“Margaret S. Lifferth, First Counselor, Primary General Presidency,” Ensign, May 2005, 128
A mother of seven, Margaret Swensen Lifferth emphasizes that parents need to be present for the small moments in the lives of their children. She recalls a time when one of her children, age four, came crying into the house after a disagreement with his playmates. “I just pulled him onto my lap and said, ‘What can we do?’ We figured out that he could take a plate of cookies to his friends, and the problem was solved.
“It is the small moments like these that are really the teaching moments, that set the example of how our children are going to address the world,” she says.
Sister Lifferth was born on March 30, 1947, in Washington, D.C., to Jenny Romney Swensen and Albert Swensen. She grew up in Provo, Utah, and earned her degree in English from Brigham Young University. On August 16, 1968, she married Dennis Lifferth in the Salt Lake Temple.
From the time she was a young child, Sister Lifferth has had a testimony of prayer, reinforced by simple experiences. Once, for example, her parents had gone to the temple, and young Margaret lay in bed, worried about their safety because of the bad weather. A cold had left her coughing and even more resistant to sleep. “I remember crawling out of bed, kneeling down, and praying that I would stop coughing and that my parents would get home safely,” she says. Her coughing did stop, and she was able to sleep peacefully. The next morning she found that her parents had indeed arrived safely at home.
“Heavenly Father loves children and will answer their prayers and strengthen them to meet the challenges of their day,” Sister Lifferth says. “Primary helps children know how to claim that understanding as they keep the commandments, make covenants, and follow Heavenly Father’s plan.”
Sister Lifferth has served as a member of the Primary general board, counselor in a stake Relief Society presidency, and counselor in a ward Primary presidency.