Common Characteristics of Good Role Models

I was recently asked to teach in Elders Quorum on the topic “The Priesthood Man” by President Henry B. Eyring. These are my notes from that lesson.

I have been blessed by examples of great priesthood holders in quorums where I was fortunate to serve. You can do what they have done for me by being an example for others to follow.

Think of the heroes you’ve looked up to in your life. Who were the good Examples that helped you become a better person, or strive to improve yourself? I’ll start by putting Jesus Christ up here, as we all know he is our perfect example, but think of those who influenced you in your lifetime.

When we choose heroes, we begin to copy, consciously or unconsciously, what we admire most in them.

Happily, my wise parents put great heroes in my path as a boy . . . every Sunday [my dad] let me observe a priesthood man who became a hero. That hero shaped my life. My father was the branch president of the little branch which met in our home. By the way, if you came down to the first floor on Sunday morning, you were in church. Our branch never had more than 30 people in attendance . . . There was a young man who . . . became my first and only Aaronic Priesthood leader. He became my priesthood hero.

As disciples of Christ, we need to be a model for others – especially our children and other youth in the church – so they can have good roll models to follow.

Children are especially impressionable, and even our youth – though they may not seem to – will recognize our examples and learn from them.

“Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” – Matthew 5:14-16


President Eyring gives us three common characteristics of good role models:



We all pray, but the priesthood holder you want to be prays often and with real intent. In the evening you will get on your knees and thank God for the blessings of the day. You will thank Him for parents, for teachers, and for great examples to follow. You will describe in your prayers specifically who has blessed your life and how, during that day. That will take more than a few minutes and more than a little thought. It will surprise you and change you.

As you pray for forgiveness, you will find yourself forgiving others. As you thank God for His kindness, you will think of others, by name, who need your kindness. Again, that experience will surprise you every day, and over time it will change you.

. . .

Those who have been my models of great priesthood holders do not easily recognize that they possess heroic qualities. In fact, they seem to have difficulty seeing those things that I so much admire in them. I mentioned my father was a faithful president of a tiny branch of the Church in New Jersey. He later was a member of the Sunday School general board for the Church. Yet I am careful today to speak modestly about his priesthood service, because he was modest.

Things we can pray for:

  • Show Gratitude, Be Thankful
  • Forgiveness, we all need to repent
  • Obedience to Gods commandments
  • Humility
  • Charity – See Moroni 7:44-48


Some of you are already models of unselfish priesthood service. In temples across the world, priesthood holders arrive before sunrise. And some serve long after sunset. There is no recognition or public acclaim in this world for that sacrifice of time and effort. I have gone with young people as they serve those in the spirit world, who are not able to claim temple blessings for themselves.

As I see happiness rather than fatigue in the faces of those who serve there early and late, I know there are great rewards in this life for that type of unselfish priesthood service, but it is only a token of the joy they will share with those whom they served in the spirit world.

I have seen that same happiness in the faces of those who speak to others about the blessings which come from belonging to the kingdom of God

. . .

Pray to Him. Thank Him for all that is good in your life. Ask Him to know what individuals He has placed in your way for you to serve. Plead that He will help you give that service. Pray so that you can forgive and so that you can be forgiven. Then serve them, love them, and forgive them.

Above all, remember that of all the service you give, none is greater than to help people choose to qualify for eternal life. God has given that overarching direction to us on how to use our priesthood. He is the perfect example of it. This is the example we see in small part in the best of His mortal servants:

Ways we can give service:

  • Ordinances for the dead
  • Missionary work to assist God in his work – Moses 1:37-39
  • Physical work
  • Donations of tithing and fast offerings
  • Home and Visiting Teaching
  • Do not sound a trumpet – Matthew 6:2-4


As you pray and serve others, your knowledge that you are a child of God and your feelings about Him will grow. You will become more aware that He is saddened if you are dishonest in any way. You will be more determined to keep your word to God and to others. You will be more aware of taking anything that does not belong to you. You will be more honest with your employers. You will be more determined to be on time and to complete every task you are given by the Lord that you have accepted to do.

Rather than wondering if their home teachers will come, children in the families you are called to teach will look forward with anticipation to your visit. My children have received that blessing. As they grew, they had priesthood heroes help them set their own courses in serving the Lord. That blessed example is now passing into the third generation.

Ways we can become more honest:

  • Pray and Serve others
  • Recognize our Father in Heaven
  • Love others – have Charity


President Eyring show is his gratitude by adding in another message of Thanks.

I thank you for your prayers. I thank you for getting on your knees in recognition of the fact that you don’t have all the answers. You pray to the God of heaven to express your gratitude and to invoke His blessings upon your lives and your families. I thank you for your service to others and for the times you felt no need for acknowledgment of your service.

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