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Believe in Eternal Father, President Hinckley urges

Be strong in faith, he says at area conference

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PROVO — "Be not faithless, but believing."

Those words were the foundation of President Gordon B. Hinckley's message to the more than 20,000 members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints gathered during a Regional Conference Sunday at the Marriott Center on the Brigham Young University campus.

The regional conference included 11 stakes from Pleasant Grove, Lindon and Cedar Hills.

President Hinckley used the example of the apostle Thomas to illustrate the need to believe — noting Thomas' initial refusal to believe his fellow apostle's claims that Christ was risen until a personal visit by the Savior some eight days later.

At that point Christ instructed the doubting apostle to "be not faithless, but believing."

"Believe in what?" President Hinckley asked those in attendance before providing an answer: "Believe in God the Eternal Father, the great governor of this universe. . . . His greatest concern is for you and me."

President Hinckley also urged church members to be strong in their belief in Jesus Christ as the Son of God, that he is the Great Jehovah who spoke to the prophets of old. He said members should also be strong in their belief that Joseph Smith, then 14 years old, truly saw God the Father and Jesus Christ during a vision in 1820.

"There's nothing quite the equal of it," President Hinckley said. He said it underscores the unique LDS teaching that Jesus Christ has restored the fullness of the gospel to the Earth for the final time.

"Believe in the truth and the authenticity of that occasion," President Hinckley said.

"Believe in the divine calling of the Prophet Joseph Smith," he said. "Believe in the Book of Mormon. It bears witness to the reality and divinity of Jesus Christ," he said, calling it a second witness of Christ after the Bible.

"Believe in the truth, validity and reality of the church as restored to the Earth," President Hinckley admonished.

He then told church members to believe in themselves as sons and daughters of God.

"Rise above the sultry and sleazy things of the world," he said.

President Hinckley reminded priesthood bearers at the meeting that they hold the essence of God's power.

"It is nothing to be taken for granted," President Hinckley said. "It is his divine power with which the Earth was created."

He admonished priesthood holders to be good fathers, husbands and neighbors and cautioned them not to let greed destroy their effectiveness nor their tempers destroy their homes.

He reminded the women attending that the Relief Society, their nearly 5 million-strong auxiliary organization, can also accomplish much good.

President Hinckley urged the youth, both boys and girls, to learn the gospel and to guard against doing things for which they might later be ashamed. He also urged both groups to work to ensure young men remain worthy to serve church missions.

"Don't do anything to make young men unworthy" to fill an LDS mission, he said. "You will regret it all of your life."

He cautioned the youth to stay "above the sultry things of the world."

"I've spoken straightforward, without mincing words," President Hinckley said. The purpose, he said, is to "make a good people better."

"I'm an old man now. I don't know how long I'm good for. I waddle around some," he said. But church members "can accomplish without measure if they keep the commandments."

Others speaking at the conference included Elder John H. Groberg; his wife, Jean Groberg; Elder Rex Pinegar, president of the Mt. Timpanogos Temple; Elder Ralph Smith, president of the Provo Mission; and Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve.

E-MAIL: rodger@desnews.com