In his Saturday morning conference address, President Henry B. Eyring encouraged listeners to "leave an inheritance of hope" for others by making and keeping sacred covenants with God.
The first counselor in the First Presidency spoke of his great-grandfather, Heinrich Eyring, who played a key role in creating such an inheritance in his life.
After losing both of his parents and a great financial inheritance, Heinrich left his native land of Germany and settled in the United States. While living in Missouri he obtained a copy of a pamphlet written by Elder Parley P. Pratt. He read and studied every word he could about the Latter-day Saints. He prayed to know if there was a living prophet and if there was a true and revealed religion.
After two months of careful study and prayer, Heinrich had a dream in which he was told to be baptized. On March 11, 1855, he was baptized in a pool of rainwater.
"I believe that Heinrich Eyring knew then that what I am teaching you today is true," President Eyring said. "He knew that the happiness of eternal life comes through family bonds which continue forever. Even when he had so recently found the Lord's plan of happiness, he knew that his hope for eternal joy depended on the free choices of others to follow his example.
"His hope of eternal happiness depended on people not yet born."
Heinrich Eyring's personal history reveals his commitment to making small yet essential choices, such as attending weekly Church meetings and renewing his baptismal covenant by partaking the sacrament.
"He left as his heritage his example of staying faithful to his mission for six years in what was then called the Indian Territories," said President Eyring. "To receive his release from his mission, he walked from Oklahoma to Salt Lake City, a distance of approximately 1,100 miles."
Henrich Eyring would then serve a subsequent mission to Germany and, later, accepted an apostolic invitation to help build the Church in the colonies of northern Mexico. From there he was called to serve a mission to Mexico City. He honored each of those callings and remains an example of faith and hope to his descendents.
"He accepted those calls because of his faith that the resurrected Christ and our Heavenly Father had appeared to Joseph Smith in a grove of trees in the state of New York," he said. "He accepted them because he had faith that the priesthood keys in the Lord's Church had been restored with the power to seal families forever, if only they had sufficient faith to keep their covenants."
Sacred covenants bring with them duties and promises, President Eyring noted.
"For all of us, as they were for Heinrich, those duties are sometimes simple, but are often difficult. But remember, the duties must sometimes be difficult because their purpose is to move us along the path to live forever with Heavenly Father and His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ, in families."
Further, he said, because Adam and Eve fell "we have universal temptation, trials and death."
"However, our loving Heavenly Father gave us the gift of His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ, as our Savior," he added. "That great gift and blessing of the Atonement of Jesus Christ brings a universal inheritance: the promise of the resurrection and the possibility of eternal life to all who are born."
Eternal life — the greatest of all God's blessings — comes only by making covenants in Christ's true Church.
"Because of the Fall, we all need the cleansing effects of baptism and the laying on of hands to receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. These ordinances must be performed by those who possess the proper priesthood authority. Then, with the help of the Spirit of Christ and the Holy Ghost, we can keep all the covenants we make with God, especially those offered in His temples."
The possibility of a "forever family" may seem a nearly hopeless dream to some, said President Eyring. Many faithful parents sorrow over children who have broken or rejected their covenants with God. But hope can come from the Lord, he said.
"He has made promises to us as we keep trying to gather people to Him even when they resist His invitation to do so. Their resistance saddens Him but He does not quit, nor should we. He sets the perfect example for us with His persistent love."
President Eyring suggested taking both "the long and short view" in efforts to give family members an inheritance of hope. In the short run, there will be troubles and patience may be required, he said.
He counseled those who have young families to remember daily family prayer, family scripture study and the sharing of testimonies.
"We will need the long view when those we love feel the pull of the world and the cloud of doubt seems to overwhelm their faith. We have faith, hope and charity to guide us and to strengthen them."
This is the Lord's Church, testified President Eyring. "In it are the keys of the priesthood so families can be forever. This is our priceless heritage of hope."