“Home teaching is fun, not drudgery,” says the man who once made seventeen home teaching visits in one month. “It can be such a friendly interchange between people—not just sitting down and talking about the gospel, though that has to happen once a month. But when a fence needs repairing, the home teachers should be there helping—and that’s rewarding for both parties. Any worthy exchange is good.”
And Elder Hugh W. Pinnock, sustained in October general conference as a new member of the First Quorum of the Seventy, should know about home teaching. Not only has he been a home teacher for years—“and loved every family”—but also he has served as chairman of the general priesthood subcommittee on home teaching and family home evening.
“If the family you’re home teaching knows you care, then good things happen,” Elder Pinnock says—from experience. In fact, caring about people seems to be a keynote in his life. As an insurance executive, he built his agency from one of the smallest in Utah sixteen years ago (“Eighteen people turned down the agency before I took it,” he remembers, laughing) to one of the largest in the intermountain area—all by caring about people.
“I must admit, I love business. I enjoy being in the life insurance profession.” He looks at business as serving other people. “You can’t separate the gospel or the Church from the rest of your life. If you love serving people in the ward, you’ll love serving people in your work, whatever it is.” And success in any field comes from following gospel principles. “When I speak before audiences—Latter-day Saints or not—I stress one thing: All the laws of success come from the scriptures. There are no principles of success outside the scriptures.”
It all depends, of course, on how you define success. Elder Pinnock has a simple definition—but it works. “Decide what you want to do and then excel at it.” Not competition, but love and service are the keys to the kind of success that brings happiness.
Important as his work in Church and business has been, however, family has come first. As president of a foundation, he was required to preside over a banquet—on the same night that three of his sons were performing in a stake track meet. He thought it over and decided that somebody could easily substitute for him at the banquet, important as it was, but nobody could possibly substitute for him as a father. He went to the track meet.
He has given a great deal of attention to his family, and so has his wife, Anne Hawkins Pinnock. “We’ve found that we’re never so busy we have to ignore our children,” Sister Pinnock says. “We just include them.” That means that when, as ward Relief Society president, Sister Pinnock bakes something special for another family, she bakes the same thing for her own!
It means that when Elder Pinnock, as a former Regional Representative, went on trips, he often took one of his children along. “They sit on the back bench a lot, but the travel itself is fun. And there’s a lot of private time together.”
It means that six children all feel like important individuals.
In fact, it seems that Elder Pinnock’s private life has been a laboratory for his work on the home teaching and family home evening subcommittee. “We want the Saints to know that family home evening is for everyone, not just for families with little children. Everyone: older people, young couples without children, single people, families with teenagers, and so on.” And he lives the principles of family closeness. For years they have taken the time to escape—just father, mother, and their children—whenever they can. To an old farm home in Idaho. Or hunting or fishing together. Or someplace they can be alone.
Born in 1934 in Salt Lake City, Elder Pinnock grew up with the Church as a central part of his life—his mother, Sister Florence B. Pinnock, was on the general board of the YWMIA for more than thirty years, and his father has been an example of honest, peaceful living.
While a missionary in Denver, Colorado, in the mid-fifties, Elder Pinnock met the Hawkins family—and upon returning home, he began dating and eventually married their daughter Anne.
In the Church, he has served as a bishop, a mission president, a Regional Representative, and a member of several Church committees. That Church service has been paralleled by business and community service: besides working for the growth of his own company, he has also served as a member of the board of education of Granite School District; state chairman of the University of Utah Alumni Association; executive vice-president of Ballet West; and president of the Deseret Foundation Board of the LDS Hospital in Salt Lake City.
Wherever he has been, Elder Pinnock has cared about people—and as he himself has said, “When they know you care, good things happen.”