For only a brief period of his career, 1944-45, President Gordon B. Hinckley worked for an employer other than the Church. During those war years, he went to work for the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad and was eventually based at its headquarters in Denver, Colo.
A recollection from that period was the basis for a sermon he has repeated on many occasions that illustrates the importance of making proper choices in one's life.
Speaking to a congregation of nearly 22,000 at Denver's McNichols Arena on Sept. 13, 1997, President Hinckley retold the incident in which he received a call from his counterpart in Newark, N.J. A passenger train had arrived there without its baggage car.
"We set about to trace it," he said. "We discovered that it was properly loaded in Oakland [Calif.] and delivered by the Western Pacific to the D&RG and carried to Denver, where it was delivered to the Rock Island and was carried to St. Louis [Mo.]. A switchman in the St. Louis yard moved a little piece of steel just 3 inches, and we discovered that a car that should have been in Newark was 1,400 miles away in New Orleans [La.].
"Now that's the way it is with our lives. . . . We've got to watch the switches in our lives. We've got to be alert and follow the right track."