During an 18-stake fireside at BYU Sept. 3, President Gordon B. Hinckley drew upon some of his own summer experiences to remind his listeners of their "magnificent heritage and tremendous responsibility."
"I have not traveled this summerT as a tourist," said President Hinckley, first counselor in the First Presidency. "I have not been to the beach and walked in the sand. I have not been to resorts or places of fun. In fact, with the exception of a half dozen days, I have been in my office up against the stresses that are felt there."This has become a very large Church with a tremendous organization," President Hinckley declared at the fireside, held in BYU's Marriott Center. The 18-stake fireside was the first of the new school year. "The Church is now established in more than a hundred nations. There are decisions to be made every day, and some of these are difficult. The guidance of the Lord is sought in all of these deliberations. The work is demanding, but there is something wonderfully stimulating in the very challenge of it."
President Hinckley talked of the gratitude he felt for the wonders of the world, three of which he mentioned specifically. "I watched on television a replay of the landing on the moon which occurred 20 years ago," he said. "I still can scarcely comprehend it. . . .
"The other thing that absolutely enthralled me was the descent of Voyager II to within 3,000 miles of Neptune," President Hinckley told the near-capacity congregation in the 23,000-seat center.
"Did you watch it?" he asked. "Did you experience the awesome feeling that I did? Did you wonder why, if man can do such remarkable things, he cannot live together in peace with his brothers on this earth?"
And third, "the other evening I looked through the trees at the eclipse of the moon. . . . There was something tremendous in a recognition of the celestial clockwork which brought into play that wonderful pattern with an exactness that could be calculated precisely by those who understood, if only in a meager way, the wonders of the creations of the Almighty."
In addition, President Hinckley recapped four dedicatory services in which he had participated during the summer.
The first that he mentioned was the dedication of the Carthage Jail block in Illinois where the Prophet Joseph Smith and his brother, Hyrum, were martyred. The second was at a marker pointing to Ensign Peak north of Salt Lake City where President Brigham Young and some associates raised an ensign to the nations.
Next was the dedication of the Church's 42nd operating temple in Portland, Ore. Fourth was the dedication of a monument at Iosepa, a now-abandoned desert community where a group of Hawaiian saints lived for a quarter of a century from 1889-1917.
"My dear brethren and sisters, I have told you these things as reminders of the tremendous heritage that is yours and the tremendous price paid for it," President Hinckley explained. "Hard was the work of those who have gone before us. Magnificent is our heritage, tremendous is our responsibility.
"As I have given you a few personal notes from the diary of my summer, I have done it with the hope that there might be stirred within you a profound sense of gratitude for the magnificent and wonderful blessings that are yours," Pres. Hinckley told the congregation.
He urged individuals to recognize the "great and stirring challenge" that was theirs. He also counseled them to "keep the faith of your fathers, to add to your marvelous inheritance, to train your minds and hands and hearts to strengthen all that is good in the world in which you live, and to grow with understanding as you walk the frontiers of knowledge at this great seat of learning both secular and divine."