'Stop seeking out the storms': President Hinckley exhorts young adults to 'enjoy the sunlight'

A plea to "stop seeking out the storms and enjoy more fully the sunlight" was issued Sunday evening, March 6, by President Gordon B. Hinckley at a Church Educational System/BYU 19-stake fireside in the Marriott Center.

The fireside was telecast over the Church satellite network throughout the United States, and to Canada, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Jamaica and Mexico for married and single college-age young adult members of the Church. The fireside was the third in a series of six CES firesides to be telecast this year.President Hinckley, first counselor in the First Presidency, contrasted the "litany of negativism" he read in a newspaper Sunday morning with the optimism he feels concerning the Church. He described the present as "the greatest day in the history of the Church."

He spoke of Church growth, saying in 1946, 55 percent of the membership resided in Utah; today only 17 percent of the membership reside in Utah. In 1946, he said, 6 percent resided in international areas. In 1992, 45 percent resided in international areas. Last year, he said, there were 305,000 convert baptisms.

President Hinckley described this as "the greatest temple-building era in the history of the Church. We are building temples where just a few years ago we never would have dreamed of building temples." He mentioned that temples will be dedicated this year in Orlando, Fla., and Bountiful, Utah, that ground has been broken for temples in American Fork, Utah; Bogota, Colombia; and Hong Kong, and that property

has been acquired for a temple in Madrid, Spain. "We have property for about seven others," he said.

He noted it took the Church 100 years to reach a membership of a million people, but now a million members are added every 3 1/2 to 4 years.

"It is wonderful what is happening," he said. "It is the Lord's work. This is the little stone which was cut out of the mountain without hands, which is rolling to fill the whole earth. What we see today, I believe, is but a foreshadowing of greater and more marvelous and wonderful things yet to come. It will come because it is the Lord's work and He is at the helm.

"I hope that you're enthusiastic because there is a terrible ailment of pessimism in the land. It's almost endemic. We're constantly fed a steady and sour diet of character assassination, fault finding, evil speaking one of another."

He spoke of newspaper columnists and radio and television commentators, referring to them as brilliant, but saying they seem unable to deal with balanced truth as they focus on the negative and, in many cases, caricature the facts and distort the truth - at least the whole truth. The tragedy, he said, is that this spirit of negativism seems to prevail throughout the country, infecting the atmosphere on university campuses and the workplace.

"The snide remark, the sarcastic jibe, the cutting down of associates - these too often are of the essence of our conversation," he said. "In our homes wives weep, and children finally give up under the barrage of criticism leveled by husbands and fathers. Criticism is the forerunner of divorce, the cultivator of rebellion, sometimes a catalyst that leads to failure. Even in the Church, it sows the seed of inactivity and finally, in many cases, apostasy."

President Hinckley encouraged his listeners to accentuate the positive, look a little deeper for the good, still the voices of insult and sarcasm, and more generously compliment virtue and effort. "What I am suggesting and asking is that we turn from the negativism that so permeates our society and look for the remarkable good in the land and times in which we live; that we speak of one another's virtues more than we speak of one another's faults; that optimism replace pessimism.

"Let our faith replace our fears. When I was a boy, my father often said to us, `Cynics do not contribute, skeptics do not create, doubters do not achieve.' "

Of pessimism felt throughout the nation, he said: "There is too much fruitless, carping criticism of America." He acknowledged times are dark, and there have been dark days in every nation. He spoke of World War II, when, as bombs were dropping on London, Winston Churchill delivered a speech in which he said:

" `Do not let us speak of darker days; let us speak rather of sterner days. These are not dark days; these are great days - the greatest days our country has ever lived; and we must all thank God that we have been allowed, each of us according to our stations, to play a part in making these days memorable in the history of our race.' "

President Hinckley said it was such talk, not the critical faultfinding of glib cynics, that preserved the people of Britain through those days when all the world thought their little island would go under. "It shall be so with America if we will do less of speaking of her weaknesses and more of her goodness and strength and capacity."

"I do not doubt that we shall have days of trial. . . . But I am certain that if we will emphasize the greater good and turn our time and talents from vituperative criticism, from constantly looking for evil and lift our sights to what may be done to build strength and goodness in our nation, America will continue to go forward with the blessing of the Almighty and stand as an ensign of strength and peace and generosity to all the world."

He said there is much talk of economic depression, and that some in the congregation may be unemployed or struggling financially. He spoke of the Depression of the 1930s, a time of long soup lines, suicides, and a bleakness of life. "But somehow we survived and made it," he said. "I hope and pray that such hard times will never come again, but I think it is not impossible or even improbable if enough people, in a spirit of negativism and defeatism, talk about it and predict it. We are the creatures of our thinking. We can talk ourselves into defeat or we can talk ourselves into victory.

"Likewise, it is so in the Church. We have some who quibble and fret over little things, evidently totally unaware of the majestic destiny of this, the work of God."

In counseling his listeners, President Hinckley said, "Let us look for and cultivate the wonders of our opportunities. . . . You can be overcome by a spirit of defeatism, or you can reach with eagerness the opportunity to learn, to develop marvelous associations, and build great loyalties. It is so easy, under the pressure of the daily grind, to become negative and critical, to be shortsighted and go down in defeat."

Emphasizing that no man stands alone, President Hinckley spoke of the incident when the Savior, walking among a crowd, perceived that strength had gone out of Him as a woman who had been long sick touched His garment. "The strength that was His had strengthened her," President Hinckley said. "So may it be with each of us. Let me urge you to desist from making cutting remarks one to another. Rather, cultivate the art of complimenting, of strengthening, of encouraging. It is a responsibility divinely laid upon each of us to bear one another's burdens, strengthen one another, to encourage one another, to lift one another, to look for the good in one another and to emphasize that good. There is not a man or woman in this vast assembly who cannot be depressed on the one hand or lifted on the other by the remarks of his or her associates."

President Hinckley told those who are married that it is particularly important that they cultivate a positive attitude and constantly look for the virtues in one another. He spoke of a young couple who had stronger inclinations to emphasize each other's faults than to talk of virtues. "They permitted a negative attitude to destroy the sweetest, richest association of life. They had thrown away with careless and sour words the hopes and dreams of eternity. With criticism and shouting they had violated the sacred promises that might have taken them on to exaltation."

To single members, President Hinckley said: "Some who are single long for marriage. It will be more likely to happen if there is the kind of positive, faith-prompted attitude that expresses itself in happiness and good cheer."

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