“All thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of thy children.” (3 Nephi 22:13, Isaiah 54:13)
- —The Primary theme
Purposes of Primary
The purposes of Primary are to help children:
- Feel Heavenly Father's love for them.
- Learn and understand the gospel of Jesus Christ.
- Feel and recognize the influence of the Holy Ghost.
- Prepare to make and keep sacred covenants.
Parents have the first responsibility for the spiritual and physical welfare of their children (see D&C 68:25–28). The bishopric, Primary leaders, and Primary teachers support but do not replace parents in this responsibility.
“The new home-centered, Church-supported integrated curriculum has the potential to unleash the power of families, as each family follows through conscientiously and carefully to transform their home into a sanctuary of faith.” —President Russell M. Nelson
The Primary program started in 1878 when a member of the Church, Aurelia Spencer Rogers, thought it would be good for the boys in the Church to have their own organization. The purpose was to teach them to be better men. The idea was taken to the President of the Church, John Taylor and he thought an organization would not only be good for boys, but also for the girls in the Church. Just a short time later, the first Primary met. It included 224 boys and girls who were taught obedience, faith in God, prayer, punctuality, and good manners. Today, Primary is an essential part of the Church around the world.
The Primary Organization
Callings within each ward (congregation) are issued for primary leadership. A Primary president is called, and through inspiration, she suggests two counselors to the bishopric. Other ward primary leaders may include a secretary, teachers for the various age groups, and music specialists. Primary leaders are also called on the Stake level to direct and oversee a group of wards. Again, there will be a Stake Primary President and two counselors. Women are mostly called to Primary presidencies. There is a general Primary presidency which oversees all the Primary organizations in the Church.
Sunday Primary Meetings
Sunday Primary Meetings changed in January 2019. Prior to this date, children, teachers, and leaders attended a two-hour block filled with an opening meeting, singing time, sharing time, and class time. With the Church-wide change to focus on home-centered, Church-supported gospel learning, the meetings were reduced into a one-hour meeting that consists of opening prayer, scripture or article of faith, one talk, 20 minutes of singing time, and 20 minutes of class time. Closing prayer is offered in individual classes. All classes are taught from the Come, Follow Me—For Primary manual. The Primary meets each Sunday.
Teachers are encouraged to keep the lesson focused on what is suggested in the manual, and to teach by the spirit and be aware of the children’s needs. Church curriculum is created for the entire Church, so the same manuals are used all over the world, and according to the same general schedule.
Changes for Youth Progression and Ordination
The First Presidency announced a new time line for when children and youth complete Primary, move from one class or quorum to the next, and attend the temple for the first time. The changes went into effect in January 2019.
- Beginning in January 2019, children will complete Primary and begin attending Sunday School and the Beehive class or deacons quorum as age-groups, not on their individual 12th birthdays as they have in the past.
- In addition, young men will be eligible to be ordained to a priesthood office in January of the year they turn 12, 14, and 16, and youth will be eligible to obtain a limited-use temple recommend beginning in January of the year they turn 12—based on their “individual worthiness, readiness, and personal circumstances.”
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