President Henry B. Eyring: 'Families under Covenant'

President Henry B. Eyring spoke of a father in the priesthood session congregation "who has come from inactivity because he wants the assurance of that gift [of priesthood ordinances] with all his heart."

President Eyring, first counselor in the First Presidency, added, "That father listening with us tonight knows the path to that glorious destination. It is not easy. It took faith in Jesus Christ, deep repentance and a change of heart that came with a kind bishop helping him feel the Lord's loving forgiveness."

He said, "For my recently activated friend, and for all the priesthood, a great work ahead is to lead in saving the part of Israel for which we are, or will be, responsible, your family. He knew that requires being sealed by the power of the Melchizedek Priesthood in a holy temple of God."

The man asked that President Eyring perform the sealing. President Eyring said he left the couple and their bishop to work with his secretary in setting the time.

"Imagine my surprise and delight when the father told me the sealing is set for April 3. That was the day in 1836 when Elijah, the translated prophet, was sent to the Kirtland Temple to give the sealing power to Joseph Smith and to Oliver Cowdery. Those keys reside in the Church today and will continue to the end of time."

President Eyring spoke of the keys held by the apostle Peter and said that at the coming of the prophet Elijah in this dispensation, power was given to the priesthood and hearts were to be turned.

"That feeling of his heart turning has already come to my friend and to his family," President Eyring said. "It may have come to you in this meeting. You may have seen in your mind, as I have, the face of your father or your mother. It may have been a sister or a brother. It may have been a daughter or a son.

"They may be in the spirit world or continents away from you. But joy came from a feeling that connections with them are sure because you are or can be bound to them by priesthood ordinances that God will honor."

President Eyring said there is nothing that comes to a family as important as sealing blessings. "There is nothing more important than honoring the marriage and family covenants you have made or will make in the temples of God."

He said that as a new married couple, he and his wife decided to invite the Holy Ghost into their lives and family as much as they could.

He described his first meeting with President Joseph Fielding Smith. On that occasion, in the First Presidency Council Room, President Harold B. Lee indicated President Smith to him and asked, "Do you believe that this man could be the prophet of God?"

"I am eternally grateful that I was able to answer firmly because of what came down into my heart, 'I know he is,' and I knew it as surely as I knew the sun was shining that he held the priesthood sealing power for all the earth," President Eyring recounted.

The experience gave President Smith's words great power for President Eyring and his wife when they heard him counsel the Church in general conference on April 6, 1972, to strengthen and preserve the family unit and plead with fathers to take their rightful place at the head of the house and mothers to sustain and support their husbands and be lights to their children.

President Eyring suggested four things priesthood fathers could do to lift and lead their families home again to be with Heavenly Father and the Savior:

 "Gain and keep a sure witness that the keys of the priesthood are with us and held by the president of the Church."

 "The second imperative is to love your wife. It will take faith and humility to put her interests above your own in the struggles of life. You have the responsibility to provide and to nurture the family with her while serving others."

 "Enlist the entire family to love each other. ... Consistent care of brothers and sisters for each other will come only with persistent effort by parents and the help of God. You know that is true from experience in your own families. ... Give children opportunities to pray when they can pray for others in the circle that need the blessings. Discern quickly the beginnings of discord, and recognize acts of unselfish service, especially to each other."

  "The fourth opportunity ... comes when discipline is needed. We can meet our obligation to correct in the Lord's way and to lead them toward eternal life." President Eyring cited Doctrine and Covenants 121:41-44 and commented, "That is a high standard for us, but when we with faith control our tempers and subdue our pride, the Holy Ghost gives His approval, and sacred promises and covenants become sure."

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