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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, October 28, 2003

Mormons told to guard themselves against ice use

Associated Press

LA'IE, Hawai'i — Thousands of Mormons statewide heard their prophet warn against the scourge of the illegal drug ice Sunday as he celebrated the 40th anniversary of one of the state's major tourist attractions — the church-owned Polynesian Cultural Center.

"Stand a little taller and be a little better as sons of God," said Gordon B. Hinckley, president of the church.

Deborah Booker • The Honolulu Advertiser

President Gordon B. Hinckley of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints told Mormon youth to guard themselves against one of the state's most critical problems — crystal methamphetamine addiction — by refusing to try the drug even once.

"You cannot lower yourself to do these things that are so common in the world," Hinckley told the crowd gathered in the basketball arena of the church's Brigham Young University-Hawai'i campus. The address was broadcast to Mormon chapels on the six major Hawaiian islands.

It was the second trip to the Islands this year for the widely traveled, 93-year-old church leader. He waved his cane at the crowd and joked about his age, saying some of the people he has known for years in the Islands are starting to look "almost as old as I am."

Hinckley urged all church members to be a good example for their families, friends and neighbors. "Stand a little taller and be a little better as sons of God," he said.

About 55,000 of the world's 11.7 million Mormons live in Hawai'i.

The Polynesian Cultural Center, which Hinckley came to celebrate, has had 30 million visitors since it opened in 1963. It features villages portraying several Pacific cultures, with performances by BYU students from the island nations. Proceeds from the attraction go to student scholarships.

On Saturday, Hinckley dedicated a $5 million beautification project in front of the Mormon temple in La'ie.

The temple, dedicated in 1919 and open only to church faithful for sacred ceremonies, was one of the first buildings in the area and is now a major O'ahu landmark.

Referring to rituals being performed in the church's 116 worldwide temples for those who have died, Hinckley said the ceremonies that bring salvation to past generations are unique to Mormons.

Hinckley asked the faithful to consider whether they believe they are better than their grandfathers. Lighting a candle for the dead is not enough, he said.