Sustained at the Saturday afternoon session of General Conference was a new general Primary presidency of the Church. Sister Dwan Jacobsen Young was called as the seventh general president of the Primary, with Virginia Beesley Cannon as first counselor and Michaelene Packer Grassli as second counselor.
Upon announcing the change, President Tanner expressed gratitude to the former general presidency for their years of excellent service: Naomi Maxfield Shumway, who served as president for 5 1/2 years, and her counselors Colleen Bushman Lemmon and Dorthea Lou Christiansen Murdock. They and all members of the Primary General Board were released.
The new president, Sister Dwan J. Young, has served on the Primary General Board for ten years, working as chairman of the Cub Scout and regional meetings committees. (Her mother, Vauna S. Jacobsen, had previously served on the general board for seventeen years.) Sister Young has also served as ward Primary president, in a stake Primary presidency, and on Young Women and Relief Society stake boards. A graduate of the University of Utah and formerly an elementary school teacher, Sister Young is married to Thomas Young, Jr., and is the mother of five children.
Virginia B. Cannon, new first counselor, served in a stake Primary presidency and in various teaching positions in the Primary, Relief Society, and Young Women organizations before her thirteen years on the Primary General Board. Board assignments have included the younger children’s age groups and the in-service committees. Also a graduate of the University of Utah and a former teacher in Utah public schools, Sister Cannon is married to H. Stanley Cannon and has six children.
Michaelene P. Grassli, new second counselor, has served on the Blazer and regional meeting committees during her five years on the Primary General Board. She previously served in Sunday School, Relief Society, and Young Women presidencies, on stake Young Women boards, as Primary teacher, and as stake Primary president. Involved in community affairs, she has worked on March of Dimes, PTA, and local school board committees. Before her marriage, she attended Brigham Young University. She and her husband, Leonard M. Grassli, have three daughters.
The new presidency assist a worldwide total of more than 588,000 children, ages 3 through 11—and more than 126,000 officers and teachers. The Primary also directs the Sunday nursery program.
“Primary leaders have greater opportunities and responsibilities than ever before,” says Sister Young. “Since the children receive formal religious classroom instruction only once a week, those serving as officers and teachers have an even greater need to provide consistent, loving direction to these little ones. I know that through this dedicated service, the lives of Primary leaders will be enriched and these future leaders of the Church will be blessed.”