"Thanks to the Lord for His Blessings"
President Gordon B. Hinckley
15th President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
169th Annual General Conference
Sunday Afternoon Session
"Great are our blessings. Tremendous is our responsibility. Let us . . . march forward without fear to enlarge among people everywhere the righteousness of the Lord."
My brethren and sisters, these have been two glorious days. The inspiration and power of the Holy Ghost have rested upon us. We rejoice together. As we conclude this conference, we have every reason to thank the Lord for His blessings.
The music has been wonderful. We have been lifted and edified by the choirs and choruses which have sung for us. The prayers have drawn us nearer to the Lord, and those who have spoken to us have done so by the power of the Holy Ghost.
Now the curtains are gradually closing on this notable and exceptional century. In one respect it has been a shameful period in the history of the world. It has been the worst of all centuries, with more of war, more of man's inhumanity to man, more of conflict and trouble than any other century in the history of the world. It has been the bloodiest of all seasons. It has been a time when the adversary of truth has brought his evil influence of destruction and misery and pain to millions upon millions, as witness what is going on in Yugoslavia. The Father of us all must weep as He looks down upon His quarrelsome children.
But in a larger sense this has been the best of all centuries. In the long history of the earth there has been nothing like it. The life expectancy of man has been extended by more than 25 years. Think of it. It is a miracle. The fruits of science have been manifest everywhere. By and large, we live longer, we live better. This is an age of greater understanding and knowledge. We live in a world of great diversity. As we learn more of one another, our appreciation grows. This has been an age of enlightenment. The miracles of modern medicine, of travel, of communication are almost beyond belief. All of this has opened new opportunities for us which we must grasp and use for the advancement of the Lord's work.
And above all of these marvelous gifts is the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ with all of the wonderful authority and blessings that have come therewith. This is verily the dispensation of the fulness of times, bringing with it that which will never again be taken from the earth.
I believe that Peter was speaking of us when he said, "But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light" (1 Pet. 2:9).
Now, brethren and sisters, let us return to our homes with resolution in our hearts to do a little better than we have done in the past. We can all be a little kinder, a little more generous, a little more thoughtful of one another. We can be a little more tolerant and friendly to those not of our faith, going out of our way to show our respect for them. We cannot afford to be arrogant or self-righteous. It is our obligation to reach out in helpfulness, not only to our own but to all others as well. Their interest in and respect for this Church will increase as we do so.
I am deeply grateful that as a Church we are extending humanitarian aid when there is sore distress. We have done a great deal and have blessed the lives of many people who are not of our faith but who also are children of our Father. We will continue to do so for as long as we have the means. To all who have contributed to this effort we express our thanks.
Let us continually work to strengthen our families. Let husbands and wives cultivate a spirit of absolute loyalty one to another. Let us not take one another for granted, but let us constantly work to nurture a spirit of love and respect for each other. We must guard against faultfinding, anger, and disrespect one for another.
Parents, safeguard your families. Bring up your children in light and truth as the Lord has commanded. Shower them with love, but do not spoil them. Share your testimony with them. Read the scriptures together. Guide and protect them. You have no greater blessing and no greater responsibility than those whom the Lord has placed in your care. Pray together. There is no substitute for family prayer when all kneel together before the Lord.
Let us be a people of honesty and integrity, doing the right thing at all times and in all circumstances.
Great are our blessings. Tremendous is our responsibility. Let us get on our knees and plead with the Lord for direction. Then let us stand on our feet, square up our shoulders, and march forward without fear to enlarge among people everywhere the righteousness of the Lord.
In closing now, I feel impressed to announce that among all of the temples we are constructing, we plan to rebuild the Nauvoo Temple. A member of the Church and his family have provided a very substantial contribution to make this possible. We are grateful to him. It will be a while before it happens, but the architects have begun their work. This temple will not be busy much of the time; it will be somewhat isolated. But during the summer months, we anticipate it will be very busy. And the new building will stand as a memorial to those who built the first such structure there on the banks of the Mississippi.
I repeat what I have said before. I love you. I leave my blessing and my testimony of this great and wonderful latter-day work. God be with you till we meet six months from now, I pray in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.