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Primary General Presidency Shares What They’ve Learned Since They Were Called

As of April 2021, the Primary general presidency consists of President Camille N. Johnson (center); Sister Susan H. Porter, first counselor (left); and Sister Amy A. Wright (right), second counselor.2021 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.
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By Sydney Walker, Church News

One member of the new Primary general presidency sustained during April 2021 general conference was born in Oklahoma. One has a twin brother. And the other’s favorite book is To Kill a Mockingbird.

“We’re just ordinary women,” said Sister Amy A. Wright, second counselor in the Primary general presidency. “But we’ve been invited to do something extraordinary. And that’s only possible because of our Savior Jesus Christ.”

Primary General President Camille N. Johnson and her counselors, Sister Susan H. Porter and Sister Wright, recently joined the Church News podcast to talk about who they are, what it is like to be called and sustained as a general officer, what they love about Primary, and what they know now after a few weeks of serving in their new callings.

This article is a summary of the podcast episode, which was released on Tuesday, May 25.

What Is It Like to Be Sustained as a General Officer?

President Johnson said it was a unique experience to be at home, rather than in the Conference Center, as President Dallin H. Oaks, first counselor in the First Presidency, read her name for a sustaining vote during the Saturday afternoon session.

“It was a beautiful moment for me to look around that room with the people that I love the most,” President Johnson said. “I had my family there with me, and to see them all raise their hands was really quite remarkable.

“At the time, we could look up at the screen and see the 15 prophets, seers and revelators with their arms raised as well.”

When Sister Porter received the call to serve as first counselor in the Primary general presidency, she prayed that her late husband, Elder Bruce D. Porter, a General Authority Seventy, would be mindful of her.

The week after being sustained in general conference, as her fellow presidency members were accompanied by their husbands to be set apart, Sister Porter was able to bring her daughter Lisa.

“The beautiful thing about that is that was the second time we have been in that special room, the First Presidency room, because that is the room that we all were able to go to as a family when Bruce was set apart as a member of the Seventy,” Sister Porter said.

“It was a very sweet experience to be there with her, and to be able to meet with the First Presidency and to have their hands laid on our heads to set us apart with a sacred calling,” she added

With her youngest son, Luke, currently serving as a missionary in a remote village in Africa, Sister Wright said she had “a prayer in my heart that our boys would all be able to hear at the same time from a prophet, seer and revelator” that she would be the new second counselor.

Around 8:00 p.m. in Côte d’Ivoire, Elder Wright felt prompted to ask his companion if there was enough data for them to connect to general conference. He tuned in and heard the statistical report, and then had to answer a phone call. He tuned in again and received another phone call. The third time he tuned in, President Oaks was announcing the new Primary general presidency.

“In real time, he heard that his mom was called to serve as the second counselor in the Primary general presidency the exact same time his brothers did,” Sister Wright said. “And that was just a beautiful reminder to me that when something’s important to us, it’s also important to the Lord.”

What Do You Love About Primary?

President Johnson said one of her favorite things about Primary is the opportunity for children to recognize the influence of the Holy Ghost. “I think it’s particularly important that, as parents and leaders and mentors and stewards of the rising generation, we help them identify the Spirit,” she said.

Sister Porter pointed to the power of music and the beautiful words of Primary songs that invite the Spirit. “That’s been one of my favorite callings in the Church, is the opportunity I had once to be the Primary music leader and to feel that spirit testify to the children that what they were singing was in fact true.”

Members of the new Primary general presidency, President Camille N. Johnson (center) and her counselors, Sister Susan H. Porter (left) and Sister Amy A. Wright (right), speak during the 2021 BYU Women’s Conference on Thursday, April 29. They were sustained during the April 2021 general conference. Photo courtesy of BYU Photo, courtesy of Church News.All rights reserved.
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Children come to Earth with believing hearts, Sister Wright said. “They are full of faith, and they are constantly looking for connections with each other. They don’t see the differences. … It’s no coincidence that our Savior admonishes us to become like little children.”

What Do You Know Now After a Few Weeks in the Primary General Presidency?

As the presidency has had the opportunity to meet with various departments, committees and executive councils at Church headquarters, Sister Wright said she has seen “the fingerprints of the Lord in every single person’s life.”

“I testify that this truly is Christ’s work and His glory, and it’s not ours. And that’s really a comforting thing to know. He is perfectly capable of doing His own work, but He invites us to be part of His work so that we can have opportunities to stretch and grow.”

Sister Porter expressed gratitude for the opportunity to witness the ongoing restoration and Heavenly Father hastening His work in the short time she has served.

“I have a sure witness that God our Heavenly Father lives,” Sister Porter said. “He loves each one of us. He’s aware of us. He’s aware of our trials, He knows of our sorrows, and He wants to bless each one of us. He sent His Son to suffer for our sins and to know what it’s like to live on Earth. We can receive the Spirit to guide us and help us in every time of need.”

President Johnson said she had heard it preached from the pulpit that the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles are interested in women’s voices. Now, having participated in councils, she knows it. “I’ve seen it happen, and I’ve felt a sincere interest on the part of others in knowing of the concerns of women and mothers in the gospel.”

She added: “I’m just so thankful to know of our Savior, to know of His commitment to us all the way to the finish line for His mercy, for His willingness to keep working with us in our imperfect state and to provide us with the help we need. I testify that the Holy Ghost provides us with comfort and is the manner by which we feel the love of our Heavenly Father and of our Savior.”

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