Sunday, January 27, 2008

One Among Millions

I’m just one person, but I happen to be one person on this earth who like millions, and millions of others who was influenced for the better by a singular and uniquely wonderful man. Gordon B. Hinckley.

Growing up LDS and in Utah just a couple of hours from Church Headquarters you would think that I would have often had the chance to meet the apostles and prophets of our church. To be honest, I have seen several but I have only shaken hands with one. I remember being very young and going to a special fireside in Logan, Utah with my parents. The guest speakers were the Osmond’s and then - Apostle for our church, Gordon B. Hinckley. To be honest I was understandably more excited to see the Osmond’s. However, before the program began, and before the Osmond’s came out, I braved a short walk to the stage and was able to shake his hand. I’ve always remembered his kind face and smile. He is the only Prophet of our Church that I've personally shaken hands with.

There are always church leaders whose message resonates with your heart and who you feel a special connection to. As a child I loved our prophet Spencer W. Kimball, and it took me a while to gain a personal testimony of some of the men who followed in his footsteps. When Gordon B. Hinckley was sustained as our prophet a little under 13 years ago, I instantly felt that connection again. He had always been one of my favorites.

A year and a half ago, my family and I traveled to Nauvoo, Illinois and visited many wonderful places that have significant value to the history of our church. One of my most memorable moments in Nauvoo came in the final moments of the Nauvoo Temple Pageant. All the pageant noise and lights dimmed down to nothing and up on the hill behind the stage the lights on the Nauvoo Temple slowly lit the temple until it stood as a shining beacon. I felt such a thrill in my heart that I quietly sobbed as the voice of President Gordon B. Hinckley then came across the sound system talking about the importance of temples.

I’m so grateful for his optimism, humor, humbleness, his tireless testimony, and example of service to the world. His love of all God’s Children, regardless of their different religious background, and his love all church members including me, are just some of the wonderful things that I loved and admired about this great man.

So on this night in hearing of his passing, although I will miss him most terribly, I am at peace that our Church is still true and still led by men of God on earth today. I rejoice that he is with the love of his life, Marjorie, and I wish them a happy and joyous reunion with the many faithful who have gone before them. I will never forget the many wonderful things I’ve learned by listening to him, reading his teachings, and following this wonderful man.

God Bless You, Gordon B. Hinckley. And Thank You, from one of millions of people whose hearts that you’ve touched.