Thursday, March 10, 2022

President Gordon B. Hinckley on loving life and reaching our divine potential

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.
"For you, my dear friends, the sky is the limit. You can be excellent in every way. You can be first class. There is no need for you to be a scrub. Respect yourself. Do not feel sorry for yourself. Do not dwell on unkind things others may say about you.... Polish and refine whatever talents the Lord has given you. Go forward in life with a twinkle in your eye and a smile on your face, but with great and strong purpose in your heart. Love life and look for its opportunities, and forever and always be loyal to the Church.
"Never forget that you came to earth as a child of the divine Father, with something of divinity in your very makeup. The Lord did not send you here to fail. He did not give you life to waste it. He bestowed upon you the gift of mortality that you might gain experience—positive, wonderful, purposeful experience—that will lead to life eternal."
- Gordon B. Hinckley, "How Can I Become the Woman of Whom I Dream?", Ensign, May 2001, pp. 93-95
Click here to read the full talk

Scrub Oaks on a Utah hillside
President Hinckley, with his perpetually optimistic and encouraging attitude, used the image "don't be a scrub" on more than one occasion in his speeches. Growing up in Utah, the first exposure I had to that word was in describing trees as "scrub oaks" — the small, stunted trees that cover the foothills of the Wasatch mountains. They are often not much more than 6 or 8 feet high, and grow in groups or clusters, competing for the limited water of the annual rainfall. I assume it's the lack of reliable water that has made them adapt, never growing very large.

When I lived on the east coast after graduating college, I discovered that oak trees can be massive, majestic, stunning specimens — living for hundreds of years and growing to impressive heights, their widespread branches offering shade and protection. This is the contrast, perhaps, that President Hinckley was pointing out. We each have the ability to be "first class" and come to realize that "the sky is the limit" as we learn to "be excellent in every way."

So the invitation from this remarkable man is to "love life" and know that God will sustain and bless us to ultimately succeed in every worthy way.

(Compilation and commentary by David Kenison, Orem, Utah, 2022)
October 31, 2015

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