April 23, 2019
Writer: Jaime Strobel

BYU-Idaho President Henry J. Eyring along with his wife Kelly Eyring gave their first devotional address of the spring semester about natural leadership.

The phrase and concept of natural leadership comes from a talk President Henry B. Eyring, the second counselor in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, gave in 2001 called, “A Steady Upward Course,” President Eyring said in an interview with BYU-Idaho Radio.

Former Church President Gordon B. Hinckley made the announcement that Ricks College would become BYU-Idaho, a four-year institution, in 2000. A year later, Elder Henry B. Eyring, who was a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and the Church Education Commissioner at the time, was instructed by President Hinckley to expound on the address he had given to the students about the new change of the university.

For many months, Elder Eyring worked on writing a talk tailored to the students, and in September 2001 “the unthinkable happened,” President Henry J. Eyring said. The Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York were destroyed.

President Henry J. Eyring, along with his father, were both scheduled to speak to college students the same day. Because of the devastation in New York, Eyring thought it would be appropriate for him and his father to postpone giving their talks. However, Elder Eyring thought it would be very appropriate to address the students, since his talk would address the aspect of change.

President Eyring encouraged listeners to refer to this talk because of the rich promises that are given. He explained five efforts he said we must exert to qualify for the promises given in his father’s talk. We must center on the Savior and his commandments, focus on the unchangeable, pray for the guidance of the Holy Ghost, teach and nurture and treat everything as the Lord’s.

“It is their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and in His restored gospel and their obedience to His commandments that will put Him at the center of the school,” President Eyring said. “Their faith will largely determine whether we learn here by study and also by faith.”

As we exercise these efforts, people will notice four effects. We will be blessed with frugal innovation, we will influence others for good, become legendary leaders and be on a steady, upward course to exaltation.

“This is a prophecy that I am prepared to make and make solemnly---those graduates of BYU-Idaho will become legendary for their capacity to build the people around them and to add value wherever they serve,” Elder Eyring said.

Sister Eyring told the students they are in the right place at the right time. She spoke about Christ like love through service, and referred to the scripture Matthew 20:26, “But whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister.” She invited everyone to serve others and said it is the key to becoming a great leader.

President Eyring spoke about additional attributes to becoming a natural leader.

He learned from both his grandfather and father about humility and love. “It wasn’t manufactured, I think it was something that came as they repented of their sins and drew upon the atonement,” he said.

“We will all be blessed with the ability to lead like the Savior if we are humble and try to follow Him,” Sister Eyring said.