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(KSL News) The spiritual leader of many Washington County residents who lost homes and property in the flooding delivers a message of faith in adversity.
"I just felt like I needed to come down here and meet with you and tell you I love you, and evoke the blessings of the Lord upon you," said Gordon B. Hinckley, President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
President Hinckley spoke at a conference of several LDS Stakes in Southwestern Utah this weekend.
"My heart reaches out to those who have suffered so very, very much," he said.
Before he spoke to this weekend's regional conference of LDS Stakes in St. George and Santa Clara, President Hinckley toured the flooded areas.
"I think I've seen every home that was damaged and the place where some stood that were washed away," he said.
He told a packed house at the Burns Arena on the Dixie State College campus that the southern Utah flooding, the Asian tsuanami, and other recent natural disasters were signs of the times. He said he doesn't have all the answers about why some have their faith tested by experiences like these and others are unscathed.
But he praised them for their faith, and encouraged them with his trademark humor.
"This area reminds me that it's like a vampire-- very attractive, but it turns around and bites you," he said.
President Hinckley pledged another $100-thousand in relief aid to the area in addition to the $25-thousand the Church has already donated.