PROVO, Utah There are few questions as important as this one: "How does a person build a life founded on truth?" said Elder Henry B. Eyring Aug. 15.
"It won't surprise you that the answer is simple enough for a child to understand, but that applying it is easy only to a person who has the heart of a child."
Speaking to more than 13,000 Church members gathered in the BYU Marriott Center for the school's annual Campus Education Week, Elder Eyring of the Quorum of the Twelve and Commissioner of Church Education, explained that obedience to commandments is the only way to build a foundation of truth.
"Here is the way that works, in words that are so simple that a child could understand. The truth of most worth is to know God our Heavenly Father, His Son Jesus Christ and their plan for us to have eternal life with them in families."
Elder Eyring's devotional address along with 15 other Education Week presentations was telecast to thousands of Church members via the Church's satellite system in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean and parts of Mexico, and in Utah on KBYU-TV. Last year, an estimated 100,000 people viewed the telecasts. This year, for the first time, eight presentations will also be broadcast next month to Europe and Central and South America.
Education Week, held on the BYU campus Aug. 15-18, offered more than 1,000 classes on a variety of subjects, including self-improvement, family relations, religious education, history, science, youth interests and literature.
Now in its 78th year, the program has become what is believed to be the largest single-event adult continuing education program in the United States, attended annually by more than 25,000. The program is jointly sponsored by the Church Educational System and BYU's Division of Continuing Education.
During his address, Elder Eyring said God communicates truth line upon line, "like the lines on the page of a book."
"If we try hard to do what that truth requires of us, God will send more light and more truth," said Elder Eyring. "It will go on, line after line, as long as we choose to obey the truth. That is why the Savior said that the man who obeyed His commandments built on a rock so solid that no storm or flood could hurt his house."
Elder Eyring said building a strong foundation is hard work. "You will notice," he added, "that the work is simple obedience. It is not complicated things, it is not fancy things or getting great spiritual manifestations. This work is within the abilities of the most humble and the least educated."
It takes humility to build on a foundation of truth, he said. "It is hard to repent, to admit you are wrong on faith alone before the evidence of a feeling of being forgiven and light comes."
In addition, he said, there is another reason why it is hard for the proud to build 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," Elder Eyring said. "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."
Elder Eyring said many of those who slide down the path of disobedience do so as teenagers. "They are at risk in that time of transition, yet the very source of that risk [agency] creates an opportunity for them and for us who serve them," he said.
Agency, he said, "is so priceless a gift from our Heavenly Father that a war was fought to defend it. . . . The teenager you love may well have been one of the valiant warriors on the side of agency and truth. Satan seems to feel he can win a double victory by drawing that teenager into sin. He can destroy one of his antagonists and in the process try to prove the Father wrong, prove that the risk of agency was too great."
The choice to do good is the only way to build a life on the foundation of truth and light. Church members must teach their children to see that simple truth, he said. "It is their life to live and yet they live it with two powerful opposing forces pulling on them in different ways. . . .
"We can help by the way we react to their determination to choose for themselves. They will sense whether we see them as if they could well have been one of the faithful warriors from the pre-existence, committed still to the defense of moral agency and aware of its great value to bring them happiness."
Elder Eyring told the congregation that they must set an example of humbly seeking to know if a choice will draw them nearer to God or away from Him. "If they do what we have done, pray in faith, light and truth will come to them," he said.
He then concluded with a promise: "You can test what we have talked about today," he said. "Just try two things: Listen for the whispering of the Spirit and then commit to obey. . . . God will take advantage of that if you let Him."