Ruth May Fox

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“I will begin with Ruth May Fox, who was a Young Women general president many years ago. She served in that calling until she was 84 years old. Sister Fox was born in England, and when she was 13, she walked almost every step to the Salt Lake Valley with a group of pioneers. Her mother died when she was a baby, so she spent the first dozen years of her life living with a number of different families. She must have been a difficult child to manage, because her grandmother called her a ‘bad maid’ and refused to take care of her.

“Eventually, Ruth married and had 12 children. She shared her firm testimony with her children and taught gospel lessons while she worked beside them, but she admitted that her older children sometimes received harsh discipline because she had a quick temper and she did not always ‘count [to] ten’ when she was provoked. She worked hard to master this weakness and came to be known for her kind heart and service to others.

“Sister Fox lived to be 104 years old. In her long life she experienced great joys and difficult trials, and she taught that ‘life brings some hard lessons. The sturdiest plants are not grown under glass, and strength of character is not derived from the avoidance of problems.’

“Last year I climbed Independence Rock in Wyoming to find where Sister Fox had carved her name at age 13 when she was on her journey to the Salt Lake Valley. The weather from the last 140 years has almost erased it, but I was able to just make out ‘Ruth May 1867.’ I wanted to know more about this great leader and disciple of Jesus Christ who worked all her life to improve herself and whose motto was ‘the Kingdom of God or nothing’!”

Julie B. Beck, First Counselor, Young Women General Presidency
Remembering, Repenting, and Changing,” April 2007 General Conference

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“Ruth May Fox said: ‘When the time came for our departure from England, I was in seventh heaven. … [We] left our home under cover of darkness to avoid the curiosity of neighbors. Could anything be more thrilling?’. The pioneer spirit is full of adventure!”

Bonnie D. Parkin, Second Counselor, Young Women General Presidency
Finding Faith in Every Footstep,” April 1997 General Conference

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