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Pres. Eyring opens up on his pioneer heritage and more

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Estimated read time: 5-6 minutes

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President Henry B. Eyring, First Counselor in the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will act at Grand Marshall for the Days of '47 Parade in Salt Lake City on July 24th. In anticipation of this event he sat down One on One with Dave McCann to talk about his Pioneer Heritage and a whole lot more.

Here is a transcription of that interview:

Dave McCann: You've given a lot of talks about your pioneer heritage over the years. What do you think they would be most baffled by, an airplane, fast food stores on every corner or a smart phone with a GPS?

President Eyring: I would think probably technology. That would be so stunning to them. You see they were isolated out here and now we're connected to the whole world instantly and I think that would be the most impressive thing to them.

Dave McCann: Your Great Grandparents treked across the country, Henry and Mary Eyring, if you could see them for 5 minutes today what would you say to them?

President Eyring: I'd tell them how much I appreciate them, and hope they weren't ashamed of me because they were really something. Henry Eyring walked here. He walked into the office of Brigham Young; he'd been on a mission for 6 years down in the Indian areas of Oklahoma, and said to Brigham Young, I'm Henry Eyring I walked here but I wasn't released, I'll go back if you want me to. Brigham Young said no you can stay. We've been expecting you.

Dave McCann: What do you think they would say to you today?

President Eyring: I think they would have said be strong, be strong. I think he'd say it quietly but he'd say be strong.

Dave McCann: A lot of hardships on the trail, people buried all over. We all experience saying goodbye to loved ones in our life. What is it like for an apostle to say goodbye to another apostle and in your case 2 recently?

President Eyring: It's like losing my father and mother. When you have someone you love and you admire deeply you miss them but the feeling of gratitude is there. To be able to say oh that I knew them and that I can still feel their influence. That's the way it is to lose President Packer and Elder Perry. My thought is just regret that I hadn't appreciated more and that I am now going to try to do the things they were trying to get me to do.

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Dave McCann: The U of U honored you recently with an honorary degree. Who would it surprise more your mom or your dad?

President Eyring: Dad would not be have been surprised because he just idolized his kids. He told us all we were better than we really were. My mother would have been a little more surprised.

Dave McCann: There is quote from your dad I'd like you to expound on. He said, "You ought to find something that you love so much that when you don't have to think of anything that's what you think about." What does that mean?

President Eyring: It means he was right. What is interesting is I found my way, first you see in graduate school in management, and then later teaching as a professor. I was pretty good at it but I didn't think about it all the time. And then luckily I got to be the President of Ricks College--leaving Standford for a two year college. And it was a tremendous step forward for exactly that reason I thought about it night and day and loved it.

Dave McCann: When your grandkids watch a basketball game do they sense you are a true pioneer at East High School?

President Eyring: No. I would think they were so far a head of me they are the pioneers. They all play better ball then I did.

Dave McCann: Do you still remember the feeling of dunking a basketball? Does that feeling ever go away?

President Eyring: No. I can remember exactly the moment the first time I did it. I still think the basketball hoop might have been a little low.

Dave McCann: This theme of the celebration, forging ahead as pioneers today, does it require the kind of passion that your dad instructed you to find?

President Eyring: Yes. In fact that is why being this grand marshall has been such a blessing, because I've now read more history of the people than I'd ever read perhaps in my life. And it really has had an effect on me. I'm trying harder now. I'll work harder.

Dave McCann: As a pioneer moving forward how do you watch the evening news and handle all that you handle and stay optimistic?

President Eyring: God got the pioneers through, he'll get us through. We're going through frontiers too and it's tough, but look there is a God and he is over all and he loves us and if you try to be faithful and count on him then you don't have to worry.

Angie Denison is a graduate of Brigham Young University and is an executive producer over Special Projects at KSL TV. Contact her at


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