“President Hinckley Maintains Busy Schedule,” Ensign, May 1996, 106–9
In a schedule that includes visits with Saints in widely spread areas, President Gordon B. Hinckley continues to spend many weekends encouraging members to live the gospel and become better people. In the past two months, he has traveled to Hawaii, North Carolina, Texas, California, and Provo, Utah.
“Take a stand for righteousness,” he counseled members who assembled on the campus of Brigham Young University—Hawaii on Sunday, 18 February. “Rally yourself with others to stand up for what is right, true, moral, and good,” President Hinckley told the nearly 7,200 members from five Oahu stakes attending the morning regional conference.
Church members from throughout Oahu traveled to Laie to attend one of two regional conferences held on the campus. Overflow crowds for both conferences gathered in a nearby gymnasium and on the grounds outside.
After acknowledging the many challenges in today’s society, President Hinckley reminded members of the great blessings that are available because of the restoration of the fulness of the gospel.
“The gospel is the answer to life’s problems,” he said. “I don’t think there is one problem that is not solved by living the gospel.” He went on to discuss specific challenges such as financial hardship, depression, selfishness, and domestic and family difficulties. He used the scriptures, personal stories, and anecdotes to illustrate how the gospel solves or alleviates these problems.
Also attending the meetings were Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and Elder Loren C. Dunn of the Seventy, President of the North America West Area.
More than 6,000 members from four stakes attended the afternoon conference session. Included in this gathering were many from the single and married university wards, so President Hinckley counseled the students that since he hoped their professors would be giving them straight A’s, he planned to give them five B’s. He then proceeded to encourage all in attendance to be grateful, be smart, be true, be clean, and be humble.
In closing, President Hinckley said, “I don’t hesitate to promise you that if you will establish and cultivate your lives on these premises, they will be fruitful, of great good, and you will know very much of happiness and accomplishment and achievement.”
In addition to the regional conferences on Sunday, President Hinckley held a four-hour leadership training meeting on Saturday afternoon, met with more than 100 missionaries from the Hawaii Honolulu Mission on Saturday evening, and visited the Polynesian Cultural Center on Monday. President Hinckley also met with Catholic leaders Bishop Francis X. DiLorenzo of the Honolulu Catholic Diocese and Father Marc Alexander on Monday morning, thanking them for the work being accomplished by a coalition opposing same-gender marriages, prostitution, and casino gambling.
Charlotte, North Carolina
Members from North Carolina listened intently as President Hinckley urged them to develop a love of the scriptures. He spoke during a regional conference held in Charlotte on 25 February.
“What a wonderful morning this is,” President Hinckley observed. “Something wonderful is happening to this Church. We’re blooming out across the world. And as the Church grows, our message is always the same: Come unto Christ. Bring the power of God into your lives by reading the Book of Mormon.”
Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and Elder F. Burton Howard of the Seventy, a counselor in the North America Southeast Area Presidency, also spoke at the conference.
On Saturday, 24 February, President Hinckley met with approximately 800 priesthood brethren from six stakes in the region for a training meeting, instructing them on improving their leadership abilities.
“This can be accomplished by practicing a conservation of time, by having our eyes firmly set on the objective, by building on strengths through embracing change, and by starving problems while feeding opportunities.” He also admonished his listeners not to shop on Sunday and warned against drugs, pornography, and immorality. He urged those in attendance to pay their tithing, honor their temple covenants, and sanctify themselves.
Fort Worth and Plano, Texas
President Hinckley presided over two conferences held the weekend of 16–17 March. During the March conference, which included almost 8,000 members from four stakes in the Fort Worth Texas Region, President Hinckley talked about the growth of the Church.
“The Church is on the move,” he said. “It is moving across the earth. What a glorious time to be alive. … Fifty years ago, 55 percent of the membership of the Church lived in Utah. Now, only 17 percent live there, with more Latter-day Saints in Utah than ever before. We are growing elsewhere, and we are growing in Texas. … This is a wonderful time to be part of an organization that is doing something, that is changing lives.”
President Hinckley then shared a letter from a man who had been extremely worried about his family. However, the man had received a Book of Mormon and started reading it and then listened to the missionary discussions. After only a few weeks, he was baptized. His wife and children soon followed. “The changes have been almost miraculous,” the letter stated. “I can’t believe what has happened to us.”
Also speaking during the regional conference were Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and Elder Lynn A. Mickelsen of the Seventy, a counselor in the North America Southwest Area Presidency.
That same afternoon, President Hinckley presided over a regional conference for members from the four stakes in the Plano Texas Region. Also attending and speaking at this conference were Elder L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and Elder W. Mack Lawrence of the Seventy, President of the North America Southwest Area. During his remarks in that meeting, President Hinckley recalled an incident when he was a young man and a General Authority told him that the gospel had the answer to life’s problems. “I have discovered that this is true,” testified President Hinckley. “Brothers and sisters, it is true!”
He then talked of the importance of tithing. “Do you have financial problems?” he asked. “Do you worry about money? Of course you do. Pay your tithing. That doesn’t mean you will all get rich. … But you will have enough to be happy.”
The gospel has answers for other challenges, as well, he continued, including family difficulties, health problems, and even death. “How grateful I am for the gospel of Jesus Christ,” he concluded. “Whatever the problem is, I have become satisfied that there is an answer in the gospel. As you apply the principles, you will learn to know the truth of it and the divine origin of it. God help us to be true and faithful to the great gifts that will come to us through this wonderful thing which we call the gospel of Jesus Christ.”
In addition to speaking at the regional conference, President Hinckley conducted priesthood training meetings for members in both regions and met with about 300 missionaries of the Texas Dallas and Texas Forth Worth Missions.
San Diego, California
During the weekend of 23–24 March, President Hinckley spoke at two firesides for youth (held on Saturday) and one fireside for young adults (held on Sunday) from the 14 stakes and two districts in San Diego County.
To the young adults, President Hinckley recounted the scriptural story of Thomas, one of Jesus’ disciples who would not believe Christ had been resurrected. Finally Christ appeared to Thomas and counseled him to “be not faithless, but believing” (John 20:27).
Repeating this admonition several times, President Hinckley urged those in attendance to “believe in yourselves. Believe in your capacity to do some good in this world. God sent us here for a purpose.” One of those purposes, he indicated, is to “educate our minds and hands.”
President Hinckley acknowledged the many problems young people face, including school, careers, marriage, and money, but he urged the young members to believe in the Church. “Believe in God, your Eternal Father in Heaven. He will answer your prayers, … maybe not the way you would wish Him to, but He will answer them.
“Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, the Savior and Redeemer of the world. We wouldn’t be here tonight if it weren’t for Him. He is the cornerstone of our faith.”
In his remarks to the youth, President Hinckley spoke of adhering to honesty, chastity, and clean language, and of avoiding drugs. He also provided the youth with a formula for happy living.
“This is the time you’re setting the course of your lives,” he said. “Junior and senior high school is a great season. … Our Heavenly Father wants us to learn, to grow, to be happy. Our lives will be richer, fuller if we seek to walk in the path he set.”
“You’re so very important,” said President Hinckley to the youth. “On your shoulders rests the future of the Church in a few years. All that some people will know of this Church will be what you tell them.”
Accompanying President Hinckley to all three firesides was Elder David B. Haight of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.
President Hinckley spoke in Provo, Utah, twice recently, first at a regional conference for five BYU married student stakes and then at a major fund-raising event for BYU.
During the regional conference on 10 February, President Hinckley offered four cornerstones on which to build homes: mutual respect, the soft answer, financial honesty with the Lord, and prayer.
“Respect one another,” he said. “[Have] that respect which comes of the knowledge that she is a daughter of God and that I am a son of God, that we are children of God, that God loves us. … Respect her and live with honor together and there will be happiness in your lives.”
Referring to Proverbs 15:1 [Prov. 15:1], President Hinckley urged the approximately 6,000 young married members in attendance to “learn to speak quietly in the house. When we speak quietly one to another, things somehow get settled. … That is the way the Lord speaks to us. That is the way we ought to speak one to another. Quiet speech is the speech of harmony. Quiet speech is the speech of love. Keep your voices down.”
President Hinckley urged the students to pay honest tithes and offerings. “You are young and struggling and there is not enough money. … If you want to get ahead in life, live honestly with the Lord and then you will be more inclined to live honestly with others, including honestly one with another.”
President Hinckley spoke of family prayer, of “getting on your knees together, husband and wife, taking your turns thanking the Lord for one another and invoking His blessings upon your dreams, your hopes, your ambitions, your lives, and your children as they come, living close to the Lord, speaking with Him in prayer with love and honor and respect. …
“I do not hesitate to promise that if you will go to your homes and cultivate and nurture … these four cornerstones, your lives will be happy and fruitful of great good. I am satisfied that the Lord will bless you.”
Also attending the regional conference were Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and Elder James M. Paramore of the Seventy. Elder Merrill J. Bateman of the Seventy, president of BYU, joined them for a Sunday session.
On 4 April, President and Sister Hinckley attended the public announcement of BYU’s multi-year capital fund-raising campaign, a drive to generate private donations for both the Provo and Hawaii university campuses to pay for, among other things, new scholarships and additional professors.
“I’m just a little troubled about one thing,” said President Hinckley after campaign organizers outlined the $250-million goal, $140 million of which is already pledged. “You say it’s going to take six years. I’m nearly 86. I don’t know if I’m going to be around that long.”
President Hinckley told the 800 potential donors in attendance that “every dollar spent is an investment that will bear dividends for years to come and across the world.”
The following individuals contributed to this story: Duff Tittle in Laie, Hawaii; A. Arthur Washington in Charlotte, North Carolina; Shirley Fowkes in Forth Worth, Texas; Ken Hudson in Plano, Texas, and Helen Read in San Diego, California.