Mary Frances Sturlaugson Eyer: Mormon Author
Mary Frances Sturlaugson Eyer is an author who wrote about her experiences as a African-American member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She is known as the first Black Mormon woman to serve a full-time mission for the Church.
Eyer was born in 1955 to a large Southern family, the fifteenth child of twenty-three. She grew up in extreme poverty and racism in Chattanooga, Tennessee. She was the first in her family to graduate from high school and she attended Dakota Wesleyan University. She was working at a Native American Reservation in South Dakota when she first encountered missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ.
Eyer joined the Church of Jesus Christ in 1976 while attending Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. Eyer submitted her paperwork to serve a full-time mission within one month after the June 1978 announcement allowing all worthy male members of the Church to be ordained to the Priesthood Official Declaration 2, which also opened the door for black members of the Church to be endowed in the Mormon Temples. She served in the San Antonio Texas mission.
She wrote memoirs about her life and conversion: A Soul So Rebellious, He Restoreth My Soul, andReflections of a Soul. She also wrote a fictional book,The Stranger.
Eyer married John Eyer and they had one daughter, Taniyah. Her daughter also penned a memoir/children’s book Am I God’s Will? It’s Not Easy Being a Biracial Child.
Eyer also appeared in a community theater pageant in 1997, “Over Jordan: The Story of Taylorsville.’’
Eyer taught in high school and also taught English internationally.