Thursday, November 19, 2015

Mom Conference and World Congress

We are so proud of our oldest daughter Saren, who has taken the baton in the effort to help moms and families and has charged ahead! Many of you will know about the incredible website she and her brilliant and wise friend April Perry have created at

While we were in Japan, Saren, April and Desiree Ward (who had done something similar last year) pulled off the most incredible online conference for moms imaginable.They lined up twenty speakers, all doing one-hour presentations on topics crucially important for mothers, who otherwise get precious little training for their lifelong careers as mothers. After hundreds of hours of hard work and marketing, they gathered almost 40,000 mothers who attended the three-day conference. The accolades are still pouring in and we are so happy that their tireless efforts paid off, giving help to a lot of deliberate moms!

We haven’t heard all the talks yet because we were busy speaking in Japan, but we are honored to have had the chance to be a part of this with a one hour session on Teaching Your Children Values which we recorded before we left. Saren and Shawni also each contributed an hour to the excellent presentations! In addition Saren did an excellent job of being the interviewer in many of the session.


As soon as we returned from Japan, we headed up to close up Bear Lake for the season and enjoyed a coupe of Blue Apron meals which I’ll explain in another post. Needless to say, Richard was delighted to get some real meals while we were pulling in outdoor furniture and battening down the hatches at Bear Lake until next summer which is always kind of a sad event for us. 

That’s kale hanging out that gourmet burger! Sorry it may not look too great but it was delicious!


The next morning we were off to an event near Logan, Utah where Richard grew up, about an hour and a half away from Bear Lake. There we had the opportunity to speak to a huge group for creative Mothers, an event sponsored by The American Mothers. This just may be the best-organized American Mothers group in America!

Their clever theme was “Put That in Your Purse” which lent itself to several interpretations! The committee created a list of about 20 things which you would think would never be found in a purse and amazingly, at least one of those 400 moms in that audience were able to find every single thing on the list including, something that could be used for a centerpiece on a table! Hilarious!

That was followed by great support for Mothers through stories, speeches and workshops.

Sadly, I didn’t take one picture because so many fabulous purses were used for decorations. Creative displays showing everything from gorgeous quilts to books and candles bedecked that large room. Women are amazing!

That weekend The World Congress of Families IX came to Salt Lake City! This Congress has been held all around the world…from Amsterdam to Australia and from Mexico City to Madrid, but it had never yet been held in the United States.

Over three thousand people congregated at the Grand America Hotel in Salt Lake city to enjoy four days of non-stop speakers and fabulous entertainment celebrating the importance of the family!


Richard and I had a chance to be part of one of the plenary sessions. Since Rick has always been big on “props” we found four giant gold statues we called the “Guardians of the Family”.


He had quite a good time putting these signs on these guardians, showing the four things that we assumed would always be the part that families would play in our society. Richard then turned the signs around indicating that the world is turning away from the principles of strong families. Many are deciding not to get married…ever… and many of those do get married are deciding not to have children.

Populations all over the world are not replacing themselves and strong families, which are the core of any good society are in grave danger! We ended our presentation with some ideas to create stronger families and the challenge that we must work tirelessly to protect and enhance the part that families will play in our future societies. .


This is the first time in our lives that we have actually written a speech. Richard worked on it tirelessly and then, as expected, he got so excited about what we were saying that he went off script and it took a little maneuvering to get him back on track! LOL! I have to admit that what he said was pretty important Smile!

Our generous publisher, Familius sent 500 copies of our book, The Turning, to be given away at the doors as people left the auditorium in exchange for their email address so that we can be in touch with people who believe that good, strong families are at the core of the success of our world.


We also got to do a fun workshop on “Best Practices for Parenting.” There were so so many fascinating workshops throughout those four days that included everything from Political action for families at the United Nations to the horrors of Human Trafficking.

There were 250 “Emerging Leaders” there who were young leaders being prepared for leadership in creating strong families. One morning we got to be on a panel of three couples who did their best to convince these young people that marriage is not only important but fun!

We met a delightful man from Prague who heads the “Big Family Organization” in Europe. He heads up a conference there every year. Any family with more than two children can be members. He has three children and was obviously a very committed father! He invited us to come and present at their conference in Latvia next year. We are planning on it!

One of the men who presented with us at our plenary session was a Greek Orthodox Priest who told me an amazing story! His brother’s son-in-law was living in Syria. On Mother’s Day he went to the roof of his house to call his mother. An ISIS sniper recognized him as a Christian and shot him dead on the spot. ISIS is so wicked and so pervasive! Although most of the attendees were from America, over 52 countries were represented.

An young Father who has been on a Christian Crusade for many years spoke to us for an exciting hour. The interesting part of his story was that he could be sitting in a dark room feeling sorry for himself because he was born without arms or legs. Instead his goal was to impact 7 billion people with his story of faith and determination. I think he said he was pretty close to that goal!  He was amazing and inspiring!


The entertainment was spectacular….from the International Children’s Choir who sang at the opening ceremonies to a fabulous concert at the Tabernacle by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.



We also heard the American Heritage School Philharmonic Orchestra from American Fork who were simply astonishing. Over a hundred excellent young musicians played very sophisticated music with amazing precision. They even got a chance to play with the Piano Guys who closed the conference with a standing ovation!



We learned so much and met many hundreds of people who are doing great things to support and celebrate the family.


kms said...

So are small families weak? I certainly hope you are not saying that.

Some are small cause not all the chlildren are living due to miscarriage. I am a parent causing a family in China to be smaller. For adoption to make one family larger, it must make another family smaller.

Jenny (also) said...

Folks reading please do your research before accepting Linda's perspective. Many feel this World Conference of Families is a facade for hate veiled in values.

"With its doctrine of preserving what it regards as the “natural family,” WCF is waging a campaign at local, national, and international levels to ensure that male dominance, the belief that heterosexuality is the only acceptable sexual orientation, and religious hegemony are core tenets of civil society."

This idea of "natural family" defines family in a very narrow way and his hurtful to adults and children's who do not conform to this view.

Linda said...

kms, we always enjoy your comments. Of course small families are just as important as big families! I hope there is a good organization for small families too.

Jenny, we don't know anything about the past World Conference of Families conferences, but we were very impressed with this current one. Although we didn't agree with everything everyone said, and there may have been some far right extremists in the group, we had a hard time finding them. The vast majority of the 3000 attendees and speakers were good people doing great things to strengthen families and protect children. We're all for that! We also enjoy speaking to very liberal groups who are committed to building strong families and supporting children, of which there are many!

steph said...

This sounds like a wonderful conference! Loved the props and will have to keep an eye out for your book.

With respect, I've read through the blog again and can't find a bias towards families of any size. I'm not a parent yet but hope to be one day. Would love to take part in some of the events you have described and find my own sense of purposeful parenting.

x Steph

Tarrin said...

Oh how I enjoyed the mom conference! I am a mom to five sweet kids. The oldest two made me a mother through adoption, then spunky twins girls born to us through in vitro, and finally a surprise (and most welcome) little caboose who came all on her own. I often find myself entirely overwhelmed with five little ones (the oldest was only five when the baby was born!) And I have appreciated insights and family systems and most importantly encouragement as I've traversed my path of motherhood. While family life (especially my season of very small kids) is full of challenges I find it to also be full of triumphs as we grow and stretch and happily find our way together.