Sunday, July 24, 2016

Gordon B. Hinckley on honoring our pioneer heritage

President Gordon B. Hinckley (1910-2008) was called to the Quorum of Twelve in 1961. He served as a counselor in the First Presidency from 1981-1995, then as Church President until his death in 2008.
"We stand today as the recipients of their [the pioneers'] great effort. I hope we are thankful. I hope we carry in our hearts a deep sense of gratitude for all that they have done for us.
"It is now 1997, and the future is ahead. As great things were expected of them, so are they of us. We note what they did with what they had. We have so much more, with an overwhelming challenge to go on and build the kingdom of God. There is so much to do. We have a divine mandate to carry the gospel to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people....
"We are engaged in a great and consuming crusade for truth and goodness. Fortunately, we live in a season of goodwill. There has come down to us an inheritance of respect and honor to our people. We must grasp the torch and run the race....
"With so great an inheritance, we can do no less than our very best. Those who have gone before expect this of us. We have a mandate from the Lord. We have a vision of our cause and purpose."
- Gordon B. Hinckley, "True to the Faith", Ensign, May 1997, p. 66-67
Click here to read the full talk

It's now been 19 years since the Church celebrated the 150th anniversary of the pioneer arrival in the Great Salt Lake valley. As President Hinckley spoke on that occasion, he looked to the past at the example of the pioneers, but looked to the future at the challenges and opportunities that were ahead.

He suggested that our endeavors can be blessed by remembering the examples of the past and carrying a sense of gratitude and with us as we move ahead. We recognize that "we have so much more" than those early saints had; our lives are relatively simple and blessed with prosperity and ease. But our challenges are also great. "There is so much to do" for us in these days as we defend the truth and strive to carry the message of the gospel into the world.

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