Epic Excerpts: Gordon B. Hinckley

President Gordon B. Hinckley.

President Hinckley

Gordon Bitner Hinckley, born 23 June 1910 was the fifteenth president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from 12 March 1995 until his death. During Hinckley’s presidency he dedicated more temples than anyone else. He presided over the building of the 20,000 seat Conference Center, the issuance of the Proclamation on the Family, the creation of the Church’s Perpetual Education Fund and the reconstruction of the historic Nauvoo Illinois Temple. At the time of his death, 27 January 2008, almost one-third of the Church’s membership had joined under his leadership. I can recall many of these epic quotations being spoken:

Stand A Little Taller

The time has come for us to stand a little taller, to lift our eyes and stretch our minds to a greater comprehension and understanding of the grand millennial mission of this, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. (“This Is the Work of the Master,” Ensign, May 1995, 69)

Hard Work

Without hard work, nothing grows but weeds. (“Farewell to a Prophet,” Ensign, Jul 1994, 37–40)

Death

All of us have to deal with death at one time or another, but to have in one’s heart a solid conviction concerning the reality of eternal life is to bring a sense of peace in an hour of tragedy and loss that can come from no other source under the heaven. (“Excerpts from Recent Addresses of President Gordon B. Hinckley,” Ensign, Jan 1998, 72)

Respect For Self

Respect for self is the beginning of virtue in men. (“In Opposition to Evil,” Ensign, Sep 2004, 2–6)

Watch Ourselves

Let us, each of us, watch ourselves. Whenever we have within us a little temper, go outside, breathe some fresh air, and come in with a smile and throw your arms around your companion and tell her you love her. Look to your children and let them know that you love them. Live with them kindly and graciously, as Latter-day Saints should do. (“Inspirational Thoughts,” Ensign, Aug 2000, 2)

Good Parents

[The Lord] expects us to be good parents, fathers and mothers, husbands and wives. He expects husbands to treat their wives with deference and respect. He expects wives to treat their husbands with kindness and helpfulness. He expects us to be good parents to our children. (“Latter-day Counsel: Selections from Addresses of President Gordon B. Hinckley,” Ensign, Apr 2001, 73)

Kindness

Our kindness may be the most persuasive argument for that which we believe. (“We Bear Witness of Him,” Ensign, May 1998, 4)

Houses In Order

I am suggesting that the time has come to get our houses in order. So many of our people are living on the very edge of their incomes. In fact, some are living on borrowings. . . We are carrying a message of self-reliance throughout the church. Self-reliance cannot be obtained when there is serious debt hanging over a household. One has neither independence nor freedom from bondage when he is obligated to others. (“To the Boys and to the Men,” Ensign, Nov 1998, 51)

Mothers

It is the home which produces the nursery stock of new generations. I hope that you mothers will realize that when all is said and done, you have no more compelling responsibility, nor any laden with greater rewards, than the nurture you give your children in an environment of security, peace, companionship, love and motivation to grow and do well. (“Stand Strong against the Wiles of the World,” Ensign, Nov 1995, 98)

Honesty

I think the Lord expects of his people that they will be absolutely honest in all of their dealings. In all that they do, they will be honest with others and honest with themselves. “We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men.” (Thirteenth Article of Faith) (“Latter-day Counsel: Excerpts from Recent Addresses of President Gordon B. Hinckley,” Ensign, Apr 1999, 71)

Try Handing Out Compliments

There is a sad tendency in our world today for persons to cut one another down. Did you ever realize that it does not take very much in the way of brainpower to make remarks that may wound another? Try the opposite of that. Try handing out compliments. (“Strengthening Each Other,” Ensign, Feb 1985, 3)

Rickety signature.

The Economy Is A Fragile Thing

It is time to revisit President Hinckley’s October 1998 General Conference Priesthood Session Talk. The one entitled “To the Boys and to the Men.” He first speaks to the young men and then to the “older men.” To the brethren he first reads from Genesis 41, wherein Joseph interprets Pharaoh’s dreams as seven years of plenty and seven of famine. There has been some speculation that this could mean a real seven years of plenty and seven years of famine in our day, and variations thereof. That is not my focus today.

With the Dow barely recovering off a twelve year low it will be profitable to hear what a prophet (though he was not prophesying) was saying back in 1998.

We have witnessed in recent weeks wide and fearsome swings in the markets of the world. The economy is a fragile thing. A stumble in the economy in Jakarta or Moscow can immediately affect the entire world. It can eventually reach down to each of us as individuals. There is a portent of stormy weather ahead to which we had better give heed.

He had concerns about debt, bankruptcies, and advertising:

I repeat, I hope we will never again see such a depression. But I am troubled by the huge consumer installment debt which hangs over the people of the nation, including our own people….Everyone knows that every dollar borrowed carries with it the penalty of paying interest. When money cannot be repaid, then bankruptcy follows….We are beguiled by seductive advertising. Television carries the enticing invitation to borrow up to 125 percent of the value of one’s home. But no mention is made of interest.

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