Saturday, May 5, 2018

President Henry B. Eyring on finding peace and hope in times of challenge

President Henry B. Eyring (born May 31, 1933) served in the Presiding Bishopric from 1985-1992, as a Seventy from 1992-1995, then was called to the Quorum of Twelve Apostles. He has served in the First Presidency since 2007.
"I was chatting with my wife at the end of a long day. Three of our children were in the room, listening. I turned and noticed that one of them was watching me—and watching my face intently. And then he asked me, softly, 'Why are you unhappy?' I tried to give a reason for my furrowed brow, but I realized later that he could well have been asking this deeper question: 'Can I see in you the hope for peace in this life that Jesus promised?'
"To turn my thoughts from what darkened my look to what would brighten it, I went to another letter from Mormon to his son. Both Mormon and Moroni were facing days of difficulty that make my challenges pale. Mormon knew his son might be overcome with gloom and foreboding, so he told him the perfect antidote. He told him that he could choose, by what he put in his mind, to become an example of hope. Here is what he wrote:
"'My son, be faithful in Christ; and may not the things which I have written grieve thee, to weigh thee down unto death; but may Christ lift thee up, and may his sufferings and death, and the showing his body unto our fathers, and his mercy and long-suffering, and the hope of his glory and of eternal life, rest in your mind forever' (Moro. 9:25).
"What we can do to help—teaching, and doing it with the spirit of righteousness, with love, with tenderness, with example—centers on the Savior and his atonement. That is what we would teach. The Atonement working in our lives will produce in us the love and tenderness we need. And by remembering Him and His gift, which we promise to do as we take the sacrament each week, we can put a light of hope in our faces which those we love need so much to see."
- Henry B. Eyring, "The Spark of Faith," Geneal Conference October 1986
Click here to read or listen to the full talk

I love this talk by President Eyring, given early in his service as a general authority (he was a member of the Presiding Bishopric). We've all had those days when the "weight of the world" seems to be upon our shoulders; President Eyring candidly describes such a time in his own life, and the impression that his expression left on one of his children. While we all have ups and down in our daily challenges, we should never forger, and never stop showing, that we have a vision of something far beyond those temporarily challenges. Parents learn how much their expression and mood can impact children; but the same principle applies to all our interactions with peers and even with strangers. Truly our countenance tells much about what's in our hearts.

In the words of Mormon quoted by President Eyring, there certainly will be things in our lives that threaten "to weigh [us] down unto death." Particularly during those times, we must place greater focus on Christ, who will always "life [us] up" if we accept his offering on our behalf, and allow "the hope of his glory and of eternal life, rest in [our] mind[s] forever." What a beautiful promise that verse offers us! Truly, it allows us to "put a light of hope in our faces which those we love need so much to see."

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2018)

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