon B. Hinckley said, we need to begin with families and parents who teach their children values. When the prophets and apostles ask us to make raising children a priority—because the fates of social, political, and economic systems, and most importantly, our eternal potential, rest upon the strength of families—I want to put child-rearing as my focus. And I want to help others see how it can become theirs if they let it … even though it may be inconvenient.

Fourth, that sharing the gospel brings us and others joy, and it gets much easier with practice.

Fifth, that we not only need to safeguard our homes from degrading influences and harmful media, but to fill our homes with the “best” things (and not just the “good” things). It’s worth the time and energy to be selective with what we choose to fill our children’s minds and thoughts.

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