Handbook 2:
Administering the Church


11.2 Ward Primary Leadership

This chapter focuses on administering the Primary in a way that will strengthen individuals and families. Primary leaders frequently review chapter 3, which outlines general principles of leadership. These principles include preparing spiritually, participating in councils, ministering to others, and teaching the gospel of Jesus Christ.



The bishop and his counselors provide priesthood leadership for the Primary.

Bishop and His Counselors

The bishop calls and sets apart a sister to serve as Primary president. He oversees the calling and setting apart of all other Primary workers. He may assign his counselors to call and set them apart.

The bishop or an assigned counselor conducts interviews for the baptism and confirmation of 8-year-old children who are members of record and 8-year-old children who are not members of record but have at least one parent or guardian who is a member. The full-time missionaries teach and interview 8-year-old children whose parents are not members and children who will be 9 years old or older at the time of baptism.

The bishop or an assigned counselor interviews children before they reach age 12 and advance from Primary.

Counselor Assigned to Oversee the Ward Primary

The bishop assigns one of his counselors to oversee the ward Primary. This counselor has the following responsibilities:

He meets regularly with the ward Primary presidency. He reports on Primary matters in bishopric meetings.

He guides efforts to prepare the annual children’s sacrament meeting presentation.

He directs the planning of the Temple and Priesthood Preparation meeting in coordination with the Primary presidency (see 11.5.5).

He coordinates efforts to have members of the bishopric give short messages to the children in sharing time.

Where Scouting is authorized by the Church, he oversees Scouting for boys ages 8 through 11.


Ward Primary Presidency

The ward Primary presidency consists of a president and two counselors. They work under the direction of the bishopric. They receive orientation and ongoing support from the stake Primary presidency.

Ward Primary President

The Primary president has the following responsibilities:

She serves as a member of the ward council. As a member of this council, she participates in efforts to build faith and strengthen individuals and families (see chapter 4).

She submits recommendations to the bishopric for ward members to be called to serve as leaders and teachers in the Primary. In making these recommendations, she follows the guidelines in 19.1.1 and 19.1.2.

She teaches other Primary leaders and teachers their duties, using this handbook as a resource.

She oversees the use of the Faith in God guidebooks as described in 11.5.1.

She oversees the records, reports, budget, and finances of the ward Primary. The Primary secretary helps with this responsibility.

Ward Primary President and Her Counselors

Members of the ward Primary presidency work together to fulfill the following responsibilities. The Primary president may assign her counselors to oversee some of these responsibilities.

They learn the children’s names and become familiar with their talents, interests, and challenges. They look for ways to strengthen children individually and help them participate in Primary.

They orient newly called teachers and oversee efforts to improve gospel learning and teaching in Primary. In these efforts, they follow the principles in 5.5.3 and 5.5.4. They also support Primary teachers and nursery leaders by (1) visiting with them occasionally to address their questions and concerns and to discuss ways to serve the children; (2) helping them maintain reverence during sharing time, class time, and breaks; and (3) arranging to visit their classes.

They plan sharing time and oversee the programs, activities, and events listed in 11.5.

They hold Primary presidency meetings. They also meet regularly with the counselor in the bishopric who oversees Primary.


Ward Primary Secretary

The ward Primary secretary has the following responsibilities:

She consults with the presidency to prepare agendas for presidency meetings. She attends these meetings, takes notes, and keeps track of assignments.

At least quarterly, she compiles attendance information, reviews it with the Primary president, and submits it to the ward clerk.

She ensures that the Primary president and ward executive secretary are aware of children who will soon be eligible for baptism and who will soon advance from Primary to the Aaronic Priesthood and Young Women.

She helps the Primary presidency prepare an annual budget and account for expenses.

She assists children, teachers, and parents as requested by the Primary presidency. For example, she may help monitor classes and maintain reverence during sharing time. She may also assign children to give talks in upcoming sharing times and inform the children’s parents of the assignments.


Ward Primary Music Leader(s) and Pianist(s)

Under the direction of the Primary presidency, Primary music leaders and pianists have the following responsibilities:

They plan, teach, and direct the music for sharing time, including songs that will be part of the children’s sacrament meeting presentation.

They help with music for the nursery class and other Primary classes as requested.

They may organize and direct a children’s choir as requested.

Members of the Primary presidency help the ward Primary music leaders and pianists understand how music contributes to Primary. The melodies, words, and messages of Primary songs can teach children the doctrines of the gospel and stay in their hearts throughout their lives.

Music in Primary should invite reverence, teach the gospel, and help children feel the influence of the Holy Ghost and the joy that comes through singing. While the children sing some songs, music leaders give them opportunities to move physically and stretch appropriately.

The Children’s Songbook and the current sharing time outline are the basic resources for music in Primary. Hymns from the hymnbook and songs from the Friend and Liahona are also appropriate. Occasionally children may sing patriotic or holiday songs that are suitable for Sunday and for the children’s ages. The use of any other music in Primary must be approved by the bishopric.

For information about teaching music to children, see the Children’s Songbook, pages 300–304. See also chapter 14 in this handbook, the current outline for sharing time, and “Music Callings and Resources” in the Serving in the Church section of LDS.org.


Primary Teachers and Nursery Leaders

Primary teachers and nursery leaders work with specific age-groups of children. These teachers and leaders follow the principles outlined in 5.5.4.

Primary teachers and nursery leaders remain with the children during the entire Primary time on Sunday, including sharing time and breaks. During sharing time, they sit with their assigned classes, sing the songs with the children, and help the children participate reverently.


Activity Days Leaders and Scout Leaders

If a ward Primary holds activity days and Scouting activities for children ages 8 through 11, the activities may be planned and conducted by the teachers of these children or by other leaders the bishopric calls to fulfill these responsibilities (see 11.5.2 and 11.5.3).