At meetings May 18-June 1, President Gordon B. Hinckley delivered 21 official speeches as he visited in Asia. At each place he spoke, he bore strong testimony of God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, and of the blessings that come when people keep the commandments and live worthy of the companionship of the Holy Ghost.
Following are highlights from speeches President Hinckley delivered in general meetings - firesides and special conferences - during his travels in Asia. (Please see page 3 for excerpts from addresses in Cambodia and Vietnam, and Church News, May 25, for a report on his visit to Tokyo and Osaka, Japan.)
At a special conference attended by 2,530 people in the Sun Palace Convention Center in Fukuoka the evening of May 19, President Hinckley spoke of the importance of having deep roots in the gospel of Jesus Christ. "Someday we will have to account to Him for the way we live our lives - will it be a beautiful rose for a day or two or be deeply rooted in the gospel of Jesus Christ?" he asked.
He addressed part of his remarks to investigators attending the meeting: "If you will follow the gospel, repent of your sins, pray unto the Lord concerning the truth of this work, He will reveal unto you by His Holy Spirit a conviction of that truth. If you accept baptism, you will come to a happiness you have never known throughout your life."
NAHA (OKINAWA), JAPAN
On May 20, President Hinckley spoke in City Convention Hall at a meeting attended by more than 1,130 members of the Naha Okinawa Japan Stake and the Okinawa Military District. He spoke of his early visits to Okinawa, and of the reverent respect he feels each time he visits because of those who died on the island in World War II. "I am so grateful for the gospel of Jesus Christ - for the gospel of peace, for the gospel of love that has settled over this land," he said. He blessed the people that they would never have to again endure what the people of the past endured.
He spoke of family prayer, family home evening, attendance at sacrament meeting and the payment of an honest tithing. If the people observe these four things, he promised, "You'll have peace and love in your hearts and homes, and your children will grow in righteousness and truth."
About 2,100 members gathered in KBS Hall in Pusan on May 21. A choir of 240 sang a stirring rendition of "Battle Hymn of the Republic" during the service. President Hinckley was so touched that when he stood to speak, he asked the choir to sing it again.
The topics of family and love were among highlights of the talk President Hinckley delivered "Every Latter-day Saint family ought to be a family where there is love, harmony and peace," he said. He pled with the members to "do all you can to provide referrals whom the missionaries can teach. You will be happy if you do so. Everyone who comes into the Church through your efforts will bring happiness into your life. I make that promise to you."
On May 22, President Hinckley commented regarding the approximate 4,000 people gathered in Olympic Gymnasium No. 3 in Seoul. "To me, this is a miracle," he said. "I first began coming here 36 years ago, in 1960. It was a different country. There was great poverty among the people. There was great suffering among the people. It was heartbreaking to see the things we saw. Now, there is prosperity. There is peace, but I don't know that there's any more faith than there was back then. I've had many wonderful, faith-promoting experiences in this land. . . . I've been around in Korea, and I'm pleased to be back."
He spoke of meetings he had attended with Korean Saints through the years, of the uncomfortable rented halls they met in before the Church owned property in Korea, and related a story of one building that was so cold that he and Sister Hinckley sat with their coats on and hot bricks on the floor at their feet. "Then the hall filled with faithful, wonderful people," he said. "I guess that's why I love you so much. I've been here when you have suffered, and I have shared that sense of suffering with you. In 1975, I came here with President Spencer W. Kimball. . . . It was the first visit for him, and he leaned over to me and said,
What shall I tell these people?' I said,President Kimball, they have suffered so much, bless them that the windows of heaven might be opened and blessings may be poured down upon them.' He stood before the people, and he said: `I bless you that if you will be true and faithful, you will have food on your tables, clothing on your backs and shelter over your heads, and you will not lack for the good things of heaven and earth.'
"I am here to testify, my brothers and sisters, that that blessing has been realized."
In the Taipei International Convention Center on May 23, President Hinckley noted that the first missionaries came to Taiwan 40 years ago. There are now more than 22,000 members of the Church in four stakes and four districts in Taiwan.
President Hinckley promised the more than 3,000 members at the meeting that they would gain blessings as they attend the temple, which stands as a monument for all Taiwan to see. "It is a statement that we believe in the immortality of the soul," he said.
He encouraged the members "with a plea in my heart to live the gospel more fully. Live it in your homes, in your daily associations, and live it in your service in the Church." He stated with clarity, "The work will prosper in this great land."
President Hinckley told the more than 35,000 people gathered in the Amoranto Sports Complex May 30 that he had been interviewed by the media three times that day. He said one of the questions asked was, "Why is the Church growing as it is in the Philippines?"
"The answer," he said, "is simply this: `This Church and this gospel fill a need in the lives of the people. We live in a world of shifting values. Moral values are crumbling throughout the world in nearly every nation, including this nation. And this Church stands as an anchor, a solid anchor of truth in a world of shifting values. Every man and every woman who joins this Church and clings to its teachings will live a better life, will be happier man or woman, will carry in his or her heart a great love for the Lord and His ways.
"I've been asked another question, to the effect that people don't regard us as Christians. I'm sorry if that's the case. If that's the case, it comes of their ignorance of what we stand for. I don't know how anybody could stand stronger as witnesses of the Lord Jesus Christ than do the people of this Church.
"The first article of our faith reads: `We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.' That is our basic, foundation belief. God is our Eternal Father. That isn't in some philosophical sense. That's in a very real sense. . . .
"We believe without any equivocation, without any question, in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus was the Firstborn of our Father's children, and He was the only Begotten in the flesh. He was the Son of God, who condescended to come to earth, to be born under the humblest of circumstances."
CEBU CITY, PHILIPPINES
In the Cebu Coliseum June 1, President Hinckley looked at the congregation of about 9,200 and, pausing with emotion, said: "I came here because I wanted to look into your faces and tell you that I love you. God bless you, my beloved Saints. I love you and pray for you, and I will continue to pray for you. It has been wonderful to be in Asia again!"