President Gordon B. Hinckley

Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Seminary Teacher Resource Manual, (2001), 278–80


Introduction

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland said of President Gordon B. Hinckley:

“Perhaps no man has ever come to the Presidency of the Church who has been so well prepared for the responsibility. Through sixty years of Church administration he has known personally, been taught by, and in one capacity or other served with every President of the Church from Heber J. Grant to Howard W. Hunter. As one of his associates says, ‘No man in the history of the Church has traveled so far to so many places in the world with such a single purpose in mind—to preach the gospel, to bless and lift up the Saints, and to foster the redemption of the dead.’” (“President Gordon B. Hinckley: Stalwart and Brave He Stands,” Ensign, June 1995, 13).

Some Important Gospel Principles to Look For

  • We should magnify the callings we receive from the Lord (see “President Gordon B. Hinckley,” Student Study Guide, p. 220, par. 1–4; see also Jacob 1:18–19; D&C 4:2; 84:33).

  • President Hinckley’s vision of the future of the Church provides a reason for optimism despite the increasing wickedness in the world (see “President Gordon B. Hinckley,” Student Study Guide, pp. 220–21, par. 5, 12; see also 1 Nephi 22:16–22).

  • The Church builds more and more temples to meet the needs of its expanding membership (see “President Gordon B. Hinckley,” Student Study Guide, pp. 220–21, par. 6–8; see also D&C 65:2).

  • The way we live our lives is the symbol of our faith in Christ. Our faith is strengthened as we follow the counsel of our living prophet (see “President Gordon B. Hinckley,” Student Study Guide, pp. 221–22, par. 12–37; see also Romans 12:1–2; D&C 20:26).

  • Every member of the Church needs a friend, a responsibility, and nurturing with the word of God (see “President Gordon B. Hinckley,” Student Study Guide, p. 222, par. 22–24; see also Moroni 6:3–9).

Additional Resources

  • Church History in the Fulness of Times: Religion 341–43, pp. 628–45.

Suggestions for Teaching

“President Gordon B. Hinckley,” Student Study Guide, p. 220, par. 1–4. We should magnify the callings we receive from the Lord.

(10–15 minutes)

Write on the board the following definitions of the word magnify:

  1. 1.

    To make something grow larger.

  2. 2.

    To make something seem larger or closer.

  3. 3.

    To praise something, or to give it greater importance or esteem.

Discuss the following questions:

  • Given these definitions of magnify, what might it mean to magnify one’s calling in the Church?

  • Why would it be important to magnify your callings or responsibilities?

Have students think of someone who is a good example of magnifying a calling. Invite a few students to tell how the individuals they thought of magnify their callings.

Have students learn about President Gordon B. Hinckley by reading “His Life” and “His Presidency” under “President Gordon B. Hinckley” in the student study guide (pp. 219–20). List some of the callings and responsibilities he has had in his life. Read the introduction and paragraphs 1–4 of “President Gordon B. Hinckley.” Ask:

  • What evidence did you find that President Hinckley magnifies his callings?

  • What can you learn from his example?

“President Gordon B. Hinckley,” Student Study Guide, pp. 220–21, par. 5, 12. We should be optimistic about the future despite the increasing wickedness in the world.

(15–20 minutes)

Display two glasses half-full of water. Write on the board: Are the glasses half-empty or half-full? Discuss the following questions:

  • How could seeing a glass as half-empty or half-full be compared to pessimism or optimism?

  • What does it mean to be optimistic?

  • Why do you enjoy being around those who are optimistic?

Label one of the glasses half-empty and the other half-full. Ask students to consider the condition of the world. Write Half-Empty on the board and list under it conditions in the world that might cause some to worry or lose hope. Write Half-Full and list under it conditions in the world that give us reason to be happy or hopeful. Ask: Which of the two kinds of conditions in the world do you think about most?

Tell students that President Gordon B. Hinckley is a man of great optimism and vision. Have them read paragraphs 5, 12 of “President Gordon B. Hinckley” (pp. 220–21) looking for what he taught about optimism. Ask:

  • What reasons did President Hinckley give for being optimistic?

  • What do we know about the Church’s destiny that can bring us hope? (see D&C 65:2).

  • Why can we look forward to the last days and the Second Coming of the Lord? (see 1 Nephi 22:16–22).

“President Gordon B. Hinckley,” Student Study Guide, pp. 220–21, par. 6–8. The Church builds more and more temples to meet the needs of its expanding membership.

(15–20 minutes)

Display a map of the world. Ask students to list places where temples are located. Discuss the following questions:

  • Approximately how many temples are in current use throughout the world? (In October 2000 there were 100. See the statistical report in a conference edition of the Ensign for current figures.)

  • How do you think the number of temples will change in your lifetime?

  • Why do you think the Church puts so much effort into building temples throughout the world?

Tell students that President Gordon B. Hinckley emphasized temple building. Have students read paragraphs 6–8 of “President Gordon B. Hinckley” in the student study guide (pp. 220–21). Display pictures of several temples, and express your feelings about the blessings offered in these sacred buildings. Invite students to live in such a way that they can receive all the ordinances of the house of the Lord. Share part or all of the following statements. Elder Eldred G. Smith, who was then Patriarch to the Church, stated:

“The time must come when temples will be found all over the earth, in many nations. This is most necessary for the salvation, exaltation, and eternal life of man. Then we should all be very diligent in gathering the family records and so live to be worthy of taking part in this work” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1972, 52; or Ensign, Jan. 1973, 56).

President Gordon B. Hinckley said:

“I have a burning desire that a temple be located within reasonable access to Latter-day Saints throughout the world. We can proceed only so fast. We try to see that each temple will be in an excellent location where there will be good neighbors over a long period of time. … The work is moving about as fast as we can go. It is my constant prayer that somehow it might be speeded up so that more of our people might have easier access to a sacred house of the Lord.

“Brigham Young once said that if young people really understood the blessings of temple marriage, they would walk all the way to England if that were necessary (see Journal of Discourses, 11:118). We hope they will not have to go anywhere near that far” (in Conference Report, Sept.–Oct. 1995, 71; or Ensign, Nov. 1995, 52–53).

“President Gordon B. Hinckley,” Student Study Guide, pp. 221–22, par. 12–37. The way we live our lives is the symbol of our faith in Christ. Our faith is strengthened as we follow the counsel of our living prophet.

(20–25 minutes)

Draw on the board pictures such as the following (choose ones your students will relate to):

Items

Ask students which of these pictures best represents their life and why. Invite them each to draw another picture of something that represents their life. Have several students show their picture and tell what it says about them.

Read paragraphs 13–16 of “President Gordon B. Hinckley” in the student study guide (p. 221). Discuss the following questions:

  • What did President Hinckley say about symbols?

  • In what ways could the picture you drew representing yourself express your testimony of Jesus Christ?

  • How can the way you live your life help other people believe in Jesus Christ?

  • Read Romans 12:1–2. How do these verses relate to the discussion?

Explain that our lives will better symbolize our faith as we follow the teachings of the living prophets. Have students read paragraphs 12, 17–25 of “President Gordon B. Hinckley.” Have them name some of the teachings President Hinckley emphasized, and ask:

  • How applicable are these teachings to people in the world and Church today?

  • Why do you think it is important to follow these teachings?

Invite students to select one teaching they think they can live better. Have them write on a piece of paper a paragraph on how they can do so.

“President Gordon B. Hinckley,” Student Study Guide, p. 222, par. 22–24. Every member of the Church needs a friend, a responsibility, and nurturing with the word of God.

(10–15 minutes)

Tell students: Imagine that you have been appointed to a special Church committee. Your task is to come up with a plan to help converts remain active.

Divide the class into small groups. Have them study Moroni 6; D&C 20:68 and list what members can do to help converts remain active. When the groups finish, have them share their ideas with the class.

Have students read paragraphs 22–24 of “President Gordon B. Hinckley” in the student study guide (p. 222). Ask:

  • What did President Hinckley say each Church member needs?

  • How do these three things compare to what you found in Moroni 6?

  • How would they help a new convert?

  • How would they help every member of the Church?

  • What are some of the problems converts face as they come into the Church?

  • In what other ways can we reach out to members in our wards or branches?

Encourage students to be outgoing and friendly as they welcome new members into the Church. Share the following statement by President Hinckley:

“With the increase of missionary work throughout the world, there must be a comparable increase in the effort to make every convert feel at home in his or her ward or branch. Enough people will come into the Church this year to constitute more than 100 new average-size stakes. Unfortunately, with this acceleration in conversions, we are neglecting some of these new members. I am hopeful that a great effort will go forward throughout the Church, throughout the world, to retain every convert who comes into the Church.

“This is serious business. There is no point in doing missionary work unless we hold on to the fruits of that effort. The two must be inseparable” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1997, 69–70; or Ensign, Nov. 1997, 50).