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Gordon B. Hinckley

Favorite Saying:
“Keep trying. Be believing. Be happy. Don’t get discouraged.”
(Jeffrey R. Holland, “President Gordon B. Hinckley,” Ensign, June 1995, p. 4.)

Personal Motto:
“Carry on. Things will work out. If you keep trying and praying and working, things will work out. They always do. If you want to die at an early age, dwell on the negative. Accentuate the positive, and you’ll be around for a while.”
(Dew, GBH, p. 423.)

“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,” Liahona, Nov 1997, 17)

“…I have observed that it is not the geniuses that make the difference in this world.  In fact, many of them are in jail for trying to find shortcuts to wealth and opportunity.  I have observed that the work of the world is done largely by men and women of ordinary talent who have worked in an extraordinary manner...”
“I hope for you the very best that life has to offer, but I hope even more for a few simple things-things that come of the heart, things that come of the spirit, things that come of the divine in each of us.”
(Gordon B. Hinckley, Address at commencement service for UVSC, April 28, 2001)

“No man can be a true Latter-day Saint who is unneighborly, who does not reach out to assist and help others. It is inherent in the very nature of the gospel that we do so. My brothers and sisters, we cannot live unto ourselves.”
(“Latter-day Prophets Speak: Service,” Ensign, Sept. 2007, 49)

“The most miserable people I know are obsessed with themselves.”
(Gordon B. Hinckley, Standing for Something, p. 56)

"Some people argue over whether [some counsel] is a commandment. I do not need to argue. As far as I am concerned, whether it is a commandment or counsel, that which the Lord counsels becomes a commandment to Gordon B. Hinckley. I hope it does to you."
(Gordon B. Hinckley, "Learn Truth by Living Lord's Principles," LDS Church News, 08/26/95; see also Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley, p. 703)

"I hope you will develop a spirit of fellowship, a social ease, a capacity to mix and mingle with people whenever you meet them, of low caste or high caste, recognizing their strengths and powers and capacities and goodness...A vibrant personality that comes out of the capacity to listen and learn, that comes of the ability to contribute without boring, that comes of a talent for mingling and mixing with people in a constructive way is something precious."                 (Gordon B. Hinckley, “Out of Your Experience Here,” BYU Devotional, October 16, 1990)

“The two years I spent in England were very productive in terms of my development.”
(President Gordon B. Hinckley, “A Challenging Time—A Wonderful Time,” An Evening with President Gordon B. Hinckley, 7 February 2003)

“As we recognize our place and our goal, we cannot become arrogant. We cannot become self-righteous. We cannot become smug or egotistical. We must reach out to all mankind. They are all sons and daughters of God our Eternal Father, and He will hold us accountable for what we do concerning them. . . as we go forward, may we bless humanity with an outreach to all, lifting those who are downtrodden and oppressed, feeding and clothing the hungry and the needy, extending love and neighborliness to those about us who may not be part of this Church. The Lord has shown us the way. He has given us His word, His counsel, His guidance, yea, His commandments. We have done well. We have much to be grateful for and much to be proud of. But we can do better, so much better.”
(General Conference, October 2001)
“[We are] not argumentative. We do not debate. We, in effect, simply say to others, ‘Bring all the good that you have and let us see if we can add to it’ ”
(“The BYU Experience,” BYU devotional address, 4 Nov. 1997).

“How glorious is the past of this great cause.  It is filled with heroism, courage, boldness, and faith.  How wondrous is the present as we move forward to bless the lives of people wherever they will hearken to the message of the servants of the Lord.  How magnificent will be the future as the Almighty rolls on His glorious work, touching for good all who will accept and live His gospel and even reaching to the eternal blessing of His sons and daughters of all generations through the selfless work of those whose hearts are filled with love for the Redeemer of the world.”
(Gordon B. Hinckley, CR, Oct. 1995, 95; or Ensign, Nov. 1995, 72)

“You are good.  But it is not enough just to be good.  You must be good for something.  You must contribute good to the world.  The world must be a better place for your presence.  And the good that is in you must be spread to others.
“. . . in this world so filled with problems, so constantly threatened by dark and evil challenges, you can and must rise above mediocrity, above indifference.  You can become involved and speak with a strong voice for that which is right.
“You cannot simply sit in your laboratory or your library and let the world drift along in its aimless way.  It needs your strength, your courage, your voice in speaking up for those values which can save it.”
(President Gordon B. Hinckley, BYU Devotional, Sept. 17, 1996)

On Happiness/Optimism

“We are the creatures of our thinking.  We can think ourselves into defeat or we can talk ourselves into victory . . . Don't partake of the spirit of our times.  Look for the good and build on it.  Don't be a 'pickle sucker.'”
(Gordon B. Hinckley, “Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled,” in Speeches of the Year, 1974, 269, 273.)

“Cultivate an attitude of happiness.  Cultivate a spirit of optimism.  Walk with faith, rejoicing in the beauties of nature, in the goodness of those you love, in the testimony which you carry in your heart concerning things divine.”
(Ensign, November 1984, p. 92)

“Be happy. I meet so many people who constantly complain about the burden of their responsibilities. Of course the pressures are great. There is much, too much, to do. . . . [but] the gospel is good news. Man is that he might have joy. Be happy! Let that happiness shine through your faces and speak through your testimonies.”
(Hinckley, Gordon B. "Four Imperatives for Religious Educators." Address to religious educators, September 15, 1978)

“The best lies ahead. I believe that with all my heart. If you will stay on the straight and narrow, the best lies ahead. It is a wonderful time to be alive. It’s a great time to be a member of this church when you can hold your head up without embarrassment and with some pride in this great latter-day work” (West High School seminary graduation, Salt Lake City, Utah, 14 May 1995).
(Gordon B. Hinckley, “Excerpts from Recent Addresses of President Gordon B. Hinckley,” Ensign, Dec 1995, 66–67)

“Let there be something of a light tone in your life.  Let there be fun and happiness, a sense of humor, the capacity to laugh occasionally at the things that are funny.”
(President Gordon B. Hinckley, “A Challenging Time—A Wonderful Time,” An Evening with President Gordon B. Hinckley, 7 February 2003)

“Deal with the problems as wisely as you can.  Make your decisions.  You may be right; you may be wrong.  Hopefully, you will be right because you have prayed earnestly over the matter and you have discussed it with your associates.  But once these decisions are made, put them behind you and do not worry about them.  Turn around, stand tall, put your head up, and look forward to the marvelous opportunities that you have.”
(Peter Drucker, As quoted by Gordon B. Hinckley, Standing for Something, p. 173)


"I am satisfied that a happy marriage is not so much a matter of romance as it is an anxious concern for the comfort and well-being of one's companion."    (Gordon B. Hinckley, "What God Hath Joined Together", Ensign, May 1991, 71)

"The truest mark of your success in life will be the quality of your marriage"
(“Living Worthy of the Girl You Will Someday Marry,” Ensign, May 1998, 49)

“Marriage requires a high degree of tolerance, and some of us need to cultivate that attribute. I have enjoyed these words of Jenkins Lloyd Jones, which I clipped from the newspaper some years ago. Said he:
“There seems to be a superstition among many thousands of our young [men and women] who hold hands and smooch in the drive-ins that marriage is a cottage surrounded by perpetual hollyhocks to which a perpetually young and handsome husband comes home to a perpetually young and [beautiful] wife. When the hollyhocks wither and boredom and bills appear the divorce courts are jammed. …
“Anyone who imagines that bliss [in marriage] is normal is going to waste a lot of time running around shouting that he has been robbed.
“[The fact is] most putts don’t drop. Most beef is tough. Most children grow up to be just people. Most successful marriages require a high degree of mutual toleration. Most jobs are more often dull than otherwise. …
“Life is like an old-time rail journey—delays, sidetracks, smoke, dust, cinders and jolts, interspersed only occasionally by beautiful vistas and thrilling bursts of speed.
“The trick is to thank the Lord for letting you have the ride” (“Big Rock Candy Mountains,” Deseret News, 12 June 1973, A4).
Let us face the fact that in this life some of you will marry, some of you may not. For those of you who do, it must be a total commitment, without reservation. It must involve total and unequivocal loyalty. It must be a covenant for eternity, a companionship that will require constant attention and nurturing.
(Gordon B. Hinckley, “A Conversation with Single Adults,” Liahona, Nov 1997, 17)

"If we will concentrate on the best, that element will grow until it sparkles."
Gordon B. Hinckley, “Loyalty,” Ensign, May 2003, 58

“Cling to the Church and live its principles and I do not hesitate to promise you that your lives will be happy, that your accomplishments will be significant, and that you will have reason to get on your knees and thank the Lord for all He has done for you in giving to you the marvelous and wonderful opportunities that you have”
(Gordon B. Hinckley, quoted in Church News, 3 Aug. 1996, 2).

“To you single women who wish to be married…. Do not give up hope.  And do not give up trying.  But do give up being obsessed with it.  The chances are that if you forget about it and become anxiously engaged in other activities, the prospects will brighten immeasurably.
“I believe that for most of us the best medicine for loneliness is work, service in behalf of others.  I do not minimize your problems, but I do not hesitate to say that there are many others whose problems are more serious than yours.  Reach out to serve them, to help them, to encourage them.”
(Gordon B. Hinckley, “Women of the Church,” Ensign, Nov. 1996, p. 68.)

“Don't be critical of people.  Find their virtues—they have some—and build on those.  You will be very happy if you do.”
(Gordon B. Hinckley, Teachings, 412)

This Story Changed My Life:
Guy de Maupassant, the French writer, tells the story of a peasant named Hauchecome who came on market day to the village. While walking through the public square, his eye caught sight of a piece of string lying on the cobblestones. He picked it up and put it in his pocket. His actions were observed by the village harness maker, with whom he had previously had a dispute.

Later in the day the loss of a purse was reported. Hauchecome was arrested on the accusation of the harness maker. He was taken before the mayor, to whom he protested his innocence, showing the piece of string that he had picked up. But he was not believed and was laughed at.

The next day the purse was found, and Hauchecome was absolved of any wrongdoing. But, resentful of the indignity he had suffered because of a false accusation, he became embittered and would not let the matter die. Unwilling to forgive and forget, he thought and talked of little else. He neglected his farm. Everywhere he went, everyone he met had to be told of the injustice. By day and by night he brooded over it. Obsessed with his grievance, he became desperately ill and died. In the delirium of his death struggles, he repeatedly murmured, “A piece of string, a piece of string.” (The Works of Guy de Maupassant, Roslyn, New York: Black’s Reader Service, n.d., pp. 34–38.)

With variations of characters and circumstances, that story could be repeated many times in our own day. How difficult it is for any of us to forgive those who have injured us. We are all prone to brood on the evil done us. That brooding becomes as a gnawing and destructive canker. Is there a virtue more in need of application in our time than the virtue of forgiving and forgetting? There are those who would look upon this as a sign of weakness. Is it? I submit that it takes neither strength nor intelligence to brood in anger over wrongs suffered, to go through life with a spirit of vindictiveness, to dissipate one’s abilities in planning retribution. There is no peace in the nursing of a grudge. There is no happiness in living for the day when you can “get even.”
Gordon B. Hinckley, “‘Of You It Is Required to Forgive’,” Ensign, Jun 1991,  2