By LYALL SWIM
The Clinton-Lewinsky affair and the prosecution of polygamists in Utah were the focal points during the interview of President Gordon B. Hinckley on the Larry King Live Show Tuesday Night.
“You cannot divorce private behavior from public service,” President Hinckley said.
More Video President Hinckley responds to the Clinton question
Though refusing to dictate whether or not President Clinton should resign, President Hinckley maintained that Clinton was responsible to the public, congress and ultimately to God.
Clinton’s actions have fractured the nation and hurt many especially his wife and daughter, President Hinckley said.
President Hinckley responded affirmatively when Larry King asked whether Americans should pray for President Clinton.
He also added that citizens should pray that the president may have strength to stand and face the difficult circumstances which he faces.
“He needs help,” President Hinckley said. “Now I repeat ,that doesn’t mean he’s not accountable. He occupies a great and sacred trust.”
“If a principal, a police officer or teacher were involved in such a scandal they wouldn’t last a day,” President Hinckley said.
“He (President Clinton) must make his own decision (whether or not he should resign or not).”
President Hinckley called Clinton a talented man with great capacity, but his behavior has jeopardized his leadership ability.
President Hinckley made a call to all public officials “to stand tall and be a model to the people.” If a moral turnaround is to be had in America it must start with those who stand in offices of power,” he said.
President Hinckley also entertained questions concerning Utah’s Govenor Michael Leavitt and the current polygamy issues he is facing.
“He is a good man doing a good job,” President Hinckley said.
President Hinckley attributed the hesitation of Governor Leavitt to pursue action against polygamy to the sensitive and difficult problems dealing with children and family matters. He also suggested difficulty in gathering evidence as reasons for the delay in litigation.
When pressed to comment on if and when the church would put pressure on the state government, President Hinkley said the church does not interfere in polictical matters.
“We speak out on moral issues,”he said.
“Let it run it’s natural course.”
President Hinckley echoed this same senitment later in the interview in respect to the Clinton-Lewinsky affair.
President Hinkley counseled members of the church not to pass judgement until all the facts had been presented.
While addressing various nation wide concerns in addition to the Clinton-Lewinsky affair, President Hinckley cited fatherless homes and broken families as America’s greatest concern.
“Children need help,” President Hinckley said.
Putting father back in charge of the family and accepting responsibility for strengthening families are essential to curb rising social problems, he said.
President Hinckley addressed questions concerning temples, baptisms for the dead, Brigham Young University’s and Ricks policies af accepting non Latter-day Saint students and the churches extensive missionary program.
King refered to his wife’s brother who has been serving a mission.
“What does it do?” King asked.
President Hinckley attributed strengthend faith, a greater sense of self confidence, greater concern for the needy, knowledge of a second language and participation in world wide humanitarian aide programs for this change in the young men who serve missions.
When asked what his roles were as a leader or president of the church, President Hinckley said it was to declare doctrine, be an example, to be a voice in defense of truth and to stand as a conservator of valuse and standards.
When asked if he ever doubted his faith, President Hinkley responded simply “No.”