Carole Manzel Stephens has always had a respect for sacred and holy things. That reverence began when she was a young girl, as her family was sealed in the temple following her mother’s conversion to the gospel.
“I didn’t understand all that was happening,” said the new first counselor in the Relief Society general presidency. “But I knew it was special. I was old enough to remember the temple was a sacred place.”
Born in March 1957 to Carl L. and Forest Manzel, Sister Stephens was the third of nine children and grew up in Ogden, Utah, USA. She remembers well the examples her parents set of service, sacrifice, and what it means to make family and the Church their top priorities.
“The gospel was everything to them, and they showed us by example what Christlike service is,” she said. “They taught us what service means—how to really serve.”
As her parents served in different capacities, they included their children. It was during those times that they developed friendships with each other—something that she and her husband, Martin “Marty” Stephens, have tried to do with their own six children.
She and Marty met while attending Weber State University in Ogden, Utah, where she studied early childhood education. They were married in April 1976 in the Logan Utah Temple. Sister Stephens said she and her husband have been a great “tag-team” over the years as they have supported each other in different assignments, including her callings as stake and ward Relief Society president, counselor, and teacher; ward Young Women president; ward Primary counselor, teacher, and Cub Scout leader; seminary teacher; and Church-service missionary.
“In all the busyness, we have found a lot of joy and happiness,” she said. “We include our children and grandchildren in our service. Because of that, we have developed strong family relationships as we serve together.”