Letter from Pres. Hinckley: 'To our neighbors'

This letter is dated November 14, 2002

To our neighbors,

I send to you my warmest greetings.

For almost all of my 92 years, I have lived and worked in the Salt Lake community among wonderful fellow citizens — people of all faiths and backgrounds whom I have greatly appreciated and considered my friends. We have worked side by side to accomplish many significant things to benefit the community and assist the needy.

Never has the strength of our community been manifest more clearly than earlier this year. Thousands of volunteers, of all beliefs and persuasions, earned international admiration and respect by working tirelessly together to host the 2002 Olympic Winter Games.

I have spoken often and plainly to the members of our Church on the subject of reaching out as good neighbors and being helpful to all. I am convinced this is what God expects of us, despite personal differences of opinion on some matters.

In October 2000, we dedicated the Church's new Conference Center and the new Church plaza — including the area immediately in front of the Salt Lake Temple which was formerly part of Main Street. The prayer of dedication included a plea that the plaza be seen as a place of peace — an oasis in the midst of this bustling city — an island of quiet beauty where the weary may sit and contemplate the things of God and the beauties of nature. Unfortunately, some have since felt that this place of peace should be a place of protest, that this island of quiet beauty should be used for confrontational or noisy demonstrations. A distressing legal battle has ensued.

I am providing you this packet of information for the simple purpose of sharing our perspective. I invite you to study and ponder it in light of our most important goal as neighbors: to live together in peace with appreciation and respect one for another. If, after having read it, you would like to share your thoughts with me, I would gladly welcome them. Please direct any reply to the Office of the First Presidency, Re: Church Plaza, 47 East South Temple Street, Salt Lake City, UT 84150-6200.


Gordon B. Hinckley


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