Gordon B. Hinckley

President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (1910–2008)

Gordon Bitner Hinckley (June 23, 1910January 27, 2008) was President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from March 12, 1995 until his death.

There is nothing that dulls a personality so much as a negative outlook.
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  • Humbly, I seek the blessing of the Lord. I am overwhelmed with a sense of inadaquacy. I feel shaken. I'd like to express appreciation to my father, who lies critically ill. No son ever had a better father. I'd like to express appreciation to my mother. I say these things, because I'd like to make the point that all of us in our various situations are the result, largely, of the lives that touch ours. And today, I feel profoundly grateful for all who have touched mine.
    • General Conference, October, 1958
  • There is nothing that dulls a personality so much as a negative outlook.
    • Whosoever Will Save His Life, Tambuli, Feb 1983, 1.
  • Love is of the very essence of life. It is the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Yet it is more than the end of the rainbow. Love is at the beginning also, and from it springs the beauty that arches across the sky on a stormy day. Love is the security for which children weep, the desire of youth, the cement that binds marriage, and the smoothing oil that prevents devastating friction in the home; it is the peace of old age, the sunlight of hope shining through death. How rich are those who enjoy it in their associations with family, friends, church, and neighbors.
    • And the Greatest of These Is Love, Tambuli, Aug 1984, 1.
  • This is my prayer for all of us—"Lord, increase our faith." Increase our faith to bridge the chasms of uncertainty and doubt. . . . Grant us faith to look beyond the problems of the moment to the miracles of the future. . . . Give us faith to do what is right and let the consequence follow.
    • Lord, Increase Our Faith, Ensign, Nov. 1987, 52–53.
  • Please don’t nag yourself with thoughts of failure. Do not set goals far beyond your capacity to achieve. Simply do what you can do, in the best way you know, and the Lord will accept of your effort.
    • Rise to the Stature of the Divine within You, Ensign, Nov 1989, 94.
  • [W]ithout hard work, nothing grows but weeds.
    • Farewell to a Prophet, Ensign, July 1994.
  • We must work harder to build mutual respect, an attitude of tolerance, with forbearance one for another.
    • Speech to the National Conference of Community and Justice, Feb 21, 1995.
  • There is so great a need for civility and mutual respect among those of differing beliefs and philosophies. We must not be partisans of any doctrine of ethnic superiority. We live in a world of diversity. We can and must be respectful toward those with whose teachings we may not agree. We must be willing to defend the rights of others who may become the victims of bigotry.
    • First talk as President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, April 3,1995.
  • The time has come for us to stand a little taller, to lift our eyes and stretch our minds to a greater comprehension and understanding of the grand millennial mission of this, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
    • Conference Report, Apr. 1995, 95.
  • This church does not belong to its President. Its head is the Lord Jesus Christ, whose name each of us has taken upon ourselves. We are all in this great endeavor together. We are here to assist our Father in His work and His glory. . . . Your obligation is as serious in your sphere of responsibility as is my obligation in my sphere. No calling in this church is small or of little consequence.
    • This Is the Work of the Master, Ensign, May 1995, 71.
  • In all of living have much of fun and laughter. Life is to be enjoyed, not just endured.
    • Stand True and Faithful, Ensign, May 1996, 91.
  • It isn’t as bad as you sometimes think it is. It all works out. Don’t worry. I say that to myself every morning. It will all work out. If you do your best, it will all work out. Put your trust in God, and move forward with faith and confidence in the future. The Lord will not forsake us. He will not forsake us. … If we will put our trust in Him, if we will pray to Him, if we will live worthy of His blessings, He will hear our prayers.
    • Priesthood Session of Jordan Utah South Regional Conference, March 1, 1997.
  • This cause will roll on in majesty and power to fill the earth. Doors now closed to the preaching of the gospel will be opened. The Almighty, if necessary, may have to shake the nations to humble them and cause them to listen to the servants of the living God. Whatever is needed will come to pass.”
    • Look to the Future, Ensign, Nov.1997, 68.
  • I am an old man!... I’m given to meditation and prayer. I would enjoy sitting in a rocker, swallowing prescriptions, listening to soft music, and contemplating the things of the universe. But such activity offers no challenge and makes no contribution. I wish to be up and doing. I wish to face each day with resolution and purpose. I wish to use every waking hour to give encouragement, to bless those whose burdens are heavy, to build faith and strength of testimony.
    • Testimony, Ensign, May 1998, 69.
  • You are people with a present and with a future. Don't muff the ball. Be excellent.
    • The Quest for Excellence, BYU Devotional Address, November 10, 1998.
  • Cram your heads full of knowledge.
    • Life's Obligations, Ensign, Feb. 1999, 2.
  • There is nothing as energizing, as confidence-building, as sustaining as the power of love. How substantial is its influence on the human mind and heart! How great and magnificent is its power in overcoming fear and doubt, worry and discouragement!
    • Standing for Something: Ten Neglected Virtues That Will Heal Our Hearts and Homes, Times Books. ISBN 0-8129-3317-6. (2000).
  • Why is honesty so vital? Because where honesty and integrity are present, other virtues follow. … Men and women of integrity understand intrinsically that theirs is the precious right to hold their heads in the sunlight of truth, unashamed before anyone. Embodied within this simple principle and character trait rests the foundational virtue of every person and of every society.
    • Standing for Something: Ten Neglected Virtues That Will Heal Our Hearts and Homes.
  • A great moral reformation will occur only as reformation takes place in the hearts, minds, and lives of each of us; as morality is reinstated as a priority in the homes of the country; and as men and women, boys and girls, realize that their lives are missing a critical moral component and determine to seek a life of virtue.
    • Standing for Something: Ten Neglected Virtues That Will Heal Our Hearts and Homes.
  • Civility carries with it the essence of courtesy, politeness, and consideration of others. All of the education and accomplishments in the world will not count for much unless they are accompanied by marks of gentility, of respect for others, of going the extra mile.
    • Standing for Something: Ten Neglected Virtues That Will Heal Our Hearts and Homes.
  • The learning process is endless. We must read, we must observe, we must assimilate, and we must ponder that to which we expose our minds. I believe in the evolution of the mind, the heart, and the soul of humanity. I believe in improvement. I believe in growth. There is nothing quite as invigorating as being able to evaluate and then solve a difficult problem, to grapple with something that seems unsolvable and then find a resolution.
    • Standing for Something: Ten Neglected Virtues That Will Heal Our Hearts and Homes.
  • The virtues of forgiveness and mercy must frequently be exercised together. Because we live in a world where there is much harshness, hostility, and meanness, there is also much need for all of us to be more merciful.
    • Standing for Something: Ten Neglected Virtues That Will Heal Our Hearts and Homes.
  • I commend to all the virtues of industry and thrift, which I believe go hand in hand. The labor and thrift of the people make a nation, a community, or a family strong. Work and thrift make the family independent.
    • Standing for Something: Ten Neglected Virtues That Will Heal Our Hearts and Homes.
  • Gratitude is a sign of maturity. It is an indication of sincere humility. It is a hallmark of civility. And most of all it is a divine principle. … Indeed, gratitude is the beginning of civility, of decency and goodness, of a recognition that we cannot afford to be arrogant. We should walk with the knowledge that we will need help every step of the way.
    • Standing for Something: Ten Neglected Virtues That Will Heal Our Hearts and Homes.
  • We have so much to live for, so much to hope for! Humanity is essentially good. We are all of one great family. We can give strength to the voice of hope. We can give thanks to those who work for peace. We can give added attention to those who feed the hungry and bind up the wounds of conflict. To the extent we cultivate this virtue of optimism, we will bless all the world's peoples.
    • Standing for Something: Ten Neglected Virtues That Will Heal Our Hearts and Homes.
  • Our lives are the only meaningful expression of what we believe and in Whom we believe. And the only real wealth, for any of us, lies in our faith. Why do I say this? Faith in a Divine Being, in the Almighty, is the great moving power that can change our lives. With it comes the only lasting comfort and peace of mind. God is our Eternal Father, and He lives. I don't understand the wonder of His majesty; I can't comprehend His glory. But I know that He is intensely interested in our welfare and involved in our lives, that I can speak with Him in prayer, and that He will hear and listen.
    • Standing for Something: Ten Neglected Virtues That Will Heal Our Hearts and Homes.
  • None of us will become perfect in a day or a month or a year. We will not accomplish it in a lifetime, but we can begin now, starting with our more obvious weaknesses and gradually converting them to strengths as we go forward with our lives. This quest may be a long one; in fact, it will be lifelong. It may be fraught with many mistakes, with falling down and getting back up again. And it will take much effort. But we must not sell ourselves short. We must make a little extra effort. We would be wise to kneel before our God in supplication. He will help us. He will bless us. He will comfort and sustain us. He will help us to do more, and be more, than we can ever accomplish or be on our own.
    • Standing for Something: Ten Neglected Virtues That Will Heal Our Hearts and Homes.
  • Believe in Jesus Christ, our Savior and our Redeemer, the Son of God, who came to earth and walked the dusty roads of Palestine-the Son of God-to teach us the way of truth and light and salvation, and who, in one great and glorious act offered an atonement for each of us. He opened the way of salvation and exaltation for each of us, under which we may go forward in the Church and kingdom of God. Be not faithless, but believe in the great and wonderful and marvelous blessings of the Atonement.
    • Selections from Addresses of President Gordon B. Hinckley, Ensign, Mar. 2001, 64.
  • We are sometimes told that we are not a biblical church. We are a biblical church. This wonderful testament of the Old World, this great and good Holy Bible is one of our standard works. We teach from it. We bear testimony of it. We read from it. It strengthens our testimony. And we add to that this great second witness, the Book of Mormon, the testament of the New World, for as the Bible says, "In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall [all things] be established" (2 Cor. 13:1).”
    • Selections from Addresses of President Gordon B. Hinckley, Ensign, Mar. 2001, 64.
  • Under the plan of heaven, the husband and the wife walk side by side as companions, neither one ahead of the other, but a daughter of God and a son of God walking side by side. Let your families be families of love and peace and happiness. Gather your children around you and have your family home evenings, teach your children the ways of the Lord, read to them from the scriptures, and let them come to know the great truths of the eternal gospel as set forth in these words of the Almighty.
    • Selections from Addresses of President Gordon B. Hinckley, Ensign, Mar. 2001, 64.
  • One of the bellwether marks of the growth and vitality of the Church is the construction of temples. . . . We will keep on working to bring the temples to the people, making it more convenient for Latter day Saints everywhere to receive the blessings which can only be had in these holy houses.
    • The Work Goes On, Ensign, May 2001, 1.
  • You can be excellent in every way. You can be first class. There is no need for you to be a scrub. Respect yourself. Do not feel sorry for yourself. Do not dwell on unkind things others may say about you. Polish and refine whatever talents the Lord has given you. Go forward in life with a twinkle in your eye and a smile on your face, but with great and strong purpose in your heart. Love life and look for its opportunities.
    • How Can I Become the Woman of Whom I Dream? Ensign, May 2001, 93.
  • I come to you tonight with a plea that we stop seeking out the storms and enjoy more fully the sunlight. I am suggesting that as we go through life we try to "accentuate the positive." I am asking that we look a little deeper for the good, that we still our voices of insult and sarcasm, that we more generously compliment virtue and effort.
    • Be Not Afraid, Only Believe, CES Fireside for Young Adults, September 9, 2001.
  • The great genius of this church is work. Everybody works. You do not grow unless you work. Faith, testimony of the truth is just like the muscle of my arm. If you use it, it grows strong. If you put it in a sling, it grows weak and flabby. We put people to work. We expect great things of them, and the marvelous and wonderful thing is they come through.
    • Speaking to the Los Angeles World Affairs Council, June 12, 2002.
  • I would like to suggest to you that you ‘grab life by the horns’ and do not let life grab you by the horns. You take control of your lives. … Do not let life control you. … Take charge. Rise to the divinity that is within you.
    • Ensign, June 2003, 74–75.
  • My children and I were at her bedside as she slipped peacefully into eternity. As I held her hand and saw mortal life drain from her fingers, I confess I was overcome. Before I married her, she had been the girl of my dreams, to use the words of a song then popular. She was my dear companion for more than two-thirds of a century, my equal before the Lord, really my superior. And now in my old age, she has again become the girl of my dreams.
    • The Women in Our Lives, Sunday Morning Session, General Conference, October 3, 2004
  • The best thing you can do is just keep busy, keep working hard, so you’re not dwelling on it all the time. Work is the best antidote for sorrow.
    • Discussing the death of his wife with Larry King, 2004.
  • Somehow forgiveness, with love and tolerance, accomplishes miracles that can happen in no other way.
    • Forgiveness, Liahona, Nov 2005, 81–84.
  • By and large, I have come to see that if we complain about life, it is because we are thinking only of ourselves.
    • Words of the Prophet: Forget Yourself and Serve, New Era, Jul 2006, 2–5.
  • The wind is blowing and I feel like the last leaf on the tree. Actually, my health is quite good despite all the rumors to the contrary. Skillful doctors and nurses keep me on the right track; some of you may go before I do.
    • The Things of Which I Know Sunday Morning Session, General Conference, April 1, 2007.
  • So long as this church has any resources, those resources will be made available to those in need, anywhere in the world.
    • Speech given in Honduras, November 1998, following Hurricane Mitch

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