Menu
In the News

President Henry B. Eyring counsels BYU–Idaho graduates: In your lifetime of learning, seek personal revelation


Close to 3,000 BYU–Idaho graduates were fortunate to hear from commencement speakers on Wednesday night who share a love for and investment in them and their success.

That’s because the three speakers also share an important characteristic: the title of “president” on the Rexburg, Idaho, campus.  

President Henry B. Eyring, second counselor in the First Presidency; Elder Clark G. Gilbert, Church commissioner of education; and BYU–Idaho’s current president, President Henry J. Eyring, all participated in the graduation ceremony held in the BYU–Idaho Center on Wednesday, July 20. President Henry B. Eyring was president of Ricks College, the predecessor to BYU–Idaho, from 1971 to 1977; Elder Gilbert served as BYU–Idaho president from 2015 to 2017; and President Henry J. Eyring — the son of President Henry B. Eyring — took the helm of the Church university in 2017.

In his remarks to graduates, President Henry B. Eyring offered reassurance about the future.

He recalled how when he was an undergraduate physics student, the Spirit revealed the solution of a complicated mathematical problem. As a leader and a teacher at Ricks College, he felt revelation on what to say in classrooms or in faculty meetings.

“The experiences I had as a student and in leading this school confirm my testimony that we can learn and be led by the Spirit if we so choose,” the elder President Eyring said.

Just as he was blessed with opportunities to learn through the Spirit, graduates have had the opportunity through Church education — either with BYU–Idaho or BYU–Pathway — to gain their own experiences of how to learn by the Spirit and identify truth.

“The reason that is so comes from the essential truth of who we are,” President Henry B. Eyring explained. “Before we were born into mortality, we were spirit children of Heavenly Father. We learned lessons in the spirit world. We made choices about what was true and what was false. We were individuals. We learned by experience and through instruction.”

Although the veil prevents individuals from remembering those lessons, each came to earth with a trait inherited from a loving Father: a natural thirst to learn and progress. 

220720_Commencement_502_scaled.jpg

From left: Academic Vice President Rob Garrett, President Henry B. Eyring, Elder Clark G. Gilbert and Sister Christine Gilbert stand as graduates enter the BYU–Idaho Center for commencement on Wednesday, July 20, 2022.

Michael Lewis, BYU–Idaho

“We have the wonderful assurance that our Heavenly Father is ready and eager to bless us with knowledge,” President Henry B. Eyring said and urged listeners to seek experiences that will increase their knowledge and enlighten their understanding. 

“You should decide and commit now to make your home a house of learning, surrounding yourselves with scriptures, good books, uplifting music and other learning activities.”

When he graduated in physics, he was eager to do something other than keep on with the struggle to learn, the First Presidency counselor recalled. “But I learned what you will discover. … Wherever you go after graduation, there is no end to the need for learning in any task that is not boring.”

Whether as a teacher, plumber, shopkeeper, doctor, nurse or librarian, there will be rapid change, and thus rapid learning will be required. “As children of God, we have an inborn desire to learn. We have the promise that what we must do is ask in faith for the power to learn. Our prayers will be answered with opportunity,” he promised.

He then shared the scriptural promise found in Doctrine and Covenants 42:61, “If thou shalt ask, thou shalt receive revelation upon revelation, knowledge upon knowledge, that thou mayest know the mysteries and peaceable things — that which bringeth joy, that which bringeth life eternal.”

President Henry B. Eyring pointed out that the promise of inspiration hinges on an individual’s desires. “Our prayer for knowledge and for learning will be answered when our desire, as nearly as we can align it, is what Heavenly Father and the Savior desire. They send the Holy Ghost to reveal the knowledge we seek and need.”

220720_commencement_1022_scaled.jpg

Graduates gather for BYU-Idaho commencement in the BYU–Idaho Center in Rexburg, Idaho, on Wednesday, July 20, 2022.

Natalia Lopez, BYU–Idaho

As graduates, students, teachers and leaders apply the principles of personal revelation, they will see an increase in their desires and abilities. “It will come from daily repentance, more frequent prayer and steady savoring of the words of scripture and of living prophets,” he said.

President Henry B. Eyring said he has traveled the world and seen the increasing flow of inspiration in Church schools. “It has been wonderful to me to see that unfolding miracle as a part of the continuing Restoration and the accelerating gathering of Israel. The future for you, for this university and for the Church Educational System grows brighter every day.”

In conclusion, President Henry B. Eyring promised graduates, “The Holy Ghost has confirmed truth to you today, and He will, throughout your lifetime of learning, as you seek and qualify for it.”

220720_Commencement_148_scaled.jpg

Elder Clark G. Gilbert, Commissioner of the Church Educational System, addresses BYU-Idaho graduates during commencement on Wednesday, July 20, 2022.

Francisco Fierro, BYU–Idaho

In his remarks, Elder Gilbert, a General Authority Seventy, referenced the prophetic statement made by President Henry B. Eyring when the school was officially transitioned into a four-year institution 20 years ago. “Those graduates of BYU–Idaho will become legendary for their capacity to build the people around them and add value wherever they serve.”

Elder Gilbert then told graduates: “Tonight you will commence on a journey to see this fulfilled in your own lives. As graduates of BYU–Idaho, you have been prepared to lift and to build others in your future homes, in the Church and in the communities you live in. Those experiences won’t always come as formal leadership roles, but they will come in personal ways to quietly teach, mentor and build others around you.”

Elder Gilbert and his wife, Sister Christine Gilbert, said goodbye to BYU–Idaho twice: once when he left employment there and then again after he became president of BYU–Pathway Worldwide, he recalled. Both times they said to themselves, “I hope there is enough Rexburg in us.”

To the graduates about to leave their “college on the hill,” Elder Gilbert said: “I pray you will also say to yourself, ‘I hope there’s enough Rexburg in me — no matter where I live, or no matter where I go.’ We love you. We’re excited for the great things the Lord has in store for you.”

220720_Commencement_565_scaled.jpg

BYU–Idaho President Henry J. Eyring shares a prerecorded message with graduates during commencement exercises on July 20, 2022.

Michael Lewis, BYU-Idaho

In a prerecorded message to graduates, President Henry J. Eyring spoke of the need for sure paths, guardrails and safe havens after recalling hiking a precarious trail to a perch high above Sun Valley, Idaho.

Someone who acted like a “guardrail” in the university president’s life was Sister Bonnie Hammond, who knew him both as a third-grade elementary school student and as a new, inexperienced bishop. Sister Hammond gave him “guardrail” hugs that “seemed to squeeze out of me any tendency to stray from the sure path,” he said.

Individuals are also in need of safe havens: places or circumstances that allow them to physically rest and spiritually recharge.

“During your time as a BYU-Idaho student, you have been blessed with sure paths, strong guardrails and safe havens,” President Henry J. Eyring told graduates. “You have also enjoyed the perfect wisdom, love and power of our Savior.”

Those blessings can continue as graduates leave the university. “As you move forward, building on experiences had here, you and this Church will grow steadily stronger, to the betterment of our Heavenly Father’s children,” he said.

The university awarded 2,966 students degrees: 2,256 bachelor’s degrees and 806 associate degrees. Of those, 1,110 were online students and 1,147 began as BYU–Pathway Worldwide students.

Newsletters
Subscribe for free and get daily or weekly updates straight to your inbox
The three things you need to know everyday
Highlights from the last week to keep you informed