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President Henry B. Eyring, first counselor in the First Presidency, speaks April 2 during the General Priesthood Session of the 186th Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

In his priesthood session address, President Henry B. Eyring endeavored to describe the future of the Church and “what we must do to be a part of the plan of happiness our Heavenly Father has prepared for us.”

“Every priesthood effort and every priesthood ordinance is intended to help Heavenly Father’s children be changed through the Atonement of Jesus Christ to become members of perfected family units,” said President Eyring, first counselor in the First Presidency. He added that it follows that the great work of every man is to believe the gospel, keep the commandments, create and perfect an eternal family unit and help others to do the same.

“Since that is true, everything we do should have celestial marriage as its focus and purpose,” President Eyring said. “That means we must strive to be sealed to an eternal companion in the temple of God. We must encourage others to make and keep the covenants that bind a husband and wife together with their family in this life and in the world to come.”

To a deacon, that might mean cheerfully and readily taking part in family prayer and encouraging his brothers and sisters to do likewise, President Eyring suggested. “He can ask his father for a blessing when school begins or in another moment of need.”

He said the teacher in the Aaronic Priesthood can see in his home teaching assignments the opportunity to help the Lord change the lives of a family. He quoted Doctrine and Covenants 29:46-47 and 53-54, relative to the duties of a teacher and a priest.

“I have learned that the only exhortation that changes hearts is from the Holy Ghost,” he said. “That occurs most often as we bear testimony of the Savior who was and is the perfect family member. As we focus on our love for Him, harmony and peace will grow in the homes we visit. The Holy Ghost will attend us in our service to families.”

Asking what a young elder can do to help in the creation of eternal families, President Eyring suggested: “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 told of a missionary experience his son had in which he and his companion found a widow with eight children living in poverty.

“I visited that little city years after my son had baptized the widow, and she invited me to meet her family,” President Eyring recounted. “I had to wait a while, because her children, with her many grandchildren, came from several different chapels in the area. One son was faithfully serving in a bishopric, and each of her children was blessed by temple covenants and sealed in an eternal family. As I parted from this dear sister she put her arms around my waist ... and said, ‘Please tell Mateo to come back to Chile before I die.’ She had been given, because of those faithful elders, the happy anticipation of the greatest of all the gifts of God.”

An elder, as he returns from his mission, must make marriage a priority in early post-mission plans, President Eyring noted. “The faithful priesthood servant will do it wisely.”

To husbands and fathers, he said: “My hope is that your desire has increased to make the changes necessary for you and your family to live in the celestial kingdom someday together. As a priesthood father, with your wife at your side, you can touch the hearts of each family member to encourage them to look forward to that day. You will attend your sacrament meetings with your family, you will hold family meetings in which the Holy Ghost is invited, you will pray with your wife and family and prepare yourself to take your family to the temple. You will move with them along the path to an eternal family home.”

President Eyring said the Lord has told priesthood fathers the kind of husbands they are to be. He cited Doctrine and Covenants 42:22, "Thou shalt love thy wife with all thy heart, and shalt cleave unto her and none else." He then said, "When the Lord speaks to both the husband and the wife, He commands, 'Thou shalt not ... commit adultery ... nor anything like unto it'" (Doctrine and Covenants 59:6).

“When the Lord speaks to all in the family, His counsel is to love and support each other,” he said (see Colossians 3:20 and Exodus 21:12).

“The Lord also asks that we do all we can to help those of our kindred dead to be with us in our eternal home.”

rscott@deseretnews.com

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