SAN ANTONIO, Texas President Gordon B. Hinckley still has a souvenir from his first visit to San Antonio almost four decades ago: a handsome Stetson cowboy hat given to him by a local stake president. Stetsons, apparently, age well.
"Every time I put on that Stetson hat, I think of San Antonio," President Hinckley said to thousands of LDS Texans gathered at San Antonio's Alamodome on May 21.
The Church leader offered the concluding remarks at a member meeting that prefaced the festive Heart of Texas Youth Jubilee (see pages 8-9). The devotional which included counsel from Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve and other General Authorities sounded a spiritual tone on the eve of the dedication of the San Antonio Texas Temple. While folks of all ages attended, President Hinckley focused his remarks to the some 4,300 youth who sat together on the floor of the massive Alamodome.
"Come to the temple dedication tomorrow," he told the adults, "and I'll talk to you."
President Hinckley expressed excitement for the soon-to-be-dedicated edifice renowned for art glass windows, water features and ornate interior woodwork.
"It is a beautiful, beautiful temple," he said. "There is no other temple in all of the Church in all of the world that is more beautiful than San Antonio in its interior designs."
President Hinckley reminded the young members of this year's 200th anniversary of the birth of Joseph Smith.
"If ever your faith begins to falter a little, don't forget the miracle of the boy Joseph Smith and what he did as the Prophet of the Lord," President Hinckley added. "He lived for only 38 1/2 years. I've lived two and a half times as long as Joseph Smith, and I haven't done anything like that. Nothing. And neither will you."
President Hinckley spoke of a well-publicized survey that concluded that LDS youth are the most religious young people in the United States. "They worship the faith of their fathers. They know what religion is all about. They get up very, very early in the morning to go to seminary and institute. They are trying to live the kind of lives that come of the testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ."
The Church leader then offered four directives that would lead LDS youth to faith and blessings: Be true. Be clean. Be smart. Be prayerful.
"Be true to the faith of your parents. Be true to the inward impulses that you have to be good and kind and generous. Be true to the great principles of the gospel. Be true to the covenants that you made when you entered the waters of baptism. Be true to the covenants that you renew every Sunday when you partake of the sacrament."
Addressing his audience as "dear young friends," President Hinckley warned of the soiling consequences of drugs and pornography. "Don't ever do anything which will disqualify you to go out into the world in the service of the Lord to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ."
You don't have to be a genius or a straight-A student to be smart, President Hinckley said. "You can receive all the education that you are capable of getting. Don't sell yourself short on education."
President Hinckley said it is his wish that everyone drops to his or her knees every morning and evening to thank God for blessings and ask for His guidance. "You cannot do it alone. You just cannot do it all by yourself. You need a greater power than your own."
Elder Ballard asked all the young people gathered on the Alamadome floor to raise their hand if they planned to serve a full-time mission. He was answered by a sea of upraised hands.
"The Savior's not here, but we are," Elder Ballard said. "We have to be His voice. We're the ones that have to take the gospel to our friends. We have to take it to our family members. And when you become old enough, you'll carry it out to the four corners of the earth."
He said the LDS youth in Texas share a duty to lead their friends and neighbors to the new temple operating in their community. "Our responsibility is to do everything we can to help people come into the Church so they can ultimately receive a temple recommend so that they can go into the house of the Lord here in San Antonio and receive all the blessings that the Good Shepherd has for His sheep."
Elder Charles Didier of the Presidency of the Seventy said a temple is a house of ordinances; a house of temple workers and sealers; a house of holiness.
"Holiness is always associated with sacrifice, and to sacrifice is to perform sacred acts of covenants," Elder Didier said. "Everything that we do in the temple will be in remembrance of the atonement and resurrection of Jesus Christ."
The knowledge of divine and spiritual things, he added, is essential for salvation. The ordinances that will take place in the San Antonio Texas Temple will become expressions of beliefs in the fundamental doctrine of the immortality of the human soul.
A member of the Seventy, Elder Paul E. Koelliker spoke of the faithful Book of Mormon people who "pitched their tents round about the temple" as they gathered to hear their prophet, King Benjamin.
"Which way have we chosen to pitch our tent toward Sodom or toward the temple?" Elder Koelliker asked.
He spoke of the fellowship already being prompted by Texas' fourth temple. "Many of your friends have come to the (temple) open house and left with a deeper respect for the temple. In fact, as many as 500 individuals who came to the site as friends of the Church have now asked for the missionaries to come and tell them more about the gospel."
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