September 18, 2018
Writer: Bryanna Willis

Today was the first BYU-Idaho Devotional of the Fall Semester. President Henry J. Eyring and his wife Kelly both spoke about testimony. President Eyring centered his talk around how testimonies can be strengthened through experience and repentance. Sister Eyring shared how testimony is strengthened through small experiences collected over a lifetime.

Sister Eyring spoke first, giving her talk titled “Picking Up a Testimony.” Sister Eyring said when she thought about testimony she knew she had gained hers through seemingly small experiences. “To build my testimony each day is to repent as Henry has mentioned, but also to look for evidence of my Heavenly Father’s love all around me,” she said in an interview with BYU-Idaho Radio.

She said it is especially important to record that evidence for those times you will need it.

To illustrate her idea, pennies were left all over the BYU-Idaho Center lobby. Picking up a penny can seem like a small thing, worth almost nothing. But many pennies collected over a lifetime can add up to a large amount. Sister Eyring shared how she was inspired for this talk by an article written in the Wall Street Journal titled “What I’ve Learned from My Quest for Loose Change.”

The author, Brian Hershberg, shared how he started collecting change when he was 21 and now has collected $973.45 in loose change. Sister Eyring says many things happen every day that are moments Heavenly Father places in our day.

“It is the accumulation of many pennies over a long time that produces financial fortunes,” she said. “Likewise, the habit of looking for and picking up the seemingly small experiences that Heavenly Father places in our day can fill our testimony banks to overflowing.  The key is to recognize and “pick up” those experiences and put them into our spiritual ‘bank accounts,’ where they can be added to and grow larger, rather than being lost to memory.” 

Sister Eyring then challenged students to look for and write down small experiences that happen in their days. She attached this promise to the commitment, “As we do so, the Spirit will be able to confirm to us the love and constant care of our Father in Heaven.”

 

President Eyring told BYU-Idaho Radio he felt he needed to bear testimony of the truthfulness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in a personal way. “For me I feel my testimony has come mostly through repentance mostly through making mistakes and feeling remorse,” he said, “and then through the process of repentance knowing that the weight of that sin has been lifted adds to my testimony because I know there is only one way that can happen is through the atonement.”

He said it is through The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that we gain access to the power of the atonement of Christ and leaders can help with that.

In his devotional he tells a story about when he first received a testimony of the truthfulness of the Church. He was young enough to take a bath with his brother Stuart and he remembered what his Sunbeam teacher had taught about the Celestial Kingdom. He worried he might not qualify. His mother told him, “Yes, you will.” President Eyring then shared the rest of the experience.

                “Mother responded so surely that it made me wonder if getting into the Celestial Kingdom was easy.  I decided to test her on this point.  I asked, ‘Will Stuart get in?’  ‘Yes,’ she replied, ‘Stuart will too.’”

                “Mother was right about Stuart.  He is my parents’ bishop and a wonderful husband and father.  Stuart is on track for the Celestial Kingdom.

“I am trying to stay on track as well.  My testimony of the Church hasn’t faltered since Mother first told me that it is true.  Yet I have not been immune to challenges, and have at times struggled to defend my faith.”

President Eyring shared how, as a young law clerk, he was challenged by the truth of the Church by a supervisor telling him evidence had surfaced proving the book of Abraham wrong. President Eyring decided to call his dad, how had recently been called as a general authority of the Church. Instead of provided an explanation of why the book was truth, Elder Eyring instead asked his son how he felt when he read it. “Good,” said President Eyring. His father then said, “then what else do you need to know?”

President Eyring then shared that his mother reading the scripture stories when he was a child helped him to follow the example of Enos and Alma the Younger to pray for forgiveness and peace. From doing that he now knows they were real people.

Now when questions arise, President Eyring is quick to turn the questions of the truthfulness of the Church back to whether he himself is true. When identifying his own human falseness with the help of church doctrines and leaders he said he can strengthen his testimony.

“If you and I act this way consistently, the adversary’s attempts to sow doubts about ourselves or the Church will paradoxically have the reverse effect,” he said. “His temptations, if we recognize them, can strengthen us.  That should not come as a surprise.  When Heavenly Father cast Adam and Eve out of the Garden of Eden, knowing that they would be subject to temptation, He promised them that they and their posterity could transcend the adversary’s subtle strategies.”

When considering the conditions of your own repentance and continually applying the gospel teaching to receive forgiveness President Eyring said we can feel prepared when questions about the truthfulness of the Church arise.

The student online discussion board has been a tool used in recent devotionals and President Erying told BYU-Idaho Radio he was very grateful to the students for sharing their experiences and Sister Erying loved how open students were in answering their questions.

“I was so impressed that the students were willing to share very tender experiences and it built my testimony as I read,” she said.

As a take-away President Erying said he hopes students know even if they are first generation members of the Church, others in the scriptures can be an example and help build testimony. Sister Erying said she hopes students will become more aware of Heavenly Father’s love in their lives and she hopes they will keep track of those moments.