During the April 2021 general conference, Sister Susan H. Porter was called from the Relief Society general advisory council to serve as the First Counselor in the Primary General Presidency. From growing up in western New York, earning a degree in chemistry and working as a lab assistant at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, to spending years in eastern Europe with her husband, Sister Porter brings unique experience and a powerful testimony to her new calling.
But perhaps the most life-changing—and the most difficult—experience Sister Porter has gone through was losing her husband, Elder Bruce D. Porter, to kidney failure in 2016. Church News writes that the couple had been living in Moscow when Elder Porter woke up short of breath and was admitted to the hospital. This wasn’t the first time the couple had endured a health crisis. Fifteen years prior, Sister Porter had been told her husband wouldn’t leave the hospital, yet he one week later he walked out in good health. Sadly, such was not the case this time around.
Elder and Sister Porter returned to Utah where Elder Porter passed away in his home surrounded by family on December 28, 2016.
In the years since her husband’s passing, Sister Porter has become familiar with the experience of walking into a chapel alone and looking for a place to sit amid all of the families. She has two pieces of counsel for other single members of the Church:
“One is, focus on the fact that the greatest family of all is the family of God. Every single person you see is your brother or your sister,” she says, encouraging members to ask themselves the question: “What love can I offer?’”
Her second piece of advice is to “be proactive.” For example, Church News shares that when the Come, Follow Me curriculum was introduced, Sister Porter opened her ward list and identified every woman who was single and didn’t have young children in her home. All that year, they gathered monthly to discuss their Come, Follow Me insights.
“As we help women strengthen their testimonies of Heavenly Father and increase their love of the Lord and His Church, they will be better prepared to help lead children to the Savior,” Sister Porter says.
To read more about Sister Porter’s childhood, education, and service with Elder Porter see Church News.