Friday, January 4, 2019

President Henry B. Eyring on growth or decline in righteousness

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.
"It sounds so simple to build upon a foundation of truth that you may wonder why everyone doesn’t succeed. For one thing, it takes great humility. It’s hard to repent, to admit you are wrong on faith alone, before the evidence of a feeling of being forgiven and light comes. But that is the way it has to be. First comes obedience and then come the confirming assurances, the revelation of truth, and the blessing of light.
"That is so because God gave us agency, not just as a right but as a necessity. We must choose with our agency to obey in faith that the promised blessing will come, that the promise is true because it comes from God....
"There is another reason why it is not easy for the proud to build on a foundation of truth. It is because the enemy of righteousness also works in little steps, so small that they are hard to notice if you are thinking only about yourself and how great you are. Just as truth is given to us line upon line and the light brightens slowly as we obey, even so, as we disobey, our testimony of truth lessens almost imperceptibly, little by little, and darkness descends so slowly that the proud may easily deny that anything is changing."
- Henry B. Eyring, "A Life Founded in Light and Truth," BYU devotional, 15 August 2000; see Ensign, July 2001, 13
Click here to read or listen to the full talk

This message from President Eyring was loaded with insights to ponder. In this excerpt he shares thoughts about the process of building on the foundation of faith through humility, repentance, and obedience. It is through our actions of obedience as we exercise our agency in positive ways that confirmation and blessings follow. Those small steps will bring great results over time. But we have to be careful about the slow and gradual nature of change; the same applies to negative change and loss of faith:

So the warning is, just as light grows brighter slowly and gradually, it also grows dimmer in the same way; and darkness can descend very slowly. How critical it is that we be facing the right direction!

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2019)

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