She was born April 9, 1922, in Salt Lake City, Utah. She earned a degree from the University of Utah. She was a well-loved, prolific writer. She became the women’s editor for the Deseret News and produced a daily column. She was also a freelance writer and was published in national magazines such as Better Homes and Gardens and Seventeen. In 1959, she became an associate editor for “Era of Youth,” a section of the Church magazine the Improvement Era created for the youth of the Church. In 1971, the church magazine New Era was launched, which was patterned after the “Era of Youth.”
During her service as president of the Young Women, the Church of Jesus Christ consolidated Sunday worship services into a three-hour block that included young women classes. Cannon unified the young women of the Church by holding an annual meeting for girls aged 12 to 18 and their mothers in the Salt Lake Tabernacle and broadcast it via satellite to Church meetinghouses throughout the world. This meeting continued through successive presidents until 2014 when the Young Women, Primary, and Relief Society combined into one general women’s meeting held in connection with the semiannual general conferences held. The meeting was designated as a session of General Conference in April 2015.
Cannon authored or coauthored more than 50 books and recorded dozens of talk on tapes. Among her books are Adversity, Baptized and Confirmed: Your Lifeline to Heaven, Choose the Right, Women Testify of Jesus Christ, The Truth About Angels, As a Woman Thinketh, and three 'Little Books' titles: The Little Book of Big Ideas about Hope, The Little Book of Big Ideas about Joy, and The Little Book of Big Ideas about Love. She hosted her own TV show and was a featured speaker on a weekly radio program broadcast internationally. She lectured throughout the world.
She married D. James Cannon in 1943 and they had six children. She passed away on May 19, 2003.