Speaking with "a father's love" for them, President Gordon B. Hinckley told the young women of the Church March 27, "You are the sum of all the generations that have gone before, the promise of all that will come hereafter."
Addressing the General Young Women Meeting in the Conference Center, President Hinckley declared: "You are second to none. You are daughters of God.
"There has come to you as your birthright something beautiful and sacred and divine. Never forget that. Your eternal Father is the great Master of the universe. He rules over all, but He will also listen to your prayers as His daughter and hear you as you speak with Him. He will answer your prayers. He will not leave you alone."
President Hinckley offered the main address during the annual General Young Women Meeting, which was telecast via Church satellite to meetinghouses in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, Mexico, Central America and parts of South America. Accompanying the Church president were his counselors in the First Presidency, President Thomas S. Monson and President James E. Faust. Also seated on the stand were Elder L. Tom Perry and Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve and Elder Merrill J. Bateman of the Presidency of the Seventy.
Conducting the meeting was Young Women General President Susan W. Tanner, who also offered remarks, along with her counselors, Julie B. Beck and Elaine S. Dalton.
One heartwarming moment during the general meeting was when young women in a choir from Sandy, Utah, were joined by their mothers and sang "A Child's Prayer." The choir, which for the other songs performed during the meeting included only the young women, was directed by Marie Monson and accompanied by Bonnie Goodliffe.
In his address, President Hinckley spoke tenderly and personally to the young women. "I wonder what will happen to you in the next years. Where will you be? What will you be doing? That will depend on the choices you make, some of which may seem unimportant at the time, but which will have tremendous consequences."
Urging the young women to get all the education they can get, he said: "You cannot assume that you have entitlements due you. You will be expected to put forth great effort and to use your best talents to make your way to the most wonderful future of which you are capable. Occasionally, there will likely be serious disappointments. But there will be helping hands along the way, many such, to give you encouragement and strength to move forward."
President Hinckley spoke of the importance of training as the "key to opportunity." He counseled the young women, "Make your money go as far as you can, and take advantage of scholarships, grants and loans within your capacity to repay."
Continuing, he spoke of the Perpetual Education Fund. "Thus far our experience indicates that the training results in compensation three or four times what it was without training. Think of that!
"While this program is not available everywhere, it is now in place where some of you live and, if available, it could prove to be a great blessing in your life."
Be careful in the selection of friends, President Hinckley counseled. "They can make you or break you. Be generous in helping the unfortunate and those in distress. But bind to you friends of your own kind, friends who will encourage you, stand with you, live as you desire to live, who will enjoy the same kind of entertainment, and who will resist the evil that you determine to resist."
President Hinckley spoke frankly with the young women about the instinct the Great Creator planted "within us . . . that makes boys interested in girls and girls interested in boys. That powerful inclination can lead to beautiful experiences, or it can lead to terribly ugly experiences."
He declared that "we cannot accept that which has become common in the world. Yours, as members of this Church, is a higher standard and more demanding. It declares as a voice from Sinai that thou shalt not indulge. You must keep control of your desires. For you there is no future in any other course. I should modify that to say that the Lord has provided for repentance and forgiveness. Nonetheless, yielding to temptation can become like a wound that seems never to heal and always to leave an ugly scar.
"Modesty in dress and manner will assist in protecting against temptation. It may be difficult to find modest clothing, but it can be found with enough effort."
Shun sleazy entertainment, President Hinckley admonished, pleading with the young women to "stay on the high road. Create fun with your good friends. Sing and dance, swim and hike, become involved in projects together, and live life with zest and excitement.
"Respect your bodies, as you've been reminded," he continued. "The Lord has described them as temples. So many these days disfigure their bodies with tattoos. How short-sighted these things are. . . . I plead with you to avoid disfigurement of this kind."
President Hinckley urged the young women to stay away from drugs. "Please do not experiment with them. Stay away from them as if they were a foul disease, for such they really are."
Reminding those listening that they cannot make it on their own, President Hinckley said: "Never hesitate to get on your knees in some private place and speak with Him. What a marvelous and wonderful thing is prayer. Think of it. We can actually speak with our Father in Heaven. He will hear and respond, but we need to listen to that response. Nothing is too serious, and nothing too unimportant to share with Him."
Continuing, the Church president said: "Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ must be a beacon light before you, a polar star in your sky."
He then related the account of a baseball player dropping a fly ball during the 1912 World Series, which led to his team losing the championship. "Unfortunately, we see people dropping the ball all the time," he added, describing scenarios where people may drop the ball.
"A person may have had plenty of self-confidence. He or she may have been a bit arrogant, thinking, 'I do not really have to try.' But when he or she reached for the ball, it passed through the glove and fell to the ground. There is repentance, yes. There is forgiveness, of course. There is a desire to forget. But somehow, the time the ball was dropped is long-remembered."
President Hinckley continued: "I plead with you to never let down, to establish a purpose and hold to the line and move forward undeterred by any opposing temptation or force that may cross the path."
Offering the invocation was Selu Fotu of the Alpine Utah North Stake. The benediction was given by Carly Runia of the Provo Utah Edgemont Stake.
Complete text of Pres. Hinckley's remarks may be found here:
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