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April 1997 General Conference
Our Testimony to the World
by President Gordon B. Hinckley
President of THE CHURCH of JESUS CHRIST of Latter-day Saints
This has been a wonderful conference. The Spirit of the Lord has been here. The music has been inspirational. The talks and prayers have touched us with a desire to do better. We have appreciated all who have spoken and wish that all of the General and Area Authorities and general officers might have been heard from. That would have taken about a week.
We have been reminded that ours is a great inheritance. The past is behind us. It is the future with which we must be concerned. We face great opportunities and great challenges. Our critics at home and abroad are watching us. In an effort to find fault, they listen to every word we say, hoping to entrap us. We may stumble now and again. But the work will not be materially hindered. We will stand up where we fell and go forward.
We have nothing to fear and everything to gain. God is at the helm. We will seek His direction. We will listen to the still, small voice of revelation. And we will go forward as He directs.
His Church will not be misled. Never fear that. If there were any disposition on the part of its leaders to do so, He could remove them. All of us are beholden to Him for life and voice and strength.
Let us be good citizens of the nations in which we live. Let us be good neighbors in our communities. Let us acknowledge the diversity of our society, recognizing the good in all people. We need not make any surrender of our theology. But we can set aside any element of suspicion, of provincialism, of parochialism.
"We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost" (A of F 1:1). This is our primary declaration of faith. We speak unabashedly of the living reality of the Lord Jesus Christ. We declare without equivocation the fact of His great act of Atonement for all mankind. That act brought assurance of universal resurrection and opened the way to exaltation in our Father's kingdom.
This is the burden of our declaration to the world. It is the substance of our theology. It is the wellspring of our faith. Let no one ever say that we are not Christians. (See Are Mormons Christians?)
To those who have been released during this conference, we express our deep gratitude for your past performance. You have done so very, very well. Thank you for your great contributions. To those of you newly sustained, we wish for you great satisfaction and happiness in the work which you will do. All of us at some time will be released by one process or another. It matters not where we serve in this great cause, but how we serve.
Brigham Young and a handful of others are remembered from our pioneer history. But what of the unsung, the unheralded, the unrecognized who lived the gospel, loved the Lord, and did their daily work without fanfare or applause? Will their eternal reward be any less? I think not.
So it is with us. We each make our own contribution, and that contribution adds up to the building of the cause. Your contribution is as acceptable as ours. Jesus said, "If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant of all" (Mark 9:35).
Brethren and sisters, we're all part of one great family. Each has a duty; each has a mission to perform. And when we pass on, it will be reward enough if we can say to our beloved Master, "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith" (2 Tim. 4:7).
May each of you go safely to your homes. May you live together in love and appreciation and respect one for another. May you know the smile of heaven upon your lives.
Our love reaches out to you. We love you very much. We leave our blessing with you. We do so as servants of the living God and in the name of our divine Redeemer. God be with you till we meet again, as we conclude this great and wonderful conference, is my humble prayer in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
(See April 1997 General Conference)
Copyright © 1997. THE CHURCH of JESUS CHRIST of Latter-day Saints. All rights reserved.
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