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  , 2004

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President Hinckley Addresses Religious Instructors

By David Winters, February 7, 2003

SALT LAKE CITY In somewhat of a surprise appearance, President Hinckley addressed CES religious instructors Friday night in a satellite broadcast originating from the Tabernacle in Salt Lake City, Utah.  An invitation had been sent to CES instructors that they would have an opportunity to participate in an "Evening with a General Authority," but it was not announced prior to the meeting who that general authority would be. 

President Hinckley inspired the audience as he recounted experiences over his long life and as he encouraged teachers to be leaders and examples to those they teach. He rattled off the names of many of his teachers from LDS High School and stated that he remembered very little of what they taught him, but that he was grateful for the profoundly positive influence that they had throughout his long life.  In a humorous moment, he recited a school saying he and other boys at LDS High School had shouted as they marched in a parade, "A rooty toot toot, a rooty toot toot, we are the boys from LDS High, we don't smoke, and we don't chew, and we don't go with boys that do." 

He also spoke of his brief time as a seminary teacher at South High School in Salt Lake City.  Following his mission to England, he worked for the Quorum of the Twelve and also worked as a seminary teacher.  His work for the Twelve paid $65 a month; his work as a teacher paid $35 a month.  He was offered permanent positions by both groups.  He chose to "follow the apostles."

President Hinckley quoted only one scripture during the address: "And they shall also teach their children to pray, and to walk uprightly before the Lord" (D&C 68:28).  He pleaded for teachers to teach their students those two key principles.  He counseled teachers to be the kind of person that their students would want to be -- people who love their spouses and children, people who pray and walk in the ways of the Lord.  He also counseled teachers to be light-hearted at times, to relate to the students, but to never cross the line of familiarity.

(Author's note: In addition to my role as editor and owner of LDS Today, husband and father of five, full-time employee of a major corporation, I am a volunteer early-morning seminary teacher this year for students in the Peachtree Corners Ward in Norcross, Georgia.)