When Bonnie D. Parkin was called to be 14th general president of the Relief Society, she prayed to know what the women of the Church needed. “I received a strong witness that we, His daughters, need to know that He loves us,” she said. “We need to know that He sees the good in us. Feeling His love encourages us to press forward, reassures us that we are His, and confirms to us that He cherishes us even when we stumble and experience temporary setbacks.”1
In His love for His children, Heavenly Father gave the women of the Church the Relief Society, which helps sisters increase in faith, strengthen their families and homes, and seek out those in need.
“As members of the Relief Society of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, it is our blessing and our responsibility to nurture and sustain the family unit,” taught Sister Parkin. “Everyone belongs to a family, and every family needs to be strengthened and protected.
“My greatest help in becoming a homemaker came first from my own mother and grandmother and next from the Relief Society sisters in the different wards where we have lived. I learned skills; I saw modeled the joys that come from creating a home where others want to be. … Relief Society leaders, make sure that the meetings and the activities you plan will strengthen the homes of all your sisters.”2
Relief Society helps sisters feel the love of the Lord. A sister who feels the love of the Lord strengthens her family and fills her home with His love. Sister Parkin taught that “a mother who knows her relationship with God helps her children to know Him and to be encircled by His love.”3
“If I could have one thing happen for parents and leaders of this Church,” she said, “it would be that they feel the love of the Lord in their lives each day as they care for Heavenly Father’s children. … I invite you, in all of your dealings, to put on the mantle of charity, to envelop your family in the pure love of Christ.”4
Testimony of Bonnie D. Parkin
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The third of five children, Bonnie Rae Dansie was born August 4, 1940, in Murray, Utah, to Jesse Homer and Ruth Martha Butikofer Dansie. Raised in Herriman, Utah, where her family had rich pioneer heritage, Bonnie and her siblings did all the jobs required on a family farm as well as worked in Dansie’s Place, the family store. Her parents instilled in her their steadfast faith. Bonnie said, “My mother taught us, ‘Do what is right; let the consequences follow.’”5
Education and Marriage
In 1962 Sister Parkin graduated from Utah State University in Logan, Utah, with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and early childhood development. Afterward, she taught third grade. In 1963 she met James L. Parkin, who was in his first year of medical school. They married July 1, 1963, in the Salt Lake Temple. They have four boys.
Highlights of Church Service
Before serving as general president of the Relief Society, Bonnie served on the Relief Society general board under Elaine L. Jack, chairing a committee dedicated to helping young women transition into Relief Society. This calling carried over into her own Relief Society administration as she worked tirelessly to help young sisters feel comfortable and of value in Relief Society. In 1994 Bonnie was called to serve as second counselor to Janette C. Hales in the Young Women general presidency. In 1997 the Parkins moved to England so that James could preside over the London South Mission. As general president of the Relief Society, Sister Parkin and the Young Women general president, Susan W. Tanner, instituted a monthly combined opening exercises for Relief Society and Young Women.
Full Interview of Bonnie D. Parkin
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- Bonnie D. Parkin, “Eternally Encircled in His Love,” Ensign, Nov. 2006, 108.
- Bonnie D. Parkin, “Parents Have a Sacred Duty,” Ensign, June 2006, 97.
- Parkin, “Eternally Encircled in His Love,” 109.
- Parkin, “Parents Have a Sacred Duty,” 93, 97.
- In Julie A. Dockstader, “Her Parents’ Trust Instilled Desire in Her to ‘Do What Is Right,’” Church News, Nov. 26, 1994, 11.