1999
President Hinckley Addresses World Affairs Council
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“President Hinckley Addresses World Affairs Council,” Ensign, Aug. 1999, 75–76

President Hinckley Addresses World Affairs Council

“We teach, we train, we build, we educate, we provide opportunity for growth and development,” said President Gordon B. Hinckley about worldwide Church efforts to members of the World Affairs Council in Los Angeles, California, on 13 May. “We give hope to those without hope, and there is nothing greater you can give a man or woman than hope.”

About 2,300 people—more than half of them members of other faiths—attended the forum, including politicians, educators, and diplomats from 19 consulates. “In the underdeveloped countries, we have young men and women, many of them of capacity but without opportunity to improve themselves,” said President Hinckley. “They cannot do so without help. We are now assisting some and are working on plans to assist many more to attend universities in their own lands, where we also operate what we call institutes, where they can study and socialize together. We are providing a ladder by which they can climb out of the impoverishment that surrounds them to make something better of their lives, to occupy places of honor and respect in society, and to make a contribution of significance to the nation in which they live.”

Discussing other ways in which the Church is a worldwide influence for good, President Hinckley said: “We are already engaged in microcredit undertakings, whereby small amounts are loaned to those for whom a hundred or two or three hundred dollars can spell an actual change in their future. When given such credit, these people become entrepreneurs, taking pride in what they are doing and lifting themselves out of the bondage that has shackled their forebears for generations. From a bread shop in Ghana to a woodworking business in Honduras, we are making it possible for people to learn skills they never dreamed of acquiring and to raise their standard of living to a level of which they previously had little hope.”

Describing the Church’s worldwide disaster aid efforts, President Hinckley noted that the Church has worked alongside other relief agencies in Africa, Mexico, Bangladesh, China, Bosnia, North Korea, and Central America. “Immediately upon learning of the recent Kosovo tragedy,” President Hinckley said, “we determined to help where we could. On Monday of a given week, we considered what we might do. On Tuesday we gave approval to proceed, and food boxes began to be assembled at Welfare Square in Salt Lake City. On Wednesday a huge freight plane was loaded with a shipment and left for Europe. On Thursday it was en route there. On Friday goods were unloaded and … delivered to needy people.”

He continued: “When need arises we can act quickly without bureaucracy and red tape. The lives of thousands of unfortunate people not of our faith have been blessed in those countries where there is terrible distress.”

Thanking government officials for their “hospitality in affording visas to our missionaries who go to their home nations,” President Hinckley said: “Our desire everywhere is to make bad men good and good men better. Wherever we go, we go in the front door. Our representatives honor the laws of the nations to which they go and teach the people to be good citizens.”

Weber State University Commencement

“Beauty is to be found all over this earth,” said President Hinckley at commencement exercises held 6 May at Weber State University in Ogden, Utah. “But today I wish to speak of America.”

He continued: “Do we have problems? Of course we do. Are our public forums noisy with argument over what is wrong? Yes. There is trouble in the land. There are problems we do not seem capable of handling. But I come here tonight with a plea that you do not lose faith in America.”

President Hinckley told of an occasion when a journalist asked him about his belief regarding the Constitution. “I replied that I felt it was inspired, that both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States were brought forth under the inspiration of God to establish and maintain the freedom of the people of this nation. I said it, and I believe it to be true. There is a miracle in its establishment that cannot be explained in any other way.” He added: “I dare to say that this nation, when all is said and done, is the greatest stabilizing force in the world. It leads in military power. It leads in economic strength. It is not a perfect nation, but it is a great nation.”

After describing the United States as “a nation that for more than two centuries has remained free and independent and strong, the envy of the world, the hope of the world, the protection of free men everywhere, the manifestation of the power of the Almighty,” President Hinckley concluded: “May God bless this nation. … Bless her leaders that they may rise above pettiness and live after the tradition of the Founding Fathers. Bless our industry that it may benefit all mankind. Bless our science that out of it may come health and happiness for the peoples of the earth.”