If you grew up devoutly Catholic in Belgium and prepared for seven years to become a nun in a strict religious order, against the wishes of your family, how could you keep your relationship with them? If just before entering the convent you decided instead to be the first person in your town to join the strange sect known as “Mormons,” what would happen to your relationship with your family then? And finally, if you gave up everything to emigrate to the U.S. to marry the missionary who converted you, face again the possibility of never seeing your family, and eventually watch three of your four children leave your new religion, how would your relationships survive? That is the story, in a nutshell, of Anaïse Ghekiere.
Hear the answers to these questions from Craig Harline of BYU’s History Department. Harline recently received a Women’s Research Initiative grant from the university for his work on the eleven boxes of documents AnaÏse left behind (they were in Dutch and French) when she died in 2010. He decided to write a book about her, because the contents of those boxes told a story of the struggles many female converts to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints experienced at that time.