Full transcript is here.
On missionary growth:
HH: I would wonder what the burden of having all these young people on the road in an era of religious intolerance is like.
JH: It is a burden. It is a worry. We proceed with great faith. We say a lot of prayers on behalf of those young people, because they’re your sons and daughters and my sons and daughters, collectively speaking, and they’re someone’s child. And we worry about them a lot. But the miracle is that every indication we have, and we try to be very careful, we try to be very sensitive about where they work and to what locations they’re assigned and so on and so forth, but having said that, the statistics are that they’re safer in the mission field than they were at home. The chances for an accident, the chances for a serious difficulty or a death, are really minimal. We have been very, very blessed. We knock on wood and say our prayer, and don’t want to be arrogant about that, because there is a very high risk. But we’re greatly blessed, and they continue to come They continue to serve. And those numbers will increase. We’re projecting out probably within four years, the baseline number for the missionary force will be something around 100,000.
On religious freedom in the United States:
HH: How does the United States stack up in terms of the climate of openness to religious flourishing and freedom, of all sorts?
JH: Yeah, well that’s a good question, Hugh, because I think in some ways, as secularism prevails and the 21st Century unfolds, in some ways, we’re less reverent, we’re less spiritual, maybe less religiously affiliated as a nation. But within that, there is an emerging group, a subset, if you will, that I think is more interested, are more willing to listen to the missionaries. Maybe a little harder to find, but when you find them, these are people that probably are more interested now in a way than they were 20 years ago. Maybe it’s the issue of the day, maybe it’s the kind of political and social phenomenon you’ve already referred to, but something is getting their attention that say maybe we ought to have more faith, maybe there ought to be more religion, maybe there ought to be more devotion. So maybe it’s a kind of a polarization. I wouldn’t say sheep or goats or wheat and tares. That sounds too ominous. I’m not an apocalyptic guy. But…
HH: I’m glad to hear that.
JH: But I do think that probably those who are less interested are more obvious in the 21st Century, but I think those who do entertain faith are spectacularly loyal and devoted, and good people. And whether they join the LDS Church or not is beside the point. In their own faith or the quest for a new faith, that’s more attractive and more visible, I think, more obvious than I think it was even a quarter of a century ago.
On radical Islam:
HH: Next hour, I’m going to talk to Lindsey Graham, and we’re going to talk about the Islamic State, and the rampage of the Islamic State ought to chill everybody. And they are, of course, they’ll be the first in line to decapitate our critics on the left…
JH: That’s right.
HH: …those who don’t like organized religion. But we don’t stop doing that. But do you sense that the left is figuring out in the country, or the secular absolutists, I always talk about them abstractly, but they’re real people and they have real concerns about theocracy, etc.
HH: But do you think they have any sense of the fact that the world is held together by religious toleration, not threatened by it?
JH: Well, that’s part of the message, I think, that we’re trying to get out. I don’t know whether they get it or not. And they wonder whether I get things or not. But I believe that there really needs to be a return to some of these founding issues. I quoted John Adams last night, I quoted George Washington last night. You can’t lose with sources like that.
HH: No, you can’t. No, you can’t.
JH: But you know, the idea that a democracy functions on the premise of a moral, religious people, that is simply the way democracy can work, and it cannot work without. I do not believe it can work without morally-founded, for me, religious people. You can define religious as broadly as you want, but people need to obey the unenforceable.
His message for the young people:
HH: What are you telling your young people?
JH: I’m telling young people to believe. I’m telling parents to believe. I’m telling them both, families and participants in the family of all age to believe in God, and to believe in help, and to believe in the future, to believe in themselves, and stay close. And the family is the fundamental unit of society. It is certainly the fundamental unit of a church. I guess, probably, it’s the fundamental unit of everything. And our friend, Michael Novak, said once this law obtains that when things go well with the family, life goes well. And when things do not go well win the family, life is, can be really miserable. Let’s start there. Let’s work better at home. Let’s work better with parents and children. And if we can master some principles in that little circle, maybe we can extend them to the state and the nation and the world. But better to start closer to home, and I believe God will bless us in every way to succeed in that most fundamental mission we all have, and that is to save and bless the next generation.