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New Mormon women's leaders bring a global bent

Published April 7, 2017 4:36 am
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The Utah-based LDS Church named a new — and unusually diverse — trio to lead the 6 million-member Relief Society for Mormon women, with an eye focused on a growing international membership.

Salt Lake City resident Jean B. Bingham, formerly a counselor in the general presidency of church's Primary organization for children, was tapped as the society's 17th president.

Bingham was born in Provo but grew up in Texas, Minnesota and New Jersey. She met her husband, Bruce Bingham, at LDS Church-owned Brigham Young University and went on the receive bachelor's and master's degrees in teaching from National Louis University in Illinois.



She has two children and has nurtured a number of foster children. She taught English as a second language to grade-schoolers and immigrants, according to a news release.

Earlier this year Bingham traveled to Uganda at the invitation of UNICEF, the LDS Church News reported. Her companion on that trip was Sharon Eubank, who also taught ESL classes, and who, after graduating from BYU and serving a Mormon mission in Finland, instructed students in Japan.

Eubank, a single woman who oversees The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' global humanitarian organization — a job she will continue — was named as Bingham's first counselor. Eubank has traveled widely, seeing firsthand diverse populations and needs.

Once when an LDS relief shipment to a Jordan refugee camp was rejected because the church's name was on the boxes, Eubank authorized a Mormon missionary couple to remove it, saying, "Take the stickers off the boxes. We are there to help."

The second counselor is Nicaragua-born Reyna I. Aburto, a Mormon convert who studied industrial engineering in her home country and earned an associate degree in computer science from Utah Valley University.

She has worked in the language industry for more than 25 years, a news release said, "balancing work, family and church responsibilities, and now owns a small translation business with her husband."

After surviving an earthquake and civil unrest in 1970s Nicaragua, Aburto met a pair of Mormon missionaries in California and joined the LDS Church at age 26. She was on the Primary general board from 2012 to 2016, the release said, "where her responsibilities included coordinating resources for children in the church with disabilities ... improving Primary web content and providing trainings to church leaders in the United States and Mexico."

The new Relief Society general presidency succeeds Linda K. Burton and her counselors, Carole M. Stephens and Linda S. Reeves.

Cristina B. Franco of Argentina will replace Bingham as second counselor in the Primary general presidency. She is currently serving with her husband over a Mormon mission in Argentina and will return July 1.

pstack@sltrib.com

Twitter: @religiongal

 

 

 

 

 

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