On Tuesday, April 18 at 11:30 a.m. in the BYU-Idaho Center, President Henry J. Eyring and his wife, Kelly Eyring, delivered their devotional addresses to kick off the new semester.
Sister Eyring spoke first, discussing two paradoxical examples: One from Lewis Carroll’s “Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland” and another from the New Testament.
She mentioned that the common ground between the two paradoxes is that the individuals in these examples had to lose something in order to attain something. She compared this to BYU-Idaho students in the sense that they can find themselves by losing themselves.
“I hope that you and I will look for the opportunity to find more and really find ourselves by losing ourselves this semester,” Sister Eyring said. “I know that the Savior is our best teacher and example of this.”
Following his wife’s remarks, President Eyring spoke and centered his message on the persistence of prophetic leaders. He shared the story of President Spencer W. Kimball and his leadership as a prophet from 1973 to 1985. Although his predecessor, President Harold B. Lee, died unexpectedly, President Kimball was ready to persistently lead the Church, according to President Eyring.
“Though Spencer was 78 years old, with a checkered health profile, he was nonetheless ready to lead,” President Eyring said. “In the 12 years of his presidency, the number of operating temples doubled. The number of missionaries increased by 50% and the Church became truly global.”
President Eyring then invited Julia Vivas, a BYU-I student studying communication, and Greg Palmer, a faculty member who teaches religious education, to share their thoughts on the significance of persistence in their everyday lives. Vivas shared an experience in which she was persistent in sharing the gospel with an agnostic friend who was eventually baptized and able to receive eternal blessings.
Palmer followed suit by sharing a story of persistence from J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy. He spoke of how Galadriel, a royal elf in the story, mentioned that even the smallest person can make a big difference. He compared this to President Kimball as he was only 5’6″, but helped the Church to grow.
In closing, President Eyring shared an audio clip from a devotional message that President Kimball gave at BYU-I in 1975. In the recording, he asked the congregation if they knew where they stood and invited them to find a place to stand if they were unsure. Following the recording, President Eyring shared his testimony.
“I hope you will join me in continuing to persist in faith through the trials and challenges of mortality,” President Eyring said. “As we press forward, trusting in the Savior’s redeeming love and heeding counsel of prophets and apostles, we will be prepared to receive all that our Father in Heaven has in store for us.”
The full talks are available on the BYU-I website.