LaRue Carr Longden was a leader for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (inadvertently called the “Morman Church” by some). LaRue was an LDS woman leader who was asked by the living prophet of God (George Albert Smith) to lead the Young Women’s Mutual Improvement Association (YWMIA) which is presently called the LDS Young Women’s organization (a global organization for female youth) (Caroline H. Benzley, “134 Years Young!”, New Era, November, 2003).

Mormon Women Leading the Young Women’s Organization

Mormon Young WomenFrom 1948-1961, LaRue C. Longden served as the Young Women’s second counselor to several LDS women leaders such as Bertha S. Reeder (fifth young women’s president) and Emily H. Bennett (first counselor). She helped begin individual awards, a series of posters titled “Be Honest with Yourself,” and an “Era of Youth” section in the Improvement Era (Young Women: Bertha Stone Reeder). Janet Peterson wrote:

Those who worked with Bertha Reeder responded to the love, the warmth, and the confidence she placed in them. LaRue C. Longden, who served as Bertha’s counselor during her entire thirteen-year administration, said, ‘She loved us and she knew our potential, but we didn’t until she called us to work with her. . . . She had the ability to know that God gave us talents but some of us might not have developed them if it were not for her” (“Lessons from the Lives of the Auxiliary Leaders-The Priciple of Presidency,” Meridian Magazine, August 14, 2008).

LaRue counseled the young Mormon women to live their Christian beliefs:

For almost too many years to count, it has been my beautiful privilege to tell our precious young folks and their leaders that “It is smart to be a Latter-day Saint.” As my parting shot, may I again reiterate, it is smart to be a Latter-day Saint, for to be one we are privileged to be baptized and confirmed by proper authority which brings us into our Father’s kingdom. Then, through our young men, we women share in our Father’s greatest gift to his children, his priesthood, through which our worthy men may act in his behalf. In a day of turmoil, false prophets, worry, supposed lack of security and decision, I want to say once more with a voice loud and clear, “I am humbly grateful to be a Latter-day Saint, for I know it is truly smart to be a Latter-day Saint!” (It’s Smart to Be a Latter-day Saint, [1967], p. 112) (Elder Marvin J. Ashton, “That’s Just the Way I Am,” The Measure of Our Hearts, [1991], 24-33).

Mormon Women: Biography of LaRue C. Longden

Frances LaRue Carr, was known by the name LaRue. She married John Longden and had three children. One of her daughters, Sharon, married Loren C. Dunn, a future general authority of the LDS Church. LaRue supported her husband in his own calling as a church general authority for 18 years as he served as an Assistant to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (1951) (“John Longden (Mormon),”

LaRue was a Christ-like person who taught others to come unto Christ. She learned that partaking of the sacrament was a special time to renew the promises she made at baptism to remember her Savior Jesus Christ:

While very young (and I thought I knew so much) I recall telling a dear Sunday School teacher that I was not going to sacrament meeting any more because it was so boring and dry. … [The teacher] looked at me and said, “Don’t you ever let me hear you say that again! God has invited you to that meeting to partake the emblems of Jesus Christ’s suffering and of his gift to you. You are very privileged to be invited. If you take the right spirit with you to meeting, you will always bring something good away with you” (“God Has Invited You” in Leon R. Hartshorn, comp., Remarkable Stories from the Lives of Latter-day Saint Women [1973], 1:97–98) (“Lesson 17: Church Meetings,” The Latter-day Saint Woman: Basic Manual for Women, Part A, 122).

Mormon Women Leading Today

As an LDS youth, I learned Christian standards and values that have blessed my life. The gospel of Jesus Christ has brought me hope, peace, happiness, comfort and safety from the evils of the world. From a young age, I decided to not smoke, use addictive drugs, nor have premarital sex and I agree with LaRue that “it is truly smart to be a Latter-day Saint!” (It’s Smart to Be a Latter-day Saint, [1967], 112) (Elder Marvin J. Ashton, “That’s Just the Way I Am,” The Measure of Our Hearts, [1991], 24-33).

About 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 for the Annapolis, Maryland Ward. He is a 30-year honorably retired United States Navy Veteran.

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