Youth Challenged to “Know for Themselves” in Face to Face with President Eyring and Elder Holland

Contributed By Lauren Hanson, Church News staff writer

  • 4 March 2017

President Henry B. Eyring of the First Presidency, right, and Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, left, participate in a Face to Face broadcast originating in Palmyra, New York, March 4.

Article Highlights

  • President Eyring and Elder Holland answered questions submitted by youth around the world.
  • President Eyring challenged the youth of the Church to come to know for themselves if these things are true.

“For those of you in the audience wondering if Heavenly Father knows you, oh, my, does He know you. He is watching you and He knows everything about you.” —President Henry B. Eyring of the First Presidency

“For those of you in the audience wondering if Heavenly Father knows you, oh, my, does He know you. He is watching you and He knows everything about you,” President Eyring told youth during the March 4 Face to Face worldwide broadcast.

Youth submitted more than a thousand questions on LDS.org and thousands more on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter in preparation for this event. President Henry B. Eyring, First Counselor in the First Presidency, and Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles took turns answering some of the questions related to the 2017 Mutual theme, “Ask of God.”

In a venue located near the Joseph Smith family farm and the Sacred Grove in Palmyra, New York, President Eyring and Elder Holland were joined by a group of youth from upstate New York and two youth groups from Plymouth, England, and Johannesburg, South Africa, who participated via video conference, along with thousands of other youth all over the world.

“My dear young friends, I am grateful to be with you today in this sacred place. The fact that you have chosen to participate with us in this broadcast says something important about you,” President Eyring said.

Topics of the questions from youth included listening to the Holy Ghost, improving scripture study, sharing the gospel with others, being a good example to family and friends, personal revelation, how to access the Lord’s Atonement, and more.

President Henry B. Eyring of the First Presidency addresses youth worldwide during a Face to Face event March 4 in Palmyra, New York.

Local youth attend the live Face to Face event with President Henry B. Eyring and Elder Jeffrey R. Holland in Palmyra, New York, on March 4.

The First Vision

One of the first questions asked was “What can we learn about personal revelation from Joseph Smith’s experience with the First Vision?”

President Eyring said Joseph’s first step in receiving revelation was that he knew the scriptures and he believed them, and then he went off into the grove to pray.

“I tried praying in it too, and I kneeled down and I asked if I could feel again that this was the place that God and the Savior appeared, and I got a sweet assurance that it was true.”

Elder Holland said that Joseph Smith received inspiration from James 1:5 because he reflected on it again and again.

“There’s a difference between just doing your scripture reading, just doing your verse for the day, or your five minutes, or whatever it is to fulfill your seminary obligation. … The power is going to be in the depth of the scriptures, my young friends.”

Elder Holland also testified that one of the most powerful messages we can learn from the First Vision is how personal God and the Savior are with each of us. They knew Joseph by name, and They also know us perfectly.

President Henry B. Eyring of the First Presidency, right, and Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, left, participate in a Face to Face broadcast originating in Palmyra, New York, March 4.

Recognizing the Holy Ghost

In response to the question of “How can we discern between what is the Holy Ghost and our own feelings?” President Eyring said he looks for a feeling of peace. Elder Holland agreed and added that the feeling must be consistent with other revelations that the Lord has given.

Feeling the Spirit

In answering the question “How we can feel the Spirit when the world is so loud?” President Eyring shared that he has had personal experiences where he has heard the voice of God, but they were only in times when he was quiet and willing to submit to the Lord’s will. Once we ask for direction, President Eyring said, we need to be willing to do what God wants us to do, like Joseph Smith did. 

Elder Holland added that God will not compete with the sounds of the world, and the Spirit really does come in a still and small voice. “I think so often we make prayer a laundry list of requests … and we fail to remember that He is supposed to speak back to us. We need to let Him talk to us in a quiet setting,” he said.

Local youth attend the live Face to Face event with President Henry B. Eyring and Elder Jeffrey R. Holland in Palmyra, New York, on March 4.

Being an example

Many youth expressed concerns about the decisions their family and friends were making and wanted to know how they could be an example to them.

“You can’t control everybody else’s life,” Elder Holland responded. “What you do have control over is your life, and if you can be that disciple … that is powerful.”

President Eyring said helping our loved ones is going to be different for everybody, but the best thing we can do is “keep loving them.”

Patriarchal blessings

On the topic of patriarchal blessings, President Erying shared a personal example of how he received his own blessing. He expressed that a patriarchal blessing is something to take seriously and can provide warnings for us in our life. “But don’t expect it to be comforting,” he clarified. “It’s whatever the Lord wants it to be for you.”

Youth perform a musical number during the Face to Face event with President Eyring and Elder Holland March 4.

Elder Holland added, “It’s not always in our control the timing and the moment in which [the blessings and promises] will be fulfilled.”

Sharing the gospel

Some youth were concerned about how they can share the gospel without being overbearing or offending people. Elder Holland explained that there is a difference between being righteous and self-righteous, and if we are trying to be righteous, the Lord will put words in our heart.

President Eyring noted that it is important for the person to feel that you love and care about them. “The Spirit of Christ is abroad in the world so that good people will resonate with your testimony. … They will sense in it something good,” he said. 

At the end of the event, President Eyring and Elder Holland closed with their powerful testimonies of the restored gospel. President Eyring told the story of Joseph Smith returning to his home after the First Vision and, leaning against the fireplace mantle, testifying that he knew for himself what was true.

President Henry B. Eyring of the First Presidency, right, and Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, left, greet young women who attended the live Face to Face event in Palmyra, New York, March 4.

“I would like to extend a challenge to the youth of the Church. … Come to know for yourself that these things are true,” President Eyring said. 

After the event, Natalie Pendleton, age 17, from Spanish Fork, Utah, said she learned about how to keep her faith from decaying. “It’s by reading your scriptures and praying. That’s how we are converted the first time, and that is how we keep reconverting,” she said.

Youth are invited to share their experiences and what they learned on face2face.lds.org or on social media using #LDSFace2Face.