Howard W. Hunter, at the age of 86, was ordained June 5, 1994, as 14th president of the Church. His statement to the media [full context in Church News, June 11, 1994, in file] included the following:
“There are two invitations I would like to leave with the members of the Church as we strive to keep the commandments of God and receive the full measure of His blessings. First of all, I would invite all members of the Church to live with evermore attention to the life and example of the Lord Jesus Christ, especially the love and hope and compassion He displayed.
“I pray that we might treat each other with more kindness, more courtesy, more humility and patience and forgiveness. We do have high expectations of one another, and all can improve. Our world cries out for more disciplined living of the commandments of God. But the way we are to encourage that, as the Lord told the Prophet Joseph in the wintry depths of Liberty Jail, is ‘by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned;…without hypocrisy, and without guile.’ (D&C 121:41-42)
“….Let us be a temple-attending and a temple-loving people. Let us hasten to the temple as frequently as time and means and personal circumstances allow. Let us go not only for our kindred dead, but let us also go for the personal blessing of temple worship, for the sanctity and safety which is provided within those hallowed and consecrated walls. The temple is a place of beauty, it is a place of revelation, it is a place of peace. It is the house of the Lord. It is holy unto the Lord. It should be holy unto us.” — Church News, June 11, 1994, pp. 3,14
Howard W. Hunter’s strength and his calmness have never been more evident to me than they were the night of February 7, 1993, when a man rushed to the stage of the Marriott Center, held what he claimed to be a bomb to President Hunter’s head, and demanded that President Hunter read to the 17,000 students in attendance a statement releasing the existing Church leadership and establishing this man as president of the Church.
I will always carry with me the memory of President Hunter standing resolute, courageous, straight, tall, and strong in what seemed to be the face of death. He not only would not read and present the imposter’s proposal, he didn’t even acknowledge it. Then there was a spontaneous reaction from the audience, who started singing, “We Thank Thee, O God, for a Prophet.” I have no idea who started the singing, but it spread immediately throughout that immense auditorium and disconcerted this would-be terrorist enough that the police and others were able to bring the ordeal to an end.
President Hunter then took just a moment to compose himself and proceeded to deliver a masterful address titled “An Anchor to the Souls of Men,” in which he made this profound – and poignant – statement: “This faith and hope of which I speak is not a Pollyanna-like approach to significant personal and public problems. I don’t believe we can wake up in the morning and simply by drawing a big ‘happy face’ on the chalkboard believe that is going to take care of the world’s difficulties. But if our faith and hope are anchored in Christ, in his teachings, commandments, and promises, then we are able to count on something truly remarkable, genuinely miraculous, which can part the Red Sea and lead Modern Israel to a place ‘where none shall come to hurt or make afraid.’ Fear, which can come upon people in difficult days, is a principal weapon in the arsenal which Satan uses to make mankind unhappy. He who fears loses strength for the combat of life, in the fight against evil.” — Rex E. Lee, “The Passing and the Appointment of a Prophet,” Brigham Young Magazine, August 1994, p. 5
I feel it is part of my personal ministry to bear witness of the miracle that has happened and is happening in the life of Howard W. Hunter. I bear witness that he is, himself, a miracle – evidence of God’s hand upon the prophets whom He calls and restores and sustains. Howard W. Hunter was foreordained in the councils of heaven before this world was, and he has been made, fashioned, molded into a prophet of God, as each of his predecessors have been and as each of his successors will be. He has not simply outlived others, nor has he gone through what he has gone through by accident. He is a man of velvet and steel, called of God. — Elder Jeffrey Holland, BYU Book of Mormon Symposium, Church News, 8/20/95, p. 4
We are at a time in the history of the world and the growth of the Church when we must think more of holy things and act more like the Savior would expect his disciples to act. We should at every opportunity ask ourselves, “What would Jesus do?” and then act more courageously upon the answer. We must be about his work as he was about his Father’s. We should make every effort to become like Christ, the one perfect and sinless example this world has ever seen. — President Howard W. Hunter, Ensign, Nov. 1994, p. 87
This Christmas, mend a quarrel. Seek out a forgotten friend. Dismiss suspicion and replace it with trust. Write a letter. Give a soft answer. Encourage youth. Manifest your loyalty in word and deed. Keep a promise. Forgo a grudge. Forgive an enemy. Apologize. Try to understand. Examine your demands on others. Think first of someone else. Be kind. Be gentle. Laugh a little more. Express your gratitude. Welcome a stranger. Gladden the heart of a child. Take pleasure in the beauty and wonder of the earth. Speak your love and then speak it again. — President Howard W. Hunter, Christmas Devotional, Church News, Dec. 10, 1994
We must know Christ better than we know him; we must remember him more often than we remember him; we must serve him more valiantly than we serve him. Then we will drink water springing up unto eternal life and will eat the bread of life. What manner of men and women ought we to be? Even as he is. — General Conference, April 1994; see Ensign, May 1994, p. 64