Women can feel joy by being a friend to God even though the world is filled with dangers, President Henry B. Eyring said at the conclusion of this week’s BYU Women’s Conference.
“There are spiritual and physical dangers for us and for our loved ones … and we will need divine protection,” the first counselor in the First Presidency said during the final address of the largest two-day gathering of LDS women in the world.
Referring to the theme of this year’s conference, President Eyring assured women they could have confidence and rejoice while “continuing the journey.”
President Eyring last spoke at Women’s Conference ten years ago when he delivered an address titled “Peacemakers.” After he re-read that talk, President Eyring said he was struck by what is different in the world and what has stayed the same.
“What has changed for most people is an increased feeling of anxiety,” he said.
President Eyring spoke of the anxiety caused by the dangers of the world and physical harm to family members and loved ones. His remarks brought particular comfort to conference participant Deborah White of Riverton, Utah, whose husband works as a firefighter.
“The promise that no righteous man (or woman) is taken before their time was huge for me,” she said. “In my husband’s line of work, it’s natural to worry about what could happen. His comments brought me peace.”
Referring to “evidences of those who do evil and deadly things,” President Eyring also assured conference participants that despite increased anxiety about the world’s physical and spiritual dangers, there is a way gain the Lord’s promised protection.
To illustrate how this blessing is secured, President Eyring shared lessons learned from the lives of Joseph Smith and Sydney Rigdon as they began their missionary journey to Kirtland in 1833.
Both men had been away for several days and became concerned for their wives and families. They sought the Lord in prayer. The Lord answered with an assurance that came during a revelation recorded in Section 100 of the Doctrine & Covenants that begins with the greeting, “Verily, thus saith the Lord unto you, my friends … ”
“Imagine what it means for the Lord to call them, and to call us, His friends,” President Eyring said. “It means the Lord knows our hearts, that we know Him, and the He has seen our determination to make our purposes His purposes, and those of His father.”
President Eyring said the key to obtaining divine protection seems clear — it rests with the sanctification of our lives.
“The Lord protects, guides, and watches over those who are His trusted friends in His work,” he said.
The thousands who gathered to hear President Eyring were left with the reminder that Joseph Smith and Sydney Rigdon were protected because they “chose to follow the Lord’s commandments with resolute determination, whatever the consequences.”