By Joanna Caldwell
Speaking to the men of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the priesthood session of general conference, President Gordon B. Hinckley spoke of a man”s great responsibility as a priesthood holder and denounced the improper practices of abuse among the households of the world.
President Hinckley spoke of the connection to heaven that the priesthood power brings, and the necessity of being true to that power.
“The manner of our living, the words we speak, our everyday behavior has a bearing upon our effectiveness as men and boys holding the priesthood,” President Hinckley said.
That effectiveness is weakened by pride, vanity and self-righteousness in both public and private settings, President Hinckley said.
“If we do any of these things the powers of heaven are withdrawn,” he said. “The very virtue of our priesthood is nullified. Its authority is lost.”
President Hinckley spoke specifically to young men, missionaries and husbands about the importance of upholding their priesthood covenants and remaining faithful.
“It is not as a cloak that we put on and take off at will,” he said. “It is, when exercised in righteousness, as the very tissue of our bodies, a part of us at all times and in all circumstances.”
President Hinckley asked priesthood holders for an increase in honesty, virtue and morality, but expressed a need for moderation.
“I do not want you to be self-righteous. I want you to be manly, to be vibrant, and strong, and happy,” he said.
Noting the importance of the priesthood in the lives of all members of the church, President Hinckley addressed the serious problem of abuse among the members.
Speaking of spousal relationships, President Hinckley said the husband and wife are equals and called to repentance any man who would take or has taken advantage of this sacred bond by means of physical or mental abuse.
“How tragic and disgusting a phenomenon is wife abuse,” President Hinckley said. “Though he may have been ordained, the spirit of the Lord is grieved, and it will be amen to the authority of the priesthood of that man.”
President Hinckley also grieved over the existence of child abuse and abuse of the elderly.
Though he urged members to avoid these situations and habits under all circumstances, he spoke too of help and love for the victims and those guilty of such actions.
“Now the work of the church is a work of salvation,” President Hinckley said. “It is a work of saving souls. We desire to help both the victim and the offender.”
President Hinckley said that when the penalty has been paid, there will be a “helpful and kindly hand reaching out to assist.”