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Sent on Mormon-News: 04Sep01

By Rosemary Pollock

Hinckley Tells Rotary's LDS President Church Will Aid Cause

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH -- Rotary International received praise from Gordon B. Hinckley, President and Prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, along with a pledge of $100,000 to help the service groups humanitarian effort to eradicate polio worldwide. The pledge was made during a speech to the North American members of Rotary International and was offered on the condition that the Utah Rotarians would match the amount.

"Polio was once the summer dread of every mother," President Hinckley said. "Scientists have produced the vaccine, but you have made it available in many areas of the world. The entire world is indebted to you," he said speaking of the Rotarians efforts.

"The Church wishes to assist in your race to the finish, and hope you will never rest until this dread disease is totally eradicated. When that happens, it will mark the completion of a great miracle and a wondrous gift to the human family," President Hinckley said after making the pledge.

The Rotary, established in 1905, is the world's first community service club and has been committed since 1985 to immunize all of the world's children against polio. The target date for certification of a polio-free world is 2005, during which time the Rotary organization will have contributed more than a half a billion dollars to its PolioPlus program.

The new Rotary President, Richard D. King, acknowledged the long association his organization has had with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. "The Church has always been willing to provide support, both with the choir and through donations," King said. "Shortly after announcing the PolioPlus project, the Church gave $250,000 toward it."

Rotary now has 30,000 clubs in 200 nations with 1.2 million members. Women were admitted into the organization for the first time in 1989 and now claims more than 90,000 women members today. Annual contributions to The Rotary Foundation total more than $80 million annually and support a wide range of humanitarian grants and educational programs.

"Rotary is a miracle," said King, who joined The Church in the late 1950's. "In an era of wars and strife all over the world, Rotary comprises every religious faith, every color, creed, nationality, language and culture on the face of the globe. All over, these people, who are people of business prominence, come together every week and strive to do good in the world."

Speaking of the Church's initial involvement with Rotary, King said, "I liked them." "I like their quiet integrity, their character, their competence about doing a good job and not worrying about whether they got applause for it. I thought, 'This is a religious philosophy which not only saves people in the hereafter, but which also makes the most of people here."

King treasures a small, brass cup that sits in the corner of his Rotary office and reads "You touched us." The cup is a reminder of when he served in Ethiopia a dozen years ago, where from a Rotary-sponsored well he doled out a half-cup of water to starving children. "I don't know what it is we gave to them, but I will always know what they gave to me," King said.


LDS president pledges to aid Rotary cause
Deseret News 1Sep01 N2
By James Thalman: Deseret News staff writer

See also:

LDS Man Finds His Humanity Leading Rotary International

Richard D. King
LDS Church News 18Mar01 P2
By Julie Dockstader Church News staff writer


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