Reminding the young single adults of the Church that he was at least three times older than they are plus one year President Gordon B. Hinckley admonished those 18 to 30 years old that no matter the circumstances in life they should, "go forward with faith and prayer."
"Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid," he said, quoting the Savior who afforded encouragement "in a dark and troubled hour." (John 14:27.)
Addressing thousands of young single adults in the Conference Center as part of the bimonthly Church Educational fireside Sept. 9, President Hinckley spoke heart-to-heart with the young adults of the Church. He acknowledged their concerns for education and family. Proceedings were also broadcast by satellite across the United States and Canada to stake centers.
"Be not afraid, only believe," he admonished, citing Mark 5:35-36.
"Do you have problems?" he asked. "Of course you do. Many of you worry about what to do with your lives, how you will earn a living. Many of you worry about marriage, about having a good companion who will love you and whom you will love. You look forward to the time when you will have children and hope within yourselves that you will be good fathers and mothers.
"You face problems that at times seem insurmountable. . . . You pray about these matters. But you don't seem to get the answers you seek."
"Most of you are in school," he said, expressing his wish that all could be accommodated at a Church university. "I wish that this might be possible, but it cannot be. Please do not feel left out. Grasp the opportunity of the moment wherever you may be. Love the school of your choice. . . . Take from it the very best it has to offer. And hold on to the institute program. Studies have shown that you are as likely to marry in the temple if you do this as if you were at one of the Church-owned schools."
He then reassured them. "You are doing that which the Lord would have you do."
President Hinckley spoke of the "constantly criticizing, seldom praising" writings of syndicated newspaper columnists. "I read the newspapers. . . . These writers are brilliant. . . . But for the most part their attitude is negative," he said, noting that the same venom can be found in some newspapers' letters to the editor.
"Criticism, fault-finding, evil speaking these are of the spirit of the day," he said.
"I come to you tonight with a plea that we stop seeking out the storms and enjoy more fully the sunlight. I am suggesting that as we go through life that we try to 'accentuate the positive,' " he said, suggesting, "that you turn from the negativism that so permeates our modern society and look for the remarkable good among those with whom you associate, that we speak of one another's virtues more than we speak of one another's faults, that optimism replace pessimism, that our faith exceed our fears."
Considering current economic times, he said, "There may be some lean days ahead for some of you. There may be troubles. . . . Do not despair. Do not give up." He then related how he graduated from the University of Utah in 1932, "the very bottom of the most serious depression of modern times."
"But somehow we managed to eat and keep going," he said. "Opportunities gradually opened, first here and then there. No matter the circumstances, I encourage you to go forward with faith and prayer, calling on the Lord. You many not receive any direct revelation. But you will discover, as the years pass, that there has been a subtle guiding of your footsteps in paths of progress and great purpose."
Looking ahead to the 2002 Winter Olympic Games in February, President Hinckley cautioned that a great deal will be written about the Church in the next months. "Much of it is likely to be negative," he said. "Journalists may mock that which to us is sacred. They may belittle that which we call divine. They may accuse us of being opposed to intellectualism. They will in large measure overlook the glory and the wonder of this work.
"But I want to tell you that what they write will not injure us. We may be offended by it, but the work will go forward. . . . They will have great difficulty understanding us, because the Spirit of God is something that is foreign to them."
Responding to a so-called scholar who recently described the Church as an enemy of intellectualism, President Hinckley denounced any interpretation of intellectualism that "excludes the power of the Holy Ghost" and said "the intellect is not the only source of knowledge." (Doctrine and Covenants 121:26.)
"The humanists who criticize us, the so-called intellectuals who demean us, speak only from ignorance of this manifestation. They have not heard the voice of the Spirit. They have not heard it because they have not sought after it and prepared themselves to be worthy of it.
"Believe in yourselves as sons and daughters of God, men and women with unlimited potential to do good in the world," he said in closing. "Believe in personal virtue. There is no substitute for it anywhere under the heavens. Believe in your power to discipline yourselves against the evils which could destroy you. Believe in one another as the greatest generation ever yet to live upon the earth."
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