“How can I do what those women do?” Elaine L. Jack said when President Thomas S. Monson extended the call for her to serve as second counselor in the Young Women General Presidency. She admired Ardeth Greene Kapp and her other counselor, Jayne B. Malan. But she worried because the Young Women program is for girls and she has no daughters—only four grown sons.
President Monson assured her that the Lord needed her unique personality and talents in the calling. Still a bit overwhelmed, Sister Jack called Sister Kapp the next day. “I said, ‘Ardie, how could you choose me?’ Sister Kapp replied, ‘I didn’t choose you; the Lord did.’”
Sister Jack and Sister Kapp both have Canadian roots. Born 22 March 1928 to Sterling O. and Lavina Anderson Low, Elaine grew up in Cardston, Alberta. She attended the University of Utah, where she majored in English. It was there that she met her husband, Joseph E. Jack. They married in 1948 and moved to Staten Island, New York—where, she says, she first realized she had a testimony.
“It took an hour and a half by subway and bus each way to get to church,” she recalls. Her husband, a busy physician, worked long hours at a New York City hospital, and the only full day they could spend together was every other Sunday. “I remember bearing my testimony in a fast and testimony meeting in Manhattan and realizing that I really did have a testimony or I wouldn’t be making the effort to be there,” she says.
The Jacks have also lived in Boston and in Mt. Edgecumbe, Alaska, where, the first morning they were there, the only other Latter-day Saint in town appeared on their doorstep with a hot huckleberry pie. For two years they attended a tiny branch—a “twig,” Sister Jack calls it—usually with as few as nine people attending.
“That was a time of testimony strengthening—when we had to make the effort to gather these few people and meet together in our home,” she says. In 1958, the Jacks moved to Salt Lake City. Sister Jack served on the Relief Society General Board from 1972 to 1984.
Making a good effort is important to Sister Jack in whatever she does. Motivated by a grand piano “inherited” from a music-teacher friend, she is taking piano lessons—something she hasn’t done since her girlhood in Canada. She also enjoys golfing and skiing—activities the Jacks do together as a family.
Her enthusiasm for music, sports, and life itself is contagious. “What brings me joy is to look back on my life and see growth,” she says. She sees application of the gospel as essential to that growth.
“Learning or knowing isn’t enough if we don’t implement it in our lives,” she says.