Born in Redding, California, she is the oldest of Mark and Jean Eubank’s seven children. She served as a full-time missionary for the Church in the Finland Helsinki Mission and received a bachelor’s degree in English from Brigham Young University. After graduation, she taught English as a second language in Japan, worked as a legislative aide in the U.S. Senate and owned a retail education store in Provo, Utah.
Since 1998 she has been employed by the Church’s Welfare Department, helping establish LDS employment offices in Africa and Europe before directing the Latter-day Saint Charities' wheelchair initiative. In 2008, she was also asked to oversee humanitarian work in the Middle East as the regional director of Latter-day Saints Charities. In 2011 she was named the director of Latter-day Saints Charities worldwide. She believes serving others is “the very DNA of being a member of Christ's Church” and the heart and soul of Relief Society.
Sister Eubank served on the Relief Society general board from 2009 to 2012, chairing the Relief Society presidency’s Public Affairs committee. She has also served in numerous ward (local congregation) and stake (diocese) leadership positions, most often as a teacher to men and women, youth and children in the Church’s Sunday School, Relief Society, Young Women and Primary organizations. She loves history, homemade pie and crossword puzzles. She has a strong testimony of the happiness that comes from following Christ.
Ensign College Devotional
Sister Sharon Eubank
October 13, 2020
Hello, Ensign College. I listened online to some of the devotionals earlier and I appreciated President Kusch’s remarks today. He gave an overly generous introduction to me, but I really liked the devotional when he opened up the semester and he talked about how you are scrappy, which I thought was a wonderful word. Sometimes when you’re scrappy, people have underestimated you, and you have proved them wrong, which I think is an awesome quality for people attending Ensign College because it is the same thing as an Ensign. An Ensign is lifted up and nobody really knows what it’s for until it begins calling people and shows its true colors. So, I’m very happy to be with you today, and a thank you to President and Sister Kusch. They are my neighbor’s and my friends, so it’s nice to be together at Ensign College. And I’m also thankful for Charlotte’s prayer. It was a beautiful prayer that I feel will invite the Spirit. She told me as we were beginning that she was currently a Relief Society President, and I said: “What have you learned?” She said: “I learned that we have to act and not just talk.” I’m going to take away that lesson from Charlotte, so thank you very much.
I travel and sometimes when I travel, people will give me something that is important to them. I was recently in someone’s home, and they gave me as a gift a wooden crocodile they had carved. It’s painted in a beautiful way. It has fingernails and white eyes and is made out of wood that’s been stained green. I put it where I can see it every day. Let me tell you why I keep that crocodile. It reminds me of something that is meaningful to me, and I hope that it is also meaningful to you.
Some of you might know of the Mara River in Kenya. Many kinds of wildlife cross the river at certain times of the year to get to the sweet grasses on the other side. Herds of animals come to the banks of the river as part of the yearly migration. But the river is also the home to 15-foot-long (5 meters) Nile crocodiles. The crocodiles love the herd migration and are always on the lookout for their next meal.
Often times, inexperienced animals such as this antelope don’t feel the crocodiles, with their low profile, pose any threat. The antelope don’t see how under the water the crocodile is poised for action.
They look out over the river and see an innocent looking animal floating amid the plants, so, they jump in and begin to cross the river. They don’t reckon how fast crocodiles can move and how strong their jaws are when they clamp onto something, and how quickly they can spring forward on their powerful legs.
Now if you want to draw some parallels about this story to us, sometimes we are the antelope and Satan is the crocodile. In our inexperience with crossing water, we see the crocs in the river, but we don’t recognize them as dangers. That low bump in the water looks harmless to us. We ignore the crocodiles that are right in front of us and wade right into the current. And usually a herd follows us in thinking if we went in, it must be all right to go in too. Satan waits until everybody gets into deep water, and then he strikes. A lot of antelope get lost this way.
Our Heavenly Father knows we are inexperienced and yet we have to cross the river. He doesn’t necessarily take away the crocodiles out of our lives, but He does give us some help to get to the other bank of the river. Today, I want to talk about three of those helps from Heavenly Father.
Experienced Zebra and Wildebeest = Scriptures
The first help He offers us are those who have successfully crossed the river before us. They have experience. They have discovered where to cross where the crocodiles don’t like to swim, they have perfected a swift kick or a well-timed jump that keeps them out of the jaws of the crocodiles.
You’ll often see antelope herding along the banks with Zebra and wildebeest. Zebra and wildebeest cross the river much more often than antelope do. They have things to tell the antelope, but the antelope aren’t always interested. Where are the experiences of people who have successfully crossed the river written down? In the scriptures.
Well, you might say, that is true Sister Eubank, but the scriptures aren’t really about modern times and modern problems. They don’t cover the things that are going on in my life.
Let me give an example about Alma the Younger. He spent his young adulthood doing the exact opposite of what his parents wanted him to do. He rebelled against God, he gave up following the commandments, and he bullied, and he mocked good people. And then something happened one day as he was walking along the road with his friends. An angel appeared to him. In Alma’s words:
I was racked with eternal torment, …Yea, I did remember all my sins and iniquities, for which I was tormented with the pains of hell; yea, I saw that I had rebelled against my God, and that I had not kept his holy commandments.
Yea, and I had murdered many of his children, or rather led them away unto destruction; yea, and …so great had been my iniquities, that the very thought of coming into the presence of my God did rack my soul with inexpressible horror.
Oh, thought I, that I could be banished and become extinct both soul and body, that I might not be brought to stand in the presence of my God, to be judged of my deeds. And now, for three days and for three nights was I racked, even with the pains of a damned soul.
In essence, Alma jumped into the water as an ignorant antelope and then bullied other antelope who were hesitating to get in the water with him. And when they were all trapped in the current, the crocodiles encircled them and started closing in. Alma got caught. Powerful jaws clamped around him. He got bit in half. He got eaten. He was dead. There was no going back. He was crocodile food. Stupid Alma.
And it came to pass that as I was thus racked with torment, while I was harrowed up by the memory of my many sins, behold, I remembered also to have heard my father prophesy unto the people concerning the coming of one Jesus Christ, a Son of God, to atone for the sins of the world.
Now, as my mind caught hold upon this thought, I cried within my heart: O Jesus, thou Son of God, have mercy on me, who am in the gall of bitterness, and am encircled about by the everlasting chains of death. And now, behold, when I thought this, I could remember my pains no more; yea, I was harrowed up by the memory of my sins no more.
The lesson from this scripture for you that applies to every modern problem you are facing is this:
Jesus can snatch a half-eaten antelope out of the jaws of a crocodile and restore that antelope to life again.
It’s impossible, you say. It isn’t logical or practical. But it is true. It happened in my own life. I have scars, but I am whole. This is the miracle of repentance and forgiveness. It’s what the gospel is all about. It happened to Alma and it can happen to you. The Lord God will remember your sins no more and you will be free to be a little antelope again. It is never too late for you if you call out for Jesus Christ to have mercy on you and give up your sins.
We all need to read stories of zebras and wildebeests and rescued antelope and they are written for us in the scriptures. We need them because we make so many mistakes, and they point us to repentance and forgiveness in Jesus Christ.
A Boat = Covenants
The second help the Lord gives us in crossing the water is a boat. What a clever invention a boat is to navigate dangerous waters. The boat lifts us out of the water, surrounded by a protective layer that keeps crocodiles out. Boats can have sails to catch the wind, or motors to move them upstream, and rudders that make the steering much easier.
A couple of years ago, I took a small kayak out with a friend.
We wanted to cross the ocean where the lobster boats were fishing and visit a little island. We weren’t very experienced with boats, but we soon figured out that the pedals in the boat ran a small rudder. The rudder was a small fin in the back that steered the kayak in the direction we wanted.
We arrived at the island and had a great time exploring, and then it started getting choppy and we thought that we should get back to the mainland. So we got in and started back across that channel, but suddenly it was so hard to steer that boat. The rudder didn’t seem to be working, no matter how I applied the pedals. It took me a while to realize I had forgotten to put the rudder back down after pulling up on the island. It showed me how important that small fin could be.
Our covenants are like boats. They surround us in a protective layer as we cross the river and keep us out of the choppy water and away from the crocodiles. When we work hard to keep our covenants of baptism and the temple, the Holy Ghost (that little fin in the back of the boat) can guide us, steer us to calm waters. But we have to remember the Holy Ghost and not forget to engage him in our lives. Our navigation is terrible without his help.
Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
I beg you not to take your covenants for granted. They are much more powerful than we realize. You may think your promises are just a small rowboat, but it will eventually grow to an ocean liner that can rescue hundreds of other people. Your covenants are about other people even more than they are about you.
The View from Above – Prophets
The third help is the view from above. From our vantage point on the bank of the river, it’s almost impossible to see the wily crocodiles hiding, but from above, they are easily visible.
Prophets can be like a small drone. The Lord shows them things from a different angle, and they tell us about the location and movement of crocodiles in our lives.
Is as true in our day as it has been for thousands of years. Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets. You may think in your mind that prophets look like the picture on the left. But they also look like the picture on the right.
Last weekend, we heard 10 hours of general conference that was sharing with us the view from above. What was important for you? What did you hear from the prophets that you hadn’t heard before? One thing I heard from President Nelson is that Israel is not called to be better than everyone else, not to be the only “chosen” people who can be saved, but instead they are called to be a flag, an ensign to other people to show them where Israel is being gathered. All those who are willing to let God prevail in their lives are being gathered to meet their God.
President Nelson said:
The Lord is gathering those who are willing to let God prevail in their lives. For centuries, prophets have foretold this gathering, and it is happening right now.
This pre-millennial gathering is an individual saga of expanding faith and spiritual courage for millions of people. And as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or ‘latter-day covenant Israel,’ we have been charged to assist the Lord with this pivotal work.
It takes both faith and courage to let God prevail. It takes persistent, rigorous spiritual work to repent and to put off the natural man through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. It takes consistent, daily effort to develop personal habits to study the gospel, to learn more about Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, and to seek and respond to personal revelation.”
I think you will be astounded. … As you choose to let God prevail in your lives, you will experience for yourselves that our God is “a God of miracle.”
Ensign College isn’t just any school in any college town. You chose to come to a school that has a mission as well. Ensign College. This is the college and you are the Ensign. An Ensign is a flag or a banner that calls people to come work for a cause. Jesus calls all people to Him, “Come, Follow Me.” When you enter the waters of baptism, when you take the sacrament or receive your endowment in the temple, you take upon you the name of Jesus Christ. You take up His ensign. Ensign College is the place where people who love Jesus Christ are studying for their future. It will of course be a future with jobs, employment and professions, but it will also be a future of helping other people cross the river. Your job as the ensign is to:
- Point people to the experiences in the scriptures that can teach them what to do.
- Help them prepare for and build their own covenantal boats.
- Listen to the directions coming from the higher view.
This isn’t about you anymore. It’s about all the people you can help cross to safety.
I am proud to be with you at Ensign College. I am proud of you and all it took for you to get here. I bear my personal witness that God knows you, He knows your name, and your fears and also your hopes and strengths. I testify that when you use the helps He gives you to repent, He will make you whole again and never remember the sin to throw it in your face again. You will be clean and whole. I testify that like Abraham and Moses and Joseph and Russell – you have a work to do. Rise up and be an ensign to the nations. May the Lord bless you as you try.
In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.