“President Hinckley Counsels Colorado Youth,” Ensign, June 1996, 74–75
During three separate meetings, President Gordon B. Hinckley spoke to young people in Colorado Springs and Denver, Colorado, on 14 April, giving them guidelines to use in their lives to nurture happiness.
At a morning young adult conference in Colorado Springs, President Hinckley stated that a loving Heavenly Father desires to see His children happy. President Hinckley provided six specific points that, if implemented, would provide that happiness.
First, be grateful, he urged the more than 1,100 young adults in attendance from six stakes in southern Colorado. “We should be thankful for the time in which we live,” he said. “Cultivate a thankful heart.”
Next he told those in attendance to “be smart. Prepare yourself, get the best education you can. It is part of a mandate from the Lord that you train yourselves.”
Third, he admonished the young members to be clean. “If you’re clean, you’ll be able to stand tall in the presence of God. Can you think of a more marvelous thing than that?” he asked.
“Be true,” he counseled next, extolling the virtues of trust, loyalty, and integrity.
Fifth, “Be humble,” he said. “The world is full of arrogant people. ‘Be thou humble; and the Lord thy God shall lead thee by the hand, and give thee answer to thy prayers’” (D&C 112:10).
President Hinckley finished by telling the young adults to be prayerful. “You can’t do it all alone and do your best,” he stated. “You need the help of the Lord. You have the opportunity to pray with the expectation that your prayer will be heard and answered. … Ask the Lord to forgive your sins, to bless you and help you with all the important things that mean so much to you in your life. He stands ready to help.”
Elder David B. Haight, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, accompanied President Hinckley to all three meetings. He spoke briefly, exhorting members to listen to the Church President’s counsel. “We have the responsibility to carry the message of hope and salvation and eternal life out to all the world. That is our charge; that is our responsibility,” he said.
That afternoon and evening, President Hinckley spoke to approximately 4,000 youth during two firesides in Denver. In the first fireside, he recalled an event that occurred while he was living in Denver and working for the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad. A careless employee pulled a lever and threw a small switch that moved a track only three inches but resulted in sending the baggage car of a passenger train 1,400 miles off course.
“That’s the way it is with our lives,” he said. “We have instructions. We know the way we should go, but for some reason we pull a little switch and find ourselves on the wrong track. And when we come to a stop, we are way off from where we belong.”
President Hinckley emphasized that small and seemingly trivial decisions made in youth may have lifelong consequences. Continuing, he echoed the message he’d delivered earlier in the day, encouraging those in attendance to “be true. Be true to the promises that you make every Sunday when you go to sacrament meeting and partake of the sacrament. Think of the meaning of the sacrament every time you partake of the sacrament—and be true!”
In the second meeting, President Hinckley recalled that when he left for his mission to England, his father had given him a small card inscribed with a scripture: “Be not afraid, only believe” (Mark 5:36).
He encouraged the teenagers in attendance to believe in Heavenly Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ and in themselves. “Believe in yourselves, in your capacity to do something remarkable. The work of the world is done by ordinary people who have learned to work in an extraordinary way.”
Believe in goodness and in virtue, he continued, and believe in prayer. “If you so live, you will shine. You will have a luster about you. This is the great day of preparation in your lives.”
In conclusion, President Hinckley encouraged those in attendance to go home and record in their journals that they had heard a prophet tell them that he knew God lives.
Robert H. Slover, assistant director of public affairs for the North America Central Area, and Ray Hendershot, regional director of public affairs for the Colorado Springs Region, contributed to this report.