Great-Great-Grandmother Achieves Young Womanhood Recognition at 83
Contributed By William H. Baker, Church News contributor
- Completing the Personal Progress program helped 83-year-old Jerene Weeks serve by example and magnify her calling.
- While earning her Young Womanhood Recognition, Weeks’s testimony of the Book of Mormon, family history, and service grew.
“I’m so glad I did it. It has helped me stay focused on Christ and has greatly increased my gratitude for my Savior, for His gospel, and for His great love and atoning sacrifice for me.” —Jerene Weeks, 83-year-old Young Womanhood Recognition recipient
Jerene Weeks, who recently received her award, certainly qualifies as happy and faithful. But “young” might be replaced with “youthful,” because Weeks is 83—with a posterity totaling 101 (8 children, 32 grandchildren, 60 great-grandchildren, and 1 great-great-grandchild).
Why would someone 64 years past her teenage years undertake such a challenge? Weeks serves as the Young Women secretary in her Logan, Utah, ward, and three years ago, her Young Women president, Heidi Christiansen, told the presidency that if they expected their young women to complete the Personal Progress requirements, the Young Women presidency ought to set the example.
Following this counsel, Weeks put a plan in motion. For Young Women leaders, the Personal Progress requirements are not quite as rigorous as they are for the young women. However, Weeks would settle for nothing less than doing everything required of the young women—reading all the required scriptures, watching all the videos, and completing all the projects and other requirements.
Weeks said one of her most faith-promoting experiences was reading and studying the Book of Mormon. Following President Russell M. Nelson’s invitation to read the Book of Mormon and mark all the references to Christ, she completed the challenge in just 38 days.
“As I marked all the attributes of Christ, I realized that all the Book of Mormon prophets, as well as our latter-day prophets, have those same attributes,” Weeks said.
Weeks had another spiritual experience while visiting a family history center with the young women. During that visit, Weeks found 18 ancestors (12 women and 6 men) who needed temple work. Weeks completed the temple ordinances, including baptisms, for all 12 women. Her son David helped with the ordinances for the men.
Of course, the young women in her ward were an important part of Weeks’s participation in the program. They encouraged her, and she encouraged them too—teaching them how to direct music, sew, decorate cakes, and bake bread and pies. When Weeks called Christiansen to report that she had completed the requirements, Christiansen and her two teenage daughters cheered.
“Sister Weeks has been such an example of hard work and growth, not only to the girls but to the leaders as well,” Christiansen said. “She has worked very hard and poured herself into the Personal Progress program. We are so excited for her to get her medallion. All the girls say they want to be Sister Weeks when they grow up.”
After three years, Weeks reached her goal—happy, faithful, and youthful as ever. Her son Kenneth was honored to present her award in December 2018. Weeks said she is grateful for what the Personal Progress program has done for her.
“I’m so glad I did it. It has helped me stay focused on Christ and has greatly increased my gratitude for my Savior, for His gospel, and for His great love and atoning sacrifice for me.”