Address by GORDON B. HINCKLEY, President, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
Delivered to the U.S. Conference Of Mayors, Salt Lake City, Utah, September 25, 1998
I am honored by [Salt Lake City] Mayor [Deedee] Coffadini's invitation to speak to you. I am glad you have come to Salt Lake City. It is a good city, not without its problems, but a good place to live. It is a city with a unique beginning and a great history.
I think I have been in most of the cities from which you come. Each city has its own individual personality, its own attractions, and its own set of problems, although they are much alike, particularly the problems.
I hope that while you are here you will visit our Family History Library. I am told that it is the largest of its kind in the world. It is a great treasure house of genealogical information, and I will be surprised if you cannot find something of your family roots.
In addition to this central resource we have 1,674 satellite facilities across the nation. They are open to everyone. Half of those who use them are not members of the Church. You will be welcome in any one of them. In many instances you will find them in the cities from which you come.
I hope you will also visit the Sunday morning broadcast of the Tabernacle Choir. I think you will enjoy it. This body of 300 volunteer singers has been broadcasting to the nation for 69 years. There is nothing to compare with it in broadcast history. The choir has become a great national treasure.
Now, Mayor Coffadini has suggested I talk on family values.
I need not remind you that the cities of America are in trouble. They have been for a good while, and in most cases the situation is growing worse.
I should like to briefly highlight a few of the problems of which you are all well aware. Perhaps the most serious of these is the growing number of families without fathers. In 1996 there were 7,874,000 fatherless families with children under 18. This represents 23% of all families with children under 18. They are headed by single women who struggle to make a go of things. Forty-one percent of them have never been married. This according to the National Center for Health Statistics.
In 1996 there were 1,260,000 children born to single mothers. This represents 32% of all live births.
Every young woman should know that in giving birth to a child, she places upon herself a responsibility from which she will never be entirely free. How tragic is the desolate and ever increasing picture of illegitimate birth. With each such birth comes responsibility to the mother, and, …