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Select Quotations from Discourses of President Gordon B. Hinckley Vols. 1 & 2

The following quotes come from the book Discourses of President Gordon B. Hinckley, volumes 1 and 2. These were employee gifts at Christmas by the First Presidency in 2004 and 2005. To visit the site with all of the books and quotes from these, go here.


“Abortion is an ugly thing, a debasing thing, a thing which inevitably brings remorse and sorrow and regret. While we denounce it, we make allowance in such circumstances as when pregnancy is the result of incest or rape, when the life or health of the mother is judge by competent medical authority to be in serious jeopardy, or when the fetus is known by competent medical authority to have serious defects that will not allow the baby to survive beyond birth. But such instances are rare, and there is only a negligible probability of their occurring” (Gordon B. Hinckley, Discourses of Gordon B. Hinckley, Vol. 1, pp. 258-259).


“When I arrived in the mission field 62 years ago, my companion met me at the train station in Preston, Lancashire, and we went to our digs at 15 Wadham Road in that city, and the next morning he said, ‘Now, we are going to study the Bible. We are going to study the Gospel of John. You and I together are going to study the Gospel of John.’ And we began with that great verse, ‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. . . . And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us (and we beheld his glory as of the only begotten of the Father)’ (John 1:1, 14). It did something for me. Try to read the Gospel of John once each year. It’s good for you” (Gordon B. Hinckley, Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley, Vol. 1, p. 336).

“’And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd’ (John 10:16). ‘What is the explanation of that?’ I say to my friends of other churches. I have never heard one give an explanation of it. To us it is prophetic, wonderfully so, of the people described in the Book of Mormon, who came to this Western Hemisphere and here wrote this testament of the New World, which stands side by side with the Bible as the word of God” (Gordon B. Hinckley, Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley, Vol. 1, p. 548).

“’The word of the Lord,’ says Ezekiel, ‘came again unto me, saying Moreover, thou son of man, take thee one stick, and write upon it. For Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions, then take another stick, and write upon it. For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel his companions: And join them one to another into one stick; and they shall become one in thine hand’ (Ezekiel 37:15-17). Now, various scholars have spent a lot of time talking about the interpretation of that word stick. But the fact remains firmly in my mind that—whatever the description of the instrument—this Holy Bible stands as the stick of Judah and this [Book of Mormon] stands as the stick of Joseph and they have become one in the hands of the Lord” (Gordon B. Hinckley, Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley, Vol. 1, p. 548).

“’Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first’ (2 Thessalonians 2:3)—those words of Paul, prophetic in their statement which declare that there should be a falling away before there should be a restoration” (Gordon B. Hinckley, Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley, Vol. 1, p. 548).

Book of Mormon

“I cannot understand why the Christian world does not accept this book. I would think they would be looking for anything and everything that would establish without question the reality and the divinity of the Savior of the world” (Gordon B. Hinckley, General Conference Message, October 6, 2002. Cited in Discourses of President Gordon B. Hinckley, Vol. 2, p. 197).


Jack Cushman: ‘How should members of the Church respond to efforts of some other religious groups to convert them to other beliefs and religions?’ President Hinckley: “Well, I say this: We don’t downgrade any religion. We recognize the good they all do. I say to those of other faiths, ‘You bring all the good that you have and let us see if we can add to it.’ Now, that’s our attitude reduced to a very short statement, and it works” (Gordon B. Hinckley, Washington, D.C. Address to the National Press Club, March 8, 2000. Cited in Discourses of President Gordon B. Hinckley, Vol. 2, p. 581).

“…there are some of other faiths who do not regard us as Christians. That is not important. How we regard ourselves is what is important. We acknowledge without hesitation that there are differences between us. Were this not so, there would have been no need for a restoration of the gospel. . . . We must not become disagreeable as we talk of doctrinal differences. There is no place for acrimony. But we can never surrender or compromise that knowledge which has come to us through revelation and the direct bestowal of keys and authority under the hands of those who held them anciently. Let us never forget that this is a restoration of that which was instituted by the Savior of the world. It is not a reformation of perceived false practice and doctrine that may have developed through the centuries” (Gordon B. Hinckley, Discourses of President Gordon B. Hinckley, Vol. 1, pp. 199-200).


“’We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost’ (Articles of Faith 1:1). The first article of faith epitomizes our doctrine. We do not accept the Athanasian Creed. We do not accept the Nicene Creed or any other creed based on tradition and the conclusions of man” (Gordon B. Hinckley, Discourses of President Gordon B. Hinckley, Vol. 1,  p. 256).


“The media have been kind and generous to us. This past year of pioneer celebrations has resulted in very extensive, favorable press coverage. There have been a few things we wish might have been different. I personally have been much quoted, and in a few instances misquoted and misunderstood. I think that’s to be expected. None of you need worry because you read something that was incompletely reported. You need not worry that I do not understand some matters of doctrine. I think I understand them thoroughly, and it is unfortunate that the reporting may not make this clear. I hope you will never look to the public press as the authority on the doctrines of the Church” (Gordon B. Hinckley, Discourses of President Gordon B. Hinckley, Vol. 1, p. 168).

First Vision

“Our entire case as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints rests on the validity of this glorious First Vision. It was the parting of the curtain to open this, the dispensation of the fulness of times. Nothing on which we base our doctrine, nothing we teach, nothing we live by is of greater importance than this initial declaration. I submit that if Joseph Smith talked with God the Father and His Beloved Son, then all else of which he spoke is true. This is the hinge on which turns the gate that leads to the path of salvation and eternal life” (Gordon B. Hinckley, Discourses of Gordon B. Hinckley, p. 257. Also see Ensign (Conference Edition), November 1998, p. 71 and Church History in the Fulness of Times Student Manual (2003), p. 29).

God the Father

“I listened to a videotape the other night prepared by the Baptists. They are coming to Salt Lake to hold a convention, and they want to convert us all. But they say, among other things in that videotape, that we are not mainstream Christians. As I understand it, they believe that God the Father and the Son, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost are one being. The scriptures tell a different story. Jesus prayed to His Father in Heaven. His Father in Heaven spoke at the time of His baptism. There was a vision of His Father at the time of Transfiguration. And in that great, classic prayer, He said, “Our Father which are in heaven, Hallowed be thy name’ (Matthew 6:9). He said, ‘I will be your access to the Father’ (see John 14:6). They are two beings, entirely separate. And He promised the Holy Ghost as the Comforter when He should leave them. They are separate beings. Joseph Smith, I would like to submit, learned more about the nature of Deity as a 14-year-old boy in the grove of his father’s farm than the acts of all the ministers and priests and the divines who have long argued that question” (Gordon B. Hinckley, Discourses of Gordon B. Hinckley, Vol. 1, p. 513).


“As a Church, we have critics, many of them. They say we do not believe in the traditional Christ of Christianity. There is some substance to what they say. Our faith, our knowledge is not based on ancient traditions, the creeds which came of a finite understanding and out of the almost infinite discussions of men trying to arrive at a definition of the risen Christ. Our faith, our knowledge comes of the witness of a prophet in this dispensation who saw before him the great God of the universe and His Beloved Son, the resurrected Lord Jesus Christ” (Gordon B. Hinckley, General Conference Message, April 2, 2002. Cited in Discourses of President Gordon B. Hinckley, Vol. 2, pp. 171-172).


“There are those who would have us believe in the validity of what they choose to call same-sex marriage. Our hearts reach out to those who struggle with feelings of affinity for the same gender. We remember you before the Lord, we sympathize with you, we regard you as our brothers and our sisters. However, we cannot condone immoral practices on your part any more than we can condone immoral practices on the parts of others” (Gordon B. Hinckley, Discourses of President Gordon B. Hinckley, Vol. 1, pp. 33-34).

“We want to help these people, to strengthen them, to assist them with their problems and to help them with their difficulties. But we cannot stand idle if they indulge in immoral activity, if they try to uphold and defend and live in a so-called same-sex marriage situation. To permit such would be to make light of the very serious and sacred foundation of God-sanctioned marriage and its very purpose, the rearing of families” (Gordon B. Hinckley, Discourses of President Gordon B. Hinckley, Vol. 1, pp. 33-34).


“Now, missionaries are careless. My, you are careless. You are just terribly careless. Your mothers have taken care of you all your lives now, and you are going out to care for yourselves, and you don’t know how to do it. Be careful. Guard your health. Eat good food–not rich food but good food. Observe good hygiene, good sanitation. Stay away from sickness. Keep your apartments tidy. Clean them up. Make your beds. It is amazing how many beds are made when, at a missionary meeting, the mission president says, ‘I’m going to visit your digs tonight.’ Everybody runs home and makes the bed that hasn’t been made for two months. Make the bed, every day, and live orderly lives. I plead with you to do that. We have altogether too much sickness in the mission field–too much of it. It is terribly costly in money and in time. Live lives that will preserve your health as much as it is possible to do so, because a sick missionary becomes a handicap. His companion can’t work alone, and he can’t go out. The result is that everything stops. Guard your health, and be very careful and clean in your ways of doing things” (Gordon B. Hinckley, Discourses of Gordon B. Hinckley, Vol. 1, pp. 535-536).

“Take care of yourselves. Protect yourselves against physical danger, and keep your tempers. People will swear at you a little. Don’t swear back. Return good for evil. Don’t be like that missionary who was walking down the street and a man was sprinkling his lawn. As the missionary came along, the man turned the hose on him and said, ‘I understand you believe in baptism.’ The missionaries turned around and grabbed him and said, ‘Yes, and we also believe in the laying on of hands.’ Don’t get involved in that kind of thing. Today they will sue you if you do that. And we have too many of those lawsuits in the mission field” (Gordon B. Hinckley, Discourses of Gordon B. Hinckley, Vol. 1, pp. 536-537).


“It is sad and regrettable that some young men and women have their bodies tattooed. What do they hope to gain by this painful process? Is there ‘anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy’ (Articles of Faith 1:13) in having unseemly so-called art impregnated into the skin to be carried throughout life, all the way down to old age and death? They must be counseled to shun it. They must be warned to avoid it. The time will come that they will regret it but will have no escape from the constant reminder of their foolishness except through another costly and painful procedure. I submit that it is an uncomely thing, and yet a common thing, to see young men with ears pierced for earrings, not for one pair only, but for several. They have no respect for their appearance. Do they think it clever or attractive to so adorn themselves? I submit it is not adornment. It is making ugly that which was attractive. Not only are ears pierced, but other parts of the body as well, even the tongue. It is absurd. We–the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve–have taken the position, and I quote, that ‘the Church discourages tattoos. It also discourages the piercing of the body for other than medical purposes, although it takes no position on the minimal piercing of the ears by women for one pair of earrings ” (Gordon B. Hinckley, General Relief Society Meeting, September 23, 2000. Cited in Discourses of President Gordon B. Hinckley Vol. 2. pp. 41-42).

“I cannot understand why any young man—or young woman, for that matter—would wish to undergo the painful process of disfiguring the skin with various multicolored representations of people, animals, and various symbols. With tattoos the process is permanent unless there is another painful and costly undertaking to remove it. Fathers, caution your sons against having their bodies tattooed. They may resist your talk now, but the time will come when they will thank you. A tattoo is graffiti on the temple of the body” (Gordon B. Hinckley, Discourses of President Gordon B. Hinckley Vol. 2. p. 54. Spoken at the October 7, 2000 General Conference. Also see “Great Shall Be the Peace of Thy Children,” Ensign (Conference Edition), November 2000, p. 52).

“Respect your bodies. The Lord has described them as temples. So many these days disfigure their bodies with tattoos. How shortsighted. These markings last for life. Once in place, they cannot be removed except through a difficult and costly process. I cannot understand why any girl would subject herself to such a thing. I plead with you to avoid disfigurement of this kind” (Gordon B. Hinckley, General Young Women Meeting, March 27 2004. Cited in Discourses of President Gordon B. Hinckley, Vol. 2, p. 275).

“I mention another practice, which is becoming popular. I speak of tattooing one’s body. If you have even considered such an idea, please pause and think. Before you go one step further, ask the Lord about it. He has said concerning your body: ‘Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are’ (1 Corinthians 3:16-17)” (Gordon B. Hinckley, Satellite Broadcast, 175th Anniversary of the Restoration of the Priesthood, May 16, 2004. Cited in Discourses of President Gordon B. Hinckley Vol. 2. p. 504).


“Hundreds and hundred of thousands of nonmembers have attended the open houses associated with these new temples. They have done so with reverence and respect. In many cases the temples are, without question, the finest buildings in the cities in which they are located. People marvel at their beauty. But among many things, they are most impressed with pictures of the Savior they see in these holy houses. They will no longer regard us as a non-Christian people. They must know that the central figure in all of our worship is the Lord Jesus Christ” (Gordon B. Hinckley, Discourses of Gordon B. Hinckley, Vol. 1, pp. 298-299).

“Ever since the Salt Lake Temple was dedicated, we have interpreted that scripture from Isaiah repeated again in Micah (see Micah 4:1-2), as applying to this sacred house of the Lord. And of this place, since the day of its dedication, an ever-increasing number from across the world have said in effect, ‘Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob, that He might teach us of His ways, that we might walk in His paths” (Gordon B. Hinckley, General Conference Message, October 5, 2003. Cited in Discourses of President Gordon B. Hinckley, Vol. 2, pp. 260-261).

Word of Wisdom

“Look upon the Word of Wisdom as more than a common-place thing. I regard it as the most remarkable document on health of which I know. It came to the Prophet Joseph Smith in 1833, when relatively little was known of dietary matters. Now the greater the scientific research, the more certain becomes the proof of Word of Wisdom principles” (Gordon B. Hinckley, Discourses of President Gordon B. Hinckley, Vol. 1, p. 207).

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