President Howard W. Hunter

Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Seminary Teacher Resource Manual, (2001), 276–78


Elder James E. Faust, then a member of the Quorum of the Twelve, said:

“President Hunter is one of the most loving, Christlike men we have ever known. His spiritual depth is so profound as to be unfathomable. Having been under the guiding influence of the Lord Jesus Christ as His special witness for so many years, President Hunter’s spirituality has been honed in a remarkable way. It is the wellspring of his whole being. He is quiet about sacred things, humble about sacred things, careful when he speaks about sacred things. He has an inner peace, tranquillity, and nobility of soul that is unique among the children of God. His intense suffering on so many occasions has been as a ‘refiner’s fire,’ permitting him to become God’s pure vessel and prophet on the earth in this day and time” (“The Way of an Eagle,” Ensign, Aug. 1994, 13).

Some Important Gospel Principles to Look For

  • We should follow the Lord’s example of love and compassion (see “President Howard W. Hunter,” Student Study Guide, pp. 216–18, par. 1–2, 7–8, 11–14, 21; see also 3 Nephi 27:27).

  • Members of the Church should make the temple an essential part of their lives (see “President Howard W. Hunter,” Student Study Guide, p. 216, par. 3).

  • The Lord gives peace to those who endure in righteousness (see “President Howard W. Hunter,” Student Study Guide, pp. 217–18, par. 7, 9–10, 21–22; see also Psalm 29:11; Isaiah 48:22; D&C 122:5–9).

Additional Resources

  • Church History in the Fulness of Times: Religion 341–43, pp. 622–27.

Suggestions for Teaching

“President Howard W. Hunter,” Student Study Guide, pp. 216–18, par. 1–2, 7–8, 11–14, 21. We should follow the Lord’s example of love and compassion.

(15–20 minutes)

Give students three minutes to find an example of Christ’s love and compassion in the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John). Have several students share what they found and why it impresses them.

Have students become acquainted with President Howard W. Hunter by reading “His Life,” “His Presidency,” and paragraphs 1–2, 7–8, 11–14, 21 of “President Howard W. Hunter” in the student study guide (pp. 216–18). Explain that President Hunter is often remembered for his Christlike love and compassion. Read the statement by Elder James E. Faust from the introduction above. Ask:

  • What examples can you find of President Hunter’s love and compassion?

  • What did President Hunter say he prayed for in paragraph 2?

  • How does his prayer apply to us?

  • Read Matthew 22:36–40. How do these verses relate to showing love and kindness to others?

Ask students to look for an example of kindness, compassion, love, or courtesy today. Tell them that the next time the class meets you will invite them to talk about some of the examples they observed.

“President Howard W. Hunter,” Student Study Guide, p. 216, par. 3. Members of the Church should make the temple an essential part of their lives.

(15–20 minutes)

Display several items that are used for measuring (such as a thermometer, ruler, measuring cup, scale, or clock). Ask students:

  • What do these items have in common?

  • What is the purpose of taking measurements?

If possible, show students a temple recommend. Discuss the following questions:

  • How could a temple recommend fit in with this group of measuring instruments?

  • In what ways is a temple recommend a measure of our lives?

  • Why must we live up to certain standards to get a temple recommend?

  • Read Doctrine and Covenants 97:15–16; 124:46. How do these verses relate to temple worthiness?

Give students the following statement as a handout, and read it as a class.

President Gordon B. Hinckley, who was then a counselor in the First Presidency, wrote:

“The issuance and signing of a temple recommend must never become a commonplace thing.

“This small document, simple in its appearance, certifies that the bearer has met certain precise and demanding qualifications and is eligible to enter the house of the Lord and there participate in the most sacred ordinances administered anywhere on earth. These ordinances are concerned not only with the things of life, but with the things of eternity. …

“What a unique and remarkable thing is a temple recommend. It is only a piece of paper with a name and signatures, but in reality it is a certificate that says the bearer is ‘honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous’ and that he or she believes in doing good to all, that ‘if there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy,’ he or she seeks after such (Articles of Faith 1:13).

“Most important, and above all other qualifications, is the certain knowledge on the part of a recommend holder that God our Eternal Father lives, that Jesus Christ is the living Son of the living God, and that this is Their sacred and divine work” (in Conference Report, Mar.–Apr. 1990, 66, 68; or Ensign, May 1990, 50, 52).

Have students read paragraph 3 of “President Howard W. Hunter” in the student study guide (p. 216). Ask:

  • What did President Hunter want each Church member to do?

  • What can you do to prepare to worship worthily in the temple? (Answers might include obeying the Word of Wisdom, staying morally clean, paying tithing, and maintaining appropriate relations with members of the opposite sex.)

“President Howard W. Hunter,” Student Study Guide, pp. 217–18, par. 7, 9–10, 21–22. The Lord gives peace to those who endure in righteousness.

(15–20 minutes)

Assign several students to each read one of the following scriptures to the class: Psalm 29:11; Isaiah 48:22; John 14:27; 1 Corinthians 14:33; 2 Thessalonians 3:16; Doctrine and Covenants 59:23. Discuss the following questions:

  • Who is the author of peace?

  • Why is peace such a wonderful gift?

  • When have you felt peace in your life?

  • What does it mean to be at peace spiritually?

  • How can we be at peace while living in a troubling environment?

Have students imagine two individuals who experience the same trial (for example, being paralyzed in an accident, losing a job, having a child die, or being wrongfully accused). Discuss different reactions the individuals might have. Ask:

  • Why would it be possible for one of the individuals to feel peace and for the other to be filled with anger, bitterness, or grief?

  • Read Alma 62:41. How does this verse relate to this principle?

  • What must we do to feel peace in our lives, whatever our circumstances?

Have students read the introduction and paragraphs 7, 9–10 of “President Howard W. Hunter” in the student study guide (pp. 216–17). Invite them to look for examples of adversity that President Hunter faced. Have students read these same materials a second time and look for what President Hunter did to receive the Lord’s help during these difficulties. Have students share their findings, and discuss the following questions:

  • What are some of President Hunter’s outstanding qualities?

  • What can we learn from his example?

Invite students to choose a characteristic of President Hunter and tell how they could develop it in their life. Have them read paragraphs 21–22 of “President Howard W. Hunter.” Testify that Jesus Christ is the only source of lasting peace. Encourage students to turn to the Savior at all times.