Notes on Gordon B. Hinckley’s Standing For Something

In a little over a week, it will be a year since the passing of Gordon B. Hinkcley, 15th president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  At that time, considering the growth of Church membership, he had been the only prophet that about a fourth of all living Mormons had ever known.  As I joined the Church in 1993 but wasn’t very active until 1996, that includes me. 

When he died, I finally pulled my copy of Standing For Something: 10 Neglected Virtues That Will Heal Our Hearts And Homes off the shelf.  After I’d read the first twenty pages or so, I found myself wanting to keep track of all his many offhand references.  Even as I just kept a brief mental tally of his sources, I was impressed that he had such a broad store of resources available.  It’s not like he was writing a scholarly tract, but if he had been, this wouldn’t have been a bad start.  The book reads very comfortably, and is very friendly to the reader, some of it coming across as spontaneous, and some parts clearly taken from his own library of sermons.  I don’t think he must have done much research, then, but actually had most of this material in his mind (including, this English teacher hastens to add, references to four of Shakespeare’s plays).  Putting all of this in such a simple little book might make it harder to detect his achievement. 

By the time I’d finished the book, my notes were twleve pages long.  At the end, I summarized what I thought I could surmise about President Hinckley’s life just based on those notes, sort of as a guide for emulating him.  The best part is that I’m pretty sure I missed some things: some of his references must have escaped me.  Feel free to point out any I missed:


Standing for Something—Quotes, references, statistics, etc.


1.Henry Van Dyke, “America For Me”—introduction xii

2.Edwin Markham on love, “Outwitted”–ch 1, pg. 9

3.Longfellow on honesty, “The Ladder of St. Augustine”–ch 2, pg. 26

4.James Russell Lowell, “The Vision of Sir Launfal”–ch 4, pg 58

5.Robert Browning, “Rabbi Ben Ezra”–ch 8, pg 94

6.Joaquin Miller, “Columbus”–ch 10, pg 111

7.Elizabeth Barrett Browning—Marriage, pg. 142

8.Emerson, “Voluntaries III”–Epilogue, pg 177


Historical References

9.Mayflower Compact (quote)—introduction xiv

10.Declaration of Independence (quote)—introduction xv

11.Preamble to the Constitution (quote)—introduction xvi

12.War hero statue in Trafalgar Square–ch. 1, pg. 8

13.Athenian oath of citizenship—ch 2, pg. 19

14.Anecdote about Lincoln’s honesty—ch 2, pg 26

15.“Heroes” list: Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, Lindbergh, Byrd, Hopkins—ch 3, pg 38-39

16.George Washington’s 110 “rules for civility”–ch 4, pg 53

17.1979 centennial of electric light—ch 5, pg 67

18.Lee’s surrender at Appomattox—ch 6, pg 76

19.Vikings—ch 7, pg 81

20.American West—ch 7, pg 81

21.Israel—ch 7, pg 81

22.American WWI cemetery in France—ch 8, pg 92

23.Korean War—ch 8, pg 92

24.Vietnam War—ch 8, pg 92

25.United Kingdom in WWII—ch 9, pg 102

26.Mikhail Gorbachev’s speeches—ch 9, pg 103

27.Letter of an 1872 Colonel who visited Utah—ch 10, pg 118

28.Story of the Roman Gracchi—Family, pg 152


Quotes and Allusions

29.William Gladstone on U.S. Constitution—introduction xvi

30.Margaret Thatcher on declining religiosity—introduction xvii

31.George Washington on public religiosity—introduction xix

32.Shakespeare on honesty (Othello)–ch 2, pg. 17

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