Making the Plan of Salvation personal: Patterns in the teaching of President Henry B. Eyring

Henry B. Eyring

President Eyring continues to teach youth of the Church about the faith they have exercised, here and before they came to earth, then with that knowledge invites them to be prepared for service far beyond what they might imagine. Lastly, he warns them of the role Satan would play in their lives. I saw this pattern in his wonderful talk “A Child of God,” given at BYU in 1997. Here is a quote from the opening of that address:

you are the survivors. By making the right choices plus the help of uncounted servants of God, you have made it through a hail of spiritual bullets. There have been tens of thousands of casualties. You know some of them because they are your friends, your spirit brothers and your sisters. You are more than simply the survivors of that spiritual war. You are the future of the Church. God knows that. And so he now asks more of you than he has asked of those who were here before you, because the kingdom will need more. And Satan knows that you are the future of the Church, which gives me a solemn obligation to warn you of the hazards ahead and to describe how to survive them as you rise to the privileges God will give you.

This idea of God asking more of us because of who we are and what He needs us to be is echoed in this except from a November 2007 conference talk:
“But it is never going to be easy for you or for those you serve….That is in the nature of what you are called to do. Did He ask easy things of His disciples then? Then why should it ever be easy in His service or for His disciples?”

In his talk to the young women of the Church on March 29, 2008, President Eyring repeated this strong message confirming individual righteousness in the pre mortal life:

You know from the scriptures revealed by God through prophets that there was a rebellion in the spirit world when the plan for our journey was offered to us. Those who rebelled did not want to accept and to depend upon a Savior nor run any risk that they might not return again to Heavenly Father. Every one of you was among the brave, the faithful, and the true in that conflict. You accepted the Savior and the plan for this journey to return to the joy of our Heavenly Father’s presence.

I especially appreciate this passage in his talk that confirms the watch care and full knowledge of our Heavenly Father and the Savior of each individual (emphasis added):

Just as you are marked as a target by the enemy of righteousness, you have been protected and watched over by your Heavenly Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. They know you. They know all of the forces and individuals around you. They know what is ahead of you. And so They know which of the choices you make, which of the desires you decide to satisfy, and which of the circumstances around you will make the most difference in keeping you walking in the light. I testify that by the Spirit of Christ and by the Holy Ghost, you may walk confidently in whatever difficulties will come. Because you are so valuable, some of your trials may be severe. You need never be discouraged or afraid. The way through difficulties has always been prepared for you, and you will find it if you exercise faith.

Compare President Eyring’s comments in the paragraph above to the talk he gave in his May 2001 CES Fireside:

Your life is carefully watched over, as was mine. The Lord knows both what He will need you to do and what you will need to know. He is kind and He is all-knowing. So, you can with confidence expect that He has prepared opportunities for you to learn in preparation for the service you will give.

Lastly, I appreciate the confirmation he gave the young women that there are earthly leaders to guide us, and that angels are part of the way in which we are “watched over”:

“This is the true church of Jesus Christ. There is a living prophet, Thomas S. Monson. And there are both true servants and angels to help you along the lighted path.”

Addendum:
President Eyring’s comment above about a way being prepared for us to overcome all difficulty reminds me of Elder Richard G. Scott’s statement:

“When challenges and testing do come, your faith will lead you to solutions.” (Richard G. Scott, “The Sustaining Power of Faith in Times of Uncertainty and Testing,” Ensign, May 2003, 75)

And, note this scripture:
“And the way is prepared from the fall of man, and salvation is free.” – 2 Nephi 2:4

Addendum, 1-17-09:
Here is a similar comment about our youth being reserved for these days from Elder Boyd K. Packer:

You will face many great and tumultuous and difficult things in your life, and you will also enjoy great inspiration and joy in your life. You are better than we were. I have the conviction that against what was surely coming and the prophecies that were given, the Lord has reserved special spirits to bring forth at this time to see that His Church and kingdom are protected and moved forward in the world.

“Lehi’s Dream and You,” BYU Devotional, 16 January 2007

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