Pres. Hinckley speaks out on live TV show

In front of a live international cable-TV audience Sept. 8, President Gordon B. Hinckley - displaying eloquence and conviction - spoke out on a wide range of subjects.

Complete transcript of President Hinckley's interview with Larry King is available via a link at the Church News Web site: or at the Deseret News Web site: www.desnews.comAppearing on CNN's "Larry King Live," President Hinckley answered questions on such subjects as U.S. President Bill Clinton, polygamy, the Church, the nation's morality, strengthening families, the Book of Mormon - and even baseball and BYU sports - from the show's host and callers.

Early in the program, President Hinckley was asked by Mr. King about his goal as president of the Church.

"My goal," President Hinckley declared, "is to move

the ChurchT as fast and as solidly across the world as we can," noting that the Church is now in 161 countries.

Responding to another question from Mr. King about the Church's finances and how the money is used, President Hinckley noted that the financial law of the Church is the law of tithing, which members follow faithfully, and which dates back to the Old Testament.

"As this Church grows, we have to accommodate our people. We will finish or dedicate 600 new buildings this year. This is a tremendous undertaking." President Hinckley also noted that the Church funds BYU, the largest privately owned, Church-sponsored university in America, and "the great family history resource [that is] used by people all over the world."

Following are excerpts of some of President Hinckley's responses, viewed by millions around the world, to many of the questions posed by Larry King and callers:

President Clinton

Asked if he would echo calls from other religious leaders for President Clinton's resignation in the wake of his moral conduct, President Hinckley said President Clinton must make his own decision and the Congress must make its decision.

The topic of President Clinton was brought up several times by Mr. King.

"I feel very sorry for him, in the first place," President Hinckley said. "Here is a man of great talent and capacity, who has evidently just hurt himself so seriously that it must be a terrible thing for him. Personally, I forgive him. . . . But he still has accountability. He's accountable to the Congress. He's accountable to the people of the United States who elected him. He's accountable to God. . . . That's what he must face.

"Right is right, and wrong is wrong. Thou shalt not commit adultery. Thou shalt not steal. Thou shalt not bear false witness. These aren't suggestions," President Hinckley said. "These are commandments, given by Jehovah on Sinai. The Ten Commandments are as applicable today as when they were first given.

"I am not trying to hold any malice against him or anybody else. I think that is my responsibility to extend the hand of forgiveness and helpfulness, but at the same time, the position of President of the United States carries with it a tremendous trust. In my judgment, an inescapable trust."

President Hinckley said it was his belief that "you can't divorce private behavior from public leadership.

"I don't think it is asking too much of any public officer to stand tall, be a model before the people, not only in ordinary aspects of leadership, but in the manner in which he conducts himself.

He said he was speaking to a principle and not particularly to a personality.

"If you don't establish values at the top and live by those values, you seriously jeopardize behavior down below in the ranks," President Hinckley said.

"Is it asking too much of our public servants to not only make of this nation the greatest nation on earth politically, militarily, but also to give moral leadership to the world?"

Responding to a call about what counsel he had for Church members in regard to President Clinton, President Hinckley replied:

"Let the established procedures run their course."


The issue of polygamy has surfaced after recent investigations of a polygamous sect in Utah for child abuse.

"People mistakenly assume that this Church has something to do with

polygamyT," President Hinckley said. "

The ChurchT has nothing whatever to do with it. It has had nothing to do with it for a very long time. It is outside our realm of responsibility."

The Church leader said the people who practice polygamy today "have no connection with us whatever. They don't belong to the Church. There are actually no Mormon fundamentalists." President Hinckley said that any Church members who become involved in polygamy are excommunicated.

He told the live Larry King audience that polygamy in the early days of the Church was only permitted on a restricted scale - involving between 2 and 5 percent of the Church.

"It was a very limited practice, carefully safeguarded. In 1890, that practice was discontinued. The president of the Church . . . received from the Lord a revelation that it was time to stop, to discontinue it then."

President Hinckley noted that the revelation came more than 100 years ago. "It is behind us," he said.

On the issue of prosecution of polygamists, President Hinckley explained that "it is a matter of civil procedure. The Church can't do anything. We do not have authority in this matter.

"It is a civil offense," President Hinckley reiterated. "It is in violation of the law. We have nothing to do with it. We are totally distanced from it."

Condemning the practice, President Hinckley added that "it is not legal and this Church takes the position that we will abide by the law." He then quoted the 12th Article of Faith: "We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law."

Church growth

President Hinckley was asked by the television host what attracts people to the Church, now 10 million members throughout the world. President Hinckley explained:

"We stand solid and strong for something. We don't equivocate. People are

looking for something in this world of shifting values, of anchors that are slipping. Many people are looking for something they can hang onto, an anchor to which they can attach their lives."

Also, he said, the Church expects its members to measure up to certain standards. "It isn't always easy to be a member of this Church, it is demanding, but it is wonderfully fruitful, and has a tremendous effect upon people."

Later, responding to a question by Mr. King, President Hinckley said as the Church goes into a country, "we go in the front door. We go in legally. We go in with the public officials knowing what we're doing. We don't try any subterfuge."

Blacks in the Church

Mr. King referred to the fact that, at one time, blacks could not obtain "hierarchy" in the Church.

"In 1978," answered President Hinckley, "that was changed. We now work strongly among the blacks. I have been to Africa recently, up and down that continent, meeting with wonderful people, great leaders.

"All of our local leaders are local people who work on a volunteer basis," said President Hinckley.

Christ in America

President Hinckley, in response to a question, told Mr. King that one important element of the Church includes Christ's visit to America - which is recounted in the Book of Mormon. "The Bible is a testament of the Old World. The Book of Mormon is a testament of the New World. They go hand-in-hand in testimony of the Lord Jesus Christ."

Later, in response to a question from a caller, President Hinckley spoke more about the two testaments of the Savior: "The Bible is a witness of the divinity of Christ. The Book of Mormon, we assert, is also a witness of the divinity of Christ." He said they "become two voices, speaking in declaration of the divinity of the Lord."

Humanitarian aid

President Hinckley spoke of the Church's great worldwide humanitarian effort. While Church members don't publicly talk much about humanitarian aid, "we act," the prophet emphasized, and referred to aid by the Church recently given to North Korea. "We do not let politics stand in the middle of what we do." He spoke of sending a farmer to that country to show them how to raise crops. "We have been very helpful there."


President Hinckley said the Church does not become involved with politics. "We don't favor any candidate. We don't permit our buildings to be used for political purposes. We don't favor any party."

Strengthening families

President Hinckley said that one of the Church's great undertakings is to strengthen families. "Families need strengthening," he said, and then emphasized, "Put father at the head of the house again."

A father, he said, should be good man, "who loves his wife and whose wife loves him and whose children love him, and let them grow together as good citizens of the land.

"The great problem facing this nation," he continued, "is what is happening to the American home. It is falling apart. Families are falling apart all over the world."

He said some fathers have abdicated their responsibilities and then quoted from a Readers Digest article that the problem of families falling apart was because there were no fathers in those homes.

Word of Wisdom

Answering a question from another caller about the Word of Wisdom, President Hinckley explained, "The wonderful thing is that the Word of Wisdom has shown to be fruitful in what it accomplishes." He quoted a UCLA study that said to the degree to which the Word of Wisdom is observed, "Mormons have a life expectancy of from 8 to 11 years longer

than the general populationT."


In response to a question, President Hinckley said he does not anticipate a time when women in the Church will hold the priesthood. It would take another revelation to bring that about.

"The women of the Church are not complaining about it," he said. "They have a strong organization, a very strong organization, with 4 million-plus members. I don't know of another women's organization in the world which does so much for women as does this Church. They are happy."

Missionary work

Talking on a personal level with Mr. King about his wife's brother, who just completed his mission, President Hinckley spoke of the many advantages to serving an LDS mission. (Mr. King's wife is a member of the Church.)

He explained that there are currently 57,000 missionaries in the world, interrupting their schooling at their own expense, to teach the gospel. "What greater force for good in all the world could you have than an army like that," President Hinckley said. "What does

a missionT do for them? It builds self-confidence, builds faith, builds interest in people, builds a great concern for the poor and the needy of the earth."


Mr. King interrupted his interview with President Hinckley to announce that Mark McGwire of the St. Louis Cardinals had hit his record-breaking 62nd home run of the season, passing Roger Maris' 37-year-old mark of 61 home runs.

President Hinckley "most heartily" congratulated the baseball player. "This is cause for great celebration," he said.

The Church leader also recalled following Babe Ruth's career - he hit 60 home runs in 1927. "We didn't have television then," he recalled. "But we read about it in the paper. We had a score board on Main Street

in Salt Lake CityT. . . . The ball was moved around on the board and people would stand out there by the hundreds and watch it."

Role as a Church leader

President Hinckley concluded the 60-minute interview by speaking of his role as the president of the Church.

"My role is to declare doctrine," he said. "My role is to stand as an example before the people. My role is to be a voice in defense of the truth. My role is to stand as a conservator of those values which are important in our civilization and our society. My role is to lead people."

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