Text of CNN Larry King Live interview with President Gordon B. Hinckley (courtesy of CNN):
Click here for full text of September 14, 2001 Larry King Live show:
Joining us now from Salt Lake City is Gordon B. Hinckley, president of the
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. It's always good to see him, but
not under these kind of circumstances. But we thank you very much, Gordon, for
What would you say to those millions of people who are going to go synagogues tomorrow and wards of your church and Catholics and Protestants and Methodists. They're going to go to all their houses of worship Sunday. They're going to be in Saturday. What are you going to say to them? What would you say to them? GORDON B. HINCKLEY, PRESIDENT, CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER DAY SAINTS: Our hearts are all subdued. The guest that you've shown us tonight have brought us very close to this sad chapter in the history of our great nation. The losses are so terrible. They're incomprehensible, that we have suffered, that our people have suffered so much, so very many of them and so very seriously.
When we get in circumstances like this, there's only one true source of comfort and that comes from God, our eternal Father. We look to him, we bow our heads in prayer. We plead with him in behalf of those who have gone and their loved ones who are left and those who are wounded, all of whom have suffered so immensely. Certainly this is a time of national mourning and national resolve.
KING: I'm sorry, but what about. Gordon Hinckley, those who might say, why have you deserted us? Why are these people gone? Why are those buildings burning? Why is the Pentagon, why are planes lost? Why? They must ask that.
HINCKLEY: We don't know why. We don't understand everything, but we do know that our Father loves us and watches over us. We do know that life is not only that phase that we call mortality, that there is beyond this life another, which is as real and as certain as is the life that we now live. And that those who have go beyond will continue and will in fact make preparation for their loved ones who will follow. I have no doubt of this.
HINCKLEY: Go ahead, please.
KING: You have no doubt?
HINCKLEY: I have no doubt personally whatever.
KING: Gordon when you see -- all right, Billy Graham said today, we have a choice whether to implode and disintegrate emotionally and spiritually as a people and a nation or to become stronger through all of this struggle, to rebuild on a solid foundation. What, though, Gordon, do you say to parishioners who say what do I do with my anger?
HINCKLEY: Well, you live it with it. You try to subdue it. You calm your emotions if you can do so. You plead with the Lord to bless you with a sense of self-control and an overriding faith that, in spite of all of this terrible tragedy, there is hope. There is assurance. There is peace. There is comfort in the word of the Lord, who said, "I am the resurrection and the life. He that believeth in me though he were dead, yet shall he live. And he that liveth and believeth in me shall never die."
KING: Our guest, if you're just joining us, is Gordon B. Hinckley, President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. We're going to include some phone calls for President Hinckley.
Houston, Texas, hello. CALLER: Well, hello, Larry. I'd like to ask the reverend, does it bother him that a lot of the people that have committed these acts hide behind their religion as their reason?
KING: Yes, the people doing it say they believe in God and they love their God.
HINCKLEY: Well, of course it bothers me, it troubles me very greatly. I think that religion offers no shield for wickedness, for evil, for those kinds of things. The God in whom I believe does not foster this kind of action. He is a God of mercy. He is a God of love. He is a God of peace and reassurance. And I look to Him in times such as this as a comfort and a source of strength and reassurance.
KING: President Hinckley, though, couldn't He have prevented this?
HINCKLEY: Oh, I suppose so. I believe he's all powerful, yes. I don't know His will. I don't know how He operates. His wisdom is greater than mine. He sees beyond what I see. But I have confidence, overwhelming confidence in the fact that He, who sees life, in its true and eternal sense will provide for those who suffer as these people have suffered as a result of this atrocity, which has been committed against the nation, which we love.
KING: I know you know the President, I know you know his father. What did you think of what he had to say today and what did you think of that whole service at the National Cathedral?
HINCKLEY: I thought it was beautiful. I thought it was very expressive. I think the President has done the right thing. I think that his words will bring reassurance to the people of America and particularly to those who have suffered such terrible losses. And certainly he's done the right thing in bringing that assurance.
God loves us. He loves his children and he will provide for us. I have no doubt of that. We face terrible sorrows. None of us can understand the enormity, the tension of those on those planes, for instance, who were headed for crashes. None of us can understand those, the feelings of those innocent people in those buildings, which were taken down.
But with all of that, for those who are left, for those who are wounded, I bring you a message of peace and hope and comfort. That comfort which comes not from man, but from God Himself, who is the father of us all and who loves us.
KING: And that message comes while you weep?
HINCKLEY: Yes, it comes while I weep. My heart reaches out in sorrow, as I listen to the people you have interviewed tonight and particularly Mr. Olson. I was touched to the bottom of my heart by the terrible price which has been taken in terms of the loss of his beloved companion. But I have no doubt, none whatever, of the fact that life is eternal, that we are immortal beings and that when we step over the threshold from this life to the next, it will be for those who do that, a pleasant and uplifting and wonderful experience.
KING: Brooklyn, New York, for President Hinckley, hello.
CALLER: Yes, hello, Larry. I'd like to ask President Hinckley as a man of God, how he feels about these men that committed these atrocities against us?
HINCKLEY: Well, I feel terrible about them. I just think that they have done the worst kind of thing that anyone can conceive of. It is a terrible thing which they've done and they will stand before the bar of God and be judged by Him, who knows all things. And I think his judgment will be sure and certain and most condemnatory concerning the things which they have done to this nation as they did last Tuesday.
KING: Do you forgive them?
HINCKLEY: Well, I don't carry in my heart malice toward anyone. I believe that justice must prevail. If there has been wickedness or if there has been evil, we will pay for it. Justice will exact its toll. And God will hold us accountable for that which we will do. We shall answerable for that, for our behavior. And I think those who have committed this atrocity will have to pay for it.
But in my own heart, I tried to cultivate a spirit of Christian love without bitter malice or unkindness, but only love concerning those who have suffered so much even though I feel a measure of sensor, very strong and very certain to those who have done this terrible thing.
KING: President Hinckley, you've lived 90 years. You've seen lots of tragedies.
KING: 91. Lots of tragedies, lots of uplifting, nothing like today of course. And yet you never waver?
HINCKLEY: Never. I have an absolutely solid faith concerning the eternity of life, concerning the fact that we're all sons an daughters of God, regardless of our religious persuasion, regardless of our nationality. We're sons and daughters of God.
He expects good things of us. He expects us to live lives of accountability and the right kind of pursuits, not to be destructive, not to be evil, but to rise above these terrible things and depart ourselves in a manner that will bless mankind and bring to pass that peace which all the world longs for.
KING: President Hinckley, we thank you very much for being with us. Your words have been inspiring and we know that millions will be going maybe in record-breaking numbers this weekend to their houses of worship. And we know you're there in spirit to all of them.
HINCKLEY: Thank you very, very much, Larry.
KING: President Gordon B. Hinckley, the president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints from Salt Lake City. We will be with you with live editions of "LARRY KING LIVE," both Saturday and Sunday nights. Upcoming will be a special report with Aaron Brown, who's been on top of this scene, including on top of buildings as well, ever since the start of that horrible Tuesday morning.
As we leave you, we offer the highlights from the National Cathedral, the singing of "America the Beautiful." I'm Larry King for all our guests, God bless.