“President Hinckley Visits Members in California, Idaho,” Ensign, Aug. 1995, 74–75
The influence of early members of the Church and the importance of living the gospel and strengthening testimonies were subjects addressed by President Gordon B. Hinckley during regional conferences in California and Idaho.
“There are Mormon footsteps over this part of the world, over this part of California,” said President Hinckley during a May 21 regional conference address in the Santa Rosa-Vacaville, California, area. “In 1846, when our people had been driven from Nauvoo, marched out of their homes, lost all their possessions, and their faces turned toward the setting sun, when they crossed the Mississippi, made the long [trek] across Iowa to Winter Quarters/Council Bluffs, Nebraska, they were called upon by the government of the United States, which had failed to protect and defend them, to raise a battalion of five hundred men.
“When Brigham Young asked for those … young men to enlist, they responded. They walked all the way down to Fort Leavenworth [Kansas], and there they received some money for their services, and they sent it back to help their destitute families.
“Then they marched all the way to San Diego, through the desert of Arizona and southern California. From there some of them came up to Los Angeles to establish Fort Moore and raise the American flag for the first time in what is now this area. …
“There was Mormon heroism, there was Mormon sacrifice, there was Mormon faithfulness long before any of us came on the scene here in this area of California,” he said.
President Hinckley also recounted the part that members of the Mormon Battalion played in the discovery of gold at Sutter’s Mill in California, where a few men were working. Forty-seven years ago the Church was invited to participate in the state’s one hundredth anniversary of that discovery. As public relations officer for the Church at the time, President Hinckley suggested that a replica of the cabin where members of the Mormon Battalion lived be made for the event.
Members and missionaries in the area built the cabin, which is still standing in the Marshall Gold Discovery State Historical Park at Coloma. While in California for the regional conference, President Hinckley visited the cabin site, accompanied by his wife, Marjorie, and Elder Loren C. Dunn of the Seventy and his wife, Sharon.
On Sunday, June 4, President Hinckley addressed an estimated thirty thousand members in two different regional conferences held in Pocatello, Idaho.
“We all have problems,” said President Hinckley during a morning conference for members in the Pocatello, Idaho, regions. “On nearly a daily basis, I see the problems that affect most of you. Some of you are sick and have health problems. Some of you have money problems. Some of you have family problems. Some of you worry about your children. I guess all parents worry about their children. I know that grandparents worry about their grandchildren. I hope that with all the burdens that you carry, you know that you have the gospel, which will provide the answers to most of those problems with which you live.
“If we will live the gospel, if we will put our trust in God, our Eternal Father, if we will do what we are asked to do as members, we will be the happiest and most blessed people on the face of the earth.”
During the afternoon, President Hinckley promised members from the Bear Lake and Bear River Idaho regions that those who didn’t feel they had a testimony would receive one if they lived the gospel, studied the scriptures, and got on their knees to ask.
He quoted the words of the Savior, “If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself” (John 7:17). This is the key to gaining a testimony, he said—doing the will of the Father.
“I leave with you a blessing of peace in your homes and love in your hearts,” he said, “shelter over your heads and clothes on your backs, and that your land may multiply and prosper and that your children will grow up in light and truth.”