Mary N. Cook


“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart” (Proverbs 3:5) is a guiding truth for Mary Nielsen Cook, second counselor in the Young Women general presidency.

Born in Midvale, Utah, on June 8, 1951, Sister Cook learned to trust in the Lord from the examples of her parents, Kenneth N. and Fern S. Nielsen. Her father suffered severe health problems resulting from a mining accident when Sister Cook was a toddler. For a time, her mother was the family’s sole provider. It was a trying time.

In her youth she dreamed of marriage and motherhood but was single for many years. “Sometimes I wondered if my dreams would ever be fulfilled,” Sister Cook says. “But I tried to have faith and focus on the blessings I did have.”

During this time she earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in speech pathology and audiology and an EdS (Education Specialist) degree from Brigham Young University. She worked as a special education teacher and later as a school administrator.

On July 16, 1988, in the Salt Lake Temple, she married Richard E. Cook, who later served as a member of the Second Quorum of the Seventy. At that time, Sister Cook says she “inherited four wonderful children and became a grandmother of eight,” as Elder Cook’s first wife had passed away in 1984. They now have 17 grandchildren.

While Elder and Sister Cook served as full-time missionaries in Mongolia, her husband was called to preside over the newly created Mongolian mission. Later she accompanied him to Hong Kong, where he served in the Asia Area Presidency. She has also served as ward Relief Society president and on the Young Women general board.

Sister Cook is grateful for her experiences and testifies that “whatever trials may come upon us, if we trust in the Lord, He will direct our paths.”