Conference moments: Among the Saints

In his Sunday morning address, President Gordon B. Hinckley spoke of a wearisome yet wonderful trip to Europe last month.

The trip included a dedication of one temple (The Hague Netherlands Temple), the rededication of another (Freiberg Germany Temple), and the opportunity to speak to thousands of faithful members in distant nations such as Ukraine, Russia and Iceland.

"In these far away places, strange to most of the Church, the gospel flame burns brightly and lights the way for thousands," President Hinckley said.

Fifty years ago an earlier Church president, David O. McKay, used the opening session of 1952 Semiannual General Conference to report a European tour of his own. Like President Hinckley's trip, President McKay's sojourn was highlighted by dedications of sacred buildings and memorable moments with the European members.

From the pulpit of the Salt Lake Tabernacle, President McKay spoke of traveling with his wife, Emma Ray, on May 29, 1952, to Scotland, the land where he had served as young missionary 54 years earlier. President McKay and his traveling party departed from New York, bound for Europe. But bad weather forced the plane to land at Sydney, Newfoundland. The next day they finally arrived in Scotland, where President McKay was soon touched by spiritual nostalgia.

"What a flood of memories filled my soul as a Mrs. O'Hara . . . . graciously showed Sister McKay, two elders and me the old 52 Holmhead St., headquarters of the Scottish Conference 54 years ago," President McKay said.

President McKay spoke of tender moments from his European trip. He recalled standing with a "mellow heart" in "the little bedroom in Wales in which Jeannette Evans, my sainted mother, was born over 100 years ago."

The Church leader told conference-goers gathered in the Tabernacle that he had carried the love and greeting of members everywhere to the 40,000 members living in the 10 missions in Europe.

"And now, this morning, I express again to you in Zion the loving greetings of the Saints in Europe," President McKay said.

And now, half a century later, President Hinckley spoke of his most recent journey, saying, "It has been wearisome, but it has been wonderful to be out among the Saints."