`Be believing,' members in Baltimore admonished

President Gordon B. Hinckley, only the second president of the Church to visit the Baltimore area in the last 60 years, urged members from five stakes in Maryland and southern Pennsylvania Nov. 15, to "be not faithless, but believing."

President Hinckley's visit marked the first time a president of the Church has visited Baltimore since Dec. 8, 1935, when President Heber J. Grant dedicated the first chapel in the area.As a member of the Quorum of the Twelve, President Hinckley had visited the area once before, 25 years earlier, when he dedicated the second chapel in Baltimore.

"Who would ever have dreamed a few years ago that we could call a meeting and have 7,000 members of the Church here on a Sunday morning," he said.

Before the meeting, streets in downtown Baltimore that are typically quiet on a Sunday morning were abuzz with activity as thousands of vehicles carrying members living in stakes in Annapolis, Baltimore, Columbia, Frederick, Md., as well as York, Pa., converged on the Baltimore Arena.

Accompanying President Hinckley were his wife, Marjorie; Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve and his wife, Barbara; and Elder John K. Carmack of the Seventy and president of the North America East Area and his wife, Shirley.

In his remarks, President Hinckley emphasized the Savior's message to, "be not faithless, but believing." He encouraged members to believe in "God the Eternal Father, the great Creator, Governor of the universe, the essence of all that is good."

He spoke of the risen Lord, whose atoning sacrifice "bridged mortality with immortality."

Believe in the divine mission of the prophet Joseph Smith, he said. "I have not the slightest doubt that when Joseph Smith went into the woods of his father's farm and prayed for the first time in his life that God the Father and the risen Lord appeared before him, and spoke to him, and counseled him, and outlined before him the great destiny of this marvelous work.

"Have you ever stopped to wonder how fortunate you are, how blessed you are, to be a part of this great generation in the history of mankind?" President Hinckley asked. "What a wonder it is to be alive."

He urged members to study the Book of Mormon, to dwell upon its truths, to learn its message, "and be blessed accordingly."

"I'm glad to look into the faces of men and women who pray," he continued, looking over the congregation.

"It was marvelous," LaVon Taylor of the Waverly Branch, Baltimore Maryland Stake, said of the meeting. She was baptized three years after President Grant's visit to the area.

"I appreciated that he urged everyone to improve themselves and to get as much education as they can and to make a valuable contribution to society," said Emily Mello of the Essex Ward, Baltimore Maryland Stake.

"We saw him look at (our family) for some time,' said Keith Manson of the Mt. Airy Ward, Frederick Maryland Stake, "and we could feel his love."

Danielle Smith of the Harford Ward, Baltimore stake, was impressed with the "simple kindness with which he treated his wife."

"To hear his voice and feel his spirit and enthusiasm truly confirmed my faith that he is a prophet of God," said Scott Barr, Young Men president in the Loch Raven Ward, Baltimore Maryland Stake.

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