President Camille N. Johnson said she has always felt at home and with like-minded women in Relief Society.
“As covenant women of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we share an objective — to return to our heavenly home. Relief Society sisters draw upon their diversity in age, talent, culture and experience to help one another return to God’s presence. What unites us is our common objective and divine purpose as covenant daughters of God, and disciples of Jesus Christ. Our discipleship is manifest in the relief we provide as we help one another progress along the covenant path,” President Johnson said.
“I have enjoyed sisterhood with women, young and old, and those with life experiences far different from my own,” President Johnson said of Relief Society, including 30-plus years in a family ward and while serving in Peru. “I love the vitality and wisdom of the women in Relief Society.”
President Johnson was sustained as the Relief Society general president at the April 2022 general conference and will begin in that position on Aug. 1. She has been serving as the Primary general president for the past year.
Read more: Meet the new Relief Society and Primary general presidencies sustained during April 2022 general conference
One of her favorite callings has been to teach in Relief Society.
“I loved the opportunity to engage the sisters and to be taught by the Spirit and each other during that sacred hour in Relief Society. It is there that we talk of Christ and rejoice in Christ and address matters of the heart,” President Johnson said.
And it was during those lessons, when women shared their personal experiences, that she felt a kinship to them. “Our hearts were ‘knit together in unity and love.’ ”
While she and her husband, Brother Douglas R. Johnson, were leading the Perú Arequipa Mission, she observed women providing relief to one another — by small and simple gestures they lifted the spirits of those whose hearts were heavy. They sang together, ate together, danced, and listened to one another.
“My Peruvian sisters found joy and happiness relieving the suffering of one another.”
Serving at home and together
Camille Neddo was born in September 1963 to Hal and Dorothy Neddo in Pocatello, Idaho. She has lived in Idaho; Germany, while her father served in the United States military; Texas; Utah; Washington, D.C., where she worked for U.S. Rep. Ron Packard of California; and Peru. Utah is “home.”
She was 9 years old when she and her parents moved from Pocatello, Idaho, to Dallas. She was 12 when they moved to Salt Lake City.
President Johnson has been blessed by the example of her parents.
Her late father was a “people person with a unique gift.”
“He expressed his confidence in people, and his expressed confidence instilled in them self-confidence. He was sincerely interested in others and an expert at ministering to the one,” President Johnson said. “My mom has followed the counsel the Lord gave to Emma Smith as recorded in the Doctrine and Covenants 25 — expounding the scriptures, teaching, testifying, lifting hearts and cleaving to temple covenants. The songs of her heart, sung in her most beautiful voice, are prayers unto the Lord.”
President Johnson met her husband, Douglas R. Johnson, while she was in her first year of law school and they married on July 31, 1987, in the Salt Lake Temple. They have three sons and five grandchildren.
She graduated from the University of Utah in English in 1985 and from the S. J. Quinney College of Law at the University of Utah in 1989. She practiced law for nearly 30 years as a partner in the Salt Lake City law firm Snow, Christensen & Martineau, where she was serving as firm president at the time of her call to serve as Primary general president.
She balanced family, Church responsibilities, and her professional life by setting clear priorities.
“Family always was, and is, my priority,” President Johnson said. She and Brother Johnson raised their three sons in the gospel of Jesus Christ. “We worked hard. We accepted callings and served faithfully. We loved each other. And we navigated the storms of life together as a family.”
Brother Johnson said he always felt her support. “And our boys always knew they were No. 1!” Brother Johnson said.
In the decade 2009 to 2019 every member of their family wore a missionary badge and served as a representative of Jesus Christ. Their oldest son served his mission to Samoa; the middle son to Ecuador Guayaquil West Mission; and their youngest son to Milan, Italy, at the same time President and Brother Johnson were serving as mission leaders in the Perú Arequipa Mission.
“All of us were blessed with an increased capacity to love. Every one of us, Doug, my sons and I all loved with a fullness of hearts we had never experienced before our missionary service. We love those dear people of Samoa, Ecuador, Italy and Peru. It was a love born of our commitment to and love for Jesus Christ,” she said.
President Johnson said she has seen the opportunities to serve as a sacred privilege and blessing.
She also served as ward Young Women president, Gospel Doctrine teacher and as a member of ward Relief Society, Young Women and Primary presidencies. She and her husband were leaders of the Perú Arequipa Mission from 2016 to 2019.
“Serving in the kingdom of God has shaped and blessed our lives immeasurably. I pray that our children will continue to seek opportunities to accept the invitation of the Savior, and ‘go, and do thou likewise,’ ” she said.
‘Simple gospel truths’
As she has served as the Primary general president, President Johnson and her counselors have focused on helping children prepare to make and keep sacred covenants. That preparation takes place at home and in Primary.
“We have spent time thinking and praying and pondering and counseling on how to teach our children about the covenant path of Jesus Christ — particularly the importance and significance of their baptism and confirmation as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,” she said.
“And we want the children to know the joy and blessing it is to have the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost and to recognize and understand how the Holy Ghost communicates to them in a personal way.”
The Primary leaders have also worked to “help our children understand the priesthood power and authority available to boys and girls and the blessings of temple ordinances and covenants,” she said.
“It is all part of our covenant path. That covenant path of Jesus Christ, and to Jesus Christ, is of equal importance to Relief Society sisters. I believe my experience in Primary has helped me to focus on these simple gospel truths,” President Johnson said.
“We have given much thought and prayer to how we might teach about the covenant path, in a simple way, to Primary children. I think I better understand now how to teach and testify that we are ‘children of the covenant.’ I hope to communicate that to the sisters of the world, and to do so accompanied by my testimony of our Savior Jesus Christ,” President Johnson said.
As she served with her counselors, Sister Susan H. Porter and Sister Amy A. Wright, who will continue to serve in Primary as the general president and first counselor, respectively, President Johnson said they felt the guiding influence of the Savior through the Holy Ghost as they counseled and prayed about the children in the Church.
“I love the children. I will always love the children,” she said.
Teaching, testifying and ministering together
When she began serving in Primary, she felt that she needed to learn as much as she could from Relief Society General President Jean B. Bingham. They have been able to teach, testify, and minister together, virtually in the Asia and Africa South areas, and in-person in Nauvoo, Illinois.
Nauvoo was where the Relief Society was first organized in an upstairs room of the Red Brick Store. While they were there to help train area Relief Society and Primary leaders, President Bingham and President Johnson visited the Red Brick Store and several historical homes, including the home of Sarah Granger Kimball, where early Saints gathered to prepare for and support the construction of the Nauvoo Temple.
“I had some very tender and stirring feelings about Relief Society while we were there,” she said.
She and President Bingham regularly counsel together about issues that affect both Primary children and their families.
Read more: A visit to Nauvoo — President Bingham and President Johnson share pioneer connections and instruction with leaders, missionaries
For now, President Johnson continues to serve in Primary and prepares to serve in Relief Society and will be set apart later this summer.
“I’m confident, because of my experience in Primary, that when the time comes, the Lord will bless me to know what is needful for the sisters and who and what to draw upon to address their needs,” she said.
Of her new counselors, Sister J. Anette Dennis and Sister Kristin M. Yee, President Johnson said she is “absolutely certain that the Lord wanted them called as my counselors at this time.”
“Each brings a unique background and wealth of experience to Relief Society. They are consecrated women who love the Lord and love their covenant sisters,” she said.
During an interview with the Church News shortly after her call as the Primary general president, President Johnson spoke about her faith in Jesus Christ to guide her path as she serves. “And now, I will continue to trust in the Lord with my whole heart and let him direct my path. He is the author and finisher of my faith and my story.” ν
Family: Born on Sept. 12, 1963, to Hal and Dorothy Neddo in Pocatello, Idaho; she married Douglas R. Johnson on July 31, 1987, in the Salt Lake Temple. They have three sons.
Education: Graduated from the University of Utah with a degree in English in 1985 and a law degree in 1989.
Employment: Practiced law for nearly 30 years as a partner in the Salt Lake City law firm Snow, Christensen & Martineau, where she was firm president at the time of her call to the Primary general presidency.
Church service: Served as the Primary general president, a ward Young Women president, Gospel Doctrine instructor and member of ward Relief Society, Young Women and Primary presidencies. Served with her husband as mission leaders of the Perú Arequipa Mission from 2016 to 2019.