"Act well your part. Therein the honor lies." This time-honored maxim and its application to America's Founding Fathers was recently shared with President Gordon B. Hinckley by Pulitzer Prize winning author David McCullough.
Mr. McCullough was in Utah for a speaking engagement and took the opportunity to pay a courtesy call on President Hinckley on Nov. 9.
The two noted authors have in common a love of American history. They conversed about Mr. McCullough's book on John Adams, second president of the United States.
In speaking of those involved in the formation of the United States, President Hinckley inquired of Mr. McCullough, "I think those men were a little arrogant and maybe a bit difficult to get along with, but they had one overriding determination and that was the establishment of this nation. Is that a fair appraisal?"
Mr. McCullough agreed with President Hinckley's insight and noted that the Founding Fathers "saw themselves as players in a grand historic role and were determined to act their part."
He noted the remarkable fact that so many brilliant men were brought together in one place and time to accomplish the difficult task of building a nation.
In return, Mr. McCullough posed a question to President Hinckley: "If you could wave a magic wand and change one thing about this country, what would that be?" he asked.
President Hinckley responded, "I would try to bring about the great fundamental virtues of the Founding Fathers — honesty, integrity and hard work."
President Hinckley presented Mr. McCullough with a special edition of the Book of Mormon, which the visiting author accepted with gracious appreciation.