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The day will come for a temple in Panama

PANAMA CITY, Panama — The day will come that there will be a temple in Panama, if members here prove worthy, President Gordon B. Hinckley said during a member meeting in Panama City Dec. 18.

"That means that you must live the gospel," President Hinckley told the some 5,000 gathered at a downtown convention center. "You must love and respect one another as husband and wife, and your children as fathers and mothers. It means that you must get along with people and do well in your daily work. It means that you must attend your meetings."

Tithing is an elementary element of gospel living, he said. It is a commandment based on faith. The prophet told the Panamanian people that he and Sister Marjorie Hinckley would soon be meeting with their own bishop for their annual tithing settlement.

"When we have settled with the bishop we'll be able to sleep better because we will know that we have met our obligation to the Lord; we have tried to be honest with Him," President Hinckley said. "Now, the Church doesn't need my money. The Church could get along without my money, but I can't get along without the blessing of the Lord."

The Lord honors those who are honest with Him — He has promised to open the windows of heaven and shower blessings upon the faithful, President Hinckley said.

The prophet told of a Taiwanese man who struggled with tithing after being baptized. The man's financial means were limited and he worried he would not be able to pay rent and buy food for his family if he paid a full tithe. But he followed his wife's earnest persuasions and agreed to pay tithing to their branch president. The next day, the man was unexpectedly given a raise at work.

"When he left the place where he worked, he counted out the money. It was the exact amount of the tithing. He went home and told his wife. They sat down and cried together. And ever since then, he has been faithful in this basic law," President Hinckley said.

President Hinckley spoke of paying his tithing as a young boy. It was only a few cents each year, but he would hand it to the bishop and wait for a receipt that was probably more valuable than his contribution amount.

"But the significant thing is that I had paid my tithing and declared it to be in full," he said. "Out of that habit established when I was a little boy has grown a habit that has gone on throughout my life."

President Hinckley expressed his love for the Panamanian people and admonished them to exercise faith.

"If you will pay your tithing and keep the other commandments, we will find a way to build a temple in Panama. But we can't do it unless you do your part. The temple will cost much, much, much more than you will pay in tithing, but that will come about as a gift of the Church, as a blessing from the Lord, because you have exercised the faith to keep that sacred law."

Christmas is a glorious time of year, President Hinckley said. It is the season when people worship Christ's birth — "a Prince in the royal household on high who agreed to leave all that behind and come down to earth to be born in a stable and under the humblest of circumstances."

Christ walked the streets of Palestine to heal the sick, teach the gospel and bless the people, he added. He gave His life on Calvary's cross and wrought an atonement for all.

President Hinckley also spoke of the first section of the Doctrine and Covenants where the reasons for the restoration of the gospel are set forth:

First, that every man might speak in the name of God.

"Brethren, do you realize the importance of that?" asked President Hinckley. "Do you know what that means, that every man might speak in the name of God, the Lord, even the Savior of the world? He may hold this priesthood, this divine priesthood, this royal priesthood, this thing which comes of God to bless our lives, to bless us in the governments of the Church, to bless us in our homes, to bless us with power and authority, to speak in the name of God."

The prophet admonished Panamanian priesthood holders to live worthy of the priesthood and the blessing of being able to provide family members with sacred priesthood blessings.

That faith might increase in the earth.

"Your faith, and my faith, gives us the power within ourselves to do that which God would have us do. The history of the Church is a history of faith," President Hinckley said.

That an everlasting covenant might be established.

Abraham's people were a select, chosen people; a people called by the Lord to walk in His paths and keep His commandments, President Hinckley said.

"And that's who you are. People of covenant, given a role that is renewed in this time, that 'the fulness of my gospel might be proclaimed by the weak and the simple unto the ends of the earth before kings and rulers.'"

President Hinckley counseled his audience to help and listen to the missionaries serving in their country. He admonished the Panamanian people to live the gospel, study the scriptures and hold family prayer.

"I hope there will be a time when I can come back and look into your faces and see a smile on those faces and have you say, 'We have tried and the Lord has blessed us.' "

President James E. Faust, second counselor in the First Presidency also spoke. He referred to the Panamanian members as pioneers of the work in that section of the world. He commented on the recent dedications of two new temples in Brazil and the wonderful things happening in Latin America.

President Faust then taught the doctrine of being born again, telling Church members to take upon themselves the covenants of baptism. He also bore powerful testimony of Jesus Christ.

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