Emily Higgs Bennett led young women for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (inadvertently called the “Mormon Church” by some). Emily was a Mormon woman leader who was asked by the living prophet of God to serve in the Young Women’s Mutual Improvement Association (YWMIA) which is presently called the LDS Young Women’s organization (a divine organization for female youth worldwide) (Caroline H. Benzley, “134 Years Young!”, New Era, November, 2003). As a Mormon youth, this program helped me develop a strong testimony of Jesus Christ.
Mormon Woman Leading the Young Women’s Organization
From 1948-1961, Emily served as the Young Women’s first counselor with several LDS women leaders such as the LDS women leaders Bertha S. Reeder (fifth young women’s president) and Larue C. Longden (second counselor). They worked together to help the youth gain stronger testimonies of Christ. The YWMIA presidency, wrote LaVon Ried, another Mormon woman leader, concerning her local YWMIA programs:
Dear Sister Reid:
We have just learned of your appointment as Y.W.M.I.A. of the North Davis Stake…We want you to know that we are eager to do everything we can to assist you… Do not hesitate to call on us at any time that we may be of service to you.
You have ahead of you one of the most satisfying experiences of your life, for there is no work that we know of that gives the dividends of contentment and peace of mind that this great work does. The knowledge that you are actively engaged in the promotion of the work of the Lord, that you are working among the choicest of the children of our Father in Heaven, gives you a feeling of gratitude for this opportunity to serve Him. We pray that the Lord will bless and inspire you and help you in every way (Lavon Holt, George Samuel Reid Family Roots).
Sincerely your sisters,
Bertha S. Reeder, Emily H. Bennett, LaRue C. Longden
General Presidency Y.W.M.I.A.
Emily was a humble leader and Christ-like example to everyone surrounding her. For example, Emily helped supervise Elaine Cannon’s calling to start the Era of Youth section in The Improvement Era. Elaine served on the YWMIA general board and helped Emily with the June conferences and other projects:
I am indebted to people who have given and taught me so much, people like Emily Higgs Bennett.
…After she was released from the general YWMIA presidency, she and I were called to serve with others on the youth correlation committee of the Church. I was so impressed with her ability and the humble way in which she shared her knowledge and experience.
Instead of accepting the honor and glory of the position she had well earned, she pointed out to me that we were one—the same. She insisted that I call her by her first name, Emily.
…When I served with her, I was frequently touched by her beauty, though perhaps not in the world’s point of view. She had a kind of beauty that comes from living the Christ-like way that we read about in the fifth chapter of Alma—the beauty that comes from within.
She taught by example the precious relationship between a woman and the priesthood. She loved her husband; we all knew it. She talked of her husband with respect, she spoke of counseling with him. She would say, “Let me counsel with Harold about this,” or “Let me get Harold’s point of view.”
…She let us grow; she did not impose experience, age, clout, position or anything else upon us. She was refined and gentle. Her attitude toward people and her attitude toward the Lord were marked by humble commitment.
She was such a marvelous model and teacher in humility, in faith, in serenity, in choices of the better way of life that I wanted to pursue the “Emily kind of life.” (Elaine Cannon, “My Most Influential Teacher,” Deseret News, May 27, 1978, 2).
Mormon Woman: Short Biography of Emily Higgs Bennett
Emily Higgs was born on June 27, 1896, in Utah. She married Harold Harper Bennett, who outlived her (Emily Higgs Bennett, Find A Grave.com). Emily gave birth to several children and named them John, Michael, Peter, Stephen, Ellen, and Susan (“Death: Susan B. Winters”, Deseret News, February 3, 1992). Emily attended the University of Utah and received a merit of honor award in 1972 (Emeritus Alumni Board Merit of Honor Award Recipients 1971-2010). She died at the age of 88, on March 19, 1985.
Quotes by Emily H. Bennett include:
Success, happiness, and even salvation may be a simple matter of being prepared and in the right place at the right time (Provident Living Quotes, Homemaker’s Journal Blog).
Humor–the great balanced and adjustor is indispensable. It works beautifully–you know you can’t be perfect even though you long for perfection. So you go on imperfectly seeking perfection. You know your friends can’t be perfect–so you assume they are–nearly. Humor is tolerance, understanding, a light heart, a ready laugh, a quick joke, resiliency–faith everlasting (“Quotations on Sense of Humor,” Sentence Sermons (Christian Inspiration) #58 from Improvement Era, June 1944).
Keith L. Brown
Keith L. Brown is a convert to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, having been born and raised Baptist. He was studying to be a Baptist minister at the time of his conversion to the LDS faith. He was baptized on 10 March 1998 in Reykjavik, Iceland while serving on active duty in the United States Navy in Keflavic, Iceland. He currently serves as the First Assistant to the High Priest Group and Ward Missionary for the Annapolis, Maryland Ward. He also serves as a Stake Public Affairs Specialist for the Annapolis, Maryland Stake. He is a 30-year honorably retired Navy veteran.