The doctrine of the family was at the forefront of President Henry B. Eyring’s remarks in the priesthood session of the 186th Annual General Conference.
The First Counselor of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints described “what we must do to be a part of the plan of happiness our Heavenly Father has prepared for us.”
President Eyring described the various roles deacons, teachers and priests can fulfill within their families and communities.
“I was never sure how I could exhort in a way that would move a family toward eternal life without offending or seeming to criticize,” President Eyring said. “I have learned that the only exhortation that changes hearts comes from the Holy Ghost.”
He also addressed potential elders in the church. “What can the young elder do to help in the creation of eternal families?” President Eyring said. “He may be about to go into the mission field. He can pray with all his heart that he will be able to find, teach and baptize families.”
He shared two experiences. The first was of a family he taught as a missionary who expressed great desire to be together as a family but failed to take the necessary steps to be sealed in the temple. The second story involved his son who served a mission in Chile. His son found a family in poverty with a firm desire to be an eternal family. Years later, President Eyring visited the area to meet them. “She had been given, because of those faithful elders, the happy anticipation of the greatest of all the gifts of God,” President Eyring said.
He urged men to be wise in seeking marriage, to heed wise counsel and to make marriage “a priority in early post-mission plans.” He pleaded for married men to seek for the happiness of their wives and children.
He encouraged priesthood fathers to follow the counsel of Doctrine and Covenants Section 121:41–43, which counsels faithful saints to seek power or influence only through love, kindness and long-suffering.
President Eyring asked that family members have a greater commitment to “strengthen the weak, reclaim the straying loved one and rejoice in their renewed spiritual strength.”
High priests were encouraged to seek out their ancestors through family history work and not forget their family in the spirit world.
“In your home, and in your priesthood service, the greatest value will be in the small acts that help us and those we love work toward eternal life,” President Eyring said. “Those acts may seem small in this life, but they will bring everlasting blessings in eternity.”