Following the Master: Teachings of President Howard W. Hunter

    “Following the Master: Teachings of President Howard W. Hunter,” Ensign, Apr. 1995, 21

    In Memoriam:
    President Howard W. Hunter, 1907–1995~v group

    Following the Master:

    Teachings of President Howard W. Hunter

    Partakers of the Divine Nature

    “Let us study the Master’s every teaching and devote ourselves more fully to his example. He has given us ‘all things that pertain unto life and godliness.’ He has ‘called us to glory and virtue’ and has ‘given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these [we] might be partakers of the divine nature’ (2 Pet. 1:3–4).

    “I believe in those ‘exceeding great and precious promises,’ and I invite all within the sound of my voice to claim them. We should strive to ‘be partakers of the divine nature.’ Only then may we truly hope for ‘peace in this world, and eternal life in the world to come’ (D&C 59:23)” (Ensign, Nov. 1994, p. 8).

    Center Our Lives on Christ

    “Please remember this one thing. If our lives and our faith are centered upon Jesus Christ and his restored gospel, nothing can ever go permanently wrong. On the other hand, if our lives are not centered on the Savior and his teachings, no other success can ever be permanently right” (“‘Fear Not, Little Flock,’” 1988–89 Devotional and Fireside Speeches, Provo: Brigham Young University Press, 1989, p. 112).

    Every Member Temple Worthy

    “I also invite the members of the Church to establish the temple of the Lord as the great symbol of their membership and the supernal setting for their most sacred covenants. It would be the deepest desire of my heart to have every member of the Church be temple worthy. I would hope that every adult member would be worthy of—and carry—a current temple recommend, even if proximity to a temple does not allow immediate or frequent use of it.

    “Let us be a temple-attending and a temple-loving people. Let us hasten to the temple as frequently as time and means and personal circumstances allow. Let us go not only for our kindred dead, but let us also go for the personal blessing of temple worship, for the sanctity and safety which is provided within those hallowed and consecrated walls. The temple is a place of beauty, it is a place of revelation, it is a place of peace. It is the house of the Lord. It is holy unto the Lord. It should be holy unto us” (Ensign, July 1994, p. 5).

    The Temple Our Goal

    “Let us make the temple, with temple worship and temple covenants and temple marriage, our ultimate earthly goal and the supreme mortal experience.

    “Let us share with our children the spiritual feelings we have in the temple. And let us teach them more earnestly and more comfortably the things we can appropriately say about the purposes of the house of the Lord.

    “Let us prepare every missionary to go to the temple worthily and to make that experience an even greater highlight than receiving the mission call” (Ensign, Nov. 1994, p. 88).

    Sisters, Stand with the Brethren

    “As our Lord and Savior looked to the women of his time for a comforting hand, a listening ear, a believing heart, a kind look, an encouraging word, loyalty—even in his hour of humiliation, agony, and death—it seems to me that there is a great need to rally the women of the Church today to stand with and for the Brethren in stemming the tide of evil that surrounds us and in moving forward the work of our Savior” (Ensign, Nov. 1994, p. 97).

    Preserve and Protect the Family

    “In the ordinances of the temple, the foundations of the eternal family are sealed in place. The Church has the responsibility—and the authority—to preserve and protect the family as the foundation of society. The pattern for family life, instituted from before the foundation of the world, provides for children to be born to and nurtured by a father and mother who are husband and wife, lawfully married. Parenthood is a sacred obligation and privilege, with children welcomed as a ‘heritage of the Lord’ (Ps. 127:3).

    “A worried society now begins to see that the disintegration of the family brings upon the world the calamities foretold by the prophets. The world’s councils and deliberations will succeed only when they define the family as the Lord has revealed it to be. ‘Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it’ (Ps. 127:1)” (Ensign, Nov. 1994, p. 9).

    Parents Whose Hearts Are Broken

    “There are many in the Church and in the world who are living with feelings of guilt and unworthiness because some of their sons and daughters have wandered or strayed from the fold.

    “… Parents’ hearts are ofttimes broken, yet they must realize that the ultimate responsibility lies with the child after parents have taught correct principles. …

    “A successful parent is one who has loved, one who has sacrificed, and one who has cared for, taught, and ministered to the needs of a child. If you have done all of these and your child is still wayward or troublesome or worldly, it could well be that you are, nevertheless, a successful parent. Perhaps there are children who have come into the world that would challenge any set of parents under any set of circumstances. Likewise, perhaps there are others who would bless the lives of, and be a joy to, almost any father or mother.

    “My concern today is that there are parents who may be pronouncing harsh judgments upon themselves and may be allowing these feelings to destroy their lives, when in fact they have done their best and should continue in faith” (Ensign, Nov. 1983, pp. 63–65).

    Problems Refine Us

    “Every generation since time began has had things to overcome and problems to work out. Furthermore, every individual person has a set of challenges which sometimes seem to be earmarked for him individually. We understood that in our premortal existence.

    “When these experiences humble, refine, and teach us, they make us better people, more grateful, loving, and considerate of other people in their own times of difficulty.

    “Even in the most severe of times, problems and prophecies were never intended to do anything but bless the righteous and help those who are less righteous move toward repentance” (New Era, Jan. 94, p. 6).

    Developing Spirituality

    “Developing spirituality and attuning ourselves to the highest influences of godliness is not an easy matter. It takes time and frequently involves a struggle. It will not happen by chance, but is accomplished only through deliberate effort and by calling upon God and keeping his commandments” (Ensign, May 1979, p. 25).

    Our Touchstone of Service

    “I suggest to you that the Lord has prepared a touchstone for you and me, an outward measurement of inward discipleship that marks our faithfulness and will survive the fires yet to come. …

    “The answer of Jesus to the lawyer might be considered as the Lord’s touchstone. He said on another occasion, ‘Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me’ (Matt. 25:40). He will measure our devotion to him by how we love and serve our fellowmen. What kind of mark are we leaving on the Lord’s touchstone? Are we truly good neighbors? Does the test show us to be 24-karat gold, or can the trace of fool’s gold be detected?

    “… We need to remember that though we make our friends, God has made our neighbors—everywhere. Love should have no boundary; we should have no narrow loyalties” (Ensign, Nov. 1986, pp. 34–35).

    Endure to the End

    “It appears to me that the kind of greatness that our Father in Heaven would have us pursue is within the grasp of all who are within the gospel net. We have an unlimited number of opportunities to do the many simple and minor things that will ultimately make us great. To those who have devoted their lives to service and sacrifice for others and for the Lord, the best counsel is simply to do more of the same.

    “To those who are doing the commonplace work of the world but are wondering about the value of their accomplishments; to those who are the workhorses of this Church, who are furthering the work of the Lord in so many quiet but significant ways; to those who are the salt of the earth and the strength of the world and the backbone of each nation—to you we would simply express our admiration. If you endure to the end, and if you are valiant in the testimony of Jesus, you will achieve true greatness and will live in the presence of our Father in Heaven” (Ensign, May 1982, p. 20).

    Our Brothers of Ishmael

    “The Church has an interest in all of Abraham’s descendants, and we should remember that the history of the Arabs goes back to Abraham through his son Ishmael. …

    “Both the Jews and the Arabs are children of our Father. They are both children of promise, and as a church we do not take sides. We have love for and an interest in each” (“‘All Are Alike unto God,’” 1979 Devotional Speeches of the Year, Provo: Brigham Young University Press, 1980, pp. 35–36).

    Bountiful Utah Temple dedication

    “Let us be a temple-attending and a temple-loving people,” said President Hunter, who dedicated the Bountiful Utah Temple in January. At the cornerstone ceremony, President Hunter and his wife, center, joined President and Sister Hinckley, left; President and Sister Monson, right; and Elder W. Eugene Hansen and his wife, far right. Behind President Hunter is Lowell Hardy, his personal secretary. (Photo by Jed Clark.)

    President Howard W. Hunter invited all to come unto the Lord. “If our lives and our faith are centered upon Jesus Christ and his restored gospel, nothing can ever go permanently wrong,” said President Hunter, pictured left while visiting Hawaii in November 1994. (Photo by Network Photo Laie.)

    President Howard W. Hunter, center, with President Gordon B. Hinckley, left, and President Thomas S. Monson, right, who served as First Counselor and Second Counselor, respectively, in the First Presidency. President Hunter, who led a life of exemplary service, said the Lord “will measure our devotion to him by how we love and serve our fellowmen.” (Photo by Merrett T. Smith.)