May Green Hinckley

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May Green Hinckley served as the third general president of the Primary organization of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

She was born on May 1, 1881, in Brampton, Derbyshire, England. In 1889, she immigrated to Utah with her mother and some of her siblings. She was baptized a member of the Church in 1891 in Salt Lake City. After studying bookkeeping and accounting she worked as a business manager for a medical clinic.

When she was fifty years old (1932), she married Bryant S. Hinckley and became a stepmother to his children, including future Church president Gordon B. Hinckley. In 1935, when Bryant Hinckley became the president of the Chicago-based Northern States Mission, she went with him and presided over the Primary, Young Women, and Relief Society within the mission. In 1940, President Heber J. Grant called her to serve as general president of the Primary.

Hinckley brought to her calling “an appreciation of the challenges faced in fledgling areas of the Church.”[1] Her work within the missionary program also influenced her. She knew that the Primary programs made it very difficult for children in many areas outside of Utah to gather in larger groups. She formed a committee that created lessons for use by Primaries in missions. She also oversaw the creation of increased home-based Primary programs due to World War II energy rationing. She created a new curriculum, added a scripture reading program for leaders and teachers, established a scriptural theme (Doctrine and Covenants 68:28), and created the Primary logo, motto, and colors. She also served as editor of The Children’s Friend.

Hinckley died unexpectedly on May 2, 1943, making her service in the Primary brief—three and a half years.