Obligation to move forth Church and the kingdom of God

Even though 1998 is only six Sundays old, President Gordon B. Hinckley already has spoken at three regional conferences this year. The Salt Lake Holladay Regional Conference, held in the Tabernacle on Temple Square Feb. 8 was the latest multi-stake gathering the Church leader has addressed.

On Jan. 11, he spoke at the Woods Cross Utah Regional Conference and on Jan. 25, he addressed two sessions of the Sandy Utah Central Region. In addition, he spoke to the St. George (Utah) Area Chamber of Commerce Jan. 20.The 87-year-old Church leader shows no signs of slackening his pace. At the Salt Lake Holladay regional conference, he commented that the next Sunday (Feb. 15) would find him speaking at a similar conference in Africa.

Directing remarks to the youth, President Hinckley said: "You are a great generation. . . . I think you are the best generation who have ever lived in this Church. . . . We have among our people a lot of boys and girls who have stepped over the line. They are not doing what they ought to do. We work with them. We try to help them. We try to save them. We try to bring them back. But notwithstanding that number, that relatively small number I believe, we have all of you . . . good young people. You boys and girls who get on your knees and say your prayers and thank the Lord for His blessings and ask Him to guide you and help you and bless you to do the right thing. You go to seminary. . . . You read the scriptures much more than your parents did and much more than your grandparents did. . . . You know more of the gospel. You are brighter. You are finer. More of you go on missions than ever went before. I congratulate you most warmly.

"Now, don't you ever do anything, you boys and girls, don't you ever do anything which would take from you the opportunity of going to the House of the Lord, there at some time to be joined in marriage to a worthy companion. That is a most precious thing that cannot be had by any other people, except they repent and be baptized and become members of this Church. God bless you to grow in faith and to avoid the filthy, terrible, sleaze that is all around you, to turn away from it and live above it. . . You are a generation of sons and daughters of God. Never forget it."

President Hinckley spoke of the hymns of the Church, and cited the text of one of them, "We Are All Enlisted." (Hymn No. 250.)

"My brothers and sisters, we - you and I - are all enlisted till the conflict is over," he said. "We have the great obligation of moving forth the Church and Kingdom of God in the earth. You and I do. And your responsibility in your sphere of action and activity is as serious as is my responsibility in my sphere of activity and action. We are in this together." President Hinckley spoke of the priesthood conferred upon men and young men in the Church, and then spoke of the Relief Society. He said it doesn't matter where one goes throughout the Church, one will find Relief Society sisters, numbering more than 3 million, talking about the same things - lifting people, helping them, strengthening them.

He referred to 1 Pet. 2:9, in which Church members are described as a "chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people."

"What a marvelous time it is to be alive," said President Hinckley in referring to a chosen generation. "Do you ever just stop what you are doing and sit down quietly by yourself and think of what a wonderful thing it has been to come forth in this season of the world's history?"

He then talked about a royal priesthood. He said to the men and boys in the congregation, "You hold the only true priesthood which is upon the face of the earth, restored under the hands of John the Baptist . . . and Peter, James and John. . . . Each of us holding this priesthood has the authority and the right and the privilege and the responsibility of acting in the name of God."

Referring to a holy nation, President Hinckley said he thinks "that refers to a vast congregation of Latter-day Saints of which you are a part. Ten million of us now. Who could believe it? After 100 years the Church numbered approximately 1 million. There are now 10 million of us and we are growing at the rate of a million about every three years and that process has speeded up.

"But the marvelous thing is that no matter how large the number, we are all individuals . . . individual men and women and children, and we worship as individuals. We pray as individuals. We conduct ourselves as individuals. . . . And in our great Church programs we reach out to people as individuals. We don't have mass conversions. . . . We speak to individuals and they join the Church. But we have become a great holy nation of people and I believe with all my heart that we have just begun."

Of being a peculiar people, President Hinckley said: "We are peculiar. Yes. We are kind of strange . . . a little different. We pray differently. Some people object to the way we pray. They don't like it that we pray in the name of Jesus Christ. The Lord Himself indicated that we would go to the Father through Him as our Advocate, and yet they complain about that."

Latter-day Saints are peculiar, he added, in that they observe the Word of Wisdom. He said they are peculiar in the payment of tithing. "We pay our tithes, the ancient law of the tithe which isn't so much a matter of money but a matter of faith, of doing that which the Lord has asked of us."

In concluding his address, President Hinckley said, "I hope that our lives as Latter-day Saints show forth the praises of God who has called us out of darkness into His glorious light."

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