Church News - The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Divine identity inspires new Primary president

Sister Rosemary Wixom finds happiness in life's journey
Published: Saturday, July 31, 2010

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Even though Rosemary Mix Wixom looks, sounds and oftentimes acts identical to her twin sister, Roseann, she has a personal knowledge of her individual identity as a daughter of God. It is that divine identity that brings joy and gives a sure footing on the path of life, she said.

"This earth life is a path and when we follow the teachings of Jesus Christ we stay on that path and we will find happiness," said Sister Wixom. "It is a path of happiness, not to happiness, but a path of happiness on the journey."

Michael Brandy, Deseret News
Rosemary Wixom, new General Primary president, and her husband, B. Jackson Wixom Jr., pose for a picture outside of the Relief Society Building.

For Sister Wixom, who was called and sustained to be the Primary general president during the April 2010 general conference, happiness on that path began as a young girl growing up in Salt Lake City.

"My home was just wonderful," Sister Wixom said. "Even though I had the insecurities of youth — which I think everybody has — I was blessed with people around me to enrich my life, to teach me and set good examples."

Despite feeling gangly, skinny and awkward as a young girl around friends, Sister Wixom loved being at home with family — especially her two brothers and identical twin sister, Roseann.

"We had such a happy home. My father took the car to work so we would just be at home through the day with our mom," she said. "Summers were lemonade stands and finding four-leaf clovers. And, I always felt secure at home. I always felt loved. It felt good to go home."

It was in those young years at home that Sister Wixom discovered for herself her very own personal knowledge of her identity as a daughter of God.

"I remember one time praying and asking Heavenly Father — am I really a daughter of God? Am I really your daughter? And I felt such love just flood over me," she said. "I still do that occasionally, because to me, that validates who we are. We never grow old of hearing or feeling that we are loved, especially by Him."

It is that knowledge of being a daughter of God that gives Sister Wixom her strong foundation in the gospel today. It is that knowledge that has shaped her testimony during many defining moments in her life, and encourages her as she serves in her calling.

Putting the Lord first

One of the most important defining moments in Sister Wixom's life, she said, was when she married her husband, B. Jackson "Jack" Wixom Jr. on Aug. 18, 1970, in the Salt Lake Temple. Together they have six children and seven grandchildren.

"We never questioned getting married in the temple," she said. "It was just part of our thinking."

Their marriage in the temple marked the beginning of a partnership of putting the Lord first and supporting each other in callings as they raised their family. Whether it was Sister Wixom supporting her husband as bishop or stake president, or him supporting her as she served in a Primary or Young Women presidency, they always encouraged each other in whatever calling they were asked to do.

"We had watched our parents sacrifice for the gospel, so it was never a question to accept a calling," Sister Wixom said. "I felt blessed. It was the people in my life, truly the people in my life, who have guided me on that path."

One of the greatest experiences for Brother and Sister Wixom was when he was called to preside over the Washington D.C. South Mission from 2006-09. As they served with more than 400 missionaries over three years of service, they learned how to serve side by side every day.

"We became the closest ever during that period," said Brother Wixom. "It was so unifying."

Joy in teaching

Whether serving as Primary president or as a Cub Scout leader, Sister Wixom has always enjoyed interacting with children. In 1971, Sister Wixom earned her teaching degree from Utah State University.

"I had always wanted to teach," she said. "As a little girl, playing school was one of my very favorite things to do."

Although she only taught formally in the classroom for one year prior to starting a family of her own, Sister Wixom said the principles of teaching have been useful in every aspect of her life.

"The real joy is when you watch that light go on when you look into the eyes of those children, of an individual child, and you see they can understand a concept," she said. "That you've been a part of them learning that concept is a spiritual experience, whether it be in school or in Church."

In addition to teaching at school and in the Church, Sister Wixom said her education has helped her with her own children within the walls of her own home.

"To be able to watch my children have the light go on is an even greater blessing," she said.

Although her children have grown and are now having children of their own, Sister Wixom said the principles of teaching will help her in her new calling, and are important for everyone, at every stage of life.

"Education and those experiences are so valuable," she said. "The Lord teaches us those concepts through others — through our family members, parents, grandparents, friends, neighbors and everyone who surrounds us," Sister Wixom said. "That is why we came here in families for that very purpose, so we can help and teach each other. And that's His plan."

A new call

"As I look back on my life, I can see how the Lord was guiding me," she said. "His handprints are all over my life. I see how one experience prepared me for another. I can see the path is His plan."

Whether teaching in a classroom, raising her children, or serving in the Church, Sister Wixom looks at every opportunity as a chance to do the will of the Lord. As she approaches her new calling, she hopes to help instill that same confidence that comes, as individuals understand their identity as a child of God. As individuals understand that plan, they can then reach out and help others.

"He has a plan for each one of us," she said. "When you know, you look sideways, you lock arms and you help others."

mholman@desnews.com

Biographical information

FAMILY: Born Dec. 26, 1948, in Ogden, Utah, to Robert Wayne and Mary Cannon Mix. Married Blaine Jackson "Jack" Wixom Jr., Aug. 18, 1970, in the Salt Lake Temple. They are the parents of six children: Nathan (Susannah); Elizabeth; Spencer; Joseph (Sarah); Mary (Nathan) Daily; Katie Lyn; and the grandparents of 7.

EDUCATION: Bachelor degree in elementary education, Utah State University, 1971.

EMPLOYMENT: Third grade teacher, 1972; homemaker.

CHURCH SERVICE: Young Women general board member, Primary general board member, stake Young Women president, stake Primary president, Lamba Delta Sigma adviser at the institute adjacent to University of Utah and served with her husband while he presided over the Washington D.C. South Mission.