Editor’s Note: This article was written for the April 5, 1995, edition of Scroll. Jason Walker, a Scroll staff writer at the time, wrote this article.
SALT LAKE CITY — A former president of Ricks College was called as the new member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints during the Saturday morning session of the 165th Annual General Conference.
Elder Henry B. Eyring, 61, was called to fill a spot vacated when Elder James E. Faust was called to the First Presidency. He served as president of Ricks College from 1972 to 1977.
The new apostle spoke about humility during the Saturday afternoon session of conference. He said the day and night since the call was issued taught him much about humility. Elder Eyring also recalled a meeting with two sister missionaries who asked advice on how to become more humble. He can answer that question better now than he could then, he said in his address.
“I would have said just this, ‘Always remember Him.’ I would have tried to help them to do that by taking them in their minds to a garden where they would hear the Savior of the world’s words, ‘Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but thine be done,'” Elder Eyring said.
“Over the last hours, I have come to understand other blessing from always remembering Him,” he said.
During his emotional address, Elder Eyring promised to keep his personal covenant to take the Savior’s name upon him and always remember Him.
“God our Father lives. His son, Jesus Christ, did the will of the Father and atoned for all of our sins. Because of him, we will be resurrected. Because of his Atonement, we may be exalted,” he said.
Elder Eyring also testified that President Gordon B. Hinckley is a prophet of God.
“The Savior will speak to use and all the world through him. If those who hear will take His (the Savior’s) name upon them and always remember Him and keep His commandments, they will finally come to Him. He will take them home to his Father, and our Father, where we may live forever in families.”
During a news conference following the Saturday afternoon session of conference, Elder Eyring said the call was “overwhelming. This has been a momentous day.” He also spoke about the “sacred call” he received to be a special witness of Jesus Christ.
The call came while Elder Eyring was serving as the second counselor in the North America West Area presidency. He had been serving in the First Quorum of the Seventy since October 1992 and as Commissioner of Church Education since September of the same year. He will continue to serve as commission.
“There will be no change in my assignment — only in my schedule,” he said at the press conference.
In a response to a reporter’s question, Elder Eyring said he is not worried that a surge of concern about academic freedom at church-owned Brigham Young University will create any shortage of teachers who are both academically and religiously suitable.
“It is my impression that there is a growing number of extremely gifted, very devoted” educators who could fit well into the university’s requirements, he said.
The Church has “a tremendous interest in education,” Elder Eyring said. As the Church becomes ever more diverse, it will be challenged to meet the educational needs of various groups.
He also said that the church members find ways to accommodate a more diverse membership as it goes about its mission of taking the gospel to “every nation, kindred, tongue and people.”
Elder Eyring previously served as first counselor to Presiding Bishop Robert D. Hales (now a member of the Twelve) from April 1985 to September 1992, and before that he served as Commissioner of Education from September 1980 to April 1985.
Elder Eyring also served on the faculty at the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University from 1962 to 1971 and was a visiting faculty fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1963 and 1964.
The Princeton, N.J., native has a bachelor of science degree in physics form the University of Utah and a master of business administration and doctorate of business administration degrees from Harvard University.
Elder Eyring is married to the former Kathleen Johnson, who he calls his greatest influence, and they are the parents of four sons and two daughter. His father, Henry Eyring, was an eminent scientist and a member of the faculty of Princeton University. Sister Eyring believes one of her husband’s outstanding characteristics that will contribute positively to his new calling is his ability to be a peacemaker, according to a Deseret News article.
Elder Eyring’s prior church callings have included service as a regional representative, member of the Sunday School General Board and bishop. He is one of two past presidents of Ricks College called to serve as General Authorities.