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Sent on Mormon-News: 15Sep00

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 dedicated."

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 children."

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


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