As President Henry B. Eyring, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, and other leaders responded to questions from BYU Hawaii students, a theme began to emerge: Individuals must learn to hear and act on the voice of the Spirit.
During a question-and-answer devotional on November 22, President Eyring spoke to the college campus community and said that his experience on the campus in Laie, Hawaii, that day was “a sacred time and place” for him be.
President Eyring noted that at the beginning of the meeting, “a faithful prayer to Heavenly Father in the sacred name of Jesus Christ” included a request for the influence of the Holy Ghost. “Our hearts were filled as this prayer was answered for each of us,” he said.
President Eyring said that in the many years he has visited the campus during more than 50 years of full-time service at the Church, he has felt “that the people have lived here to qualify for this gift [of the Holy Ghost]. So it feels like an environment of sacred time and sacred places to me.”
President Eyring returned to the lay campus for the weekly devotional and answered specific questions along with BYU-Hawaii President John SK Kauwe III and Elder Clark G. Gilbert, a General Authority Seventy and Church Educational System officer to the diverse students of the BYU-Hawaii board, which includes students from dozens of countries, particularly from across the Pacific Rim.
Among other things, Church and campus leaders discussed issues related to receiving personal revelation, the stewardship of students after Church training, and the return of students to their homelands after graduation.
In a brief statement following the question-and-answer session, President Eyring promised the students that as they exercise faith and pray, “What shall I do?” they would be blessed with courage and confidence.
“Listen for an answer,” said President Eyring. “Then do as he asks you. He already knows and wants what is best for you. Trust him.”
Improving personal revelation
With their first “little baby” on the way, Luke Dela Cruz, a senior from San Diego, California, shared how he and his wife try to know what path to take next after graduation.
Dela Cruz quoted President Russell M. Nelson as saying, “Without the guiding, directing, comforting, and abiding influence of the Holy Ghost, spiritual survival will not be possible” (April 2018 General Conference).
He then asked, “What advice do you have for us on how to improve our prayers and receive personal revelation in the midst of life’s challenges?”
It is important to spend a lot of time and effort listening, President Kauwe said. “This world is so distracting and so noisy.” It will take some work to find the peace and quiet necessary to hear Him.
Elder Gilbert pointed out that the talk Dela Cruz was referring to was President Nelson’s first talk as President of the Church. When he first heard it, Elder Gilbert said he liked how the Prophet spent the first half of the talk introducing himself.
However, as he reread the talk, Elder Gilbert said, he realized that President Nelson is actually showing how in every step of his life—work, marriage, place of residence, good work, etc.—he put the decision before the Lord and sought revelation. “He has given us a leader,” said Elder Gilbert.
“Heavenly Father will give you a repeating pattern of revelation as you find that quiet place, go to Him, then listen and act as He tells you what to do,” he said.
President Eyring noted that in that address the Prophet taught that revelation is necessary for spiritual survival. “To me, he wouldn’t have used the word ‘survive’ if it was just about having a great career or family,” he said.
More than just making decisions about a job or where to live, there are challenges and dangers to be dealt with in life, such as what is true and what is not, or what is right and what is wrong. “And you must have the Holy Ghost,” President Eyring said.
administration of education
Foloi Sidow, a senior from Apia, Samoa, asked, “What would be one of your best pieces of advice for students graduating and returning to their home countries with their degrees?”
President Kauwe encouraged the students to develop their ability to hear the will of God. “And be ready to follow him.”
If that means a different plan, “that’s fine,” President Kauwe said. If that means some sacrifice is required, “that’s fine. I assure you and everyone else struggling with these decisions that as you follow the Spirit and do what God wants you to be, you will be happy and blessed.”
Elder Gilbert encouraged students to think of their education not just as a gift but also as a steward. “One of our university presidents once taught a famous saying: ‘We have all drunk from wells we did not dig, and we have warmed ourselves by fires we did not build.’ We have a responsibility to give back what we have received.”
Be prayerful, Elder Gilbert said, “what is the responsibility that I have for this education that I am receiving and how will I use it to help others and my family and the church and communities that I am returning to and in whom I will serve to be a blessing? ”
The Savior is trying to prepare the world and the kingdom for His Second Coming, President Eyring said, and everyone has a role to play in that work.
He challenged students to read their patriarchal blessings and then pray about them. “Go where you can build the kingdom of God and touch the lives of the people,” counseled President Eyring.
This can be in your home country. Maybe not. “Pray hard for it. My guess is that very often the Lord will say, “Yes, it’s where you came from. There is something you could do there, and it would be best for your family.” But this is how you pray: ‘Where can I go to be a part of what you are doing, which is preparing the kingdom of God for the day, worship where the Savior comes?’”