President Joy D. Jones: ‘Essential Conversations’

Primary general president

Notable quotes:

“We value children and do all we can to combat the evils of abuse.”
“We cannot wait for conversion to simply happen to our children.”
“Let’s not allow the convenience of electronic devices to keep us from teaching and listening to our children, and looking into their eyes.”

Summary points:

  • Parents have the privilege and responsibility to help children “get far enough in” to the gospel of Jesus Christ.
  • Simple yet essential conversations about the gospel can lead children to know what they believe and why they believe it. 
  • As children are “properly equipped” with gospel truths, they can grow in faith, courage and confidence, even amid strong opposition.

Talk summary:

Children have never been secondary to Heavenly Father — they have always been “primary.” Their care is primary to parents, as it is to Him. They are to be taught by word and example before and after they reach the age of accountability. 

Becoming like the Savior will not happen randomly. As parents intentionally love, teach and testify, they can help children feel the influence of the Holy Ghost. Essential conversations about the gospel of Jesus Christ can lead them to understand the doctrine of repentance, have faith in Christ, choose baptism and the Holy Ghost and “pray and walk uprightly before the Lord.”

These conversations can occur naturally. Additional opportunities can come through role-playing. By acting out situations of what to do when being tempted, children can be armed with “the shield of faith,” rather than being caught unprepared on the battlefields of life. Parents are preparing the rising generation to be future defenders of the faith. 

Children deserve to understand the principle of agency. “As we nurture and prepare our children, we allow for their agency, we love them with all our heart, we teach them God’s commandments and His gift of repentance, and we never, ever give up on them.”

In the news:

  • President Jones spoke to the Church News in March about the new calling of area organization advisers to help support Relief Society, Young Women and Primary in international areas. 
  • The Church held its first-ever Friend to Friend broadcast for children on Feb. 20. President Jones highlighted examples of children around the world serving like the Savior and invited the audience to serve someone in need. 
  • The Primary general presidency released a video on Jan. 4 encouraging children, parents and Primary leaders to create Primary experiences at home. 
  • President Jones joined the Church News podcast in December 2020 to discuss the new “Helping Hands” service initiative for children featured in monthly issues of the Friend magazine.

About the speaker:

  • President Joy D. Jones was called as Primary general president in April 2016.
  • President Jones earned an associate of science degree in family living from Brigham Young University. 
  • She met her husband, Robert Bruce Jones, at a BYU family home evening group. They were married in the Manti Utah Temple on Aug. 14, 1974. They have five children.

Recently on social:

  • President Jones expressed her gratitude on March 1 for those who utilized their talents and “worked tirelessly” to produce the Friend to Friend broadcast.
  • On Feb. 4, President Jones shared a video on her Facebook page on how she can #HearHim.“Have you ever felt overwhelmed with gratitude after receiving guidance from heaven?” she wrote in the post accompanying the video. “It’s a wonderful feeling, isn’t it?”
  • President Jones participated in a virtual hunger walk on Dec. 1, 2020, and wrote about her experience in an Instagram post.