“The Prophet Spoke to Youth,” New Era, April 2008, 4–5
President Gordon B. Hinckley loved the youth of the Church. Shortly after he was sustained as President of the Church in 1995, he said to the press: “We are particularly proud of our youth. I think we have never had a stronger generation of young men and women than we have today. … They are going forward with constructive lives, nurturing themselves both intellectually and spiritually. We have no fears or doubts concerning the future of this work.”1
And in general conference he said: “I love the youth of the Church. I have said again and again that I think we have never had a better generation than this. How grateful I am for your integrity, for your ambition to train your minds and your hands to do good work, for your love for the word of the Lord, and for your desire to walk in paths of virtue and truth and goodness.”2
One of the most memorable messages given by President Hinckley for teens was the six B’s. In a special fireside, broadcast around the world in November 2000, President Hinckley taught teens six ways to be:
Be grateful. “Thank the Lord for His marvelous Church. … Thank Him for all that it offers you. Thank Him for friends and loved ones, for parents and brothers and sisters, for family. Let a spirit of thanksgiving guide and bless your days and nights. Work at it. You will find it will yield wonderful results.”
Be smart. “The Lord wants you to educate your minds and hands, whatever your chosen field. … Become a workman of integrity in the world that lies ahead of you.”
Be clean. “We live in a world that is filled with filth and sleaze, a world that reeks of evil. … Avoid evil talk. … Don’t waste your time in destructive entertainment. … I don’t care what the variety [of illicit drugs] may be. They will destroy you if pursued. … In matters of sex … you know when you are walking on dangerous ground, when it is so easy to stumble and slide into the pit of transgression. I plead with you to be careful, to stand safely back from the cliff of sin over which it is so easy to fall. Keep yourselves clean.”
Be true. “You who are members of this Church must have a loyalty to it. … Be true to your own convictions. You know what is right, and you know what is wrong.”
Be humble. “I believe the meek and humble are those who are teachable. They are willing to learn.”
Be prayerful. “You need His help. … You cannot do it alone. You will come to realize that and recognize that more and more as the years pass. So live that in good conscience you can speak with the Lord.”3
President Hinckley was the only prophet youth around the world knew while in their teen years. He was beloved and revered. Here are some teens’ and young adults’ feelings about President Hinckley:
I’ve never met President Hinckley, but when I see his picture, I feel good. He is almost like another father to me. I know he is a prophet. The six B’s made a big impression on me. Being clean and being humble struck me and led me to repent of my pride. I tried to follow the prophet.
So-Ra L., 19, Korea
President Gordon B. Hinckley was a true man of faith. His teachings helped me become a better young man—to have more faith and patience, to pray regularly, to be obedient to my parents and to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.
Gazelem C., 15, Philippines
When I was about nine years old, President Hinckley came to a conference in Geneva, Switzerland. I remember watching him come into the hall, and he radiated love and kindness. I was very excited to see him. President Hinckley was a great example for me. It always impressed me when he spoke to the youth in general conference because I knew what he said came from God. I had great trust in him.
Annina S., 17, Switzerland
President Hinckley’s many teachings made me feel that he really understood the challenges of young people in this latter day. He always warned young people, reminding us not to go astray.
Yu C., 20, Taiwan
I will never forget how I felt the moment in which President Hinckley arrived at Pacaembu Stadium. I felt the Spirit of God intensely. When President Hinckley was ending his talk, he said to us, “You can leave here, go home, and forget everything that I said here today, but never forget that I love you.” I will never forget those words that have meant so much to me.
Dryele M., 20, Brazil
I love President Hinckley. His quiet dignity makes me feel at peace and reassures me that I am being led by a man of God. When I saw him, I couldn’t help but smile and feel thankful.
Candice M., 15, New Zealand