Get to Know the New Primary General Presidency
Contributed By Church News staff writers
The following members of the Primary general presidency were sustained April 2, 2016, during the Saturday afternoon session of general conference:
Joy D. Jones, Primary general president
For Joy D. Jones, her loving parents were her heroes.
“I felt like my dad could do anything,” Sister Jones said of her father, an electrician. Of her mother, she said, “My mom was an amazing woman” who made everything from the food the family ate to the clothes they wore—from scratch. “To me, she was a saint, and I wanted to grow up to be like her.”
In addition to cherishing memories of her parents, Aldo Harmon and Eleanor Ellsworth Harmon, Sister Jones cherishes the childhood memory of listening to Elder Robert L. Backman as he spoke in a district conference in Oregon. Elder Backman, now an emeritus General Authority Seventy, was a mission president at the time.
“I felt something very powerful when he was talking,” Sister Jones said. “I felt something really different than I had felt before. … I am so grateful for that because I received a witness from the Spirit that the things he was saying were true.”
Joy Diane Harmon was born July 20, 1954, in The Dalles, Oregon. Both she and her future husband, Robert Bruce Jones, grew up in Oregon, but they met at Brigham Young University, in Provo, Utah, USA. They were married on August 14, 1974, in the Manti Utah Temple. They have five children and 17 grandchildren.
Soon after she earned an associate of science degree in family living, they moved to Portland, Oregon, and later to Santa Rosa, California, where Brother Jones practiced as a chiropractic doctor. Brother and Sister Jones felt impressed to move to Draper, Utah, 22 years ago. Sister Jones has enjoyed the blessing of living close to a temple ever since.
“The Jordan River Temple became my sacred space,” she said. “I have a testimony of the power of the temple and the peace and direction that it has brought me in my life.”
Sister Jones has served as a ward Relief Society president and Primary president and as a counselor in ward and stake Relief Society, Young Women, and Primary presidencies. She served most recently on the Primary general board.
Sister Jean B. Bingham, first counselor in the Primary general presidency
For almost six years, Sister Jean Barrus Bingham has loved serving in her calling on the Primary general board. She has visited the homes of members and attended Primaries, witnessing the strong faith of Latter-day Saints—especially the Primary children—around the world.
Sister Bingham, who was recently sustained as the first counselor in the Primary general presidency, has spent much of her life teaching, nurturing, and loving children. Whether it has been with her younger siblings growing up, her own two daughters, her foster daughters, grandchildren, visitors to her home, or those she has met as a member of the Primary general board, she has been an advocate and source of strength for many.
“Every child has wonderful potential, and if we see them through Heavenly Father’s eyes, we can help them become all that He has designed them to be,” she said.
Born June 10, 1952, in Provo, Utah, USA, to Edith Joy Clark and Robert Rowland Barrus, Sister Bingham is the third of nine children. When she was three months old, her family moved to Indiana so her father could continue his schooling. In the first six years of her life, Sister Bingham and her family lived in four states.
After graduating high school in New Jersey, Sister Bingham moved to Provo, Utah, to attend Brigham Young University. In her second year there, she met her future husband, Bruce Bryan Bingham, a farm boy from Illinois who was baptized as a teenager with his parents. They were married December 22, 1972, in the Provo Utah Temple.
Her lifetime of Church service has included time as a ward Primary president, Young Women president, and counselor in a Relief Society presidency; stake Young Women president; temple worker; and early-morning seminary teacher.
“The pattern I have seen in her life, over our 43 years of marriage, is a consistent adherence to the promptings of the Spirit,” Brother Bingham said of his wife. “She has, over and over, done what the Lord wanted her to do.”
Bonnie H. Cordon, second counselor in the Primary general presidency
Throughout her childhood in southeast Idaho, Bonnie Hillam Cordon learned many important life lessons. Working, playing, and living on a farm taught her self-reliance, hard work, and “not to be afraid to try things,” said the new second counselor in the Primary general presidency.
The most important lesson, however, came from her parents, Harold and Carol Rasmussen Hillam, who taught her that with the help of the Lord, she could do anything. “There are no limits,” her father would say.
Sister Cordon relied on that knowledge as a newly called missionary in Lisbon, Portugal, struggling to learn Portuguese. “I was on my knees a lot asking for a miracle. But because of my father, I had learned that I could do hard things.”
After much prayer, work, and patience, she slowly became fluent in Portuguese, which blessed her many years later when she and her husband were called to serve in Curitiba, Brazil.
“It’s interesting how the Lord prepares us and builds us, a little at a time,” she said. “It always makes more sense when we look in the rearview mirror. We just have to have faith.”
Bonnie Hillam was born March 11, 1964, in Idaho Falls, Idaho, USA. After her mission she studied education at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, USA. While there she became good friends with Derek Lane Cordon. Their friendship blossomed into romance, and the two were married April 25, 1986, in the Salt Lake Temple. They have four children—three boys and one girl—and three grandsons.
Through the years they have served in many Church callings. She served with her husband as he presided over the Brazil Curitiba Mission (2010–2013), and she has served as a stake Young Women president, nursery leader, and seminary teacher and in ward Young Women, Relief Society, and Primary organizations.
In her new assignment, Sister Cordon said she hopes to teach one essential truth to the Primary children of the Church: “Heavenly Father loves them.”