During a historic worldwide gathering March 29, President Henry B. Eyring spoke to Latter-day Saint women, young women and girls about the path they must take on their journey back to their Heavenly Father.
“That path is marked by sacred covenants with God,” he said. “I will talk with you about the joy of making and keeping those covenants.”
President Eyring, first counselor in the First Presidency, was the concluding speaker at the Church’s General Women’s Meeting March 29. The broadcast, originating from the Conference Center, was translated into 55 languages and sent to millions around the world via the Church satellite system and on television, radio and the Internet.
“This is an historic meeting,” said President Eyring, noting it is the first time LDS women, young women, and girls, 8 and older, had gathered together.
Addressing the topic, “Daughters in the Covenant,” President Eyring said a number of girls in the meeting were baptized recently and received the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands. “To you that memory is fresh,” he said. “Others were baptized long ago, so the memory of your feelings of that covenant experience may be less clear, but some of those feelings come back whenever you listen to the sacramental prayers.”
No two Latter-day Saints will have the same memories of the day they were baptized, he said. “But we each felt God's approval. And we felt a desire to forgive, and to be forgiven, and an increased determination to do right.”
President Eyring said his mother was the one who prepared him for making the baptismal covenant and all other covenants that would follow.
“You may not have clapped your hands when you first heard that invitation to covenant by baptism, but you surely felt the love of the Savior and a greater commitment to nurture others for Him. I can say surely to this audience because those feelings are placed deep in the hearts of all of Heavenly Father's daughters. That is part of your divine heritage from Him,” he said.
President Eyring told members of the worldwide congregation that they were tutored by their Heavenly Father before they came into this life. “He helped you understand and accept that you would have trials, tests and opportunities perfectly chosen just for you. You learned that our Father had a plan of happiness to get you safely through those trials and that you would help bring others safely through theirs. This plan is marked by covenants with God.”
It is a free choice to make and keep covenants, he explained. “Only a few of His daughters have the opportunity in this life to even learn of those covenants. You are one of the favored few. You, dear sisters, each of you, is a daughter in the covenant.”
Latter-day Saint women have been blessed not only to find the way to make those covenants in this life but also to be surrounded with others who will help, he continued.
“You all have felt the blessing of being in the company tonight of daughters of God who are also under covenant to help and direct you as they promised to do,” he said. “I have seen what you have seen as covenant sisters keep that commitment to comfort and help — and do it with a smile.”
President Eyring spoke of Sister Ruby Haight, wife of Elder David B. Haight — who before becoming a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles served as president of the Palo Alto Stake in California. “He prayed over, and worried about, the girls in the Mia Maid class in his own ward. So, President Haight was inspired to ask the bishop to call Ruby Haight to teach those young girls. He knew she would be a witness of God who would lift, comfort, and love the girls in that class.”
Sister Haight was at least 30 years older than the girls she taught. Yet, 40 years after she taught the class, she would greet President Eyring's wife, Kathy — one of those Mia Maids — with a smile. “I saw more than her smile,” President Eyring said. “I felt her deep love for a sister she still cared for as if she were her own daughter. Her smile and warm greeting came from seeing that a sister and daughter of God was still on the covenant path home.
“Heavenly Father smiles on you as well whenever He sees you help a daughter of His move along the covenant path toward eternal life. And He is pleased every time you try to choose the right. He sees not only what you are but what you may become.”
President Eyring said Heavenly Father sees greater potential in His children than they — or even their earthly mothers — see.
“He sees that glorious potential in all of His daughters wherever they are. Now, that puts a great responsibility on each of you. He expects you to treat every person you meet as a child of God.”
While Satan may be attacking sisters at earlier ages, the Lord is lifting sisters to higher and higher levels of spirituality, he said.
Speaking of Eve, wife of Adam, President Eyring said she helped her family see the path home, when the way ahead seemed hard.
“You have her example to follow,” he said. “By revelation Eve recognized the way home to God. She knew that the Atonement of Jesus Christ made eternal life possible in families. She was sure, as you can be, that as she kept her covenants with her Heavenly Father, that the Redeemer and the Holy Ghost would see her and her family through whatever sorrows and disappointments would come. She knew she could trust in Them.”
Even though Eve faced sorrows and disappointments, she found joy in the knowledge that she and her family could return to live with God, said President Eyring. “I know that many of you who are here face sorrows and disappointments. I leave you my blessing that, like Eve, you may feel the same joy that she felt, as you journey back home.
“I have a sure witness that God the Father watches over you in love. He loves each of you. You are His daughters in the covenant. Because He loves you, He will provide the help that you need to move yourself and others upward along the way back to His presence.”