Photo by Scot Facer Proctor

Many have come forward to praise President Hinckley this week, including a Time magazine article that claims it was the prophet’s ability to open doors and make people more comfortable with Mormonism that paved the way for Mitt Romney’s run for the White House. 

In Washington D.C., Senators Orrin Hatch and Bob Bennett paid tribute to him on the floor of the Senate, and many notables are flying into Salt Lake to pay their respects.  Thousands are expected to throng the north gate at Temple Square to get tickets to the funeral Saturday morning.

In all this, at Meridian, we have just yearned to hear President Hinckley’s voice again, so here are some memorable quotes from the past few years.

Marvelous Things Happen

“I recall sitting in the Salt Lake Tabernacle when I was fourteen or fifteen — up in the balcony right behind the clock — and hearing President Heber J. Grant tell of his experience in reading the Book of Mormon when he was a boy. He spoke of Nephi and of the great influence he had upon his life. And then, with a voice ringing with a conviction that I shall never forget, he quoted those great words of Nephi: ‘I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them’ (1 Ne. 3:7).  There came into my young heart on that occasion a resolution to try to do what the Lord has commanded. What marvelous things happen when men and women walk with faith in obedience to that which is required of them!”

Gordon B. Hinckley, “If Ye Be Willing and Obedient,” Ensign, Jul 1995, 2

Conviction

“Certitude is certainty. It is conviction. It is the power of faith that approaches knowledge — yes, that even becomes knowledge. It evokes enthusiasm, and there is no asset comparable to enthusiasm in overcoming opposition, prejudice, and indifference.  Great buildings were never constructed on uncertain foundations. Great causes were never brought to success by vacillating leaders. The gospel was never expounded to the convincing of others without certainty. Faith, which is of the very essence of personal conviction, has always been, and always must be, at the root of religious practice and endeavor.”

Gordon B. Hinckley, “Faith: The Essence of True Religion,” Ensign, Oct 1995, 2

The Polar Star

“We know not what lies ahead of us. We know not what the coming days will bring. We live in a world of uncertainty. For some, there will be great accomplishment. For others, disappointment. For some, much of rejoicing and gladness, good health, and gracious living. For others, perhaps sickness and a measure of sorrow. We do not know. But one thing we do know. Like the polar star in the heavens, regardless of what the future holds, there stands the Redeemer of the world, the Son of God, certain and sure as the anchor of our immortal lives. He is the rock of our salvation, our strength, our comfort, the very focus of our faith.”

Gordon B. Hinckley, “We Look to Christ,” Ensign, May 2002, 90

Bookends

“Today, facing west, on the high bluff overlooking the city of Nauvoo, thence across the Mississippi, and over the plains of Iowa, there stands Joseph’s temple, a magnificent house of God. Here in the Salt Lake Valley, facing east to that beautiful temple in Nauvoo, stands Brigham’s temple, the Salt Lake Temple. They look toward one another as bookends between which there are volumes that speak of the suffering, the sorrow, the sacrifice, even the deaths of thousands who made the long journey from the Mississippi River to the valley of the Great Salt Lake.”

Gordon B. Hinckley, “‘O That I Were an Angel, and Could Have the Wish of Mine Heart’,” Ensign, Nov 2002, 4

Black Walnut

“I love trees.  Well, some 36 years ago I planted a black walnut. It was in a crowded area where it grew straight and tall to get the sunlight. A year ago, for some reason it died. But walnut is a precious furniture wood. I called Brother Ben Banks of the Seventy, who, before giving his full time to the Church, was in the business of hardwood lumber. He brought his two sons, one a bishop and the other recently released as a bishop and who now run the business, to look at the tree. From all they could tell it was solid, good, and beautiful wood. One of them suggested that it would make a pulpit for this hall. The idea excited me. The tree was cut down and then cut into two heavy logs. Then followed the long process of drying, first naturally and then kiln drying. The logs were cut into boards at a sawmill in Salem, Utah. The boards were then taken to Fetzer’s woodworking plant, where expert craftsmen designed and built this magnificent pulpit with that wood.  The end product is beautiful. I wish all of you could examine it closely. It represents superb workmanship, and here I am speaking to you from the tree I grew in my backyard, where my children played and also grew.  It is an emotional thing for me.”

Gordon B. Hinckley, “To All the World in Testimony,” Ensign, May 2000, 4

Prophetic Utterance

“As I contemplate this marvelous structure, adjacent to the temple, there comes to mind the great prophetic utterance of Isaiah:  ‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem … O house of Jacob, come ye, and let us walk in the light of the Lord’ (Isa. 2:2–3, 5).  I believe that prophecy applies to the historic and wonderful Salt Lake Temple. But I believe also that it is related to this magnificent hall. For it is from this pulpit that the law of God shall go forth, together with the word and testimony of the Lord.”

Gordon B. Hinckley, “This Great Millennial Year,” Ensign, Nov 2000, 67–71

Priesthood Keys

“’What hath God wrought through the instrumentality of His servant Joseph!’ I give you my testimony of him. He was the ordained servant of God, this Joseph, raised up to become the mighty prophet of this dispensation — ‘a seer, a translator, a prophet, an apostle of Jesus Christ’ (D&C 21:1). To that witness I add another word of testimony, that the members of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles are they who today hold all of the priesthood keys bestowed upon Joseph Smith, with the administration of those keys under the direction of Joseph’s legal successor, the President of the Church.


Gordon B. Hinckley, “‘What Hath God Wrought through His Servant Joseph!’,” Ensign, Jan 1997, 2

Nauvoo Temple Announced

“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.”

Gordon B. Hinckley, “Thanks to the Lord for His Blessings,” Ensign, May 1999, 88

Four Essential Cornerstones

“We have basic cornerstones on which this great latter-day Church has been established by the Lord and built, ‘fitly framed together.’  They are absolutely fundamental to this work — the very foundation, anchors on which it stands. I should like to speak briefly of these four essential cornerstones which anchor The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I mention first the chief cornerstone, whom we recognize and honor as the Lord Jesus Christ. The second is the vision given the Prophet Joseph Smith when the Father and the Son appeared to him. The third is the Book of Mormon, which speaks as a voice from the dust with the words of ancient prophets declaring the divinity and reality of the Savior of mankind. The fourth is the priesthood with all of its powers and authority, whereby men act in the name of God in administering the affairs of His kingdom.”

Gordon B. Hinckley, “Four Cornerstones of Faith,” Ensign, Feb 2004, 2–7

Praise for Our Youth 

“It is wonderfully refreshing to see the faith and faithfulness of our young people. They live at a time when a great tide of evil is washing over the earth. It seems to be everywhere. Old standards are discarded. Principles of virtue and integrity are cast aside. But we find literally hundreds of thousands of our young people holding to the high standards of the gospel. They find happy and uplifting association with those of their own kind. They are improving their minds with education and their skills with discipline, and their influence for good is felt ever more widely.”

Gordon B. Hinckley, “The Church Grows Stronger,” Ensign, May 2004, 4

Fresh Air

“The story is told that reporters were interviewing a man on his birthday. He had reached an advanced age. They asked him how he had done it.

“He replied, ‘When my wife and I were married we determined that if we ever got in a quarrel one of us would leave the house. I attribute my longevity to the fact that I have breathed good fresh air throughout my married life.’”  

Gordon B. Hinckley, “Slow to Anger,” Ensign, November 2007

Let Our Voices be Heard

“The building of public sentiment begins with a few earnest voices. I am not one to advocate shouting defiantly or shaking fists and issuing threats in the faces of legislators. But I am one who believes that we should earnestly and sincerely and positively express our convictions to those given the heavy responsibility of making and enforcing our laws. The sad fact is that the minority who call for greater liberalization, who peddle and devour pornography, who encourage and feed on licentious display make their voices heard until those in our legislatures may come to believe that what they say represents the will of the majority. We are not likely to get that which we do not speak up for.”

Gordon B. Hinckley, “In Opposition to Evil,” Ensign, September 2004

Joseph Learned More

“For centuries men gathered and argued concerning the nature of Deity. Constantine assembled scholars of various factions at Nicaea in the year 325. After two months of bitter debate, they compromised on a definition which for generations has been the doctrinal statement among Christians concerning the Godhead.

“I invite you to read that definition and compare it with the statement of the boy Joseph. He simply says that God stood before him and spoke to him. Joseph could see Him and could hear Him. He was in form like a man, a being of substance. Beside Him was the resurrected Lord, a separate being, whom He introduced as His Beloved Son and with whom Joseph also spoke.

“I submit that in the short time of that remarkable vision Joseph learned more concerning Deity than all of the scholars and clerics of the past.”

Gordon B. Hinckley, “The Great Things Which God Has Revealed,” Ensign, May, 2005.