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Sunday, July 20, 2014

President Henry B. Eyring: A Priceless Heritage of Hope

This coming week we will be discussing President Henry B. Eyring's General Conference talk, "A Priceless Heritage of Hope."

I still think Pioneer Day is funny. I didn't grow up LDS, so I had never heard of Pioneer Day. Even after I joined the church I didn't hear about it for maybe ten years. I heard about the youth doing the handcart and wagon treks, but nobody ever said the words "Pioneer Day." I just thought it was something our stake did every summer.

*On a side note, I grew up in New Mexico, which is close enough to Utah for a day trip, but far enough to have never heard of Pioneer Day.

Wagon Train Trek Reenactment

I still remember the day I found out. It went something like this:

"July 24th? What happens July 24th?"
"Pioneer Day."
"Say what?"
"July 24th. Its Pioneer Day."
"Never heard of it."
"You're kidding, its a national holiday, with parades, and everything."
"In Utah?"
"Well, yeah, but..."
"That explains everything."

Okay, okay, let's move on

President Eyring talks about the heritage of our church membership, and the "pioneers" who led the way for us to discover, and join the church. He asks us to remember those who have come before, and to continue the work they started, the work of spreading the hope the gospel brings.

Since I shared my conversion story last post, I want to share another story this time. This story isn't about the church, but it is about carrying on a heritage of hope.


My grandfather Orville was an amazing man. He was born and raised in Kansas outside of a small town. He was raised with Baptist morals, and never strayed from that moral path. He was 6 foot 4 inches, and stout with unruly, curly red hair that stood up 6-8 inches above his head. He was a good fit for working as a farm hand in both Pocatello, Idaho, and Monte Vista, Colorado in his young adulthood. Idaho, and the San Luis Valley in Colorado both specialize in potatoes. In those years he also worked as a truck driver, probably balancing out his income for the slow season, but I don't have any details on that.

In 1955, or 1956 he moved his little family to Albuquerque, New Mexico. My mother was 3-4 years old, and the younger of two girls. There, he worked at an asphalt plant, delivered propane, ran an oil refinery, (Not sure in what order), and was a volunteer firefighter. One of my favorite stories is that he had very long arms (which I inherited), and if a light burned out in the firehouse he would be called on to change the bulb because he had a longer reach than guys who were even taller than him.

Sometime during his life he joined the Methodist Church, and became a Deacon in his local congregation. I don't know the services Deacons perform in the Methodist Church, but I am sure he fulfilled his responsibilities with the utmost diligence, and reverence. He never drank, was never abusive, and never cursed. He was a man of kindness, and love. He worked hard to support his family, and never let a lack of jobs keep him from working. He was the embodiment of the American way.

I will always remember something he told me in his later years, about ten years after my grandma died. It is the principle by which I now try to live my life. It is the entire purpose of this post:

"You were always Marguerite's favorite (My grandma). She talked about you more than the other grandkids (there were only 5). She had more patience for you than anyone else. But I love all of you the same. I don't have any favorites, you're all different, but I love you all the same."
When he said that to me, I felt love from him, and knew that moment that our Heavenly Father feels the same way about his children. He loves us all the same, despite our differences. He wants to watch us grow. He winces at our indiscretions, revels in our success, and hopes that we will find the right way. That is my priceless heritage of hope, my lasting legacy of love. My brothers and sisters of this world are all different, but our Heavenly Father loves them all the same. It is the legacy, and principle I strive to live.

"A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another." (John 13:34-35)