Friday, November 20, 2009

President Hinckley Passing -- My Thoughts at the Time

****I realized that I never published this post for some reason almost 2 years ago. I thought I would go ahead and put it up, even though it has been so long. Did I mention that I loved President Hinckley?****

Originally written February 2008

"I believe he was a true prophet but it didn't hurt that he was a genius, too."
Elder Marlin K. Jensen

I know that there have been many eulogies written for President Hinckley since his death a few weeks ago, but I thought I would write down a few thoughts of my own. I have been surprised at my own emotional response to his passing. I think just about every member of the church sensed what a special prophet and leader he was. He definitely left his mark on the church, nation and world.

I read the Sherry Dew's biography of President Hinckley about 6 years ago and I don't think I have ever been so thoroughly inspired by a book. In some ways his life was so ordinary, but he humbly transcended his simple roots to be the most important and inspirational leader I have ever personally followed. His good nature and sense of humor allowed him to teach me that life is tough sometimes, but accepting that truth, there is always something positive to be accentuated and to be grateful for. He believed deeply in simple, true principles of living a good life and being a good person.

I felt such a personal connection to him when he spoke. I cannot count how many times I testified to people on my mission that he was a true and living prophet of God.

His teaching style usually avoided the doctrinal nitty-gritty. And yet, he was a master of wrapping the most complex doctrines of the gospel into basic principles of honest living and hard work, two hallmarks of his long and fruitful life. Of course, he was no doctrinal or historical lightweight. In fact, he was a scholar of church and world history. In many ways he literally "wrote the book" on how the modern church sees itself historically.

When he died, I cried as I read some of the online published accounts of his life. Not really because I am sad, although I do feel like I have lost a close personal friend. He left a huge, indelible mark on my spiritual identity that I will cherish forever.