The Church Family
“All of us are brothers and sisters. We are all part of a great family, 10 million strong scattered across the earth in a great number of nations. When one member of the family suffers, the other members of the family immediately want to come to their rescue and help. … I hope you will get on your knees and thank the Lord for the wonderful Church of which you are a part. There is nothing quite comparable to it in all the world” (meeting, Managua, Nicaragua, 19 Nov. 1998).
Believe in the Church
“Believe in this Church. It is here to help you. It is here to give you opportunity. It is here to bless your lives. It is here to teach you the doctrine that will save you. It is here to give you sociability and opportunity. Teach a Sunday School class. Teach a Primary class. Teach a Young Women’s class. Teach a Young Men’s class. It is all part of the Church program. And as you reach out to help others, you will develop and grow in a remarkable and powerful and wonderful way” (Los Angeles young adult meeting, 7 Mar. 1997).
The Greatest Miracle of All
“I have seen miracles in my time, my brothers and sisters. The greatest miracle of all, I believe, is the transformation that comes into the life of a man or a woman who accepts the restored gospel of Jesus Christ and tries to live it in his or her life. How thankful I am for the wonders of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ! It is indeed a marvelous work and a wonder which has been brought to pass by the power of the Almighty in behalf of His sons and daughters” (Vacaville/Santa Rosa, California, regional conference, 21 May 1995).
“I feel tremendously optimistic about the future. We are in a world of all kinds of problems, as we all know. We see it on all sides—gangs, families gone, children killing children, single mothers, illegitimate births, drugs, the whole thing, but with all of that I believe there is a great residual of goodness in people. I believe that there are millions who are prayerful, faithful, strong people who are doing their best to rear their families in truth and righteousness, to live as citizens with honesty and integrity and to make a contribution of their lives” (interview with Houston Chronicle, 15 Sept. 1998).
Testimony and Belief
“‘Be not faithless, but believing’ (John 20:27). Believing in what? Believing in God, our Eternal Father, as the Father of our spirits, as our leader, as our king. Believing in the Lord Jesus Christ, our Redeemer, our Savior, our Lord. Believing in the restored gospel, which has come to earth in a miraculous and marvelous manner. Cultivate in your hearts a living and vibrant testimony of the restoration of the gospel. Believe in the Book of Mormon. Be not faithless in the knowledge that the priesthood of God has been restored to the earth. Believe in goodness. Believe in yourselves. Believe that each of you is a child of God with a divine birthright” (meeting, Cape Town, South Africa, 20 Feb. 1998).
Expectations of Members
“Our membership in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a precious thing. It isn’t a simple or ordinary thing; this is the Church and kingdom of God. This is the kingdom of God on earth. This is His work in which we are engaged, and there is no more important work in all the world than this work. It concerns the eternal salvation of the sons and daughters of God, those living, those who have lived upon the earth, and those who will yet live. No people have ever been charged with a greater, more inclusive mandate than have we, you and I. Our work, given to us by the Lord, encompasses all of mankind. We need to stand a little taller, be a little kinder, be a little better, each of us, than we have been” (Houston, Texas, regional conference, priesthood leadership meeting, 19 Sept. 1998).
Appreciation for Members
“I thank the Lord every morning when I get on my knees for the faithful Saints of this Church—the men and the women who make it go, who are teaching faith and obedience and goodness. Thank you very much for what you do. Please know of our love. We do love you. We pray for you. We know that you pray for us, and we are grateful for your prayers” (Houston, Texas, regional conference, priesthood leadership meeting, 19 Sept. 1998).
“I regard television as perhaps the greatest tool yet created to teach and educate people in large numbers. But I decry the filth, the rot, the violence, and the profanity that spew from television screens into our homes. It is a sad commentary on our societies. The fact that the television set is on six or seven hours every day in many homes says something of tremendous importance. I feel sorry for those who are addicted to the tube. I believe it is an addiction. It becomes a habit as pernicious as many other bad habits. I feel sorry for parents who do not read to their young children. I feel sorry for children who do not learn the wonders to be found in good books, or how stimulating an experience it is to get into the mind of a great thinker as that person expresses himself or herself, with language cultivated and polished, concerning great and important issues” (address to Washington, D.C., chapter of Brigham Young Management Society, 5 Mar. 1994).
“Drugs are a matter of great concern. There has been a great increase in the use of drugs by young people across the United States, a great upsurge. We are feeling it here. We are feeling it everywhere. We need to work on this matter of drugs and helping these boys and girls. No boy or girl in this Church should become involved with the use of illegal drugs—not one. They don’t need drugs. Drugs will destroy them, they will absolutely destroy them, if they will persist in the use of drugs” (Jordan Utah South regional conference, priesthood session, 1 Mar. 1997).
“Get all the education that you can. The Lord has laid upon you a mandate that you should learn, that you should study, that you should acquire knowledge of things beneath the earth and above the earth and in the earth, of history and kingdoms and countries and cultures (see D&C 88:78–79). … That is a revelation to you, that you should acquire knowledge, and the marvelous thing is that as you acquire knowledge, your capacity will increase. You will be more widely recognized by people of the society in which you live. You simply reflect honor to this Church and build a wonderful name in promoting it. Be smart!” (meeting, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, 4 Aug. 1998).
“Leave it alone! Get away from it! Avoid it! It is sleazy filth! It is rot that will do no good! You cannot afford to watch videotapes of this kind of stuff. You cannot afford to read magazines that are designed to destroy you. You can’t do it, nor even watch it on television. … Stay away from it! Avoid it like the plague because it is just as deadly, more so. The plague will destroy the body. Pornography will destroy the body and the soul. Stay away from it! It is as a great disease that is sweeping over the country and over the entire world. Avoid it! I repeat, avoid it!” (Jordan Utah South regional conference, priesthood session, 1 Mar. 1997).
“I hope that you parents kneel together with your children every day in prayer. I hope that you mothers read to your children, that you read the scriptures. They won’t understand it all, but there will come into their hearts a feeling, as you read to them the word of God, that will bless their lives forever after. I hope that you have family home evening, that you gather your children together around you, and that you sing and pray and talk together and build faith in one another” (meeting, Prince George, British Columbia, Canada, 1 Aug. 1998).
Responsibilities of Husbands
“You men who are husbands of wives, how great is your responsibility to be good men, to be good husbands! Never abuse your wives. Never abuse your children. But gather them in your arms and make them feel of your love and your appreciation and your respect. Be good husbands. Be good fathers. Don’t you ever forget that if you ever go to the highest degree of glory in the celestial kingdom, you will go hand in hand with your wife. You will not go alone. If you go, you will go together. She is a daughter of God, just as you are a son of God, and deserves the very best that you can give. Love, appreciate, and be true to the one you married” (regional conference, priesthood leadership session, Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, 14 Mar. 1998).
“Until you have received the sacred [temple] ordinances of the gospel, you have not received all of the wonderful blessings which this Church has to offer. The great and crowning blessings of membership in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are those blessings which come to us in the house of the Lord” (meeting, Worcester, Massachusetts, 16 Oct. 1998).
“Concerning the payment of tithing, it is the Lord’s law. He has given the commandments. He has made the promise. He has the power to fulfill the promise. It is my testimony that He does so. It takes faith when we feel that we do not have enough, but He has promised that the windows of heaven will be opened and a blessing poured down upon us. Let us put our faith in Him. Let us try Him. Let us take Him at His word. Let us keep His commandments. Let us walk in righteousness before the Lord as men and women of integrity, of honesty, of industry, and of faith” (meeting, Managua, Nicaragua, 19 Nov. 1998).
A Peculiar People
“We are a peculiar people. There is a wholesomeness about you that is beautiful and wonderful. We don’t smoke, we don’t drink, we don’t even take tea or coffee. That is strange for a lot of people. We do vicarious work for the dead. We teach that marriage in the house of the Lord is for time and for all eternity, that families can actually be forever. We are a peculiar people, and thank heavens we are. If the world continues to go in the direction it is going, families breaking up, pornography everywhere, drugs and things of that kind, we will become an even more peculiar people. God has blessed us generously and kindly and greatly. How thankful we ought to be” (fireside, Sydney, Australia, 14 May 1997).
“I would like to make a plea … that each of us … sees that every convert to the Church who is baptized into this work will have a friend to whom he can turn for answers to his questions, that every bishop and branch president will see that every convert has a responsibility on which he can grow, and that unitedly we will nurture these people with the good word of the Lord until they are strong enough to walk by themselves. I don’t hesitate to promise you that if you will do that, you will have a gladness in your heart that can come from no other source. There is no experience to compare with the experience of bringing people to a knowledge of the truths of the gospel” (meeting, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, 6 Aug. 1998).
“I would like to welcome every man, every woman, every child who is not a member of this Church and urge you to go forward in your investigation. Keep your minds open. Listen to what the missionaries teach you. Get on your knees and pray to the Lord and ask Him whether or not it is true. I promise you that if you will do so in humility and faith, by the power of the Holy Ghost you will know the truth of this great work, and you will come to taste of a happiness that you have never before known in all of your lives. God bless you, our dear friends, you who may not be of this faith. May the light and power and understanding rest upon you and bring the truth into your various homes” (meeting, Schenectady, New York, 17 Oct. 1998).
“There is a power greater than you who can help you. You never need be ashamed of praying. Get on your knees as the day starts. Get on your knees as the day closes and offer prayer unto the Lord, and ask Him to bless you in dealing with your problems, to bless you in your schooling, bless you in all you do, and remember before Him those who are less fortunate than you, others who are in trouble and need and desire His blessings. Be prayerful! There is something wonderful, there is something noble, there is something upstanding and good about an individual who prays. Don’t forget to pray” (meeting, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, 4 Aug. 1998).
Book of Mormon
“Believe in the Book of Mormon as another witness of the Son of God. This book has come forth as an added testimony to the world of the great truths concerning the Master as set forth in the Bible. The Bible is the testament of the Old World. The Book of Mormon is the testament of the New World, and they go hand in hand in testimony of the Lord Jesus Christ.
“I can’t understand why those of other faiths cannot accept the Book of Mormon. One would think that they would be looking for additional witnesses to the great and solemn truths of the Bible. We have that witness, my brothers and sisters, this marvelous book of inspiration which affirms the validity and the truth of the divine nature of the Son of God. God be thanked for this precious and wonderful testimony. Let us read it. Let us dwell upon its truths. Let us learn its message and be blessed accordingly” (meeting, Baltimore, Maryland, 15 Nov. 1998).
The Prophet Joseph Smith
“I did not know much about Joseph Smith when I was 12, but I had a feeling in my heart. Since then I have come to know Joseph Smith. I have read his experiences. I have read his testimony. I have read the Book of Mormon. I have seen the organization of this marvelous Church. I have seen the power of the priesthood. And I think I know Joseph Smith. ‘Great is his glory and endless his priesthood. Ever and ever the keys he will hold’ (Hymns, no. 27). He is God’s prophet in the restoration of the gospel in this, the dispensation of the fulness of times. If we can only get that into our hearts, then we will know that this is truly the work of God” (fireside, Lima, Peru, 9 Nov. 1996).
Appreciating the Lord
“We honor the Beloved Son of our Eternal Father. It was Jesus, His Firstborn, who left the glory of His Father’s presence and condescended to come to earth as the promised Messiah. He has done for us what we could not do for ourselves. He has brought meaning to our mortal existence. He has given us the gift of eternal life. He was and is the Son of God” (First Presidency Christmas devotional, 6 Dec. 1998).
President has said, “I am determined that while I have the strength I will get out among the people at home and abroad to express my appreciation, to give encouragement, to build faith, to teach, to add my testimony to theirs and at the same time to draw strength from them” (“This Glorious Easter Morn,” Ensign, May 1996, 65–66).
True to his word, President Hinckley has traveled the world over to offer members counsel and insight. Following are excerpts highlighting some of his themes.