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Curtis' Mission

Friday, July 21, 2006


Henry B. Eyring was commissioner of education and a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints when this fireside address was given at Brigham Young University on 3 January 1999.

Years ago I served as the bishop of a ward composed of young people. Time has wiped away much of what I learned then of their sorrows and mistakes, but I can still see in my mind most of their faces. I meet some of them as I travel about the world. Their faces and their physiques have been changed enough by time that I sometimes stumble trying to remember names. Others I have followed more closely, with a chance to know what life has offered them. When I learn of their lives, I am amazed at the variety of their experiences. Each life seems to be unique. About all they have in common, as nearly as I can tell, is that they have been surprised by the pattern of the tests of their faith. The surprise has come because they could not know when the tests would come, what they would be, nor how long they would last.

For a few, the tests are over. For some of the members of that ward, the tests ended early. I was reminded of one young man the other day. For me his face will always be young and bright with hope. He left our ward for a mission in Japan. Decades later I mentioned his name in a talk I gave to a group of Latter-day Saints in Tokyo. After the meeting a number of members came to me, their faces shining with the brightness that I remember in his face when he returned from his mission. They told that he was "their" missionary. If I understood their English, they said that he was the greatest missionary they had ever known.

I was released as the bishop when our family was asked to move to another state. I kept track of that missionary enough to know that he had graduated from college, applied to medical school, and been accepted. I did not know his plans for the summer before he began medical school, but I am sure that he looked forward with great anticipation to the years ahead.

A phone rang where we then lived, and I learned that he had been killed. He and friends had gone to climb a peak in the Wind River Range in the western United States. I was invited to speak at his funeral. I asked some of the young men who had been climbing with him, friends from our old ward family, to meet me at the chapel where the service would begin in a few minutes. We went to a room to be alone. After we had renewed our acquaintance, I asked if they would tell me something about our friend's life. I think they knew why.

  • Read "Always" by Henry B. Eyring

    • I heard that talk on the BYU channel Sunday. It was hard to fight back the tears.

      By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:54 PM  

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