Gordon B. Hinckley Stories

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This page is a collection of stories from the life of Gordon B. Hinckley, former president and prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. These stories are shared in his own words.

The Walnut Tree

  • Soon after the Conference Center was built, President Hinckley related a story about the new Conference Center pulpit. Later Don H. Staheli retold the story in a picture book, The Story of the Walnut Tree, illustrated by Robert Barrett.

I love trees. When I was a boy we lived on a farm in the summer, a fruit farm. Every year at this season we planted trees. I think I have never missed a spring since I was married, except for two or three years when we were absent from the city, that I have not planted trees, at least one or two—fruit trees, shade trees, ornamental trees, and spruce, fir, and pine among the conifers. I love trees.

Well, some 36 years ago I planted a black walnut. It was in a crowded area where it grew straight and tall to get the sunlight. A year ago, for some reason it died. But walnut is a precious furniture wood. I called Brother Ben Banks of the Seventy, who, before giving his full time to the Church, was in the business of hardwood lumber. He brought his two sons, one a bishop and the other recently released as a bishop and who now run the business, to look at the tree. From all they could tell it was solid, good, and beautiful wood. One of them suggested that it would make a pulpit for this hall. The idea excited me. The tree was cut down and then cut into two heavy logs. Then followed the long process of drying, first naturally and then kiln drying. The logs were cut into boards at a sawmill in Salem, Utah. The boards were then taken to Fetzer’s woodworking plant, where expert craftsmen designed and built this magnificent pulpit with that wood.

The end product is beautiful. I wish all of you could examine it closely. It represents superb workmanship, and here I am speaking to you from the tree I grew in my backyard, where my children played and also grew.

It is an emotional thing for me. I have planted another black walnut or two. I will be long gone before they mature. When that day comes and this beautiful pulpit has grown old, perhaps one of them will do to make a replacement. To Elder Banks and his sons, Ben and Bradley, and to the skilled workers who have designed and built this, I offer my profound thanks for making it possible to have a small touch of mine in this great hall where the voices of prophets will go out to all the world in testimony of the Redeemer of mankind.[1]

This is Your Watch

We of the First Presidency are constantly dealing with a great variety of problems. They come before us every day.

At the close of one particularly difficult day, I looked up at a portrait of Brigham Young that hangs on my wall. I asked, “Brother Brigham, what should we do?” I thought I saw him smile a little, and then he seemed to say: “In my day, I had problems enough of my own. Don’t ask me what to do. This is your watch. Ask the Lord, whose work this really is.” And this, I assure you, is what we do and must always do.

As I reflected on these matters that recent difficult day, I opened my Bible to the first chapter of Joshua and read these words:

“Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee” (Josh. 1:9).

I said to myself: “There is never reason to despair. This is the work of God. Notwithstanding the efforts of all who oppose it, it will go forward as the God of heaven has designed it should do.” [2]

A Bucket of Bricks

  • Many of President Hinckley's stories can be found in videos, including his humorous telling of a bucket of bricks story that he shared to illustrate how many times in life we cause ourselves problems from not looking ahead.

Forget Yourself and Go to Work

  • He shared a pivotal moment while serving a mission to England that has often been quoted in other talks.

Lessons I Learned as a Boy

Humorous Moments

  • LDS Living recalled five humorous moments with President Hinckley here.