“Report of Primary Conference,” Ensign, May 1975, 124–25
The organ moved smoothly from a prelude into the soft strains of “Reverently, Quietly.” Thousands of Primary leaders who had gathered in the Tabernacle hushed to stillness and, without announcement, followed the music director in singing the prayer song. The 69th Annual Conference of the Primary Association had begun the same way Primaries do each week all around the world.
Conducting the sessions was Sister Naomi M. Shumway, who has been Primary general president for the past six months. She greeted the sisters: “Your presence here tells us of the planning, preparation, and sacrifices you have made to be here and we thank you and bless you.”
The assembled sisters saw the conference theme presentation, “Catch the Vision of Primary,” and heard Elder LeGrand Richards of the Council of the Twelve say of a former Primary teacher, “I can’t remember all the things she taught, but I remember her influence.”
Departmental meetings for presidents, first counselors, second counselors, secretaries, music leaders, inservice leaders, Scouting directors, and Cub Scout leaders centered on the conference theme as stake and district Primary leaders caught the vision of their own individual responsibilities. Bishop Vaughn J. Featherstone, second counselor in the Presiding Bishopric, was a guest speaker in the presidents department.
The second day of the conference brought the sisters back, jam-packed, into the Tabernacle. Here the phasing out of the Primary Penny Parade was announced, and a new Primary Birthday Pennies program was outlined, where the Primary will encourage children and Primary workers Churchwide to share their pennies, nickels, and dimes when they are honored in Primary for their birthdays. There will be no canvassing of ward membership. The new program will be in effect in September 1975.
Brief presentations of the 1975–76 programs were previewed: the Reverence theme will be “Follow Me,” and Bicentennial and patriotic activities will be part of the year’s work; the summer program for 1975 will be highlighted by a “Summer Sing,” and the Children’s Sacrament Meeting Presentation will focus on preparing for the Second Coming. The hymn of the year will be “Come, Ye Children of the Lord.”
Cautioning that statistics too often reflect quantity but not necessarily quality, Primary leaders were challenged to set goals that would improve the effectiveness of their Primaries.
Highlights of the closing session included a presentation, “Encircle the World with Primary.” Expressions of love came from Sister LaVern W. Parmley, past president, and from President N. Eldon Tanner of the First Presidency, who counseled, “We may write names on a roll and put marks there for attendance, and we keep records and compile statistics, but we are not teaching a statistic—we are teaching a child of God.”
Closing the conference, Sister Shumway stated, “We, as Primary workers, must catch the vision of Primary so that not one child might spiritually perish. We must help parents cement faith, understanding, and the steadfastness of the gospel so that children will be found equal to the challenge of the future.”