In his Sunday morning address during general conference on Oct. 1, President Henry B. Eyring spoke of following a prophet’s counsel to read the Book of Mormon.
“Last April, President Thomas S. Monson gave a message that stirred hearts across the world, including mine,” said the first counselor in the First Presidency. “He spoke of the power of the Book of Mormon. He urged us to study, ponder, and apply its teachings. He promised that if we dedicated time each day to studying and pondering and kept the commandments the Book of Mormon contains, we would have a vital testimony of its truth, and the resultant testimony of the living Christ would see us through to safety in times of trouble.”
President Eyring said he chose to obey President Monson’s words. Since he was a young boy, he has felt the witness that the Book of Mormon is the word of God and of Joseph Smith’s prophetic call.
“With that testimony, I have read the Book of Mormon every day for more than 50 years. So perhaps I could reasonably have thought that President Monson’s words were for someone else. Yet, like many of you, I felt the prophet’s encouragement and his promise invite me to make a greater effort. Many of you have done what I did: prayed with increased intent, pondered scripture more intently, and tried harder to serve the Lord and others for Him.”
The prophet’s promise, he added, was fulfilled.
“Those of us who took his inspired counsel to heart have heard the Spirit more distinctly. We have found a greater power to resist temptation, and have felt greater faith in a resurrected Jesus Christ, in His gospel and in His living Church.”
Heeding President Monson’s counsel offered his first counselor increased optimism, even as commotion in the world seems to be increasing. The Lord also blessed President Eyring and others with a greater feeling of His love for those in distress.
“We have felt an increase in the desire to go to the rescue of others. That desire has been at the heart of President Monson’s ministry and teaching,” he said.
The Lord has long taught His followers that when they stand with faith upon His rock, doubt and fear are diminished, he said. The desire to do good increases.
“As we accept President Monson’s invitation to plant in our hearts a testimony of Jesus Christ, we gain the power, the desire, and the courage to go to the rescue of others without concern for our own needs.”
President Eyring said he has witnessed Latter-day Saints demonstrate faith and courage — even while facing fearsome trials. He was in Idaho in 1976 when the Teton Dam broke, sending down a wall of water. Thousands of homes and businesses were destroyed. But their burdens were relieved by thousands of volunteers who offered tireless service.
“What I saw there, I have seen whenever Latter-day Saints stand firmly on the rock of a testimony of Jesus Christ. Because they have no doubt He watches over them, they become fearless. They ignore their own trials to go to the relief of others. And they do so out of love for the Lord, asking no recompense.”
Such miracles of quiet courage and charity — the pure love of Christ — has been repeated over the years and across the world, he said.
“I saw that same miracle a few short days ago in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma in Puerto Rico, St. Thomas, and Florida — where Latter-day Saints partnered with other churches, local community groups and national organizations to begin clean-up efforts,” he said.
President Eyring spoke of the scores of Latter-day Saints — “The Yellow Angels” wearing yellow Helping Hands T-shirts — that he witnessed during his recent trip to disaster area. The Mormon volunteers demonstrated their love for those in need by offering their time and muscle to help others.
“We see such love in the lives of Latter-day Saints everywhere,” he said. “Each time there is a tragic event anywhere in the world, Latter-day Saints donate and volunteer to the Church’s humanitarian efforts. An appeal is seldom needed. In fact, on some occasions recently, we have to ask those who would volunteer to wait to travel to the recovery site until those directing the work are prepared to receive them.”
A desire to bless is the fruit of people gaining a testimony of Jesus Christ, His gospel, His restored Church and His prophet.
“That is why the Lord’s people doubt not and fear not. That is why missionaries volunteer for service in every corner of the world. That is why parents pray with their children for others. That is why leaders challenge their youth to take President Monson’s request to immerse themselves in the Book of Mormon to heart.”
Optimism, said President Eyring, comes to those who look to the Lord and fear not.
“The best days are ahead for the kingdom of God on the earth. Opposition will strengthen our faith in Jesus Christ, as it has since the days of the Prophet Joseph Smith. Faith always defeats fear. Standing together produces unity. And your prayers for those in need are heard and answered by a loving God. He neither slumbers nor does He sleep.”