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. 

Pondering is what you do after you have carefully read the scriptures

As you ponder—not just read but ponder and meditate—on scriptural passages, the power of the Holy Ghost will distill truths in your mind and heart as a secure foundation in this uncertain time in which we live.
Richard G. Scott, “He Lives! All Glory to His Name!,” Ensign, May 2010

Our humility and our faith that invite spiritual gifts are increased by our reading, studying, and pondering the scriptures. We have all heard those words. Yet we may read a few lines or pages of scripture every day and hope that will be enough.

But reading, studying, and pondering are not the same. We read words and we may get ideas. We study and we may discover patterns and connections in scripture. But when we ponder, we invite revelation by the Spirit. Pondering, to me, is the thinking and the praying I do after reading and studying in the scriptures carefully.
Henry B. Eyring, “Serve with the Spirit,” Ensign, November 2010

The things of God are of deep import; and time, and experience, and careful and ponderous and solemn thoughts can only find them out.
Joseph Smith, History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, ed. B. H. Roberts, 2nd ed. rev. 3:295.

Finding our way by exercising faith

Henry B. Eyring 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.

“Walk in the Light”, President Henry B. Eyring, March 29, 2008.

Here are a similar quotes from President Eyring:

There is a God. He is our Father. He really knows us. He knows the future. I don’t know how He knows it in such detail, but He knows the future. He knows every challenge ahead of you. He knows every opportunity ahead of you. He knows your power and wants to lift you to every opportunity and to be able to go through every trial that may be ahead of you, and to go through, smiling. You will hear President Hinckley say, “I’m an optimist.” That is not just in his personality, that’s a fruit of having the Holy Ghost as a companion.

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

Whoever we are, however difficult our circumstances, we can know that what our Father commands we do to qualify for the blessings of eternal life will not be beyond us. . . .

“We may have to pray with faith to know what we are to do and we must pray with a determination to obey, but we can know what to do and be sure that the way has been prepared for us by the Lord.
“The Family,” CES fireside for Young Adults, Nov. 5, 1995.

. . . .in troubled times the Lord has always prepared a safe way ahead.

Boyd K. Packer, “The Test,” October 2008 General Conference

Priesthood eyes

No priesthood holder who wants to succeed will be careless about where his eyes may go. Choosing to look at images which incite lust will cause the Spirit to withdraw. You have been warned by Elder Clayton as well as you may ever be warned about the dangers of the Internet and the media in putting pornographic images before us. But immodesty is now so common that everyday life requires discipline—a conscious choice not to linger watching whatever might create in us feelings which would repel the Spirit.

The same care is required in what we say. We cannot hope to speak for the Lord unless we are careful with our speech. Vulgarity and profanity offend the Spirit. Just as immodesty seems to be more common, so does vulgar and profane language. It used to be that only in certain places and with certain groups would we hear the name of the Lord taken in vain or hear vulgar words and crude humor. Now it seems to be everywhere and, for many, socially acceptable, where
once it was not.

….God helps the faithful priesthood holder who decides to see and say no evil, even in a wicked world. It will not be easy. It never is. But you can have the promise fulfilled for you as I know that it can be for me: “Let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly; then shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God; and the doctrine of the priesthood shall distil upon thy soul as the dews from heaven” (D&C 121:45).

Henry B. Eyring, “God Helps the Faithful Priesthood Holder,” October 2007 General Conference

Are you most careful to control what

enters your mind
through your eyes
and ears

to ensure that it is wholesome and elevating?

Richard G. Scott, “Honor the Priesthood and Use It Well,” October General Conference, 2008

Young men of the Aaronic Priesthood, remember the scriptural injunction “Be ye clean who bear the vessels of the Lord.” ( 3 Ne. 20:41; D&C 38:42; see also Isa. 52:11.) Remember the story of Joseph in Egypt, who hearkened not to the wife of Potiphar and maintained his purity and virtue. (See Gen. 39:6–20.)

Consider carefully the words of the prophet Alma to his errant son, Corianton, “Forsake your sins, and go no more after the lusts of your eyes.” ( Alma 39:9.)

“The lusts of your eyes.” In our day, what does that expression mean?

Movies, television programs, and video recordings that are both suggestive and lewd.

Magazines and books that are obscene and pornographic.

We counsel you, young men, not to pollute your minds with such degrading matter, for the mind through which this filth passes is never the same afterwards. Don’t see R-rated movies or vulgar videos or participate in any entertainment that is immoral, suggestive, or pornographic. Don’t listen to music that is degrading.

Ezra Taft Benson, “To the ‘Youth of the Noble Birthright’,” Ensign, May 1986

Learning to see the hand of God in our lives

I wrote down a few lines every day for years. I never missed a day no matter how tired I was or how early I would have to start the next day. Before I would write, I would ponder this question: “Have I seen the hand of God reaching out to touch us or our children or our family today?” As I kept at it, something began to happen. As I would cast my mind over the day, I would see evidence of what God had done for one of us that I had not recognized in the busy moments of the day. As that happened, and it happened often, I realized that trying to remember had allowed God to show me what He had done.

More than gratitude began to grow in my heart. Testimony grew. I became ever more certain that our Heavenly Father hears and answers prayers. I felt more gratitude for the softening and refining that come because of the Atonement of the Savior Jesus Christ. And I grew more confident that the Holy Ghost can bring all things to our remembrance—even things we did not notice or pay attention to when they happened….

Tonight, and tomorrow night, you might pray and ponder, asking the questions: Did God send a message that was just for me? Did I see His hand in my life or the lives of my children? I will do that. And then I will find a way to preserve that memory for the day that I, and those that I love, will need to remember how much God loves us and how much we need Him. I testify that He loves us and blesses us, more than most of us have yet recognized. I know that is true, and it brings me joy to remember Him.

Henry B. Eyring, “O Remember, Remember,” LDS General Conference, October 2007.