97907_000_038Following are selected excerpts from public expressions and addresses given by President Gordon B. Hinckley during recent months, printed here for the benefit of Church members.
What the Church Expects of Its Members
“Now the Lord expects wonderful things of you. The Church expects wonderful things of you. [One,] we expect that every member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will have a testimony that God lives and that Jesus is the Christ. If you do not have such a testimony, you can get one. Two, [the Church] expects each of you to be loyal to the priesthood. No officer of this Church through the First Presidency, to the Quorum of the Twelve, to the Seventy, aspired to that office. Three, we are expected to live the Word of Wisdom, to refrain from alcoholic drinks, to refrain from the use of tobacco, to refrain from the use of tea and coffee. Four, the Church expects us to pay our tithing. Marvelous are the promises of God to those who live this law. Five, every man ought to regard his wife as a daughter of God, a daughter who is his equal, with whom he walks side by side. Marvelous is that concept that does not place a woman in an inferior position. One great man said a father can do nothing better for his children than to let them see that he loves their mother. Brethren, treat your wives with love and respect and kindness. And wives, you treat your husbands with love and respect and kindness. Six, the Church expects you to attend your sacrament meetings, there to make your contribution to the spirit of the meeting, there to partake of the sacrament, and there to renew your covenants with the Lord” (fireside, São Paulo, Brazil, 14 Nov. 1996).
The Work Is Moving Forward
“The work of the Lord is moving on. It is moving because of the faith of the people. The Savior gave us a mandate to teach the gospel to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people. We are now established in over 150 nations, and wherever we go there are great and good leaders who hold the priesthood, women of great faith and capacity, young people who sing like angels in choirs, people who pray, people who live the Word of Wisdom, people who pay their tithing, people who have in their hearts a testimony of the divinity of this work” (Osaka, Japan, regional conference, 19 May 1996).
Secularization of Society
“My great concern, my great interest, is that we preserve for the generations to come those wondrous elements of our society and manner of living that will bequeath to them the strengths and the goodness of which we have been the beneficiaries. But I worry as I see some of the signs of sickness of which I have spoken. I believe that a significant factor in the decay we observe about us comes of a forsaking of the God whom our fathers knew, loved, worshiped, and looked to for strength. There is a plainly discernible secularization that is occurring. Its consequences are a deterioration of family life, a weakening of self-discipline, a scoffing at the thought of accountability unto the Almighty, and an unbecoming arrogance for any people who have been so richly blessed through the goodness of a generous Providence as we have been” (Provo City community centennial service, 4 Aug. 1996).
Purpose of the Book of Mormon
“I would like to urge every man and woman … and every boy and girl who is old enough to again read the Book of Mormon during this coming year. This was written for the convincing of the Jew and the Gentile that Jesus is the Christ. There is nothing we could do of greater importance than to have fortified in our individual lives an unshakable conviction that Jesus is the Christ, the Living Son of the Living God. And, my brothers and sisters, that is the purpose of the coming forth of this remarkable and wonderful book. May I suggest that you read it again and take a pencil, a red one if you have one, and put a little check mark every time there is a reference to Jesus Christ in that book. And there will come to you a very real conviction as you do so that this is in very deed another witness for the Lord Jesus Christ” (Corpus Christi, Texas, regional conference, 7 Jan. 1996).
“Never forget that these little ones are the sons and daughters of God and that yours is a custodial relationship to them, that He was a parent before you were parents and that He has not relinquished His parental rights or interest in these His little ones. Now, love them, take care of them. Fathers, control your tempers, now and in all the years to come. Mothers, control your voices; keep them down. Rear your children in love, in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Take care of your little ones. Welcome them into your homes, and nurture and love them with all of your hearts. They may do, in the years that come, some things you would not want them to do, but be patient, be patient. You have not failed as long as you have tried. Never forget that” (Salt Lake University Third Stake conference, 3 Nov. 1996).
“Recognize pornography for what it is—a vicious brew of slime and sleaze, the partaking of which only leads to misery, degradation, and regret. The Church expects you who have taken upon yourselves the name of the Lord Jesus Christ to walk in the sunlight of virtue and enjoy the strength, the freedom, the lift that come from so doing” (Brigham Young University devotional, Provo, Utah, 17 Oct. 1995).
Band Together as Youth
“Thank you for your strength. Thank you for your goodness. Thank you for your courage. Thank you for your efforts in hanging together, as it were, of going to institute, going to seminary, partaking of the blessings that are to be had there, not only in the teaching of the gospel but in the society in which you can mingle. I want to say to you, look for your friends among members of the Church. Band together and strengthen one another. And when the time of temptation comes you will have someone to lean on to bless you and give you strength when you need it. That is what this Church is for—so that we can help one another in our times of weakness to stand on our feet tall and straight and true and good” (Eugene, Oregon, regional conference, 15 Sept. 1996).
“Sacrament meeting ought to be a time of spiritual refreshment for our people, when, on Sunday, they gather to partake of the sacrament and renew their covenants with the Lord. They should rethink the contract which exists between them and the Lord, under which we take upon ourselves His name and agree to keep His commandments and He, in turn, promises that His Spirit will be with us. If we could bring about the consummation of that covenant in the lives of our people with a renewal each week, what a marvelous thing it would be. Let us encourage a spirit of reverence in sacrament meeting, and as bishops and counselors in bishoprics, responsible for what goes on there, let us see that all that is done is in harmony with the purpose of that meeting. It should be a time when together we meet to renew our faith, our covenants, our obligations, our loyalty, our love, our willingness to take upon ourselves the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and keep His commandments” (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, regional conference, 27 Apr. 1996).
“I hope that every young man has a mission on his list of goals. I hope that you will not let anything get in the way of that. The Lord needs you. He needs your help. He needs your strength. He needs your voice. We are all the Lord has to do His work, and we must work at it and work together to accomplish His divine purposes” (youth meeting, Kansas City, Missouri, 14 July 1996).
Marry within the Faith
“You young men, fall in love with Latter-day Saint girls. And you young women, fall in love with Latter-day Saint boys. You will be happier if you do so. You will be happier because you will understand one another and appreciate one another’s values, and you will be grateful all of your days if you will do that” (fireside, Cebu City, Philippines, 31 May 1996).
“I hope that everyone gets to the temple on a regular basis. I hope your children over 12 years of age have the opportunity of going to the temple to be baptized for the dead. If we are a temple-going people, we will be a better people, we will be better fathers and husbands, we will be better wives and mothers. I know your lives are busy. I know that you have much to do. But I make you a promise that if you will go to the house of the Lord, you will be blessed, life will be better for you. Now, please, please, my beloved brethren and sisters, avail yourselves of the great opportunity to go to the Lord’s house and thereby partake of all of the marvelous blessings that are yours to be received there” (fireside, Lima, Peru, 9 Nov. 1996).