Saturday, August 15, 2015

Gordon B. Hinckley on the miracle of each individual

President Gordon B. Hinckley (1910-2008) was called to the Quorum of Twelve in 1961, served as a counselor in the First Presidency from 1981-1995, then as Church President until his death in 2008 at age 97.
"One evening when my wife was at something which women call 'a shower' and I was home alone, I put on a record, turned down the lights, and listened to Beethoven's Concerto for the Violin. As I sat there in the semidarkness, I marveled that such a thing could come of the mind of a man, a man who, in most respects, was as I am. I do not know how tall he was or how broad he was or how much hair he had, but I guess he looked very much like the rest of us. He became hungry, he felt pain, he had most of the problems we have and maybe some we do not have. But out of the genius of that inspired mind came the creation of a masterpiece which has entertained the world through all of these many years.
"I marvel at the miracle of the human mind and body. Have you ever contemplated the wonders of yourself, the eyes with which you see, the ears with which you hear, the voice with which you speak? No camera ever built can compare with the human eye. No method of communication ever devised can compare with the voice and the ear. No pump ever built will run as long or as efficiently as the human heart. No computer or other creation of science can equal the human brain. What a remarkable thing you are. You can think by day and dream by night. You can speak and hear and smell. Look at your finger. The most skillful attempt to reproduce it mechanically has resulted in only a crude approximation. The next time you use your finger, watch it, look at it, and sense the wonder of it.
"You are a child of God, His crowning creation. After He had formed the earth, separated the darkness from the light, divided the waters, created the plant and animal kingdoms—after all this He created man and then woman. I repeat, I hope you will never demean or belittle yourselves. Some of you may think you are not attractive, that you have no talents. Stop wandering around in the wasteland of self-pity. The greatest missionary the world has known, the Apostle Paul, is said to have been short, have a large Roman nose, rounded shoulders, and a whining voice, all of which may not sound too attractive to some persons. Abraham Lincoln, America's greatest hero, was tragically homely. But from his great heart and mind came words such as few other men have spoken.
"I hope you will not indulge in put-downs, in pessimism, in self-recrimination. Never make fun at the expense of another. Look for virtue in the lives of all with whom you associate."
- Gordon B. Hinckley, "A Conversation with Single Adults," address in the Salt Lake Tabernacle on Sept 22, 1996; see Ensign March 1997, pp. 58-63
Click here to read the full talk

This is another example of wise counsel on perspective—how we view ourselves in our environment. Sometimes in the day-to-day pressure of our lives, we forget who we are on the grand, eternal scale. President Hinckley reminds us what a marvel of creation each individual human being is.

It's easy at times for any of us to quickly identify our faults, our shortcomings. We see characteristics in others that we wish we found in ourselves— not only physical traits, but also more ephemeral ones of intellect, talent, personality, or even spirituality. What a great reminder this is, that each of has has value, each of us has things that are precious, each of us is a cherished son or daughter of a loving Father.

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