“Arizona Saints Challenged to Live Gospel Fully,” Ensign, Nov. 1994, 108–9
Enthusiastic Church members in two Tucson, Arizona, regions were reminded of the blueprint for achieving happiness and eternal life when President Howard W. Hunter visited for their recent biregional conference. The counsel was clear and the Spirit moving. The message from President Hunter was exhilarating: he encouraged listeners to leave the conference “committed to more fully live the gospel of Jesus Christ.”
President Hunter and his wife, Inis, were accompanied by Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and his wife, Elisa; and Elder W. Mack Lawrence of the Seventy, president of the North America Southwest Area, and his wife, Jacqueline.
“How critical it is for each of us to be more fully converted, strengthened, and fortified in the gospel,” President Hunter said in his first address at a regional conference since becoming President of the Church.
In the spirit of that great message and in his warm greetings, President Hunter encouraged the nearly fourteen thousand people assembled in the University of Arizona’s McKale Center to “live in such a way as to be an example of the teachings of the Savior.”
“You have noticed, I am sure, that those members of the Church who become involved in prominent activities that are not consistent with our standards are sometimes widely reported on in the public press,” he noted. “Specific note is usually made that they are members of the Church. I suppose others expect more of us because of our beliefs.”
President Hunter, who presided over all sessions of the September 17–18 conference, urged those who attended from six stakes in the Tucson Arizona and Tucson Arizona East regions to consider seven specific suggestions in “efforts to be examples of the Lord’s restored gospel”:
Pay a full and honest tithing.
Avoid coffee, tea, tobacco, alcohol, or “any substance that contains illegal drugs or harmful or habit-forming ingredients, or similar products which give the ‘appearance of evil.’”
Read and study the scriptures and conference reports as individuals and as families.
Strive to build a personal testimony of Jesus Christ and the Atonement.
Practice morning and evening prayers privately and as families.
Qualify for and remain worthy of a current temple recommend.
Make family life a “prominent focus,” and hold family home evening.
Elder Wirthlin spoke of the Lord’s admonition to prepare ourselves to return to his presence. “The Savior’s atonement was the greatest gift he gave us. Through his atoning sacrifice, all mankind might be saved by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel.”
He also emphasized the importance of temple work. “Our Savior has provided a way for us to sanctify ourselves in the holy temples, where we may go to learn more about being perfected.
“In the holy temples, the Saints receive strength and power in five ways: (1) from the promises made in the covenants; (2) in overcoming evil; (3) in doing work for those who have lived before us; (4) from the enhancement of spirituality, and (5) because attending the temple is a retreat from the cares and troubles of the world.”
Sister Inis Hunter also spoke during the Sunday conference session, discussing the importance of reading the Book of Mormon and other scriptures to find answers and receive help in understanding our purpose on earth and in overcoming the great wickedness in the world.
She also reached out to those who are single and alone. “Don’t despair,” she urged. “Learn how to pray, not just to speak idle words but to talk with the Lord. We should pour out our hearts and let him know our needs, and he will help us.”
Messages in a four-hour priesthood meeting on Saturday afternoon echoed familiar and critical themes: pay attention to and renew efforts to bring back those who have left the Church (President Hunter urged listeners to “read and reread over and over the parable of the lost sheep”); take the necessary steps to ensure temple worthiness; instruct youth and thoughtfully prepare and influence youth activities; teach youth to rely on the Spirit; and stress dress that is consistent with Church standards. Priesthood brethren were also strongly encouraged to make home teaching meaningful and to remember the keys to effective home teaching: preparation, prayer, and persistence.