by Dennis B. Horne
At the luncheon, held in President Lee’s honor, President Eyring recorded that “President Lee began to speak. . . . He spoke with power, emotion, and informality that I cannot recreate on this page. He spoke of his own calling, saying, ‘If you think Satan doesn’t try to tempt the prophet, you’re wrong. I’m his prime target on earth.’” This event foreshadowed the spiritual intensity of the coming devotional, held immediately afterward.
Later that evening President Eyring recorded a few memories of what President Lee said during his address, wherein the Prophet of God spoke as the Prophet of God. He remembered President Lee prophesying that the United States of America would never fall, and also that he recognized that there was an unusually strong feeling of the Spirit present during his remarks.
Although President Eyring did not note the fact in his journal, President Lee took occasion in this devotional address to speak of the power of the Holy Spirit that can be present in “translation” in the Restored Church of Jesus Christ. He discussed this miracle in some detail, in regards to both of his recent general conference talks and to translation of the Book of Mormon (and by association, the Book of Abraham). President Lee’s statements leave no room for equivocation or doubt.
There is no printed version of President Lee’s address available, so the below constitutes a partial transcript; or, one can simply listen to the audio version, with comment about Book of Mormon translation starting at about 44:40. President Lee said:
Let me tell you something in a way of a testimony now. We've wondered how the prophet Joseph Smith was able to translate. Here he was an unschooled boy, and to translate from unknown hieroglyphics or an unknown language into English, language. Scientists scoff at it—how ridiculous can you be to claim such a thing? But we had something happen at the last conference that I want to tell you about to indicate something. That will give you a key to how the Lord can open the mind of a man and give him spiritual understanding beyond what his natural self could. We had eleven translators or interpreters that were down in the basement of the tabernacle, translating in eleven different languages. One of these brethren was translating for the Swedish brethren. And here, for most of the talks they had the script so that they could study it. And they would as the speakers spoke in English, they would repeat it for the benefit of those that were listening. But when this man who was translating from Swedish, from my English into his Swedish, at the priesthood meeting where he had no script. I was talking from an extemporaneous standpoint in my closing address. He said something happened, and I want you to hear, he said:
Latter-day Saints don't you think for a moment that the Lord doesn't have means of communicating with us and sending us messages that are beyond our understanding, even to translate an unknown language into our understandable language. He did it with the prophet Joseph. He did it with King Mosiah. He's done it with others. He'll do it today as we have need. I have no doubt.
These descriptions of translation by the power of God give us further insight into how God can operate with His servants; His instruments. Whatever God could do with a general conference translator, he can do more with His prophets, seers, and revelators like Brother Joseph and King Mosiah. We need not concern ourselves with the various man-made theories that float around. As President Gordon B. Hinckley put it, “I am happy that my faith has not been shaken by the writings of critics who never seem to recognize that knowledge of things divine comes by the power of the Spirit and not of the wisdom of men.”
President Lee then went on to speak of revelation for himself and for the Church, also bearing witness and testimony of the powerful Spirit then present during the devotional, and sharing what “an unseen speaker” said to a man about to apostatize:
My whole soul pleads that I may so live that if the Lord has any communication that He would wish me to receive for my beloved people [the Church], that I could be a pure vessel through which that message could come. I don’t ask for anything; I don’t want anything more than the Lord is willing to send. I trust that I may live worthily so that I won’t be a lame vessel. Or a broken reed that the Lord can’t use at the times when He wants to communicate with His people.
I know that this is the Church and Kingdom of God, you Latter-day Saints. I know it with every fiber of my being. I have been polished, yes, . . . I thank the Lord and I understand more of what the apostle Paul meant when he said of the Master, “Though he were a son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered. And thus being made perfect he became the author of salvation for all who would believe on him” (see Hebrews 5:8-9). Whatever may be necessary, that I might be more refined; to purge out all that may be in me or that I have done that didn’t please the Lord. I would hope that I would stand ready to receive; to please God that I wouldn’t fail or flinch in a time of trial or testing.
I bear witness that these things are true. You hold fast to the iron rod, which is the gospel of Jesus Christ and the power of salvation. “Stick with the old ship,” as a father who was just about to apostatize was told by an unseen speaker. Stick with the old ship, it will see you safely through. You may think it is out of date. It is out of date, thank goodness, as compared with some of these modernistic things of permissiveness. But before you depart from those plain simple doctrines of the gospel of Jesus Christ, you had better make sure that you know the direction you are going, and listen to those who preside in authority over you. So I bear you that witness and leave you my testimony.
There is a wonderful Spirit here today. There is something unusual about this [Spirit] today. I don’t know what it is. Maybe it is one of those occasions when we could feel and hear and see remarkable things happen. You brought with you a tremendous spirit and I can feel it.
President Lee closed his address with a prayer for those in attendance. It was a spiritual feast that they would not soon forget, President Eyring among them. Along these lines, we might benefit from another experience shared by President Eyring, this time as a young boy attending a District Conference.
He wrote: “But then I remember hearing something—a man's voice from the pulpit. I turned around and looked. I still remember that the speaker was at a rostrum set on wooden risers. There was a tall window behind him. He was the priesthood visitor. I don't know who he was, but he was tall and bald, and he seemed very old to me. He must have been talking about the Savior or the Prophet Joseph, or both, because that was all I remember hearing much about in those days. But as he spoke, I knew that what he said came from God and that it was true, and it burned in my heart. That was before scholars told me how hard it was to know. I just knew with certainty—I knew it was true.”
 Devotional given 26 October 1973; as quoted and with background info in Robert I. Eaton and Henry J. Eyring, I Will Lead You Along: The Life of Henry B. Eyring (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2013), 257 (256-58).
 President Harold B. Lee untitled Rick’s College Devotional Address; Excerpts transcribed from the second half; 26 October 1973; no official printed version available.
https://byui-media.ldscdn.org/byui_ft/devo_audio/1973_10_26_ADV_LeeH.mp3; accessed 3/2022.
 Eaton and Eyring, I Will Lead You Along: The Life of Henry B. Eyring, 35; also quoted in Henry B. Eyring, To Draw Closer to God: A Collection of Discourses (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1997), 5.