Dr. Wendy Watson Nelson

Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters

Portrait of Wendy Nelson

Dr. Wendy Watson Nelson is a professor, published author, former nurse and psychologist, and wife of Russell M. Nelson, president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

As a professor of marriage and family therapy, Nelson taught for 12 years at the University of Calgary in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, and for 13 years at Brigham Young University, teaching doctoral and master’s students. During those 25 years, she regularly presented at national and international professional conferences while teaching, researching, writing, supervising, and consulting in her field. She also maintained a private counseling practice for 30 years.

She is the author of the books Change Your Questions, Change Your Life and Rock Solid Relationships, and she co-authored a landmark book for healthcare professionals titled Beliefs: The Heart of Healing in Families and Illness. She has published many articles, including “Osteophytes and marital fights” and “Is there life after suicide? The systemic belief approach for ‘survivors’ of suicide.” She also produced an educational series titled Families with Health Problems: Assessment and Intervention.

On April 6, 2006, Nelson married Elder Russell M. Nelson, who became president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on January 14, 2018. She continues to strengthen families by devoting her time and talents to religious service and speaking to congregations throughout the world.

She holds a Ph.D. in family therapy and gerontology. She was born in Raymond, Alberta, Canada, to Leonard David and Laura Byrde McLean Watson.