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President Henry B. Eyring's priesthood talk inspires, motivates and comforts

SALT LAKE CITY — For Elder Reggie Lewis of the Florida Orlando Mission, the loving language of President Henry B. Eyring's talk during the priesthood session of the October 2011 Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was just what he needed.

In December 2011, Lewis, a native of Paradise, Utah, was called to be zone leader of the Orlando Zone, and he was feeling a little overwhelmed by the new assignment. In his blog entry for Dec. 27, 2011, he records: "I found comfort this morning from a talk by President Eyring titled 'Preparation in the Priesthood: I Need Your Help.' He talked about how we are prepared for each calling we receive in the priesthood and how the Lord will continue to train us, mold us and help us learn and grow. It's exactly what I needed to hear since this is a huge and new change."

What Lewis was experiencing as he faced his new missionary assignment was exactly what President Eyring was referring to when he introduced his message by observing that "most of us wonder to ourselves at times, 'Am I prepared for this assignment in the priesthood?' "

"My answer is, 'Yes, you have been prepared,' " President Eyring continued. "My purpose today is to help you recognize that preparation and draw courage from it."

Clearly, President Eyring's purpose was fulfilled in at least one case, as Lewis drew courage from the talk as he approached his new assignment as a zone leader.

Another full-time missionary, James Russell Allen, also reported drawing strength from President Eyring's talk. Upon returning home from a 23-month mission to Fortaleza, Brazil, with his wife, Shirlyn, Allen was concerned about finding ways to serve the Lord after his mission was over. In his blog, he expressed appreciation for the way President Eyring "helpfully gives us a list of service we can consider wherever we are in this quest to … have the gift of eternal life with God."

In President Eyring's words to the men and boys who participated in the priesthood session, that list includes "being teachers in the church, wise and loving fathers, members of a quorum and missionaries for the Lord Jesus Christ."

"The Lord will offer the opportunities," President Eyring said, "but whether we are prepared will depend on us."

Allen found in those words the courage and motivation he needed to serve "in whatever situation … we may find ourselves."

"The Lord needs our help," he wrote, "and we need to prepare and be prepared when the opportunities are given."

President Ronald White of the La Verne California Stake says he was especially grateful for the section in President Eyring's talk in which he spoke about the "oath and covenant of the priesthood."

"It is a covenant we make with God to keep all his commandments and give service as he would give it if he were personally present," President Eyring said of the scriptural charge found in the 84th Section of the Doctrine and Covenants. "Living up to that standard as best we can builds the strength we will need to endure to the end."

President White said that since October conference, he has been using President Eyring's comments about how "spiritual staying power comes from working past the point when others would have taken a rest" as a way to illustrate to the priesthood holders in his stake the scriptural promise of the oath and covenant "to be sanctified unto the renewing of our bodies."

"My offer of proof is in the lives of the apostles and prophets — like President Eyring," President White said. "They hold the same priesthood as do we, but their lives of devotion have sanctified them in remarkable ways. As President Eyring taught, we can likewise be sanctified as we magnify our service in our spheres of responsibility, be it home teacher, quorum instructor or whatever our calling may be."

Another blogger, Clark Siler of Pflugerville, Texas, wrote about how President Eyring's priesthood meeting insight and counsel applied to his own important priesthood calling as a father.

After showing his son, David, how to cut, sand and shape his wooden racing car for the Cub Scout pack's upcoming Pinewood Derby, he watched the next day when the rest of the Cub Scout den came for some help in cutting and shaping their own Pinewood Derby cars.

"Since my son's car was already shaped, I asked him if he wanted to help the other boys understand what we would be doing," wrote Siler, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Texas. "With a smile on his face and a spring in his step, he explained it all: how to use design plans to draw what they wanted their cars to look like, that I would cut their design out of the block, and how they would use sandpaper to smooth out any rough spots or hard edges."

In just one day, Siler said he saw "the turnaround of my instruction to him being translated through preparation into action."

It was just as President Eyring promised. After sharing several stories about how great leaders had trained him through the power of their example, he promised at the conclusion of his priesthood meeting sermon "that those whom you train and set an example for will praise your name as I have this day to the great trainers I have known."

"I'm not claiming to be a great trainer," Siler wrote, "but I do feel a renewed responsibility to be a good example as I help train my children for future service — because they might turn around and help someone tomorrow!"