Expressing his love and thanking the Latter-day Saints for their faithfulness, President Gordon B. Hinckley addressed two member meetings in one week — the first Oct. 25 in Philadelphia, Pa., and the second Oct. 27 in Park City, Utah.
In Pennsylvania to participate in a ceremony naming a Wharton School of Business building in honor of Church member Jon M. Huntsman (see article on this page), President Hinckley addressed some 5,000 members in Philadelphia. Accompanying President Hinckley were Elder David B. Haight and Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve.
During the meeting, President Hinckley asked: "Can anyone doubt that through the restoration of the gospel faith has increased in the earth? Your very presence here this night, my brothers and sisters, is an indication of the faith that you have, your willingness to subscribe to the covenants you have made, to undertake lives consistent with the gospel of Jesus Christ, to walk in faith and righteousness and truth before Him. What a burden that places upon us, but also what a responsibility, and what a precious and priceless opportunity."
President Hinckley directed some of his remarks to converts to the Church, asking converts to raise their hands. "How great is our obligation to teach the world. . . . The Church is in wonderful condition because of the faith of the people, and it has spread across the world and today there are more Latter-day Saints outside of the United States than there are in the United States. That is a remarkable thing, really, when all is said and done. It is truly a remarkable thing, but it is not enough. We can do so much more."
The Church president pondered on "why we are so reluctant" to share the gospel with friends. "I do not know why we are so fearful. I do not know why we are so backward. We do not like to do it. Why? It is the greatest thing on earth. You know what you have. Do you actually know what you have here? Wouldn't you like someone else to have that? I am sure you would. Let us reach out . . . and spread the gospel among our friends. Get on our knees and plead with the Lord to help us to find someone. You never know whose heart will be touched. You can never know unless you try."
In his Park City address, President Hinckley spoke of "the great blessing we have in this Church" to receive a patriarchal blessing. "Think of it. Here is a man who has been called and set apart to bless, and ordain, as it were. He stands as a prophet to individuals under which every member of the Church who is worthy may come and let him place his hands upon their head and give them a blessing."
President Hinckley told members of the congregation, ". . . You have in your midst a patriarch who has been called and chosen and set apart to bless you, my brothers and my sisters. And if you have not received a patriarchal blessing, I urge you to square up and straighten up your lives and become worthy to receive a patriarchal blessing. Then go to your bishop so you might be properly recommended and make an appointment to see [the patriarch] and let him place his hands upon your head and by the power of the Spirit speak to you in an individual and wonderful way, my brothers and sisters."