A Conversation with Sister Neill F. Marriott


ELDER NELSON

Sister Marriott, I’ve had the privilege of previous associations with you and your dear husband, David. But most members of the Church don’t know you as well as I do. Would you be willing to tell us a little bit about your conversion to the Church?

SISTER MARRIOTT

Thank you, Elder Nelson. When I was 22 I moved to Boston, Massachusetts, to work, and there I met two members of the Church. And one of them said, “I’m a Mormon.” And my roommates and I said, “What’s a Mormon?”

So one of them said, “Well, would you like us to bring a couple of friends over to your apartment so they could tell you more about our beliefs?” So about a week later they brought their two friends over, and that was the first look I got at Mormon missionaries. And I have to say I had many, many questions.

But they kept coming, and finally they came back to the plan of salvation. And I can still remember that night so well. They said, “Before you came here, you lived in a spirit world with your Heavenly Father. You are a spirit daughter of Him.” Elder Nelson, I recognized those words. They were familiar to me. I’d never heard them in this life, but I knew I’d heard them before somewhere.

At the end of this meeting one of the members spoke up and said, “I’d like to ask one last question.” He looked right at me and said, “Neill, how do you feel about the Book of Mormon?” And the words that popped out of my mouth were, “I think it’s true.” I was so startled to hear those words hanging in the air there. “I think it’s true.” And he—very wisely—didn’t pounce on me; he just said, “Well, then, with that understanding, what are you going to do?” And I promised him that night I would pray honestly. I knelt down in my bedroom—I had my own room—and I just said, “Heavenly Father, if this is the Savior’s only true church on the earth, I’ll be baptized. I just need to know it’s true.” And immediately a voice in my head or in my heart said, “It is true.” Just like that. And I jumped up off my knees and said, “It’s true,” almost surprised at this wonderful answer. And I called the mission president the next morning and said, “Hello, I need to be baptized.”

ELDER NELSON

Oh, I’ll bet he was happy to hear from you. Did you have any feeling about your ancestors?

SISTER MARRIOTT

Well, it’s interesting you’d ask that because my very first calling in the Church was so inspired. The bishop called me in and asked if I would be a member of the genealogy committee.

I wrote my two grandmothers who were in their 80s. I remember it being several weeks, but the mail came and there was a shoebox full of pictures and names on the back and little notes. And so I sat down on the floor in my bedroom, and I began to make stacks of family—the Dade family, the Hill family, the Ray family, the Fielding family. And as I was sorting them through, all of a sudden I just looked up. I didn’t see anything, but the room was full. I felt it was full of people who were interested and happy. And I could feel their presence somehow.

I think within the first two or three years of being a member, I did about 70 names, had about 70 names endowed in the temple. I would send them out here to relatives of David, my husband. I should speak about David a minute.

ELDER NELSON

Oh, please. Tell us who David is.

SISTER MARRIOTT

David is so special. He was one of the members that asked us if we wanted to know more about the Church. And we were married in the Salt Lake Temple just 13 months after my baptism.

ELDER NELSON

Well isn’t that a nice fringe benefit of being a member missionary?

SISTER MARRIOTT

Yes, I recommend it.

ELDER NELSON

Well, you and David have a nice family now. Tell us about your family.

SISTER MARRIOTT

Well, we have 11 children, and when we got married we wanted to have a family, to start a family, and the children just came. They were choice spirits.

ELDER NELSON

Any counsel that you have for our wonderful sisters who try to balance being a wife and a mother and a faithful servant of the Lord, a disciple of the Lord?

SISTER MARRIOTT

Well, I love Church meetings. I know that sounds strange, but my real heart is in my home. And so with each calling—and they did seem to build one on another—I would take care of my home first. Some meetings I missed, but it wasn’t an intrusion on family life. If anything, it taught me to be a better mother.

ELDER NELSON

You’re a better mother because you’re anchored to the gospel.

SISTER MARRIOTT

That’s right.

ELDER NELSON

Well, we are so grateful for you, for the service that you’ve rendered and will yet render.

SISTER MARRIOTT

Thank you.