Emily Cushing was raised in South Jordan, Utah, and met her husband in their middle school math class. Her love of learning led her to become a teacher. She earned a master’s degree in Teaching and Learning at Brigham Young University and has taught—among other places—in Tonga, England, and Myrtle Beach. She currently teaches in the Education Department at Utah Valley University. She has served as a Relief Society president, Primary president, and stake Primary president, and currently teaches the Emotional Resilience course to a remarkable group of teens. Emily enjoys reading, running, traveling, living in foreign places, and above all, spending time with her family. Emily Cushing


She Did: Ordinary Women, Extraordinary Faith Life Sketches; Of Orson Spencer and Others, and History of Primary Work There is already a discussion started about this podcast. Share your thoughts HERE.

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01:30 Who is Aurelia Rogers? She is the founder of the Primary. 03:45 Emily talks about her new book, She Did: Ordinary Women, Extraordinary Faith. 05:50 The Primary organization didn’t come from the revelation of a prophet or apostle but the grassroots effort of Aurelia Spencer Rogers. In 1778 the Primary began but it was in 1880 the Primary was officially organized. Within 10 years Primary was a part of all the settlements. 18:20 Aurelia’s background and family. 14:40 How did Aurelia’s idea even begin to gain momentum? 15:10 Initially Aurelia got the idea to start the Primary because of a bunch of rowdy boys and they needed to be taught manners but Aurelia also wanted to include girls too. She got permission to start it in her town of Farmington, Utah. 17:30 How Primary was in the beginning. It was a weekday activity and not part of the Sunday block. Aurelia really struggled in the beginning, feeling overwhelmed with everything she was starting. Eventually she felt peace. 21:30 The Primary presidency was formed in 1880 and Aurelia was a part of it. 25:10 Emily shares pieces of Aurelia’s autobiography and some of the trials and struggles that she had. 27:10 Additional resources for those that would like to learn more about Aurelia. She has an autobiography. It’s a primary source and shows what Utah was like at the time, and contains so much history. 30:30 Did Aurelia understand the role she played in starting and developing the Primary? Aurelia understood that she had a bigger mission. 33:30 A message for all the Primary teachers. 37:20 Emily has a background with child development and teaching children. She advises teachers and Primary leaders to connect on a personal level with each child. Really get to know them and let them know you love them. 41:00 Emily’s book is about 23 women, Aurelia being one of them. She shares the process of how they chose the women for the book. 42:40 Emily highlights another women from her book, Carmen O’Donnell. She was from Guatemala. She voiced a need and a whole policy changed because of her. It’s because of her the the three hour Sunday block was formed and also the gospel essentials class. 44:20 There are many leaders that are positive deviants. They deviated off the traditional path but not in a bad way. They see a need and try to create change. 44:50 Martha Ann is another woman in the book. She was African American and lived during the time of slavery. She was a leader within her own family. 46:50 Emily shares her final thoughts on leadership and creating positive change. Jump in and help the one that you see needs it. 52:00 Emily shares how researching these women and sharing their stories has changed her.

The Leading Saints Podcast is one of the top independent Latter-day Saint podcasts as part of nonprofit Leading Saints’ mission to help Latter-day Saints be better prepared to lead. Learn more and listen to any of the past episodes for free at LeadingSaints.org.

Past guests include Emily Belle Freeman, David Butler, Hank Smith, John Bytheway, Reyna and Elena Aburto, Liz Wiseman, Stephen M. R. Covey, Julie Beck, Brad Wilcox, Jody Moore, Tony Overbay, John H. Groberg, Elaine Dalton, Tad R. Callister, Lynn G. Robbins, J. Devn Cornish, Bonnie Oscarson, Dennis B. Neuenschwander, Anthony Sweat, John Hilton III, Barbara Morgan Gardner, Blair Hodges, Whitney Johnson, Ryan Gottfredson, Greg McKeown, Ganel-Lyn Condie, Michael Goodman, Wendy Ulrich, Richard Ostler, and many more in over 600 episodes.

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