From the time he was a little boy, President Henry B. Eyring's life has been guided by powerful moments of personal revelation. About seeing his wife for the first time, President Eyring shared in an address delivered at the Vatican, "I saw in the crowd a young woman. I had never seen her before, but the feeling came over me that she was the best person I had ever seen. That evening she walked into our church meeting in Cambridge. Another thought came to my mind with great power: 'If I could only be with her, I could become every good thing I ever wanted to be.'" That woman was Kathleen Johnson, and that inspiration changed the course of President Eyring's life.
Here are other powerful moments from President Eyring's life when he heard a voice guiding and directing him.
"When You Know Who You Really Are"
When Henry Eyring, best known as Hal to his friends and family, was 13 years old, his family moved from New Jersey to Utah. Hal was teased for his accent. He felt isolated and unhappy about his family's move. During one moment of self-pity, "a spiritual voice spoke a warning in his mind," his biography states. "That impression marked a turning point in Hal’s life."
In a BYU Speech entitled "Child of Promise," President Eyring described that moment in detail:
"It was morning, because I can remember the light coming through the small basement window. And I was in a hurry, another sign of morning. I don’t know whether I had been praying, but I felt, not heard, a voice. It was an impression, which I knew then was from God. It was this thought, and close to these words: 'Someday, when you know who you really are, you will be sorry you didn’t use your time better.' I thought then that the impression was odd, since I thought I was using my time pretty well, and I thought I knew who I was. Now, years later, I am beginning to know who I am, and who you are, and why we will be so sorry if we do not invest our time well."
"You Have Never Been Here Before"
During his October 2019 general conference talk, President Eyring shared about a sacred experience he had in the temple the first time he received his endowment:
"One experience of wanting more holiness came for me in the Salt Lake Temple. I entered the temple for the first time having been told little of what to expect. We were asked to show our recommends, certifying our worthiness.
"My parents knew the man at the recommend desk. So they lingered a moment to speak with him. I went ahead alone into a large space where everything was sparkling white. I looked up at a ceiling so high above me it seemed an open sky. In that moment, a clear impression came to me that I had been there before.
"I heard a very soft voice—not my own. The softly spoken words were these: 'You have never been here before. You are remembering a moment before you were born. You were in a sacred place like this. You felt the Savior was about to come into the place where you stood. And you felt happiness because you were eager to see Him.'
"That experience in the Salt Lake Temple lasted only a moment. Yet the memory of it still brings peace, joy, and quiet happiness. I learned a lesson that day that has been confirmed for me many times. The Holy Ghost speaks in a still, small voice. I can hear Him when there is spiritual peace in my heart.
"Whatever our personal circumstance, wherever we may be on the covenant path home, may our prayers for greater holiness be answered. I know that as our petition is granted, our happiness will increase. It may come slowly, but it will come."
"I'm Not Giving These Experiences for Yourself"
During the October 2007 general conference, President Eyring shared a personal experience that taught him about the hand of God and how it influences his life:
"When our children were very small, I started to write down a few things about what happened every day. Let me tell you how that got started. I came home late from a Church assignment. It was after dark. My father-in-law, who lived near us, surprised me as I walked toward the front door of my house. He was carrying a load of pipes over his shoulder, walking very fast and dressed in his work clothes. I knew that he had been building a system to pump water from a stream below us up to our property.
"He smiled, spoke softly, and then rushed past me into the darkness to go on with his work. I took a few steps toward the house, thinking of what he was doing for us, and just as I got to the door, I heard in my mind—not in my own voice—these words: 'I’m not giving you these experiences for yourself. Write them down.'
"I went inside. I didn’t go to bed. Although I was tired, I took out some paper and began to write. And as I did, I understood the message I had heard in my mind. I was supposed to record for my children to read, someday in the future, how I had seen the hand of God blessing our family. Grandpa didn’t have to do what he was doing for us. He could have had someone else do it or not have done it at all. But he was serving us, his family, in the way covenant disciples of Jesus Christ always do. I knew that was true. And so I wrote it down, so that my children could have the memory someday when they would need it.
"I wrote down a few lines every day for years. I never missed a day no matter how tired I was or how early I would have to start the next day. Before I would write, I would ponder this question: 'Have I seen the hand of God reaching out to touch us or our children or our family today?' As I kept at it, something began to happen. As I would cast my mind over the day, I would see evidence of what God had done for one of us that I had not recognized in the busy moments of the day. As that happened, and it happened often, I realized that trying to remember had allowed God to show me what He had done."
Lead image from KSL
Learn more about President Eyring's remarkable life in I Will Lead You Along: The Life of Henry B. Eyring.
Years of journals form the backbone of this personal biography, a candid look at his walk through life with his beloved companion, Kathy. "The journal shows how a good-but-imperfect man works each day to win divine approval," write the authors, and this window into his past provides unforgettable insights about the man the Lord has shaped him to become.
Readers will love these richly designed pages, filled with photographs, sketches from the pen of President Eyring himself, and scores of entries straight from his journals woven into an engaging depiction of his life's journey.