zMormon Newsroom

How the Sisters Served in 2018

17 December 2018


Women general officers of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints ministered to members and reached out to global religious and government representatives in many countries around the world in 2018.

Leadership Changes

The First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced a new Young Women general presidency and a new first counselor in the Primary general presidency during the 188th Annual General Conference in March. Bonnie H. Cordon serves as general president of the Young Women organization, which is for female Church members ages 12 through 17. Michelle D. Craig was called as the first counselor, and Becky Craven is serving as second counselor.

Sister Lisa L. Harkness was called as the new first counselor in the Primary general presidency.

In September, new members were called to the Church’s Relief Society, Young Women and Primary general boards. While the 14 new board members currently reside in Utah, most have lived extensively across the United States and in other countries.


In April, Sister Joy D. Jones, Primary general president; Sister Reyna I. Aburto, second counselor in the Relief Society general presidency; and Sister Craig traveled to Anchorage and Bethel, Alaska, for training with local leaders.

Members of the Young Women and Primary general presidencies met with members in six countries of the Caribbean in mid-May during an official 10-day visit.

Sister Cristina B. Franco, second counselor in the Primary general presidency, and Sister Craven arrived in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, in May. Other countries visited on their tour were Guadeloupe, Barbados, Saint Vincent, Trinidad and Tobago and Puerto Rico.


In early August, several Latter-day Saint women leaders traveled to four states in the midwestern U.S. in August to meet with community leaders and local members along the historic Mormon Trail. Sister Sharon Eubank, director of LDS Charities, the humanitarian arm of the Church, and first counselor in the Relief Society general presidency, joined local Latter-day Saint leaders in Omaha, Nebraska, for meetings with the mayor and Lutheran Family Services of Nebraska, which provides relief for the area’s large refugee population.

Sister Eubank was accompanied by Sister Craven and Sister Harkness, who participated in trainings and devotionals in other cities in the Midwest.


In late August, members of the Relief Society and Primary general presidencies visited Central America to meet with survivors of the devastating June 3 eruption of the Fuego Volcano in Guatemala.


Sister Aburto and Sister Harkness met with families who had been living in a Church meetinghouse and residents of some temporary homes. They also talked with doctors and patients at the Children’s Hospital of Infectious Diseases and Rehabilitation, where they presented a donation of medical equipment on behalf of the Church.

In November, Sister Aburto made a historic visit to the American Southwest to meet with members on the Navajo reservation in New Mexico and Arizona. The Relief Society leader taught about the Book of Mormon during her fall visit.


Sister Jones and Sister Cordon and their spouses met and worshipped with Latter-day Saints in four nations in the South Pacific in November — Australia, Vanuatu, Tonga and New Zealand.

In Australia, they attended a humanitarian service activity as volunteers prepared gifts for farmers and their families in drought-affected areas.


Government and Interfaith Outreach

In February, Sister Jean B. Bingham, Relief Society general president, and Sister Jones began a 10-day trip to Europe by attending an interfaith conference in the Welsh city of Newport. The conference included women leaders from Hindu, Muslim, Sikh and Christian communities.

“When we unite together as women of faith, we not only strengthen the relationship between religions, but individual lives are touched as we reach out to those in need,” said Sister Bingham in front of more than 300 attendees.


In mid-February, Sister Eubank addressed legal scholars and leaders of faith-based organizations at a religious freedom conference on the Sydney campus of the University of Notre Dame Australia.

“I truly believe there is no significant change without significant relationships, and humanitarian acts rooted in the sincere desire to heal and listen and cooperate and respect are the most potent transformational agent for change as anything I’ve experienced,” said Sister Eubank, who is also director of LDS Charities, the humanitarian arm of the Church.


“We unite to acknowledge that all good gifts come from Thee,” prayed Sister Bingham, who participated in the National Day of Prayer at the White House in Washington, D.C., Thursday, May 3, 2018.

In a Rose Garden ceremony, Sister Bingham stood with other Christian, Hindu, Muslim and Jewish leaders from across the United States to offer prayers.


In mid-September, two leaders of the Church’s Relief Society and Young Women organizations opened a dialogue with Chile’s Minister of Women and Gender Equity, Isabel Plá.

"The defeat of poverty is an objective the Church has been pursuing for more than a century,” said Sister Bingham, who reviewed the Church’s programs that encourage the empowerment of women, such as those found in the Church’s Self-Reliance Services. She was joined by Sister Craig.

At the end of September, Sister Eubank participated in the G20 Interfaith Forum in Argentina.

“There’s tremendous potential for people in their everyday lives to work together with their neighbors and their friends and communities of other faiths,” she said. “Get to know them, find community things that you can do and find ways to interact with people who may be different from you.


In November, Sister Eubank joined more than 200 global religious leaders, politicians and experts in Baghdad, Iraq, for a conference designed to raise worldwide support to end religious persecution. The conference was organized by the AMAR Foundation, a charity based in the United Kingdom.

Community Partnerships

In March, Sister Jones was a keynote speaker at the Utah Coalition Against Pornography conference at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City. “As the popular catchphrase says, ‘porn kills love,’ but let’s also remember that love kills porn,” she said.

Women leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints visited the Children’s Justice Center (CJC) in Salt Lake City at the end of June to deliver a $50,000 donation to help child abuse victims and their families. The money will be used to support Utah Children's Justice Centers around the state. The leaders also announced a $25,000 donation to the A Breeze of Hope Foundation, an organization in Bolivia that serves victims of sexual violence.


In October, the Church joined community leaders in Utah in a call to prevent child abuse. “I know that we’re all united in that desire to protect our children [and] help them grow in light and truth,” said Sister Jones.

Sister Harkness of the Primary general presidency was part of a coalition made up of medical experts, clergy, law enforcement, educators and business leaders who worked on a compromise to the state’s medical marijuana initiative passed by Utah voters this fall. The legislation was signed into law by Utah’s governor in December.

Return to 2018 Year in Review of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints