Tuesday, April 30, 2019

President Henry B. Eyring on faithfully sustaining leaders

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.
"You may have been asked, or you will be, whether you sustain your bishop, stake president, the General Authorities, and the General Officers of the Church. It may happen as you are asked to sustain officers and leaders in a conference. Sometimes it will be in an interview with a bishop or stake president.
"My counsel is that you ask those questions of yourself beforehand, with careful and prayerful thought. As you do, you might look back on your recent thoughts, words, and deeds. Try to remember and frame the answers you will give when the Lord interviews you, knowing that someday He will. You could prepare by asking yourself questions like the following:
"1. Have I thought or spoken of human weakness in the people I have pledged to sustain?
"2. Have I looked for evidence that the Lord is leading them?
"3. Have I conscientiously and loyally followed their leadership?
"4. Have I spoken about the evidence I can see that they are God’s servants?
"5. Do I pray for them regularly by name and with feelings of love?
"Those questions will, for most of us, lead to some uneasiness and a need to repent. We are commanded by God not to judge others unrighteously, but in practice, we find that hard to avoid. Almost everything we do in working with people leads us to evaluate them. And in almost every aspect of our lives, we compare ourselves with others. We may do so for many reasons, some of them reasonable, but it often leads us to be critical....
"My observation is that the members of the Church across the world are generally loyal to each other and to those who preside over them. There are, however, improvements we could and must make. We could rise higher in our power to sustain each other. It will take faith and effort."
- Henry B. Eyring, "The Power of Sustaining Faith," General Conference April 2019
Click here to read or listen to the full talk

In his address to the General Priesthood session of conference, President Eyring encouraged us to consider how well we sustain our leaders and what that concept means in our lives. We are sometimes asked to raise our hands as a sign of willingness to sustain; at other times, we are asked in personal worthiness interviews about our feelings. But we would benefit from following President Eyring's counsel to consider the act and process of sustaining before those moments of avowal or commitment.

President Eyring mentioned several questions of evaluation that we could profit from pondering. They relate to our attitude about our leaders, and how that is reflected in our lives. Are we critical or judgmental of them, or do we seek to uphold and encourage them? Do we need to repent?

As we grow and learn in the Church, we have opportunities to lead and opportunities to follow. Most of our callings and assignments are temporary; we lead for a short season, and then someone else takes our place and we follow their leadership. As I have had the experience to be sustained by others, I have been blessed to feel their love and faith manifest in clear and real ways. I hope I can return that love and faith when another takes my place. President Eyring's suggestions are very helpful.

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

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