In Stake Conference today, when President Eyring got up to speak he started by saying, “President Taylor (our newly called Stake President) said that he would speak later on gathering – I would like to speak about gathering now.”
President Eyring assured everyone at conference that they were not there by accident, but that the Lord had gathered and continued to gather people in. He said, “None of you are here by accident.” He said that when he was called as Deputy Church Commissioner of Education in 1977 and had to leave Rick’s college, where he had been serving as President, he asked the Presiding Bishop for the data (demographics and church activity I imagine) on all areas within a 20 minute commute from downtown Salt Lake City. He was looking for a place where he could raise his children. He identified “this area” (I’m not sure how specific that was, I imagine that he identified the southeast area of Bountiful) as the place to move his family. He did not know how to go about finding a house there (he was still living in Rexburg) but he mentioned to one of the men who came from the church to load the moving truck and move his family that he wanted to live in that area. The man told him that he was a bishop in that area and would find him a house. That is how he came to live on Chokecherry Drive. He said that when they moved in they could feel that it was a very special place but they knew that over time it would change. He said that all the time he has lived there, whenever someone moves out someone else wonderful moves in to take their place.
I thought it was amazing how his concerns were the same as ours and how his reaction to that little Eden was the same as ours too. We know that it will change, but being on the vanguard of young families moving in we have the opportunity to help it remain a very special place.
President Eyring gestured with an embracing motion as he quoted from the Savior, :”How oft have I gathered you as a hen gathereth her chicks.” He told a story of a visit he made in recent months to a place in northern California where he had not previously visited. While there he noticed a man who, he was informed, was visiting the church for the first time. As he observed the man through the course of the meetings he expected that the man would never return to such a foreign place. After the meetings the Bishop asked President Eyring if he would meet someone in his office. It was the man wtih the beard whom he had been observing through the day. President Eyring said that he was prompted to do something that is very uncharacteristic of himself – he told the man that the next time they saw each other he would be a member of the church. He recently got a message from that bishop that the man had been baptized and would be confirmed the next day.
After the story President Eyring said the following:
I don’t always know what the Lord desires, but I love Him and will do what He asks of me – and He knows that I will. Because of that I would step out of character when speaking to that man. I pray each day to know what the Lord would have me do and to do it. In answer to my prayers He lets me know what He would have me do. (This includes some paraphrasing and I added the emphasis here.)
President Eyring then challenged us that we would pray daily to know the will of the Lord. He assured us that we could do whatever we were called to do by the Lord and he emphasized parenthood as a calling that nobody is prepared to do on their own (meaning without the Lord).
The more that I record and read of my account of this talk, the more President Eyring sounds like Nephi in his willingness to be led and his desire to do the will of the Lord no matter what that turned out to be. He also sounds a bit like Nephi the son of Helaman in Helaman 10 who has the assurance that the Lork knows that he will do nothing contrary to the will of the Lord.