98908_000_036Following 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.
Foundation of the Church
“As I see it, there are four great foundation stones on which this Church stands, irremovable. The first, the great First Vision, the visit of the Father and the Son to the boy Joseph Smith, the opening of the heavens in this the dispensation of the fulness of times, the great bringing together of all of the work of God in all the past dispensations throughout the history of the world. The curtain was parted with that First Vision, and it stands as an absolute fundamental in the Church and its history and its well-being.
“The second is the Book of Mormon, a new witness for Jesus Christ, a living testimony of the Redeemer of the world. Five thousand copies were printed in that first edition. This year, I think we will print and distribute about four or five million copies. It goes on and on and on. It grows and grows and grows. Its voice is translated into more and more languages. It stands as something which can be held and read and savored and prayed about and pondered over as the word of the Lord for this dispensation, by people everywhere who will listen to it, read it, pray about it.
“The third is the restoration of the priesthood. This remarkable and wonderful gift of authority in these great latter days, given under the hands of John the Baptist and Peter, James, and John, and the keys of that priesthood which came from them and from other visitations, given by the Lord to His people in this dispensation. Without it, we have nothing. It is the power of governance in the Church. It is the authority to speak in the name of God. It is the greatest gift that any man can hold. It will bless his life and the life of his family and the lives of many others, if he will live it and magnify it.
“And fourth, the sealing ordinances in the house of the Lord, by which we as individuals gain our blessings and then have the privilege of extending them to others, the great work for the dead. No other church in all the world has it, and no other church pretends to have it. And great and tremendous is the mandate which is laid upon us as a people in the exercise of it” (Salt Lake Bonneville Stake conference, 23 Nov. 1997).
Essence of Missionary Service
“Let me say that we appreciate the truth in all churches and the good which they do. We say to the people, in effect, you bring with you all the good that you have, and then let us see if we can add to it. That is the spirit of this work. That is the essence of our missionary service” (meeting, Nairobi, Kenya, 17 Feb. 1998).
Counsel to Youth
“You young people are very important in this Church. You can’t afford to do anything that would represent a forsaking of the standards for which this Church stands. It expects great things of you, tremendous things. You’re the next generation. You’re getting there awfully fast. The years are flying by. You’ll soon be old and a little balding and maybe walking around with a cane. Now is the day of your great youth time. Don’t ruin your lives, whatever you do. You have such tremendous opportunities. Stay away from drugs. They’ll destroy you. Drugs will literally destroy you. They will take from you all control of your life, and you’ll become a slave to them, and all of your future will be endangered because of them. Stay away from them as you would the plague. Stay away from pornography. You can’t afford to tamper with it. Don’t touch it. It’s a terrible, terrible evil that’s part of our time. You don’t have to be involved in it. Stay away from it. Don’t get videotapes, things of that kind, of a pornographic nature. You are youth of the noble birthright. You are the great promise of the future. You are the young people of whom we expect so very, very much as we look ahead. Keep yourselves worthy. Live up to the highest standard of which you are able. It’s so important that you do so” (meeting, Halifax, Nova Scotia, 12 Feb. 1998).