A look at the new top female LDS leaders — including a historic Primary pick

Tracy Yeulande Browning will be the first Black woman to join a churchwide presidency. Primary leader Camille N. Johnson will head the Relief Society.

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Newly called Primary general presidency first counselor Amy Wright hugs second counselor Tracy Y. Browning after the afternoon session of LDS General Conference on Saturday, April 2, 2022.

One of the most powerful Relief Society general presidencies in recent memory was “released” Saturday after five years leading the women’s organization of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Jean B. Bingham, Sharon Eubank and Reyna Aburto will be replaced come August by a trio that includes an attorney, a homemaker and an animation specialist.

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) The soon-to-be-outgoing Relief Society general presidency of Sharon Eubank, left, Jean B. Bingham and Reyna Aburto visit with general authorities after the afternoon session of LDS General Conference, on Saturday, April 2, 2022.

In addition, a newly minted threesome to oversee the children’s Primary will include a historic pick: the first Black woman to serve in a churchwide general presidency.

The Relief Society’s incoming president, Camille N. Johnson, was plucked from being Primary general president, where she has served for the past year.

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Jean Bingham and Reyna Aburto hug the incoming Relief Society general President Camille N. Johnson after the afternoon session of LDS General Conference on Saturday, April 2, 2022.

Before these church positions, Johnson worked as an attorney with Snow, Christensen & Martineu, where she had “a significant and varied litigation and trial practice,” according to the Salt Lake City law firm’s biography.

In 2003, Johnson successfully defended Dave Johnson, the former vice president of the Salt Lake Olympic Committee, in connection with an indictment arising out of the competition for the 2002 Winter Games.

After serving with her husband, Douglas, in his assignment as mission president in the Peru Arequipa Mission from 2016 to 2019, she returned to her law practice, where she “assists clients with the investigation of employment claims, including those alleging discrimination, harassment and retaliation.”

(The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) The Relief Society General Presidency (beginning Aug. 1, 2022): First Counselor J. Anette Dennis, left, President Camille N. Johnson and Second Counselor Kristin M. Yee.

Johnson chose J. Anette Dennis as her first counselor.

Dennis studied elementary education at Brigham Young University, then reared four children with her husband, Jorge Dennis, and later served with him in the Guayaquil Ecuador Temple and as the couple oversaw the Ecuador Guayaquil West Mission. The pair also serve on the church’s Davis County Public Affairs Council.

The second counselor, Kristin M. Yee, originally from Sacramento, Calif., completed bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Brigham Young University, and then worked for 13 years as a producer at Disney Interactive Studios, where her projects included successful releases of “Hannah Montana: Spotlight World Tour,” “Toy Story 3 the video game,” “Cars 2,” and “Disney Infinity 1.0, 2.0, and 3.0.”

She currently manages 45 individual artists, vendors and directors in the creation of animation and exhibit projects for the church.

With Johnson moving over to the Relief Society, her first counselor in the Primary, Susan H. Porter, will become the head of the children’s organization, and Amy Wright, the second counselor, will become first.

(The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) The Primary General Presidency (beginning Aug. 1, 2022): First Counselor Amy Wright, left, President Susan H. Porter and Second Counselor Tracy Y. Browning.

The new second counselor in the presidency will be Tracy Yeulande Browning.She was born in New York but reared in Jamaica and joined the LDS Church at 16. She has worked in financial services for 15 years and is now a director in the faith’s publishing services department.

She has volunteered with the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Habitat for Humanity and United Way’s Day of Caring.

In 2018, Browning was on the organizing committee for the “Be One” celebration, commemorating the 40th anniversary of the June 8, 1978, ending of the temple/priesthood ban on Black members.

“I’m so excited to see that Tracy Browning accepted the call to serve in a general presidency,” said Tamu Smith, an African American member who was also on the anniversary committee. “I’m even more excited for the church because President Browning is someone who’s lived experience brings a unique perspective that will help transform the gospel in our lives and the lives of our children.”

The Black female leader “is observant, which people tend to confuse with passivity, which is a mistake because she’s not at all passive,” Smith said. Watching Browning choose “when and to use her voice, I learned to check my own blind spots.”

No doubt, she said, the new leader “will continue to open eyes and increase awareness concerning the needs of our members.”

“I know her,” Smith reiterated. “I fully and wholeheartedly sustain her.”

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Newly called Primary General Presidency President Susan H. Porter, left, and second counselor Tracy Y. Browning shake hands with church leaders after the afternoon session of LDS General Conference on Saturday, April 2, 2022.

CorrectionApril 4, 2022, 11:15 a.m.: This story has been updated to correct Tracy Browning’s background in financial services.