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Sister Amy A. Wright enters ‘new’ Primary call with year’s experience, perspective and emphasis on children’s relationship with the Savior


Latter-day Saints worldwide have had the past year-plus to get acquainted with Sister Amy A. Wright, the first counselor in the newly sustained Primary general presidency, as she has spoken at April 2022 general conference, the 2021 BYU Women’s Conferencethe February 2022 Friend to Friend broadcast and countless area and regional leadership and training sessions.

And during that same time, Sister Wright has had the privilege to get to know and love them — especially the children and those serving in the Primary across the globe.

She has served since April 2021 as second counselor in the outgoing Primary presidency, with President Camille N. Johnson and Sister Susan H. Porter. With President Johnson called as the new Relief Society general president and Sister Porter called as the new Primary general president, Sister Wright was called as the new first counselor, with Sister Tracy Y. Browning called to complete the presidency as second counselor. The changes are effective Aug. 1.

Sister Wright enters the “new” call with a year’s experience and perspective, including an emphasis of the outgoing presidency on the importance of Heavenly Father’s children having a personal relationship with the Savior that is deeply profound and personal.

“So, when the storms of life come — and they will, and they already are, even at younger and younger ages — our children will be ready. They will be steadfast and immovable in their faith and know what Source to look to for healing, succoring, guidance and strength.”

Read more: Meet the new Relief Society and Primary general presidencies sustained during April 2022 general conference

Sister Susan H. Porter, general president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ Primary, center, poses for a photo with Sister Amy A. Wright, first counselor, left, and Sister Tracy Y. Browning, second counselor, right, at the Church Office Building in Salt Lake City on Monday, April 4, 2022. They will begin serving in the Primary general presidency on Aug. 1, 2022.

Sister Susan H. Porter, general president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ Primary, center, poses for a photo with Sister Amy A. Wright, first counselor, left, and Sister Tracy Y. Browning, second counselor, right, at the Church Office Building in Salt Lake City on Monday, April 4, 2022. They will begin serving in the Primary general presidency on Aug. 1, 2022.

Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

‘How do you hear the voice of the Lord?’

Sister Wright says that every time she has an opportunity to teach children, she always testifies that Jesus Christ is their truest and most constant friend, and that because of Him, they never need to feel alone or that no one understands what they are going through.

“Their hearts are so precious, their shoulders are so small, and their brains are still developing,” she said. “They are strong, but their testimonies are young, and they are vulnerable. The adversary knows that, and therefore, they need to know the Savior. They need to know how He speaks personally to them, what His voice sounds like.”

One of her favorite interactions with young people is to ask “How do you hear the voice of the Lord? What does that sound like to you?”

Adults are really good at telling children how the Holy Ghost sounds or feels, often using the title “Comforter” as described in the scriptures, Sister Wright said.

“That’s who He is and what He does, but that is not always how He feels,” she said, adding “some people live their whole lives and never have a warm, fuzzy feeling or get goosebumps. Some of the answers I have received from children are profound.”

One girl who loves to play soccer said the Holy Ghost sometimes feels like the rush of adrenaline as if she had just scored a winning goal. Another who likes to surf in California said the Holy Ghost feels like a warm wave had just washed over her entire body. The sensations are relatable to each one individually.

“And then a young man — he’s very academic, very analytical — recently said, ‘I don’t feel the Holy Ghost,’” Sister Wright recalled.

“I said, ‘That is interesting. Tell me about that.’

“He said, ‘He just speaks to me in a very common-sense, matter-of-fact, orderly kind of way. It just makes sense.’

“I love that the communication of the Spirit is tailor-made to each one of us in a way in which we can understand. And when our beloved prophet [President Russell M. Nelson] testified, ‘In coming days, it will not be possible to survive spiritually without the guiding, directing, comforting, and constant influence of the Holy Ghost,’ I believe that it is significant that he didn’t say it would simply be more difficult or challenging. He said, ‘it will not be possible.’ In these, the last days, it is more vital than ever that our children know the Savior, know His true nature and character, and know, through the Holy Ghost, how to hear His voice.”

Sister Amy A. Wright, second counselor in the Primary general presidency, is pictured with the three native-speaking “explorers” for the English, Spanish and Portuguese broadcasts of the Friend to Friend. The Friend to Friend will be available online beginning Feb. 19, 2022.

Sister Amy A. Wright, second counselor in the Primary general presidency, is pictured with the three native-speaking “explorers” for the English, Spanish and Portuguese broadcasts of the Friend to Friend. The Friend to Friend will be available online beginning Feb. 19, 2022.

Credit: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

‘Heavenly Father, are You really there?’

Sister Wright has her own experience of better knowing the Savior, after having been diagnosed with stage 4 ovarian cancer and given a 17% chance of survival.

“I knew the Savior’s voice before cancer, but I really know His voice now,” she said. “And with every fiber of my being, I want our children to know how to hear His voice, too.”

She has spoken publicly after her cancer and treatments, saying they have refined her as much as they have defined her.

She remembers a night several years ago while undergoing infusion treatments. In so much pain that she was past feeling, fear sank in during the stark darkness.

Despite her faith and testimony in God, the Savior, and the plan of salvation, she was in need.

“Even though I knew, I needed to know,” she recalled.

As a young child, she had been taught by her mother and Primary leaders that when feeling afraid or lonely and in need of the guiding and comforting influence of the Spirit, she should sing a Primary song.

First came a dismissive thought: “That’s for children, does that really apply to me?”

Then came the answer — and the song.

“I am a child of God, too,” Sister Wright remembered. “So, in my mind, I started singing ‘Heavenly Father, are You really there?’ — from ‘A Child’s Prayer.’

“That is as far as I got. Every fiber of my being was enveloped with the love of God. It was tangible, which was strange because I could not feel anything else. But I felt that. I knew He was there, that He knew exactly what I was going through, and that He was a loving God who cared about me.”

‘I have a better way’

The Primary general presidency, President Camille N. Johnson, center, and her counselors, Sister Susan H. Porter, left, and Sister Amy A. Wright, right, speak during BYU Women’s Conference on Thursday, April 29, 2021. They were sustained during the April 2021 general conference.

The Primary general presidency, President Camille N. Johnson, center, and her counselors, Sister Susan H. Porter, left, and Sister Amy A. Wright, right, speak during BYU Women’s Conference on Thursday, April 29, 2021. They were sustained during the April 2021 general conference.

Ryan Campbell, BYU Photo

God hears and answers every one of His children, she said.

“Sometimes the answer is ‘Yes’ — a resounding yes. Sometimes the answer is ‘Not now, be patient’ — which can be hard. But I think the most beautiful of all is when the answer is ‘I have a better way.’

“I have never received a ‘no.’ I’ve always received ‘I have a better way,’ and with that answer trust is required and vision is expanded.

“I think that is the beauty of expanded vision — if we have eyes to see and choose to look, God’s fingerprints are everywhere,” Sister Wright said. “He is in the common and ordinary days, the common and ordinary parts of our lives as well as the miraculous.”

‘They have the capacity to do great things’

A highlight of the past years’ service for Sister Wright was helping prepare and present a special children’s devotional — for those 8 years and older — for the North America Northeast Area, with the program taped at the Washington D.C. Temple Visitors’ Center. She and President Johnson wanted to engage, rather than entertain, the young participants. They wanted the children, and their parents, to better understand their capacity and potential.

The two Primary leaders focused on teaching the children about the Holy Ghost, how to seek and then act upon personal revelation.

“Once they are baptized and confirmed members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, they have a covenantal responsibility to participate in the gathering of Israel,” she said. “Anyone who has been baptized and confirmed shares in this sacred responsibility to help build the kingdom of God.

“Sometimes we focus so much on the privilege of baptism and confirmation — receiving the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost — that we forget that as members of the Church, children also have important responsibilities. They too are part of the body of Christ and have a vital role to play in preparing for the Second Coming of the Lord — and they can do it. Testimony is fostered not from big trials or miraculous experiences but from doing — striving every day to be obedient.”

The children taught their parents and Primary leaders how they can participate in the work of salvation and exaltation, right now! Sister Wright said. “They have the capacity to do remarkable things.”

For example, the “loving,” “sharing” and “inviting” of missionary work is “part of their very natures — they love everybody, they share everything with everyone, and they invite everybody to everything. …” she added.

“I pray we remember that these precious children not only have a sacred identity as beloved sons and daughters of God, but also a divine purpose. Our responsibility is to help them understand and fulfill that purpose.”

Biographical information

Family: Born Jan. 6, 1972, in Salt Lake City with a twin brother to Robert Anderson and Joy Bailey. Married James McConkie Wright on June 24, 1994, in the Salt Lake Temple; they have three sons. 

Education: Earned a bachelor’s degree in human development and family studies from the University of Utah in 1998. 

Employment: Worked in the student media department in the College of Communication at Marquette University in Wisconsin and as a reading tutor. Volunteered with the Parent Teacher Association, the Spectrum Program, and through JustServe. Prior to her call to the Primary general presidency, assisted with marketing and advertising for a dental office.

Church service: Has served as second counselor in the Primary general presidency since April 2021. She has previously served on the Young Women general advisory council and as stake Primary president, ward Primary president, ward Relief Society and Primary counselor, Young Women adviser, Relief Society teacher, Gospel Doctrine teacher and Cub Scout leader. 

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