First Presidency Message

Inspirational Thoughts

By President Gordon B. Hinckley

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    Ideas for Home Teachers

    1. The Lord has said concerning that which his servants speak, “Whatsoever they shall speak when moved upon by the Holy Ghost … shall be the will of the Lord, shall be the mind of the Lord, shall be the word of the Lord, shall be the voice of the Lord, and the power of God unto salvation” (D&C 68:4).

    2. Prayerfully select from among the excerpts printed here those that will strengthen and bless the individuals and families you home teach.


    “Death is a part of life. It is a fundamental, basic part of our eternal lives. We can’t go on with the great work that lies ahead without stepping over the threshold of death, sorrowful as it is for those who remain. I am satisfied that it is a beautiful experience for those who make that step, who have lived lives of righteousness and faithfulness” (funeral services for Harry V. Brooks, Salt Lake City, Utah, 23 February 1996).

    Family Prayer

    “Let every family in this Church have prayer together. Now, it is important to have individual prayer, but it is a wonderful thing to have family prayer. Pray to your Father in Heaven in faith. Pray in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. You can do nothing better for your children than to have them taking their turn in the family prayer, expressing gratitude for their blessings. If they do that while they are young, they will grow with a spirit of thanksgiving in their hearts” (fireside, Naha Okinawa Japan Stake and Okinawa Japan Military District, 20 May 1996).


    “Children ought to respect their parents. Children are under the mandate of the Lord to ‘honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee’ (Ex. 20:12). Children need to overcome their selfishness and look to their parents for love and understanding and training and wisdom” (Church News, 7 June 1995).

    The Meaning of Life

    “You know what life is for, what it’s about, that you’re part of an eternal plan, that you lived with purpose before you came to this life, that this life is a mission and not just a career, and that we will step over the veil someday but keep on going and growing. I don’t know of anybody in the world who has the concept of the meaning of life that we have as a result of the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ” (young adult fireside, San Diego, California, 24 March 1996).

    Live the Gospel at All Times

    “The religion of which you are a part is seven days a week. It isn’t just Sunday, it isn’t the block plan, it isn’t just three hours in church, it isn’t just the time you spend in seminary—it’s all the time, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year” (youth fireside, Parowan, Utah, 13 January 1996).


    “We need to strengthen our sacrament meetings and make them hours of worship in very deed. Cultivate a spirit of reverence, an attitude in which people come into the chapel and are quiet and reverent and thoughtful. There is too much noise. We are a social people, but I wish we would not keep it up so loudly in the chapel” (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, regional conference, 27 April 1996).

    Sabbath Observance

    “The Sabbath is such a precious thing. It represents the great culmination of the work of Jehovah in the creation of the earth and all that’s found therein. When that was completed, He looked upon it and saw that it was good, and He rested on the Sabbath day. Now, I make a plea to our people to refrain from shopping on Sunday. You may say, ‘The little bit that I do doesn’t make a bit of difference.’ It makes all the difference in the world to you and to your children who will see your example. Let there not be among us the kind of Sunday shopping which we have had in some areas” (Charlotte, North Carolina, regional conference, priesthood leadership meeting, 24 February 1996).

    To Young Women

    “I want to say to young women here today, do not ever have any inferiority complex about your place in this world in which you live. You are a daughter of God, and I am satisfied that our Father in Heaven loves His daughters as much as He loves His sons. You hold up your heads and stand tall and walk in righteousness and faith and virtue and truth and do not let anybody put you down or sell you short. You are daughters of God. Live worthy of your divine inheritance, my beloved young women. You are not inferior in any sense. Under the gospel plan you are daughters of God. Each of us has our place in the great divine plan, and we ought to magnify the calling and the field and the assignment and the qualities of good which we have within us” (Ricks College regional conference, Rexburg, Idaho, 29 October 1995).

    Temples and Temple Marriage

    “What a magnificently beautiful building [a temple] is. But, with all the beauty of that building, that structure is only a means to an end and not an end in itself. That facility was erected and dedicated for the performance of the sacred ordinances which the Lord has revealed in this time, and among those sacred ordinances is that of marriage for time and all eternity. There is nothing like it elsewhere in all the world. And I hope, as you look to marriage, you’ll make a decision in your lives from which you will not deviate, that you will be married in the house of the Lord” (young adult fireside, San Diego, California, 24 March 1996).

    Benefits of Missionary Service

    “Everything good that’s happened to me, in all the years that have since passed, I can trace back to my experience here as a missionary” (fireside, rededication of Hyde Park chapel, London, England, 27 August 1995).

    Patriarchal Blessings

    “I hope that we are encouraging those who are mature enough to understand the importance of a patriarchal blessing to receive one. I count my patriarchal blessing as one of the great sacred things of my life. A patriarchal blessing is a unique and sacred and personal and wonderful thing given to every member of this Church who lives worthy of it. I hope, brethren, that you men of the bishoprics, particularly, are counseling your people concerning this. And I hope you patriarchs are blessed with the inspiration and revelation of the Lord as you lay your hands upon the people in the fulfillment of that sacred calling as patriarch. What a unique, personal, individual, wonderful thing is a patriarchal blessing spoken by authority of the priesthood and the office and calling of patriarch in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ” (Smithfield-Logan, Utah, regional conference, priesthood leadership meeting, 20 April 1996).


    “We put great emphasis on education. We have an interesting phenomenon in the Church. A recent study showed that the more highly educated our people are, the more active they are in the Church. Now, that’s a significant thing. A lot of people think that religion becomes a place for those who are unlearned and have no stability in their lives, but this study demonstrates that the higher the level of education, the more active they are in the Church, generally speaking. To me, that’s a tremendous thing. It says something of significance” (interview with Lawrence Spicer, London News Service, 28 August 1995).

    To Youth

    “You are wonderful and you have within you the potential to do great and marvelous and good things. Don’t let anyone stop you, don’t let anybody get in your way, don’t get sidetracked on some venture of one kind or another that might injure you and hurt you. ‘Do what is right; let the consequence follow’ [Hymns, number 237]. If things get going the wrong way at a party that you are attending, walk out, say good-bye. Stand tall, do what is right, count on the Lord, and He will bless you in a wonderful way” (youth meeting, Denver, Colorado, 14 April 1996).

    Spousal Abuse

    “Treat your wives with kindness. One of the great sorrows of this world which has been among people for generations in all lands has been the abuse of wives. No man is worthy of the priesthood who abuses his wife, the mother of his children.

    Extend to her your love, your respect, your appreciation. You cannot enter the highest degree of glory in the kingdom of heaven unless you go there walking hand in hand with your companion at your side. The Lord has made that clear” (fireside, Copenhagen, Denmark, 14 June 1996).

    Family Proclamation

    “Why do we have this proclamation on the family now? Because the family is under attack. All across the world families are falling apart. The place to begin to improve society is in the home. Children do, for the most part, what they are taught. We are trying to make the world better by making the family stronger” (press conference, Tokyo, Japan, 18 May 1996).

    Joseph Smith’s Faith

    “Joseph went in [to the Grove] as a boy. I have wondered at times why the Lord would have him go in as a 14-year-old boy. Why didn’t He wait until [Joseph] was 20 or 30 or 40, when he would have had the weight of authority that comes with age? He went in—the Lord permitted it—and responded to his inquiry because he came in perfect trust as a boy. There was no doubt in his mind. He said that if anyone needed wisdom, he needed wisdom, and he asked for it, with full confidence that something would happen as a result of his prayer. We do not have anything of the words of Joseph’s prayer. But we know that he made inquiry and that a conversation took place. And Joseph Smith learned in those minutes, however long or brief, more about the nature of God than all of the learned divines of all time had ever learned” (missionary meeting, Rochester, New York, 12 July 1996).

    We Are a Covenant People

    “We are a covenant people, and that is a very serious matter. When this work was restored and the Lord set forth the purposes for that Restoration, He said that one reason for the Restoration was that His everlasting covenant might be established, or reestablished. … Now, in this dispensation, that everlasting covenant has been reaffirmed. We, in effect, made that covenant when we were baptized. We became a part of His divine family, as it were. All of God’s children are of His family, but in a particular way and a wonderful way there is a special relationship between God and the children of His covenant. … Each time we partake of the sacrament, not only do we do it in remembrance of the sacrifice of the Son of God, who gave His life for each of us, but there is an added element that we take upon ourselves the name of Jesus Christ and pledge ourselves to keep His commandments, and He pledges with us that He will bless us with His Holy Spirit. We are a covenant people, and great are the obligations which go with that covenant” (fireside, Copenhagen, Denmark, 14 June 1996).

    The Way of Happiness

    “The way of the Lord is the way of happiness. Wickedness never was happiness. Transgression never was happiness. Sin never was happiness. Disobedience never was happiness. The way of happiness is following the way of the Lord. I believe this with all my heart. If there is any message that runs through all of the Book of Mormon, it is this great, transcendent message—that when the people lived in righteousness, they were happy and they were prospered; and when they fell into wickedness, they were miserable, they were at war, they were in poverty, they were in trouble. That theme goes all the way through the Book of Mormon. As it was true then, so it is true now. The way of happiness for the people of this Church lies in following the ways of the Lord” (Oahu, Hawaii, regional conference, 18 February 1996).

    The Atonement

    “If there is any question in anyone’s mind about the divinity of this work, let him ponder the importance of the universality of the richest fruits of the Atonement. Resurrection, yes, through the grace of God to all men, but beyond that the magnificent concept of exaltation and eternal life through acceptance and living the principles of the gospel. How thankful I feel about this matter” (fireside, Nottingham, England, 30 August 1995).


    With all of our doing, with all of our leading, with all of our teaching, the most important thing we can do for those whom we lead is to cultivate in their hearts a living, vital, vibrant testimony and knowledge of the Son of God, Jesus Christ, the Redeemer of the world, the Author of our salvation, He who atoned for the sins of the world and opened the way of salvation and eternal life. I would hope that in all we do we would somehow constantly nourish the testimony of our people concerning the Savior. I am satisfied—I know it’s so—that whenever a man has a true witness in his heart of the living reality of the Lord Jesus Christ, all else will come together as it should. … That is the root from which all virtue springs among those who call themselves Latter-day Saints” (BYU married students’ regional conference, priesthood leadership meeting, Provo, Utah, 10 February 1996).

    Painting, He is Risen, by Del Parson

    Illustrations by Robert T. Barrett