Add to honors and tributes paid the late Marjorie Pay Hinckley the title of "best-selling author."
In presenting posthumously Deseret Book Company's "Excellence in Writing Award" on March 3 at the company's annual recognition dinner, Sheri Dew said that in 2004 no author published by the company sold more copies of more books than did Sister Hinckley, wife of President Gordon B. Hinckley. She died April 6, 2004.
Sister Dew, president and CEO of Deseret Book, said that Sister Hinckley had an uncanny ability to make everyone feel important and included. "Her optimistic approach to life and intoxicating sense of humor came through in everything she did, said, and wrote — including every book Deseret Book was privileged to publish with her."
She said that the book, Glimpses into the Life and Heart of Marjorie Pay Hinckley, "provided a marvelous introduction to her unique brand of optimism, pragmatism, and general good cheer."
Speaking of each of Sister Hinckley's other publications, Sister Dew said: "Small and Simple Things, made choice bits of her wisdom easily accessible. The Letters of Marjorie Pay Hinckley offered an intimate, behind-the-scenes look at the ordinary, day-to-day life of a woman who was anything but ordinary. Each of these books was a bona fide best-seller. And her Mother's Day booklet, To Women: Is This What I Was Born to Do? very simply sold more copies than any other booklet in Deseret Book history."
Accepting the award in honor of his wife, President Hinckley said: "It's kind of a miracle to me that the little girl I married was so much smarter than I am. I bandied about with a lot of words in my life. I don't know how many speeches I've given in conference, at least a thousand, and many, many other things it seems to me. But she had a way with her. Just say it in a kind of simple, beautiful, sweet and smiling way. And it was really remarkable and bore remarkable results."
He said that after Sister Hinckley passed away last year, the suggestion was made concerning the publishing of her letters. At first, he objected, but finally agreed to the project, providing that all royalties would go to the Book of Mormon Missionary Fund.
President Hinckley read Sister Hinckley's words from Small and Simple Things: "You should see my copy of the Book of Mormon. The pages from First Nephi to the Brass Plates are dog-eared. The rest are reasonably worn. I think I've started the Book of Mormon a few more times than I've finished it."
President Hinckley added, "It would please her immensely to know as a result of the simple little letters and things that she wrote, that the Book of Mormon will be made available in a very large quantity to missionaries who are serving throughout the world. And that, to me, is a very remarkable and wonderful thing."
He described Sister Hinckley as "a great lady with a tremendous capacity." He spoke of
the lecture at Brigham Young University on Feb. 10 by James Q. Wilson, described as "one of the distinguished scholars of the nation," a member of the Harvard faculty for 26 years. The lecture was the first in a series funded by the Marjorie Pay Hinckley Chair in Social Work and the Social Sciences.
President Hinckley said that the books that she has written "have warmed the hearts of people far and wide across the nation. I'm so grateful to have been a part of her life."
Also Deseret Book presented the Excellence in Music Award to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square. "They began as a small band of pioneers, singing praises to God against a backdrop of sagebrush. Today they perform in standing-room-only concert halls around the globe," Sister Dew said. "They have performed for presidents, rulers and kings. They have a Grammy, five gold records, and a National Medal of Arts to their credit. Their weekly program, Music and the Spoken Word, is the longest-running network broadcast in the country. By any standard, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square have achieved international acclaim.
"The Choir's first album, released in October 1949, was a 10-inch record titled 'The Mormon Tabernacle Choir of Salt Lake City — Volume I.' Five decades and 150 albums later, in March 2003, the Choir launched its own label and joined with Deseret Book in a marketing partnership. Since then the Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square have produced six best-selling albums . . . six DVDs, and three books under their own label. In doing so, they have established an extraordinary standard of excellence all while continuing to stir the hearts of people everywhere."
Many years ago President Joseph F. Smith said of the Choir, "I consider it has done more good than five thousand sermons would have done." More recently, President Hinckley stated, simply, "Without a doubt, this is the greatest choir in the world."
Representing the choir and accepting the award in its behalf was Scott L. Barrick, the organization's general manager.
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