Getting Started


Our Father in Heaven has given you the sacred responsibility to help parents teach children the gospel of Jesus Christ. Through Sunday meetings and weekday activities, you will help children learn and live gospel principles; make and keep sacred covenants; and build strong, enduring testimonies.

  • Learn more about the purposes of Primary in Handbook 2: Administering the Church (2010), 11.1 .

"For children all over the world, we say: 'Take my hand. Hold on tight. We will stay on the path together back to our Heavenly Father.'

"Parents, grandparents, neighbors, friends, Primary leaders—each of us can reach out to hold on to the children. We can stop, kneel down, and look into their eyes and feel of their innate desire to follow the Savior. Take hold of their hands. Walk with them. It is our chance to anchor them on the path of faith.

"No child needs to walk the path alone so long as we speak freely to our children of the plan of salvation. Understanding the plan will help them hold to the truths that they are children of God and He has a plan for them, that they lived with Him in the premortal existence, that they shouted for joy to come to this earth, and that through the Savior's help, we all can return to our Heavenly Father's presence. If they understand the plan and who they are, they will not fear.

"In Alma 24 we read, 'He loveth our souls [and] he loveth our children; therefore, . . . the plan of salvation might be made known unto us as well as unto future generations' (verse 14)" (Rosemary M. Wixom, "Stay on the Path," October 2010 general conference; read entire address).

Prepare Spiritually

You have been called of God by revelation, and you are entitled to personal revelation in ministering to individual children and performing duties associated with your calling. Follow the example of Jesus Christ as you consider your own spiritual preparation. Before He began His ministry, the Savior retreated to the wilderness to fast and to pray (see Matthew 4). As a Primary leader, you should pray and ask Heavenly Father for strength and direction, and He will bless you.

  • Learn more about preparing yourself spiritually in Handbook 2, 3.2.1.

Participate in Councils

As the Primary president, you participate as a member of the ward council. As a member of this council, represent the needs of children you serve.

Elder M. Russell Ballard taught: "This is the miracle of Church councils: listening to each other and listening to the Spirit! When we support one another in Church councils, we begin to understand how God can take ordinary men and women and make of them extraordinary leaders. The best leaders are not those who work themselves to death trying to do everything single-handedly; the best leaders are those who follow God's plan and counsel with their councils" ("Counseling with Our Councils," Ensign, May 1994, 26).

  • Learn more about counseling with others in Handbook 2, 3.2.2.
  • Learn more about the ward council in Handbook 2, section 4.
  • Learn more about counseling with other Primary leaders in Handbook 2, 11.3.

Minister to Primary Children and Leaders

When Jesus Christ visited the Nephites in the Americas, He ministered to the children "one by one" and "blessed them, and prayed unto the Father for them. . . . And he spake unto the multitude, and said unto them: Behold your little ones. . . . And they saw angels descending out of heaven as it were in the midst of fire; and they came down and encircled those little ones about, and they . . . did minister unto them" (3 Nephi 17:21-24).

Just as the angels ministered among the children in the Americas, Primary leaders and teachers have the sacred responsibility to minister to God's children individually today. As you minister, learn the names of all of the children and learn of their individual needs and circumstances.

  • Learn more about ministering to others in Handbook 2, 3.2.3.
  • Learn about ministering to children with special needs in Handbook 2, 11.8.6.

Teach the Gospel to Primary Children

As you teach the doctrines of the gospel to the children in sharing time and in the classroom, your love for and understanding of the children will increase. At times, it may appear that the children you teach are not listening and do not care. Remember the counsel given by Elder Neil L. Andersen: "Although there may be times when a child does not listen with a believing heart, your testimony of Jesus will remain in his or her mind and soul. . . . If a child is not listening, don't despair. Time and truth are on your side. At the right moment, your words will return as if from heaven itself. Your testimony will never leave your children" ("Tell Me the Stories of Jesus," April 2010 general conference).

  • Learn more about teaching the gospel of Jesus Christ in Handbook 2, 3.2.4.
  • Learn more about teaching in Primary in Handbook 2, 11.4.2 and 11.4.3.
  • Learn more about teaching through the Faith in God program in Handbook 2, 11.5.1.

Administering the Primary Program

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland taught Primary leaders: "Every member of the Church is important to us. Indeed, every person—member or not—is important to us, but surely among the most significant of all our responsibilities is the responsibility to protect and nurture the children of the Church. . . . We care so much about you and about the children you are teaching. Prepare well to bless these little ones. Give it your best effort" (See "Anchoring Children in the Scriptures," Primary training video).

As you give your best effort, use the Primary program the Church has organized. This includes using the Primary manuals and the outline for sharing time, overseeing the Faith in God and Scouting programs, helping plan and organize the children's sacrament meeting presentation and priesthood preview, overseeing and participating in Sunday instruction, and training Primary teachers and leaders.

  • Learn more about Primary leadership in Handbook 2, 11.2.
  • Learn more about Sunday Primary in Handbook 2, 11.4.
  • Learn more about Primary programs, activities, and events in Handbook 2, 11.5.