Summarized by Kent Larsen
Hinckley Launches 'Standing for Something'
Salt Lake Tribune 12Feb00 A1
By Peggy Fletcher Stack: Salt Lake Tribune
SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH -- LDS Church President Gordon B. Hinckley launched
his book "Standing for Something" on Friday with a news conference for
journalists, explaining how and why he wrote the book, published by the
Times Books division of the International publishing company Random
House. Hinckley told journalists that the book left behind the
"churchspeak" that LDS Church members are familiar with, as well as the
particular doctrines of the LDS Church, and instead addressed a broader
audience, giving a pragmatic approach to values and virtues.
The book was released in Utah this past week, and will be released
Nationally on February 22nd. The Deseret News reported Friday that it
had reached number 198 in sales volume on Amazon.com on Friday morning,
but Mormon-News noticed it had dipped to number 273 on Monday morning.
Hinckley's style will be recognizable to most LDS Church members. In the
book Hinckley draws on a wide variety of material, "from Shakespeaare
and Wordsworth to W.C. Fields to contemporary movie critic Michael
Medved and The Wall Street Journal," writes the Tribune's Stack. "This
is not a book of LDS theology," Hinckley told the journalists, who were
primarily from local news outlets. "It is about values and standards."
He called the way the book was written "an experiment," and said, "We
have done it so that it might enjoy the widest audience possible."
Hinckley gave credit for the idea of the book to Sheri Dew, second
counselor in the LDS Church's Relief Society General Presidency, and
head of Deseret Book. Dew pitched the idea to Random House as similar to
former U.S. Education Secretary William Bennett's The Book of Virtues,
and as following the lead of books by Pope John Paul II and the Dalai
Lama, both of whom have written books aimed at a broader audience.
While he had some research help on the book, Hinckley says he didn't use
a ghostwriter, saying he's "never had a ghostwriter for a speech I've
given or anything I've written."
Hinckley has great hopes for the book, telling journalists he hopes
"those who read it will appreciate and enjoy it and the effort I've made
to try to assist in increasing the teaching and following of moral
values that will help this nation and any people who embrace them."
While the book isn't itself a missionary effort, he says that it
represents basic values that the Church teaches, and called the book an
effort to "extend our point of view across the nation. And we've
accomplished it. I didn't know whether it would be possible, but it's
Hinckley also told journalists that he thinks the book will get support
from the general public, "I am an optimist. . . . I feel very optimistic
concerning the future. I don't want to give the impression that we're in
a state of Sodom and Gomorrah in our society. By and large the good
overrides the bad. I just think you can do things if you set to work to
do them and, as you do so, you will get all kinds of allies who come
around" to help further a just cause, he said. "We are not alone."
The book features an introduction by CBS News' 60 Minutes, who has
become friendly with President Hinckley after he interviewed the LDS
Church President for a 1996 program on the Church. The book also has
chapters on individual values that Hinckley thinks are important for
human beings to have and live.
The proceeds from the book will be donated to charity, and Hinckley will
not be doing a promotional tour, as is the custom in the book industry.
However, Publisher's Weekly reported last week that Hinckley will give a
20-city 'satellite' tour, presumably interviews given by satellite in to