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President Gordon B. Hinckley

President Hinckley told of David Casteneda and his wife, Tomasa, to illustrate the changes that come into one's life after accepting the gospel.

"In 1969, they were living on a very poor little desert patch of dry and rocky ground in the area of Bermejillo, a town some 40 kilometers north of Torreon, Mexico. "At the time, they had a little shack, 30 chickens, two pigs and one horse. President Hinckley explained how missionaries found the family that year and taught them the gospel and they were baptized. In time, they moved to Bermejillo. They began with a 17-year-old worn-out truck. They fixed it up and sold it. This gradually led to the buying of wrecked automobiles that they repaired. Since then, "They have become a highly successful and prosperous family," he said. "They donated the land on which the local [meetinghouse] was built. They have served in many capacities. The taint of ignorance and the blight of darkness have left them and light and understanding have come into their faces. The sons have all served missions for the Church.

"The family has been instrumental in bringing more than 200 of their extended family and friends into the Church.

"It is what I call the 'Mormon Miracle.' This gospel has touched the lives of the learned and the affluent, as well as those in humble circumstances.

"There must be love and respect one for another, there must be an outreaching to assist and bless the lives of others.

"This Church expects that we will be a praying people. Once, it was the custom in the homes of America, for the family to gather about the table in the morning and at night in prayer. We have largely forgotten that practice, and I believe that we have paid a terrible price in the deterioration of the family which we have and are witnessing, not only in America, but across the world.

"We are a people who believe in education. The Lord expects us to learn. Learning is an eternal thing.

"The Church expects each of us to do our part in moving forward its work across the world.

"We believe in the law of the tithe. People look upon us as a Church of wealth. We are a Church of consecrated means. Our assets are money-consuming and not income-producing. Through the blessings of tithing we are able to do what we need to do.

"It is expected that each of us will fast, that is, abstain, from two meals a month and give the equivalent value of those meals to the bishop to be used in taking care of the poor. Nobody suffers.

"I am satisfied that if everyone in the United States were to observe this simple law, the welfare needs of the nation could be taken care of without raising a single dollar of taxes for this purpose. Those who give would be blessed, and those who receive would be blessed.

"It is expected that every member . . . observe the Word of Wisdom. It is a promise to this people — divinely given — and if we were to observe it more strictly, the blessing would be the greater."

"The Lord expects us to strengthen the family — an institution of God — by supporting, sustaining, strengthening and teaching one another. "The family is falling apart all over the world. Young people who come out of homes without roots, wander aimlessly, destroying their lives with drugs and other practices, joining gangs, molesting and even shooting one another.

"[The family] was designed for His eternal purposes, to bring happiness into the lives of His children. Fatherhood and motherhood are blessings without peer.

"It is this family solidarity which is the only hope I see for the future of our nation."

"The Church expects that each of us carry a share of the burden of leadership. There is no paid clergy. The work is done because of a love of the cause. And as people serve, they grow in capacity. The time and effort is not a sacrifice because there is returned more than is given." President Hinckley closed by saying: "We are trying to make the world better by beginning with ourselves."

President Gordon B. Hinckley addressed 20,000 people April 26, 1998 in Madison Square Garden in New York.