Adapted from a Deseret News article by Trent Toone
On September 11, 2001, countless lives were forever changed when terrorists hijacked and crashed planes into the World Trade Center in New York City, into the Pentagon outside Washington D.C., and onto a vacant field in Pennsylvania. Thousands of lives were snuffed out in an instant — passengers and crews on four planes, people in buildings that three of those planes crashed into, rescue workers and others who rushed to their aid and bystanders at the scenes. Within hours of these tragic events, Mormon leaders responded with a statement that read:
“In this hour of sorrow, the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints expresses profound sympathy to those whose loved ones, friends and associates were lost or injured in today’s senseless acts of violence. We offer our prayers in behalf of the innocent victims of these vicious attacks. We ask our Heavenly Father to guide President Bush and his advisors as they respond to these devastating incidents. We join with others in prayers that the Savior’s peace and love will comfort and guide us all through this difficult time. The resources of the Church will be made available to any relief agencies requesting assistance.”
That statement became the first of many reassuring messages offered by LDS Church leaders. One decade later, their messages still deliver peace and comfort to the hearts of many people today. A few of those messages follow.
President Gordon B. Hinckley, from an address given on Sept. 11, 2001
in the Tabernacle on Temple Square
“Dark as is this hour, there is shining through the heavy overcast of fear and anger the solemn and wonderful image of the Son of God, the Savior of the World, the Prince of Peace, the exemplar of universal love, and it is to him that we look in these circumstances. It was he who gave his life that all might enjoy eternal life. … May the peace of Christ rest upon us and give us comfort and reassurance and, particularly, we plead that he will comfort the hearts of all who mourn.”
President Gordon B. Hinckley, October 2001 general conference address:
“Members of the church in this and other nations are now involved with many others in a great international undertaking. … Unitedly, as a church, we must get on our knees and invoke the powers of the Almighty in behalf of those who will carry the burdens of this campaign.
“We have been counseled again and again concerning self-reliance, concerning debt, concerning thrift. … As we have been counseled for more than 60 years, let us have some food set aside that would sustain us for a time of need. But let us not panic or go to extremes. Let us be prudent in every respect. And, above all, my brothers and sisters, let us move forward with faith in the Living God and his Beloved Son.
“Peace may be denied for a season. … But God our Eternal Father will watch over this nation and all of the civilized world who look to him. … Our safety lies in repentance. Our strength comes from obedience to the commandments of God.
“Let us be prayerful. Let us pray for righteousness. Let us pray for the forces of good. Let us reach out to help men and women of goodwill, whatever their religious persuasion and wherever they live. Let us stand firm against evil, both at home and abroad. Let us live worthy of the blessings of heaven, reforming our lives where necessary and looking to him, the Father of us all. He has said, ‘Be still, and know that I am God’ (Psalms 46:10).
“Are these perilous times? They are. But there is no need to fear. We can have peace in our hearts and peace in our homes. We can be an influence for good in this world, every one of us.”
President Gordon B. Hinckley, statement given on Sept. 11, 2002
“Today, the world remembers the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001. We are still shocked and dismayed at the infamy of those cowardly attacks.
“During the past year, we have come to know the heroic acts of men and women whose courage and selflessness were manifest on that terrible day. So many lost their lives. So many friends and families have been deprived of dear ones. Today we pause to remember and join in tribute to those whose lives were taken and to those who have carried on so bravely in their absence.
“We know that much good has come of these dreadful circumstances. From the smoke and ashes of New York, Washington D.C., Pennsylvania and other areas of the world has arisen a greater sense of unity and purpose in ridding the earth of evil and providing for the freedom and security of all people. We endorse the righteous efforts of God-fearing people everywhere in this important endeavor.
“May our Father in Heaven smile upon us all, comfort those who continue to mourn and guide the leaders of nations in the quest for justice and liberty is our sincere prayer.”