OGDEN, Utah — Speaking of tumultuous times as foreseen by prophets, President Henry B. Eyring declared on Oct. 28 that "a wise optimist has an overwhelming advantage over the person who becomes a pessimist in these latter days."
"The important word is wise. The advantage hinges on being a wise optimist. The wise optimist depends on the wonderful and glorious promises the Lord has made for the last days."
In his first major address since general conference when he was sustained as second counselor in the First Presidency, President Eyring presided over and spoke at a multi-stake conference in Ogden, Utah. Accompanying him to the Dee Events Center on the campus of Weber State University for the conference were Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve, Elder Steven E. Snow of the Presidency of the Seventy, and Sister Barbara Thompson, second counselor in the Relief Society general presidency, all of whom addressed the gathering.
The multi-stake conference included eight stakes gathered in the center, with proceedings sent via Church satellite to another 66 stakes in northern Utah. Members on this crisp fall morning began gathering early and quickly filled the basketball arena.
President Eyring offered the "foundational fact" of his address on wise optimism: "You can be optimistic about the long-range future of the Church. The Lord has made promises about that. Whatever setbacks occur for the Church will be temporary…. In our time we know that the Lord restored the gospel and His Church through the Prophet Joseph to stand until He comes. Even more wonderfully, He has revealed to His prophets that the Church will be perfectly prepared for the Savior's Second Coming."
President Eyring spoke of the priesthood keys as restored through the Prophet Joseph, consisting of the keys brought by Moses, Elias and Elijah on April 3, 1836, in the Kirtland Temple.
"Moses came and conferred keys to gather scattered Israel. Those keys give us power to proclaim the gospel to those not yet members and to offer them the choice to accept the gospel of Jesus Christ and so become part of the Lord's chosen people."
Elias, he continued, brought the keys to the dispensation of Abraham. "Elias promised as he brought the keys, in the name of the Lord, 'that in us and our seed all generations after us should be blessed.' That promised blessing included that the gospel of Jesus Christ would go down into the hearts not only of individuals but also of generations of their children and their children's children."
A third messenger, President Eyring related, brought the keys for redeeming the dead. "He was Elijah."
Speaking of these keys, President Eyring referred to a new computer tool that "will put millions of records in a form to make them available for search by family members across the world," effectively eliminating duplication of ordinances.
Continuing, President Eyring said: "And even in the optimism of proclaiming the gospel, perfecting the saints, and redeeming the dead, our optimism has to be about how God will multiply our efforts…. We must be wise optimists. We can expect with confidence that power will be poured out upon the saints. It will grow among us. Expect that. And teach it to your children. They will rise higher than we have risen. And there will be a Church prepared for the Savior when He comes in glory."
In his remarks, Elder Oaks asked the congregation to consider the question: "Are you active in the gospel, or just active in the Church?
"What is the difference between being active in the Church and active in the gospel? The partaking of the sacrament — coming to the Lord with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, repenting of our sins and making and keeping these sacred covenants — is a good example of the difference. We can be active in the Church by attending meetings, but still fail to grow in knowledge and testimony. To be active in the gospel, on the other hand, means that we are actively repenting of our sins, serving our fellow men, and striving to be better.
"Those who are active in the gospel partake of the sacrament worthily and appropriately and receive the weekly cleansing that permits them to always have His Spirit to be with them to help them in the mighty change of heart that helps them become what our Heavenly Father desires us to become."
Elder Snow admonished members to remember spiritual experiences, but added that it's essential to have a growing testimony. "We cannot rely alone on our long-term memory. That is why in all our remembering, we must remember to renew."
In her remarks, Sister Thompson spoke of the importance of temple worship individually and as families. Speaking of the names of two priesthood leaders on her temple recommend, she explained that she has striven to keep the trust of these individuals.
"I pray that the fire of the temple covenants will burn in our hearts."
E-mail to: [email protected]