The First Presidency announced a new Primary general presidency during the Saturday afternoon session of the 186th Annual General Conference on April 2.
Sister Joy D. Jones with serve as the new Primary general president with Sister Jean B. Bingham and Sister Bonnie H. Cordon as her counselors.
Sister Joy D. Jones, Primary general president
Joy Diane Harmon Jones was born July 20, 1954 in The Dalles, Oregon, to Aldo Harmon and Eleanor Ellsworth Harmon. Her father, an electrician, was her hero. “I felt like my dad could do anything,” she said. “My mom was an amazing woman,” Sister Jones said, describing how she made everything from the food they ate to the clothes they wore, from scratch. “To me, she was a saint and I wanted to grow up to be like her.”
A childhood memory Sister Jones cherishes is listening to the words of a mission president, Robert L. Backman, now an emeritus General Authority Seventy, as he spoke in a district conference in Oregon. “I felt something very powerful when he was talking,” she 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.”
Even though they both grew up in Oregon, Sister Jones first met Robert Bruce Jones at BYU. 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, then to Santa Rosa, California, where Brother Jones practiced as a chiropractic physician. Brother and Sister Jones felt impressed to move to Draper, Utah, 22 years ago. Sister Jones said that the greatest blessing of moving to Utah was having a temple so near. “The Jordan River Temple became my sacred space. ... 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 and Primary president, and counselors in ward and stake Relief Society, Young Women and Primary presidencies. She has served most recently on the Primary General Board. She now serves as the Primary general president.
Sister Jean B. Bingham, 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 around the country, 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 on June 10, 1952, in Provo, Utah, to Edith Joy Clark and Robert Rowland Barrus, Sister Bingham is the third of nine children. At just three months old, her family moved to Indiana to continue her father’s schooling. In the first six years of her life, Sister Bingham moved with her family as they 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 on Dec. 22, 1972, in the Provo Utah Temple.
Her lifetime of Church service has included time as a ward Primary president, Young Women president, served twice as a 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.”
Sister Bonnie H. Cordon, 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 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 and work and patience, she slowly became fluent in Portuguese, which ended up being a blessing 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. It always makes more sense when we look in the rearview mirror. We just have to have faith.”
Bonnie Hillam was born on March 11, 1964, in Idaho Falls, Idaho. After her mission she studied education at Brigham Young University. While there she became good friends with Derek Lane Cordon. Their friendship blossomed into romance and the two were married on 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 from 2010 to 2013, and she has served as a stake Young Women president, nursery leader, 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.”