For the last several months I have spent reading the conference talks given by President Gordon B. Hinckley. He was the prophet of my mission and for most of my adult life. President Hinckley’s charisma and powerful stories both moved and inspired me on numerous occasions.
While courting my wife, we visited his funeral memorial and witnessed the hollow shell of a once great and powerful prophet of God. His lifeless body looked almost fake and plastic as he slumbered in the casket. I had never been that close in proximity to President Hinckley or any prophet for that matter. Yet, even in death President Hinckley seemed to be smiling, his wit and humor seemed to push beyond the boundaries of death and time.
This definitely is true with the countless words President Hinckley has shared over the years. From my studies I learned that during his life that President Hinckley spoke 237 times in General Conference. In fact, from the time he was called as an assistant to the 1st presidency in 1958 until he died in 2008 he spoke in every single General Conference, with the only exception of the October 1961 General Conference.
Incidentally, this was the conference he was called and ordained as an apostle. President David O. McKay, the prophet of the time, probably felt that the new calling was overwhelming enough without adding the requirement to speak (though, I have no doubt that President Hinckley would have gladly spoke).
Below I have collected and linked to every single conference talk given by President Hinckley. LDS.org actually only has the General Conferences from 1971 to present day. So, I had to hunt down the rest, which I found at the LDS Scripture Citation Index (another great site to find old talks is the Corpus of LDS General Conference, which lets you see how many times any particular word was mentioned in General Conference).
I initially wanted to read every single talk before publishing this post, but I quickly realized that at the rate I am going it will be 10 years before I finish. So, I plan to update this post as I add new quotes, search tags, thoughts, and even word clouds.
President Hinckley has offered so much wisdom throughout his vast life that I invite any and all to share in the comments their favorite quotes (both from General Conference and elsewhere). ~Paul
MY RESEARCH RESOURCES
GENERAL CONFERENCE TALKS FROM GORDON B. HINCKLEY (1958 to 2007)
Notable Quote: “No man proceeds alone. We grow according to the help given us by those who teach us and lead us.”
Tags: Gratitude, Examples, Respect, Teachers
Notable Quote: “I recall a little widow in New Zealand, the mother of seventeen children. Her husband was gone. A number of her children were gone. As she knelt about the altar with the beautiful children who were left to her and received the assurance that all that she had lost would also be hers, she wept. And all who were with her on that sacred occasion in that dedicated room, wept also. As I have witnessed these and many more inspiring situations during the past six months in these widely scattered lands, I have felt to sing with that convert from the steel mills of Sheffield: “We thank thee, O God, for a Prophet, to guide us in these latter days.”
Tags: Temples, Temple Work, Prophets, Missionary Work
Notable Quote: “One of the great compliments paid the Savior was that he taught as one having authority. The missionary who knows scripture and can quote it speaks with the voice of authority. It is not essential to memorize five hundred citations, nor even three hundred. Fifty well chosen verses of scripture will become a remarkably effective tool in the hands of a missionary. May I suggest that in our family night gatherings we make it a project to memorize one scripture citation a week pertinent to this work. At the conclusion of a year our children will have on their lips a fund of scripture which will remain with them throughout their lives.”
Tags: Missionary Work
Notable Quote: “There is belief but there is no faith. . . One cannot read the testimony [of the Word of Wisdom] without recognizing that true freedom lies in obedience to the counsels of God. It was said of old that ‘. . . the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light’ (Prov. 6:23). The gospel is not a philosophy of repression, as so many regard it. It is a plan of freedom that gives discipline to appetite and direction to behavior. Its fruits are sweet and its rewards are liberal . . .’Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage’ (Gal. 5:1). ‘. . . where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.’ (2 Cor. 3:17).”
Tags: Addiction, Word of Wisdom, Smoking
Notable Quote: Can we expect stability out of instability? Is it any wonder that many of our youth wander in rebellion when they come from homes where there is no evidence of love, where there is a lack of respect one for another, where there is no expression of faith? We hear much these days of the Great Society, and I do not disparage the motives of those who espouse it, but we shall have a great society only as we develop good people, and the source of good people is good homes.
Tags: Youth, Homes, Education, Faith, Patriotism, Rebellion
Notable Quote: “I make no defense of the war from this pulpit. There is no simple answer. The problems are complex almost beyond comprehension. I seek only to call your attention to that silver thread, small but radiant with hope, shining through the dark tapestry of war—namely, the establishment of a bridgehead, small and frail now; but which somehow, under the mysterious ways of God, will be strengthened, and from which someday shall spring forth a great work affecting for good the lives of large numbers of our Father’s children who live in that part of the world. Of that I have a certain faith. I have seen a prototype of what will happen as I have witnessed the development of this work in others of the ancient nations of Asia—in Korea, in Taiwan, in Okinawa, in the Philippines, and in Japan, where altogether we now have more than 25,000 Latter-day Saints. This marvelous membership is the sweet fruit of seed once planted in dark years of war and in the troubled days immediately following, when good men of the priesthood, both civilian and military, through the example of their lives and the inspiration of their precepts, laid a foundation on which a great work has been established.”
Tags: Missionary Work, War, Faith
Notable Quote: “True love is not so much a matter of romance as it is a matter of anxious concern for the well being of one’s companion. Companionship in marriage is prone to become commonplace and even dull. I know of no more certain way to keep it on a lofty and inspiring plane than for a man occasionally to reflect upon the fact that the help-meet who stands at his side is a daughter of God, engaged with Him in the great creative process of bringing to pass His eternal purposes. I know of no more effective way for a woman to keep ever radiant the love for her husband than for her to look for and emphasize the godly qualities that are a part of every son of our Father and that can be evoked when there is respect and admiration and encouragement. The very processes of such actions will cultivate a constantly rewarding appreciation for one another.”
Tags: Marriage, Husband, Wife, Anger, Prayer, Honesty, Respect, Tithing, Finances
Notable Quote: “What marvelous things happen when men walk with faith in obedience to that which is required of them! I recently read the interesting story of Commander William Robert Anderson, the naval officer who took the submarine Nautilus beneath the polar ice from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean, a daring and dangerous feat. It recounted a number of other exploits of similar danger. It concluded with a statement that he carried in his wallet a tattered card that had on it these words, which I commend to you: ‘I believe I am always divinely guided.I believe I will always take the right road.I believe God will always make a way where there is no way.’ I too believe that God will always make a way where there is no way. I believe that if we will walk in obedience to the commandments of God, if we will follow the counsel of the priesthood, he will open a way even where there appears to be no way.”
Tags: Faith, Obedience, Relying on the Lord
Notable Quote: “To all within the sound of my voice who may have doubts, I repeat the words given Thomas as he felt the wounded hands of the Lord: ‘Be not faithless, but believing.’ Believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the greatest figure of time and eternity. Believe that his matchless life reached back before the world was formed. Believe that he was the Creator of the earth on which we live. Believe that he was Jehovah of the Old Testament, that he was the Messiah of the New Testament, that he died and was resurrected, that he visited these western continents and taught the people here, that he ushered in this final gospel dispensation, and that he lives, the living Son of the living God, our Savior and our Redeemer.”
Tags: Faith, Resurrection, Christ, Thomas, Belief
Notable Quote: “We are becoming a great global society. But our interest and concern must always be with the individual. Every member of this church is an individual man or woman, boy or girl. . . This work is concerned with people, each a son or daughter of God. In describing its achievements we speak in terms of numbers, but all of our efforts must be dedicated to the development of the individual. . . Service in behalf of others, study, and prayer lead to faith in this work and then to knowledge of its truth. This has always been a personal pursuit, as it must always be in the future.”
Tags: Missionary work, the Church, individual
Notable Quote: How glorious is the past of this great cause. It is filled with heroism, courage, boldness, and faith. How wondrous is the present as we move forward to bless the lives of people wherever they will hearken to the message of the servants of the Lord. How magnificent will be the future as the Almighty rolls on His glorious work touching for good all who will accept and live His gospel, and even reaching to the eternal blessing of His sons and daughters of all generations through the selfless work of those whose hearts are filled with love for the Redeemer of the world.
Tags: Missionary Work, Optimism, Faith
Notable Quote: “May there be peace and harmony in your homes. Husbands, love and treasure your wives. They are your most precious possessions. Wives, encourage and pray for your husbands. They need all the help they can get. Parents, treat your children with great kindness. They are the coming generation who will bring honor to your name.”
Tags: Family, Marriage, Husband, Wife, Children
Notable Quote: “I will now present the General Authorities, Area Seventies, and general auxiliary presidencies of the Church for your sustaining vote. Before doing so, I should like to take note of the recent passing of President James E. Faust, Second Counselor in the First Presidency. He was an extremely able man, a man of great faith and capacity, who contributed much to our meetings. We greatly miss him. We extend our condolences to his beloved companion, Ruth, and their children.”
Tags: Death, Church Business
Notable Quote: “Now the conference is adjourned for six months. We look forward to seeing you again next April. I’m 97, but I hope I’m going to make it. May the blessings of heaven attend you in the meantime is our humble and sincere prayer in the name of our Redeemer, even the Lord Jesus Christ, amen.”
Tags: Till We Meet Again