SPOKANE, Wash. — "I have tremendous confidence in the young people of this Church," President Gordon B. Hinckley declared during a youth and young single adult fireside here Aug. 22.
President Hinckley was in Spokane Aug. 21-23 to dedicate the Spokane Washington Temple. (Please see Aug. 28 Church News.)
"I love you," President Hinckley told his listeners. "I believe in you. I have every confidence that you're going to do the right thing, that you're going to make a good life. That you're going to make a contribution to society. That you're going to live the kind of lives that are productive and produce wonderful results. I have every reason to regard you as the greatest generation we've ever had in this Church — notwithstanding all of the temptations which you face."
The Church leader spoke to some 12,000 young people and their families, gathered in a hockey arena near downtown Spokane on a warm Sunday evening. Those accompanying President Hinckley to the fireside were his wife, Marjorie P. Hinckley; Elder David B. Haight of the Quorum of the Twelve, and his wife, Ruby; and Elder John M. Madsen of the Seventy and first counselor in the North America Northwest Area presidency, and his wife, Diane. Elders Haight and Madsen offered brief remarks during the fireside.
Sitting on the stand, along with area stake presidents and their spouses, were Spokane Mayor John Talbott and his wife, Claudia.
A touching moment during the evening was a powerful rendition of "Called to Serve" by an 88-voice youth and young single adult choir, directed by Jennifer Madsen and accompanied by Lon Madsen on the organ.
During the evening, regardless of the age of those attending, many were touched by the spirit of the occasion and by the love shown for and by President Hinckley. At the conclusion of the meeting, as the Church president was exiting the arena, he turned to the crowd for one last wave. One man approached the Church News afterward and asked, his eyes glistening, "Is it always like this?"
In his remarks, President Hinckley encouraged those listening to be grateful for their blessings. "Gratitude, I believe, is the mark of an educated man or woman," he explained. "Walk with gratitude in your hearts. Be thankful for the wonderful blessings which you have. You live in the greatest age in the history of the world. And on top of that, you have all of the marvelous blessings of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.
"You young men and women," he added, "you of the royal birthright, don't muff it! Be grateful, walk in gratitude, and be thankful for every blessing that you have."
President Hinckley also urged the young people to get an education and to prepare to contribute positively to society. "As you perform honorably and with excellence as a workman in the world that lies ahead, you will bring honor to this Church for you will be regarded as a man or woman of integrity and ability and conscientious workmanship."
Continuing, he counseled young people to avoid the filth and sleaze of the world. "I don't hesitate to promise you, that if you will avoid these things the time will come when you will get on your knees with tears in your eyes and thank the Lord.
"You young people have a tremendous inheritance," the Church president declared. "You have a great background of noble ancestry. Many of you are descendants of the pioneers of this great cause, who considered this cause greater than life itself. They died by the hundreds and the thousands in testimony of the truth of this work."
President Hinckley counseled the large congregation to be humble and be prayerful. "You need His help. You cannot do it alone. You'll come to realize that and recognize that. Live worthy of the blessings of God. Get on your knees and thank Him for His goodness to you and express unto Him the righteous desires of your hearts. He hears, He responds, He answers."
Continuing, he related the account of his grandfather traveling to Zion and building Cove Fort in Millard County, Utah, and of the generations that have followed. "I have said to myself again and again, 'Don't you ever do anything which will weaken that family chain. You come with a great inheritance of courage and faith. Pass it on to those who come after you and pray that they will magnify it and live worthy of it.' "
In his remarks, Elder Haight spoke of members' responsibility to share the gospel with others and of the personal potential of each member. "I know that you can do and accomplish and become what you want . . . if you really want to do it. If you put your mind to it and do it in an intelligent, thoughtful, prayerful way, the Lord will magnify you and the Lord will bless you and the Lord will answer your prayers and you will be able to do things far beyond your present ability."
He added: "Live the way you should live and don't be guided into doing some silly and thoughtless things that will cause you to lose some of the blessings that are ours. The gospel is true. It is the hope of the world."
In speaking of the First Vision of the Prophet Joseph Smith, Elder Madsen related the words of God the Father, in introducing His Son, Jesus Christ. "As you come to understand those few precious words of testimony," Elder Madsen said, "then and only then can you understand and can you explain the history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which has been restored to the earth following the vision, the visit of our Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ to the boy prophet."