President Hinckley tends, generally, to project a very positive outlook regarding the state of the Church and how we are perceived by the world. This was particularly evident around the time of the Olympics, but has been a consistent theme during his presidency.
This seems intended to reassure the Saints, but seems to stand in sharp contrast to quotes such as this one from Brigham Young:
I am satisfied that it will not do for the Lord to make this people popular. Why? Because all hell would want to be in the church. The people must be kept where the finger of scorn can be pointed at them. Although it is admitted that we are honest, industrious, truthful, virtuous, self-denying, and, as a community, possess every moral excellence, yet we must be looked upon as ignorant and unworthy, and as the offscouring of society, and be hated by the world. What is the reason of this? Christ and Baal can not become friends. When I see this people grow and spread and prosper, I feel that there is more danger than when they are in poverty. Being driven from city to city or into the mountains is nothing compared to the danger of our becoming rich and being hailed by outsiders as a first-class community.
(Journal of Discourses, 12: 272-273.)
Are Brigham Young's and Gordon Hinckley's views reconcilable? Is one of them preferable? What is the view the world has of Mormonism? Does it more closely match the positive message articulated by President Hinckley or the way President Young said it must always be? What is the effect of relative prosperity on the Church in the U.S.?