Spirituality must ever be dominant feature of Church

Ponder the things you have heard

Counsel with the Lord- Be men and women of integrity and honesty

As President Gordon B. Hinckley took his place at the Tabernacle podium to close the 167th Semiannual General Conference Sunday afternoon, he announced that he was leaving the text he had prepared and would "just talk with you a little bit and express my deep appreciation to you."

"We need these conferences," he declared. "We need them to remind us of our responsibilities and obligations. We must never forget that spirituality must ever be the dominant feature of the Church."

He spoke of a recent magazine article that praised the Church as a well-run institution of great financial wealth. "It grossly exaggerated the figures," President Hinckley said. "The money the Church receives from faithful members is consecrated. It is the Lord's purse. Our Church facilities are money-consuming and not money-producing. We are not a financial institution. We are the Church of Jesus Christ. The funds for which we are responsible involve a sacred trust to be handled with absolute honesty and integrity and with great prudence as the dedicated consecrations of the people.

"We feel a tremendous responsibility to you who make these contributions. We feel an even greater responsibility to the Lord whose money this is."

As part of a tenderly expressed farewell at the end of the conference, President Hinckley said: "Now, brothers and sisters, we pray that all of you may return safely to your homes. Please be careful. Drive with great care. Ponder the things you have heard. May your experience be similar to that of the people of King Benjamin who all cried with one voice, saying, `We believe all the words which thou hast spoken unto us; and also, we know of their surety and truth, because of the Spirit of the Lord Omnipotent, which has wrought a mighty change in us, . . . that we have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually." (Mosiah 5:2.)

"Let us counsel with the Lord in all our undertakings," President Hinckley implored the members. "Let us be better neighbors. Let us be better employers and employees. Let us be men and women of integrity and honesty in business, in education, in government, in the professions, and in whatever is our place in life."

Emotionally, he said: "I have a confession to make, my brothers and sisters. It is simply this: I love you. I love the people of this Church. I love all who are faithful. I love all who follow the ways of the Lord. It is a humbling thing to preside over the Church. I can never forget the words of Jesus: `He that would be first among you, let him be the servant of all.' "

He thanked the members for their prayers, trust and confidence. "I am deeply grateful for all who have generously assisted in helping us to do our duty," he declared.

"In closing, I would just like to read a word or two from Mormon's great words: `But behold, that which is of God inviteth and enticeth to do good continually; wherefore, every thing which inviteth and enticeth to do good, and to love God, and to serve him, is inspired of God. . . .

"For behold, the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil; wherefore, I show unto you the way to judge; for every thing which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God.' (Moro. 7: 13, 16.)

" ` . . . Whatsoever thing ye shall ask the Father in my name, which is good, in faith believing that ye shall receive, behold, it shall be done unto you.' (Moro. 7:26.)

"I believe those words," President Hinckley testified. "May God bless you, our beloved friends and associates, our brethren and sisters. We are proud to be one with you in moving forward this mighty work. We are all in this together. Every man and woman has a part to play. God give us the strength and the will to play it well.

" `God be with you till we meet again,' my beloved associates. I have sung those simple words in a thousand places across the world since I began my ministry 39 years ago." Pausing to regain composure, he added, "I sing them again today with love and affection. God bless you, my dear friends, I ask in the name of Jesus Christ."

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