“President Hinckley Counsels Members to Keep the Faith, Uphold Standards,” Ensign, July 1996, 74–75
During a regional conference in northern Utah on 21 April, President Gordon B. Hinckley urged members from 11 stakes in Cache County, Utah, to be true.
“I see strength, power, truth, love of the Almighty in your faces,” President Hinckley told more than 11,000 members in a morning session of the Smithfield-Logan university regional conference. “We are all in this together. Be strong in the faith. Never let down the standards.” Many of those in attendance were students at Utah State University.
President Hinckley quoted from the well-known hymn “True to the Faith” and encouraged the students to be “‘true to the faith that our parents have cherished, true to the truth for which martyrs have perished, to God’s command, soul, heart, and hand, faithful and true we will ever stand’” (Hymns, no. 254).
During the second session, President Hinckley expressed similar sentiments, telling listeners to “be believing, and be full of faith.”
“Remember, you are children of God in all places, and at all times, and in all seasons. Never forget it. I feel you are a people trying to do the right, moving the kingdom of God forward.”
Accompanying President Hinckley during these meetings were his wife, Marjorie; President Boyd K. Packer, Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and his wife, Donna; and Elder Robert K. Dellenbach of the Seventy, a counselor in the Utah North Area, and his wife, Mary Jayne.
In addition to speaking at the conference sessions, President Hinckley conducted a priesthood leadership session on 20 April. “Get off by yourself,” President Hinckley urged the brethren in attendance. “Ask ‘Am I doing what I ought to be doing? Am I growing where I ought to be growing? Am I getting the Spirit in my life? Have I fasted and prayed? Have I felt the spirit of revelation in me?’
“Leaf through the scriptures as you fast, asking the Lord to lead you by the quiet voice of the Spirit,” he continued. “Increase your influence where you live by living the gospel, turning the other cheek, going the extra mile; but don’t give in on the standards.”
President Packer also spoke at the meetings. During the priesthood session, he urged members to carefully read the proclamation on the family issued by the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles (see Ensign, Nov. 1995, 102). “Be steadfast and never fear. Do not be spoiled by affluence,” he warned. “Learn to sacrifice and work hard. Encourage members to take the leap of faith. Do not be afraid; the holy priesthood of God is with us.”
Elder Dellenbach also spoke in the meetings, reminding members that “spiritual strength is in these mountain valleys, the great wellhead from Idaho to Arizona,” and that our “mental conversion” must be accompanied by a “spiritual conversion felt in the heart and in the mind. Mental assent is not enough,” he said. “We must have spiritual conviction.”
A week later, President Hinckley echoed the same thoughts he had expressed in Logan as he spoke to more than 5,000 members in the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, area.
He discussed a letter he had received signed by 87 youth from the area who promised to walk uprightly before the Lord and to follow His commandments.
“This is a great age of opportunity,” he told those in attendance. “It is also an age of challenges. It is a challenging world, full of filth, temptations, and attractions that lead in the wrong direction.”
“We live in a day of sophisticated temptation,” he said. “Men of great selfishness are reaching out for their enrichment and your impoverishment.”
He promised that if those in attendance would follow the Lord’s teachings, they would stand tall among their associates. “This is the way to happiness,” he stated.
Accompanying President Hinckley to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, was his wife, Marjorie; Elder Neal A. Maxwell of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and his wife, Colleen; and Elder Vaughn J Featherstone of the Seventy, President of the North America Northeast Area, and his wife, Merlene.
Elder Maxwell also spoke at the meeting, saying that “prophets are for following, and following them is vitally important. Prophets are to see things as they are and how they will be.”
In his remarks, Elder Featherstone talked about tithing. “A generous tithing has given us everything we have,” he said. “We ought to obey the commandments.”
During his visit to Pittsburgh, President Hinckley also met with full-time missionaries in the area and conducted a priesthood training session.
Dedication of Events Center
In other activities throughout the month, President Hinckley dedicated the new David O. McKay Events Center at Utah Valley State College in Orem. Speaking at the 22 April dedication, President Hinckley said he hoped the new 150,000-square-foot, three-level building would become a place where character is molded and social ties are developed. He also said that he thought the building’s namesake, President McKay, would approve of “having his name attached” to the structure. “[President McKay] had a deep, penetrating interest in everything pertaining to education,” noted President Hinckley, who also observed that the Church’s ninth President began his professional life as a teacher.
In the dedicatory prayer, President Hinckley asked that activities within the building be wholesome and in harmony with the name it bears. He also prayed that the center would become a place of refuge from the stresses of student life and a place of good fun.
Utah State Fairgrounds
On 4 May, President and Sister Hinckley participated in the Great Salt Lake Council’s annual Scout-a-Rama held at the Utah state fairgrounds in Salt Lake City. Riding in a horse-drawn buggy as part of parade festivities, President and Sister Hinckley greeted some of the 15,000 Scouts in attendance. President Hinckley also spoke about the importance of Scouting and the influence it can have on the lives of those involved.