Let them feel our confidence they can make it home to God

Henry B. EyringOf all the help we can give these young people, the greatest will be to let them feel our confidence that they are on the path home to God and that they can make it. And we do that best by going with them. Because the path is steep and sometimes rocky, they will at times feel discouraged and even stumble. They may at times become confused about their destination and wander after less eternally important goals. These inspired programs make that less likely because they will lead the young person to invite and receive the companionship of the Holy Ghost.

The best counsel for us to give young people is that they can arrive back to Heavenly Father only as they are guided and corrected by the Spirit of God. So if we are wise, we will encourage, praise, and exemplify everything which invites the companionship of the Holy Ghost. When they share with us what they are doing and feeling, we must ourselves have qualified for the Spirit. Then they will feel in our praise and our smiles the approval of God. And should we feel the need to give corrective counsel, they will feel our love and the love of God in it, not rebuke and rejection,which can permit Satan to lead them further away.

The example they most need from us is to do what they must do. We need to pray for the gifts of the Spirit. We need to ponder in the scriptures and in the words of living prophets. We need to make plans which are not only wishes but covenants. And then we need to keep our promises to the Lord. And we need to lift others by sharing with them the blessings of the Atonement which have come in our lives.

And we need to exemplify in our own lives the steady and prolonged faithfulness that the Lord expects of them. As we do, we will help them feel from the Spirit an assurance that if they will persist, they will hear the words from a loving Savior and Heavenly Father: “Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.” And we who help them along the way will hear those words with joy.

Henry B. Eyring, “Help Them on Their Way Home,” April 2010 General Conference

Decide now to read the scriptures more, and read more effectively

I plead with you to do the simple things that will move you forward spiritually.

Start with remembering Him. You will remember what you know and what you love. The Savior gave us the scriptures, paid for by prophets at a price we cannot measure, so that we could know Him. Lose yourself in them. Decide now to read more, and more effectively than you have ever done before.

Henry B. Eyring, “Remembering Him Always,” Liahona, December 2005

The strength of a priesthood quorum

I have learned over the years that the strength in a quorum doesn’t come from the number of priesthood holders in it. Nor does it come automatically from the age and maturity of the members. Rather, the strength of a quorum comes in large measure from how completely its members are united in righteousness. That unity in a strong quorum of the priesthood is not like anything I have experienced in an athletic team or club or any other organization in the world.

Henry B. Eyring, “A Priesthood Quorum,” October 2006 General Conference

Raising the bar

As the challenges around us increase, we must commit to do more to qualify for the companionship of the Holy Ghost. Casual prayer won’t be enough. Reading a few verses of the scripture won’t be enough. Doing the minimum of what the Lord asks of us won’t be enough. Hoping that we will have the Atonement work in our lives and that we will perhaps sometimes feel the influence of the Holy Ghost won’t be enough. And one great burst of effort won’t be enough.

Only a steady, ever-increasing effort will allow the Lord to take us to higher ground. I know what some of you are tempted to think: “I’ll have to be careful not to set the bar for myself too high. I wouldn’t want to fail and be disappointed.”

I did a little high-jumping over a bar in high school and in college. I know what it is like to be running toward the bar and see that it is higher than when you jumped last and that you are now looking way up at the bar. Some of you have been high-jumpers so that you know that it is very different when you come toward it so that you can look over it. I know what happens when you look up at that bar. You think, “That bar is over my head. Is it physically possible to put my whole body over a bar above my head?” As I look back, remember I was a physics student, I realized that I must have decided that some law of physics limited me. Well, the laws of physics did apply, but the limits were more in my mind than in reality. When I now see junior high school students, some of them girls, jumping higher than my best, I wish that I were young again. I’d set my expectations higher. More was possible than I thought, and more is possible spiritually for you and for me. And more is necessary. Set the bar a little higher for yourself. And then set it a little higher. In spiritual things you have a heavenly power lifting you beyond where you are now. The Lord promises that unending rise in his own voice in the Doctrine and Covenants: “That which is of God is light; and he that receiveth light, and continueth in God, receiveth more light; and that light groweth brighter and brighter until the perfect day” (Doctrine and Covenants 50:24).

You can set the bar higher for yourself to get more power of faith to pray for the gift of the Holy Ghost. You can set it higher for yourself to have the scriptures opened so that you will come to know the Savior’s voice. You can set it higher for yourself to be obedient in the things He asks of you. And you can set the bar higher in your expectation for peace in this life and your hope, even your assurance of eternal life in the world to come. You can set your expectations for yourself a little higher and then a little higher, with confidence that a loving Heavenly Father and His Beloved Son will send you the Holy Ghost and lift you higher and higher, toward Them.

Henry B. Eyring, “Raise the Bar,” Brigham Young University–Idaho Devotional, January 25, 2005

Helping students learn who they really are

My guess is that what matters most, as you and I try to help our students, will not be so much whether they master a particular subject or pass our exam. That will matter some, but what will matter most is what they learn from us about who they really are and what they can really become. My guess is that they won’t learn it so much from lectures. They will get it from feelings of who you are, who you think they are, and what you think they might become.

Henry B. Eyring, “Teaching Is a Moral Act,” BYU Annual University Conference, 27 August 1991

 

Allowing God to expand the time we have available in His service

I realize that there are some, perhaps many, for whom my urging you to capture leisure time cuts like a knife. You feel overwhelmed by the lack of time. You have left unfinished tasks in your Church calling. You’ve carried your scriptures all day but still not found a moment to open them. There is someone in your family who would be blessed by your thoughtful attention, but you haven’t gotten to them yet. You will go to a job tomorrow that barely pays enough to keep food on your table and pay your bills. There is a term paper or a project due soon that you are yet to start and there are examinations looming. Rather than finding ways to capture leisure time for learning, you are trying to decide what to leave undone.

There is another way to look at your problem of crowded time. You can see it as an opportunity to test your faith. The Lord loves you and watches over you. He is all-powerful, and He promised you this: “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6:33).

That is a true promise. When we put God’s purposes first, He will give us miracles. If we pray to know what He would have us do next, He will multiply the effects of what we do in such a way that time seems to be expanded. He may do it in different ways for each individual, but I know from long experience that He is faithful to His word….

I cannot promise academic success or perfect families. Nor can I tell you the way in which He will honor His promise of adding blessings upon you. But I can promise you that if you will go to Him in prayer and ask what He would have you do next, promising that you will put His kingdom first, He will answer your prayer and He will keep His promise to add upon your head blessings, enough and to spare. Those apparent prison walls of “not enough time” will begin to recede, even as you are called to do more.

Henry B. Eyring, “Education for Real Life,” CES Fireside for Young Adults, 6 May 2001

The desire to serve brings promptings of the Spirit

We can remember the Savior and that we are blessed to be in his kingdom, and we can have in our hearts the question “How would the Master have me use something from this hour to serve him?” If we ask that in faith, with determination to follow the promptings that come from the Holy Spirit, those promptings will come. We will hear things we would not have heard and feel things we would not have felt.

We will go out from this place with plans to help build the kingdom. We will go out refreshed in our hearts and surer that what our pioneers believed was true: the kingdom of God has been restored and we are blessed as the few among our Father’s myriad children to build it for the Master for the last time.

Henry B. Eyring, “Faith of our Fathers,” BYU Devotional, 20 August, 1996

The truth we share is greater than our differences

Henry B. Eyring …I am seeing more and more skillful peacemakers who calm troubled waters before harm is done. You could be one of those peacemakers, whether you are in the conflict or an observer.

One way I have seen it done is to search for anything on which we agree. To be that peacemaker, you need to have the simple faith that as children of God, with all our differences, it is likely that in a strong position we take, there will be elements of truth. The great peacemaker, the restorer of unity, is the one who finds a way to help people see the truth they share. That truth they share is always greater and more important to them than their differences. You can help yourself and others to see that common ground if you ask for help from God and then act. He will answer your prayer to help restore peace, as He has mine.

That same principle applies as we build unity with people who are from vastly different backgrounds. The children of God have more in common than they have differences. And even the differences can be seen as an opportunity. God will help us see a difference in someone else not as a source of irritation but as a contribution. The Lord can help you see and value what another person brings which you lack. More than once the Lord has helped me see His kindness in giving me association with someone whose difference from me was just the help I needed. That has been the Lord’s way of adding something I lacked to serve Him better.

Henry B. Eyring, Our Hearts Knit as One, General Conference, November 2008

[Those] who learn well together always seem to me to have great peacemakers among them….It is the gift to help people find common ground when others are seeing differences. It is the peacemaker’s gift to help people see that what someone else said was a contribution rather than a correction.

Henry B. Eyring, “Learning in the Priesthood,” General Conference, April 2011

Priesthood Patterns of Service

Henry B. Eyring  I have been impressed with the patterns evident in the instruction we receive from the Lord’s servants. Below are several of these patterns as taught by President Eyring and President Uchtdorf:

1.

I close now with this counsel to the Lord’s priesthood servants.

  • Ponder deeply and diligently in the scriptures and in the words of living prophets.
  • Persist in prayer for the Holy Ghost to reveal to you the nature of God the Father and His Beloved Son.
  • Plead that the Spirit will show you what the Lord wants you to do.
  • Plan to do it.
  • Promise Him to obey.
  • Act with determination until you have done what He asked. And then
  • pray to give thanks for the opportunity to serve and to know what you might do next.

Henry B. Eyring, “Act in all Diligence,” April General Conference, 2010 (formatting mine)

2.

The example [our young people] most need from us is to do what they must do.

  • We need to pray for the gifts of the Spirit.
  • We need to ponder in the scriptures and in the words of living prophets.
  • We need to make plans which are not only wishes but covenants.
  • And then we need to keep our promises to the Lord.
  • And we need to lift others by sharing with them the blessings of the Atonement which have come in our lives.
  • And we need to exemplify in our own lives the steady and prolonged faithfulness that the Lord expects of them.

As we do, we will help them feel from the Spirit an assurance that if they will persist, they will hear the words from a loving Savior and Heavenly Father: “Well done, thou good and faithful servant….”

Henry B. Eyring, “Help Them on Their Way Home,” April General Conference, 2010 (formatting mine)

3.

Now, we come to the question of how best to help those you are called to serve and rescue. That will depend on your capacities and on the nature of your priesthood relationship to the person who is in spiritual peril. Let me give three cases which may be your opportunity at times in your priesthood service.

Let’s start when you are an inexperienced junior companion, a teacher in the Aaronic Priesthood assigned with a seasoned companion to visit a young family. Before preparing for the visit you will pray for strength and inspiration to see their needs and know what help you could give. If you can, you will have that prayer with your companion, naming those you will visit. As you pray your heart will be drawn out to them personally and to God. You and your companion will agree on what you hope to accomplish. You will work out a plan for what you will do.

Whatever the plan, you will watch and listen with great intensity and humility during the visit. You are young and inexperienced. But the Lord knows their spiritual state and their needs perfectly. He loves them. And because you know He sends you to act for Him, you can have faith that you can sense their needs and what you can do to meet your charge to help. It will come as you visit face-to-face in their home. That is why you have this priesthood charge in the Doctrine and Covenants: “Visit the house of each member, and exhort them to pray vocally and in secret and attend to all family duties.”

And then you have an added charge which takes even greater discernment:

“The teacher’s duty is to watch over the church always, and be with and strengthen them;

“And see that there is no iniquity in the church, neither hardness with each other, neither lying, backbiting, nor evil speaking;

“And see that the church meet together often, and also see that all the members do their duty.”

You and your companion will rarely receive inspiration to know the details of the degree to which they are meeting that standard. But I can promise you from experience that you will be given the gift to know what is well with them. And from that you will be able to encourage them. There is another promise I can make: you and your companion will be inspired to know what changes they could make to begin the spiritual healing they need. The words of what you are charged to have happen in their lives will almost certainly contain some of the most important changes the Lord would have them make.

If your companion feels an impression to urge change, watch what he does. You will likely be surprised at the way the Spirit guides him to speak. There will be the sound of love in his voice. He will find a way to tie the needed change with a blessing that will follow. If it is the father or mother who needs to make a change, he may show how it would lead to happiness for the children. He will describe the change as a move away from unhappiness to a better and safer place.

Your contribution during the visit may seem to you small, but it can be more powerful than you may think possible. You will show by your face and manner that you care for the people. They will see that your love for them and the Lord makes you unafraid. And you will be bold enough to bear your testimony to truth. Your humble, simple, and perhaps brief testimony may touch the heart of a person more easily than that of your more experienced companion. I have seen it happen.

Henry B. Eyring, “Man Down!”, April 2009 General Conference (emphasis added)

4.

Brethren, I invite you to consider the words spoken by the servants of God this weekend.

Then get on your knees. Ask God, our Heavenly Father, to enlighten your mind and touch your heart. 

Plead with God for guidance in your daily lives, in your Church responsibilities, and in your specific challenges at this time.

Follow the promptings of the Spirit—do not delay.

If you do all this, I promise that the Lord will not leave you to walk alone.

Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “The Why of Priesthood Service,” 2012 April General Conference

Questions to ask while reading the scriptures

Sometimes I go to the scriptures for doctrine. Sometimes I go to the scriptures for instruction. I go with a question, and the question usually is “What would God have me do?” or “What would He have me feel?” Invariably I find new ideas, thoughts I have never had before, and I receive inspiration and instruction and answers to my questions.

 

President Henry B. Eyring, “A Discussion on Scripture Study,” Ensign, July 2005.