President Hinckley

This from an e-mail to a friend:

I don’t know if/when you have or will listen to conference, but it boosted my spiritual energy in a wonderful way. I wasn’t able to attend the first session (at my ward) because I had medical interpreter training, and I found myself feeling the loss accutely. I greatly enjoyed the rest of the sessions, however. I liked all the sessions, but the last was my favorite; that’s funny, I suppose, because I often feel like things are kind of winding down during the last session–but not so this time, at least not to my ears.

I liked Elder Packer’s talk, and I greatly appreciated Elder Bednar’s reaching out to the “folks commonly known as ‘less-active.'” But it was Elder Holland who really got to me. I freely admit I have favorite speakers in conference and I had been waiting anxiously for them to announce Elder Holland’s turn, as he is probably my favorite. I always worry that I will build him up too much before he speaks, and perhaps that will happen some time, but not today.

His words resonated in the part of my heart to which only the most sacred and meaningful things find access. About the time he began speaking about the Brethren not being out of touch, about the time he began growling and wagging his jowls, the bedrock inside of me started shaking, reverberating with the truth of what he had said. Then, when he spoke of President Hinckley, a reel of my memories of the only Prophet I can very well remember flashed in front of my mind’s eye. I was speaking last night with a wonderful friend in my ward, a new member of the Church by the name of Brad. We commented that President Hinckley’s speech in Priesthood session had been wonderful but that this was the first time I could really remember the Prophet seeming his age–he does, I suppose, have to die at some point and though it has often seemed he might just ascend in a chariot of fire from the top of the Church Office Building, that fate does seem, on balance, unlikely. “Brad,” I said last night as we stood in the autumn air outside Ben and Jerry’s, “I wish you could have seen and heard President Hinckley just a few years ago, when he was still in his prime. I wish you could have heard him when announced the perpetual education fund, or when he roared against child abuse, or seen when his eye twinkled at the telling of one of his own very funny jokes–it was marvelous to see and hear a Prophet who looked and sounded Prophetic in all the Moses-like meaning of that word.” I thought of all that as Elder Holland spoke about President Hinckley, with that simultaneous and resonant love and authority only Elder Holland can seem to muster. And then I was so happy to hear Elder Holland to speak about the third reason for these “meetings every six months:” the Savior.

And then, as he finished his talk and spoke about how President Hinckley would close the meeting and about how that man is a Prophet “from head to toe” in every sense of the word. And then President Hinckley stood up and, as my dad also notes, it was as if the toll of the surgery and chemo washed suddenly away and there again was the Prophet–not just a prophet, but God’s oracle on the Earth, a Prophet in Israel, a man of God. No slurring, no slouching, no stuttering: just clarity and brevity, authority and power.

How MackW and the Motab had arranged who knows how many months ahead of time to turn the last verse of “We Thank Thee” over to the audience I don’t know (well, actually, I have a pretty good guess…) but i couldn’t sing much, mostly I just sat and basked in my newfound knowing; knowing it was all true, the Prophet, the apostles, the restoration, the Church, the talks, the Savior, the Atonement. It was a moment of knowing, and it was beautiful.

Published in: on October 2, 2006 at 2:17 am  Comments (8)  

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8 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Nice review. I had much of the same feelings.

  2. My wife and I took turns testerday, one would attend in peace at the chapel and the other would watch at home with our children. I was home with the kids during the second session yesterday. I sang “We Thank Thee” with my nine year old and my five Year old yesterday in our family room. What an opportunity to think how the lord has blessed us in the three years since we joined the church and realize everything that President Hickley’s teachings in particular have meant to our family. He was the prophet when we received the blessings of church membership and as such will always have a special place in our hearts.

  3. Last night after conference, I went back to the October 2005 Gen. Conf. files and watching the opening talk by President Hinckley. I was very suprised at how much he has aged. I suppose the surgeries took a toll on him.

    The other comment about President Hinckley … I told my wife that of all the GA’s, Pres. Hinckley and Monson were the only ones whose talks I could calmly sit through and stay awake when I listened to Gen. Conf. as a kid. For some reason, I’ve never had a problem paying attention to their words.

    And lastly, I hold a very special part in my heart for President Hinckley because he was called a President of the Church right when I was going on my mission. I’ll be so sad to see him go. Every talk he gives, I take it as if he were talking only to me.

  4. Eric,

    Thanks, glad we agree.


    I did not know you are a relatively new member, I’d love to hear the story some time–where do you live? I sang along with the televsion, although I was in a chapel in South Philly. While I have been a member a long time, President Hinckley is the only Prophet I can remember very fully, so I share some of your feelings.


    He has aged a lot, although, as mentioned, I think much of that seemed to recede during his final words yesterday. He has been the Prophet for most of the significant milestones in my life, I own him as “my” Prophet, and, yes, I will be very sad to see him go–I hope it will not be for a good while yet.

  5. Tyler,
    I live near Toledo Ohio currently, but I am from Pennsylvania. I joined the church in Wilkes-Barre PA, near where I grew up.

    The basic details of our conversion are as follows:
    The lord provided us with good friends just as we beagn to really consider the eternal destiny of our family. Our daughter Sarah became best friends with their’s on the first day she attended public school. We had been educating Sarah in Catholic school until we decided that we weren’t to follow that path. As you’d probably guess, these new friends were LDS. We eventually accepted their offer to attend sacrament meeting with them. The rest as they say, is history. There are too many miracles and lessons learned within this story to write down right now.

    Thanks for asking!

  6. John–

    Thanks for the short version; if you ever decide to post the full version somewhere, please drop a note and let me know. Meanwhile, I hope the miracles and lessons are ongoing.

  7. I experienced the miracle of “knowing” day before yesterday in the Conference Center as we stood, spontaneously, as sang to President Hinckley. This enormously good man and follower of Christ provided the kind of feelings I have rarely experienced. Such a blessing. So powerful. So real.

    John, thanks for sharing your “real” experience as well. Your willingness to share about miracles (each converted heart truly is a miracle) strengthens all of us!

  8. sometimes i wonder how people dont see all the miracles that the church has in store- there has been so many and also many yet to come

    we as members of this wonderful church need to find that closed door in the lives of others and help them open it

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