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First Presidency Response to 9/11

Posted by Elise on September 11, 2015

psalms(+ a Heroic Story of Sacrifice)

Just after the horrific events of September 11, 2001, President Gordon B. Hinckley gave an address in the Tabernacle on Temple Square. In it, he said:

Dark as is this hour, there is shining through the heavy overcast of fear and anger the solemn and wonderful image of the Son of God, the Savior of the World, the Prince of Peace, the exemplar of universal love, and it is to him that we look in these circumstances.

It was he who gave his life that all might enjoy eternal life. … May the peace of Christ rest upon us and give us comfort and reassurance and, particularly, we plead that he will comfort the hearts of all who mourn

Just a month after this address, President Hinckley spoke in general conference, highlighting once again the “vicious and ugly attack” as well as the fear and uncertainty it brought. He recognized that:

We are people of peace. We are followers of the Christ who was and is the Prince of Peace. But there are times when we must stand up for right and decency, for freedom and civilization, just as Moroni rallied his people in his day to the defense of their wives, their children, and the cause of liberty (see Alma 48:10). . . .

Occasions of this kind pull us up sharply to a realization that life is fragile, peace is fragile, civilization itself is fragile. The economy is particularly vulnerable.

But even in recognizing the frightening and uncertain times in which we live, President Hinckley pointed us towards the one source of light, hope, and life.

Now, brothers and sisters, we must do our duty, whatever that duty might be. Peace may be denied for a season. Some of our liberties may be curtailed. We may be inconvenienced. We may even be called on to suffer in one way or another. But God our Eternal Father will watch over this nation and all of the civilized world who look to Him. He has declared, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord” (Ps. 33:12). Our safety lies in repentance. Our strength comes of obedience to the commandments of God.

Let us be prayerful. Let us pray for righteousness. Let us pray for the forces of good. Let us reach out to help men and women of goodwill, whatever their religious persuasion and wherever they live. Let us stand firm against evil, both at home and abroad. Let us live worthy of the blessings of heaven, reforming our lives where necessary and looking to Him, the Father of us all. He has said, “Be still, and know that I am God” (Ps. 46:10).

Are these perilous times? They are. But there is no need to fear. We can have peace in our hearts and peace in our homes. We can be an influence for good in this world, every one of us.

The following year, in the October 2002 General Conference, President James E. Faust shared a “very poignant and heroic” story about a “retired army Colonel Cyril “Rick” Rescorla, who was working as vice president for corporate security of Morgan Stanley Dean Witter.” From the story, President Faust points out that we can learn how even small acts can be heroic and how even a smile or a kind word can change the lives of those we know.

Rick was a very experienced ex-military combat leader. He was in his office when “the first plane struck the north tower at 8:48 A.M. … He took a call from the 71st floor reporting the fireball in One World Trade Center, and he immediately ordered an evacuation of all 2,700 employees in Building Two,” as well as 1,000 more in Building Five. Using his bullhorn, he moved up the floors, working through a bottleneck on the 44th and going as high as the 72nd, helping to evacuate the people from each floor. One friend who saw Rick reassuring people in the 10th-floor stairwell told him, “Rick, you’ve got to get out, too.”

“As soon as I make sure everyone else is out,” he replied.

“He was not rattled at all. He was putting the lives of his colleagues ahead of his own.” He called headquarters to say he was going back up to search for stragglers.

His wife had watched the United Airlines jet go through his tower. “After a while, her phone rang. It was Rick.

“‘I don’t want you to cry,’ he said. ‘I have to evacuate my people now.’

“She kept sobbing.

“‘If something happens to me, I want you to know that you made my life.’

“The phone went dead.” Rick did not make it out.

“Morgan Stanley lost only six of its 2,700 employees in the south tower on Sept. 11, an isolated miracle amid the carnage. And company officials say Rescorla deserves most of the credit. He drew up the evacuation plan. He hustled his colleagues to safety. And then he apparently went back into the inferno to search for stragglers. He was the last man out of the south tower after the World Trade Center bombing in 1993, and no one seems to doubt that he would’ve been again last month if the skyscraper hadn’t collapsed on him first.”

Amid the great evil and carnage of September 11, 2001, Rick was not looking for what might be in it for him; instead he was unselfishly thinking about others and the danger they were in. Rick Rescorla was the “right man in the right place at the right time.” Rick, “a 62-year-old mountain of a man cooly [sacrificed] his life for others.”  As the Savior Himself said, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” 

Most of us don’t demonstrate our unselfishness in such a dramatic way, but for each of us unselfishness can mean being the right person at the right time in the right place to render service. Almost every day brings opportunities to perform unselfish acts for others. Such acts are unlimited and can be as simple as a kind word, a helping hand, or a gracious smile.

The Savior reminds us, “He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.”  One of life’s paradoxes is that a person who approaches everything with a what’s-in-it-for-me attitude may acquire money, property, and land, but in the end will lose the fulfillment and the happiness that a person enjoys who shares his talents and gifts generously with others.

Source:  LDS Living | Mormon Life


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Natural Disasters—We Don’t Have to Be Afraid

Posted by Elise on August 31, 2012

As we seek Heavenly Father’s guidance, the Holy Ghost will help us prepare for, endure, and recover from natural disasters.

The last days will be marked by many calamities and the rise of evil in the world. Against these threats the Lord and His prophets have given us counsel on how to be righteous and avoid spiritual pitfalls and evil. However, calamities—such as tornadoes, earthquakes, and tsunamis—seem to strike randomly and devastate the just as well as the unjust. These calamities terrify many of us. But I have learned that we don’t have to be afraid of disasters. When we are grounded in the gospel and when we are prepared, we can weather any storm.

Before the Storm: Make Preparation a Family Priority

In September 2005, I was an Area Seventy serving in the North America Southwest Area, which included parts of the United States such as Houston, Texas. We learned that Hurricane Rita—the most intense cyclone in recorded history that had ever been observed in the Gulf of Mexico—was headed straight for us. Read the rest of this entry »

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Family Home Storage – A New Message

Posted by Elise on December 12, 2009

Check the expiration date on

 your ideas about home storage.

You may need to throw some of them out.

As a single mother working for a law firm in Phoenix, Arizona, USA, Evelyn Jeffries struggled to find the time and the space necessary for home storage. Although she attended activities and meetings about food storage and tried to be obedient to prophetic counsel, like many Church members, she found it difficult to imagine what she could ever do with the hundreds of pounds of wheat she was told she needed to have for her and her daughter.

 When a sister in her ward suggested a different approach, Sister Jeffries discovered the key to successful home storage: Read the rest of this entry »

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Self Reliance

Posted by Elise on December 9, 2009



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Provide for Self and Family


Church members are respon­sible for their own spiritual and temporal well-being.  Blessed with the gift of agency, they have the privilege of setting their own course, solving their own prob­lems, and striving to become self-reliant.  Members do this under the inspiration of the Lord and with the labor of their own hands.

Elements of Self Reliance

Self-reliance is the ability, com­mitment, and effort to provide the necessities of life for self and family.  As members become self-reliant, they are also better able to serve and care for others.

Some of the areas in which members should become self-reliant are: Read the rest of this entry »

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Family Finance Message from the First Presidency

Posted by Elise on December 1, 2009

First Presidency

Dear Brothers and Sisters:

Latter-day Saints have been counseled for many years to prepare for adversity by having a little money set aside. Doing so adds immeasurably to security and well-being. Every family has a responsibility to provide for its own needs to the extent possible.

We encourage you wherever you may live in the world to prepare for adversity by looking to the Read the rest of this entry »

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Provident Living Video

Posted by Elise on November 30, 2009

We become self-reliant,” explains Julie Beck, president of the Church’s organization for women, “through obtaining sufficient knowledge, education, and literacy; by managing money and resources wisely, being spiritually strong, preparing for emergencies and eventualities; and by having physical health and social and emotional well-being.”

Church leader Elder Robert D. Hales outlines ways we can become self-reliant:

  • Be ready for rainy-day emergencies
  • Avoid excessive debt; be content with what we have
  • Use the resources of the earth wisely; don´t be wasteful
  • Prepare for the future by making spending and savings plans
  • Keep a family or personal budget
  • Teach children wise spending habits and help them save for the future
  • Obtain an education or vocational training
  • Find gainful employment

As we become self-reliant, we will be prepared to face challenges with confidence and peace of mind.

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One for the Money

Posted by Elise on November 17, 2009

By Elder Marvin J. Ashton (1915–94)

Ensign, Sep 2007, 36–39

Recently I had the opportunity to visit with a choice young couple. They were to be married within the week. Their eyes sparkled in anticipation of the important event and their continuing love for one another. Both had the advantages of a college education, good homes, and cultural experiences. It was delightful to share their personalities, plans, and potentials. Their courtship already seemed appropriately launched on an eternal basis.

During our interview, their response to only one question gave me concern. Read the rest of this entry »

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Family Home Storage Message from the First Presidency

Posted by Elise on November 16, 2009

Dear Brothers and Sisters:

Our Heavenly Father created this beautiful earth, with all its abundance, for our benefit and use. His purpose is to provide for our needs as we walk in faith and obedience.  He has lovingly commanded us to “prepare every needful thing” (see D&C 109:8) so that, should adversity come, we may care for ourselves and our neighbors and support bishops as they care for others.

We encourage Church members worldwide to prepare for adversity in life by having a basic supply of food and water and some money in savings.

We ask that you be wise as you store food and water and build your savings.  Do not go to extremes; it is not prudent, for example, to go into debt to establish your food storage all at once.  With careful planning, you can, over time, establish a home storage supply and a financial reserve.

We realize that some of you may not have financial resources or space for such storage. Some of you may be prohibited by law from storing large amounts of food.  We encourage you to store as much as circumstances allow.

May the Lord bless you in your home storage efforts.

The First Presidency

THE BASICS OF FAMILY HOME STORAGE Read the rest of this entry »

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To Men of the Priesthood

Posted by Elise on November 16, 2009

President Gordon B. Hinckley, Ensign, November, 2002

Brethren, I wish to urge again the importance of self-reliance on the part of every individual Church member and family.

None of us knows when a catastrophe might strike. Sickness, injury, unemployment may affect any of us.

We have a great welfare program with facilities for such things as grain storage in various areas. It is important that we do this. But the best place to have some food set aside is within our homes, together with a little money in savings. The best welfare program is our own welfare program. Five or six cans of wheat in the home are better than a bushel in the welfare granary. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Prophet’s Warning

Posted by Elise on November 4, 2009

To the Boys and to the Men

President Gordon B. Hinckley

Ensign, Nov. 1998

Gordon B. Hinckley

I am suggesting that the time has come to get our houses in order.

I wish to speak to you about temporal matters.

As a backdrop for what I wish to say, I read to you a few verses from the 41st chapter of Genesis.

Pharaoh, the ruler of Egypt, dreamed dreams which greatly troubled him. The wise men of his court could not give an interpretation. Joseph was then brought before him: “Pharaoh said unto Joseph, In my dream, behold, I stood upon the bank of the river: Read the rest of this entry »

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Questions & Answers by President Hinckley

Posted by Elise on November 2, 2009

Gordon B. Hinckley, “Questions and Answers,” Ensign, Nov 1985, 49

ImageBrethren, I have appreciated this meeting and all that has been said. I pray for the Spirit of the Lord to guide me in that which I say in conclusion.

Notwithstanding our repeated requests that members of the Church discuss their questions and problems with their bishops and stake presidents, a vast amount of mail constantly comes to the office of the First Presidency. Many of these letters are Read the rest of this entry »

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