Sunday, January 27, 2008

Lonely No Longer

Sadly tonight we learned of the passing of our Prophet, Gordon B. Hinckley. He passed away at about 7:00pm MST. Two weeks ago, President Hinckley spoke via satellite at our Stake Conference which was broadcast to all of southern California. I'm not sure if his talk was live, or a tape of an earlier talk. Either way, he was showing the signs of his age. He mentioned, as he has on several occasions recently, that his has been lonely since the passing of his wife, Marjorie, in 2004.

Tonight I was in a multi-stake Young Single Adult planning meeting with Priesthood and youth leaders from neighboring stakes. Following our meeting, I was waiting for the prayer meeting of the YSA fireside to begin. Elder Joe J. Christensen, former member of the 1st Quorum of the Seventy, San Diego Temple President and Provo MTC President was scheduled to be the speaker. Just before our meeting at 7:00PM, President Clayton of the Newport Beach Stake stopped by to tell us the sad news. Since I was presiding at the YSA fireside that was about to begin, it was decided that I would make the announcement prior to the start of the fireside. As I walked to the chapel, I called mom and dad to confirm the news, which they did. As the meeting was about to begin, I could see several in the audience checking text messages as the news began to spread. The chapel and over flow were filled with about 500 young adults when I stood up to make the announcement. It was very difficult to make the announcement because there were already many faces with tear filled eyes looking up at me.

The fireside was great. Elder Christensen adapted his remarks to share some touching experiences. I'll always remember the great spirit I felt the few times I fortunate enough to be in the presence of President Hinckley - the most special of which was seeing President Hinckley stop and wave to us with his cane as he walked down the hallway of the Newport Beach Temple during the dedication.

We will all miss him.


  1. Thanks for the posting. We will; all have special memories of President Hinckley reminding us of what a great Prophet, humanitarian and leader he was.

  2. I need to add my own recollection of President Hinckley from the Nauvoo Mission.

    As most of you know, a number of new buildings were dedicated while I was serving there. Elders Kimball, Stapley, and Hinckley were there for the dedication, and I had been selected to be the one to give them the visitor center tour. I was told to present the information just as I would on any other tour. In other words, the basic facts concerning the restoration, building of temples, and the settling of Nauvoo. Here then was the most "gospel-doctrinally impaired" elder in Nauvoo telling members of the Quorum of the Twelve why we have temples.

    At the end of the tour, it was customary to ask if there were any questions. Since I had been told to give the "usual" tour, as I concluded, I gulped and asked "Are there any questions?", uttering a quiet prayer, asking that none of the Apostles had a desire to humilate an elder in the Nauvoo Visitors Center.

    After a short moment, thinking I had made it, I suddenly heard a commanding yet gentle voice, one that we're all familiar with now, call out. "Elder, I have a question."

    Of course, Elder Hinckley even then had that twinkle in his eye, but I was too nervous to notice. I waited for the doctrinal question that would bring about my doom.

    "Elder,....where are you from?"

    I think it took me three tries, but I was able to answer that question correctly.

    What a great legacy of service, compassion, and humility President Hinckley has left for us to follow.

  3. One of the comments Elder Christensen made last night was about President Faust at a Stake Presidency reorganization years ago. As he stood to make the concluding remarks he said to the outgoing Stake President that following his release he'll wake up in the morning and life will go on. 'When I'm released, I'll wake up in the morning and I'll be dead.' There are only 15 men (14 today) on earth to whom that comment is a certainty.

  4. I was surprised when I heard the the news last night, but realized he was 97 years old! I forget how old he was because he never seemed to act that way. He was really the only prophet I actually remember, so it is easy for me to say he is my favorite. He will be missed but at least he gets to be with his wife now!

  5. I remember when then Elder Hinckley came to Logan to set apart dad. While we were waiting for Chad to drive up from Provo and I remember Pres. Hinckley telling us about his new car. I believe it was a Plymouth Reliant. Very down to earth. I'll always appreciate his positive attitude towards the future despite the war and other problems. His encouraging words to be a little better each day are the gospel in a nut shell. What a great man.