6 highlights from Rosemary Wixom’s service as Primary general president

Sister Rosemary M. Wixom, then-general president of the Primary, visits with a boy in Austria in early summer 2014. (Photo courtesy Mormon Newsroom.)

Sister Rosemary M. Wixom, then-general president of the Primary, visits with a boy in Austria in early summer 2014. (Photo courtesy Mormon Newsroom.)

Sister Rosemary M. Wixom, who served as Primary general president from April 2010 until her release on April 2, 2016, served during a period of great excitement and progress for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. During her time as president, the Church faced monumental decisions, the challenges of an ever-growing church and almost constant media attention.

Sister Wixom, her counselors, and other female leaders of the Church contributed to this progress in significant ways. Here are five highlights from Sister Wixom’s tenure.

1. First live worldwide auxiliary training

The online-only 2014 Auxiliary Training was the first of its kind. Instead of a live training limited to those in the Salt Lake area, the annual training was available online in multiple languages at the same time.

“We’ve tried it the last couple of years to have our training prepared in a way that it could go out, and now it seems like it is the right time to provide this online training for Relief Society and for Young Women and for Primary,” Sister Wixom said.

The training also took place after general conference — a departure from past tradition. The messages in general conference helped shape the focus of the training.

2. Primary-aged girls invited to General Women’s Meeting

The first General Women’s Meeting was monumental for women in the Church and especially for Primary-aged girls. Beginning with April 2014 general conference, the General Women’s Meeting was open to all female Church members eight and older. Sister Wixom had a significant role in the establishment of this meeting.

“As we counseled together we all came to the conclusion that it begins for girls when they turn eight years old, when they take upon themselves the baptismal covenant,” Sister Wixom said. “Children are growing up faster now than ever before and they bring an energy and openness.”

Wixom and the Church’s other female leaders said that the changes would give women and girls opportunity for “advancement and progression.”

3. Public opinion on women in the Church

The status of women in the Church became a worldwide topic of conversation (and sometimes debate) during the five years Sister Wixom spent in office. As part of this dialogue, Sister Linda K. Burton, Sister Elaine S. Dalton and Sister Wixom participated in a conversation about women in the Church and answered specific questions about their role in Church leadership. You can see the video of their conversation below.

4. Lower minimum age for missionary service

President Thomas S. Monson made the announcement that officially lowered the minimum age for missionary service in October 2012, but many Church leaders were involved in the decision. Among those involved were Sister Wixom and other female leaders.

“That was a marvelous experience,” Sister Linda K. Burton said in the conversation mentioned above. “At one point in that committee meeting, Elder Nelson stopped and said, ‘We don’t want to hear from anyone except the sisters.’ Then one by one, he asked us our opinion.”

Hear the conversation about this experience at about 2:30 in the video above. 

5. Celebration of 100 years of scouting

The Church and the Boy Scouts of America celebrated 100 years of scouting together in October 2013. They commemorated the event with a program titled “A Century of Honor.”

Sister Wixom introduced the program alongside Brother David L. Beck, general president of the Young Men’s organization. The celebration was held in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City and was a reflection of the Church and scouting and how the values and principles have remained constant during the last 100 years of partnership.

6. Continuation of the Church’s involvement with Boy Scouts of America

The Church announced in July 2015 that it would “continue to evaluate” its relationship with the Boy Scouts of America following policy changes within the BSA organization. A few weeks later, the Church announced that it would continue its relationship with BSA for the time being. These discussions were significant to Sister Wixom, who worked closely with BSA in her calling as Primary general president.


Breanna Olaveson worked in the magazine industry before taking her writing from full-time to nap time with the birth of her first daughter. Her work has appeared in the Ensign, Liahona and New Era magazines, as well as Utah Valley Magazine, Utah Valley BusinessQ, Utah Valley Bride and the Provo Daily Herald. She lives in Utah county with her husband and three children. She blogs at www.breannaolaveson.com.


  1. AvatarJames Francisco Reply

    A couple of points. First, Sis. Wixom’s influence extended beyond the church. She was a key leader in the recent redesign of the BSA Cub Scout advancement program. And, as a member of the BSA National Executive Board she had a voice in the overall management of the BSA. Secondly, the partnership between the Church and the BSA was never really in question. The statement of continued support was necessitated by a misstep made by the church public communications department where they made statements that were not fully vetted by ecclesiastical leadership before they were released.

  2. AvatarLa Reply

    Thank you for this story; it’s easy to think nothing changes in Primary, so this glimpse is helpful. As an editorial note, would you please consider changing “Sister” Wixom to “President” Wixom–as well as President Dalton and President Burton in bullet points 3 and 4? They had the full rights & responsibilities of their presidency and should be accorded such recognition, as are other auxiliary leaders.

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