Summarized by Michael Nielsen
Hinckley's Boston Globe Interview Tells of Continuing Growth
SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH -- Shortly before the dedication of the Boston
temple, he was interviewed by Michael Paulson of the Boston Globe.
Here are some excerpts from that interview.
"My first Hinckley ancestor came to Plymouth [from England] in 1635,
and his son, Governor Thomas Hinckley, was governor of Plymouth
Colony from 1681 to 1692, except when the British imposed Sir Edmund
Andros to rule those unruly people. ... So if you stick my finger,
you'll find the blood is blue."
"My great-grandfather was first taught [the gospel]. I don't know
whether he was baptized or not. He accepted it, but died shortly
afterward from smallpox epidemic that raged through upper New York
and Ontario, Canada. ... But my grandfather definitely was baptized.
He was a young man then. He immigrated to the United States [from
Canada], and he and his brother walked from Springfield, Ill., to
Nauvoo where he met Joseph Smith and joined the church."
Speaking of the church temple building program, he reported "We've
been building temples furiously. I made a statement in conference in
'98 that I hoped we could reach the construction of 100 working
temples in the year 2000, and we've been building them furiously, but
without any sacrifice of quality. ... We build a great many
meetinghouses - we have over 12,000 of them scattered across the
world, and we'll have 100 working temples when the Boston temple is
Regarding the Boston Temple and the dispute over its temple, he said,
"It's rankled some of our neighbors, we're sorry to say. We don't
mean to offend anybody. We think that when the temple's up and
running that that antagonism will largely disappear. That's been on
our experience in very many places.... The steeple, of course,
represents an upward reach to heaven. It carries with it the spirit
and attitude of looking heavenward. Now, I'm disappointed that we
don't have the steeple on there at this time. I don't know why that's
become such a controversial thing; I can't understand it."
"Temples fill a unique place. Temples are not houses of public
worship, as we've indicated. They are houses in which sacred
ordinances are administered. The temple stands as a reminder to the
world of the belief of our people in the immortality of the human
soul.... All that takes place in a temple is based on our belief that
life goes on after death, that the human soul is immortal. ... We
wouldn't need a temple for marriages if we believed that the
desirable way of marriage was to have someone pronounce the ceremony
ending with the words, `Till death do ye part.' That becomes a
pronouncement of separation at death."
About the church's growth: "We face two great problems in this
church, one really, but it has two facets to it: growth. The two
parts of that are ... building houses of worship, and training local
leadership. ... It's a big task, a big responsibility, a big
challenge, but we think we're meeting it."
"The reason [that for the church's growth] is that it appeals to
people, it provides people an anchor of faith and certainty in a
changing world that for the most part is going downhill. The family,
for instance. You can't deny the fact that the family across the
world is falling apart. It's a tragedy. It's a terrible thing. This
church puts great emphasis on the family. We teach of the sanctity of
the family, we teach the sanctity of marriage, we teach the sanctity
of children, of the importance of parents who love and nurture their
When asked what it means to be a prophet, Hinckley replied "It means
a very great deal and it's a very humbling thing. It means
leadership. It means responsiblity. It means work. It means prayer.
It means faith. ... I think this temple building program is
prophetic. I feel it's inspired. I know it's for a purpose and I
believe that the Lord is pleased with what we're doing."
When asked if Mormons are becoming more a part of mainstream America,
Hinckley responded, "We haven't lost our distinctiveness. We have not
set aside the uniqueness of our doctrine, our organization, or our
practices. We, I, think are probably doing a better job of
communicating with others, which I think leads to that perception."
Will women gain the priesthood? Hinckley replies, "I don't know
what's going to happen in the future, but insofar as I can see, no.
The women have their place, and it's a tremendous place. I think
there's no other organization in the world that fosters a stronger
program for women than does this church. ... They have a voice in
determining policy and doing many things in the church. ... I haven't
found any complaint among our women. I'm sure there are a few, a
handful somewhere who may be disaffected for one reason or another,
but I've never seen any evidence of it. My wife and I seem to keep
talking after 63 years of marriage.
Finally, concerning dissidents in the church, Hinckley says "We don't
have serious difficulties with these things. One year I think there
were four or five people excommunicated and to read the papers you'd
think the whole church had come down. Actually, while there were four
or five excommunicants here in Utah, there were about 5,000 convert
baptisms here in Utah, so those things become minuscule when you put
them in context."
Mormon leader sees continued growth for his church
Boston Globe pgB2 2Sep00 N1
By Michael Paulson: Globe Staff