Pres Hinckley, One of My Favorites
President Gordon B. Hinckley, what can I say? I had tremendous respect, admiration and love for this great man. He was first counselor to President Ezra Taft Benson and Howard W. Hunter. I observed President Hinckley’s tenderness, love and caring way for these two men when they became aged and infirm.
I first heard President Hinckley speak in person in Logan, Utah in 1991. A quote by President Hinckley: “Being HUMBLE means recognizing we are not on earth to see how important we can become, but to see HOW MUCH DIFFERENCE WE CAN MAKE in the lives of others.”
We fulfilled 68 months of ward and stake missionary callings in Riverdale, Utah before serving in China and Africa. We attended a regional conference at the Dee Events Center in Ogden, Utah prior to going to South Africa. We arrived quite early as we wanted to make sure we got a good seat. Upon entering the stadium a lady usher pointed where we should sit. We were wearing our missionary tags. I said to the lady, “I will give you $10.00 if we can sit down there,” pointing to a roped off section of the arena. She surprised me saying, “Oh go ahead.” My husband thought it was because we were wearing our missionary tags. This special roped off area was for bishops, stake presidents and their families.
We sat close to the front, near where the podium was set up. President Hinckly and his dear wife Marjorie, and I believe Elder Robert D. Hales was the one who accompanied the Hinckley’s. They were seated and the audience ceased visiting with each other. We were close enough that President Hinckley made eye contact with me. I felt tears beginning to well up and flow down my cheeks. As President and Sister Hinckley and other general authorities stood to leave at the end of that inspiring regional conference, the choir and congregation stood and began singing the closing hymn. All of a sudden we heard voices of a great army of missionaries who were standing in the back, singing “We Thank Thee O God for a Prophet.” The entire congregation joined in. Wow, fantastic. We Thank Thee O God for a Prophet
Some time after this regional conference I had a lovely dream. I dreamed my husband and I were seated in this empty spacious room at a large desk. I was seated on the outside of the desk upon which lay in front of me a stack of books. A gentleman started walking past us, I said to my husband, “Look, it is President Hinckley.” He was a few feet in front of us when he turned and walked toward us. He didn’t say anything but rested his hand on the desk top while looking at the books. I couldn’t resist putting my hand on his. I immediately awoke in tears.
While serving in South Africa our dear aged President Hinckley was touring Africa. I couldn’t resist writing him a letter of gratitude and appreciation for his untiring dedication and service to the saints around the world. I sometimes ask myself, “Do I have a favorite Prophet?” They are all so uniquely special. Yes, I do believe President Hinckley is my favorite.
As a young man he served in the London British Mission. He returned to this area many years later. I love the affection and emotion he exhibits for the people of this area. I will share with you this precious moment: Emotional Final Testimony
President Hinckley’s presidency was noted for the building of temples, with more than half of existing temples being built under his leadership. He also oversaw the reconstruction of the Nauvoo Illinois Temple and the building of the 21,000 seat Conference Center. During his tenure, THE FAMILY A Proclamation To The World was issued and the Perpetual Education Fund was established.
On June 23, 2004 (Hinckley’s 94th birthday), U.S. President George W. Bush awarded Hinckley the Presidential Medal of Freedom in a ceremony at the White House. President Hinckley received many educational honors. He received the Silver Buffalo Award, which is the highest honor bestowed by the Boy Scouts of America, and was honored by the National Conference for Community and Justice for his contributions to tolerance and understanding in the world.
I love this quote by President Hinckley: “It isn’t as bad as you sometimes think it is. It All Works Out! Don’t worry. I say that to myself every morning. It will all work out. Put your trust in God and move forward with faith and confidence in the future. The Lord will not forsake us. He Will Not Forsake Us if we will put our trust in Him, if we will pray to Him, if we will live worthy of His blessings, He will hear our prayers.”
On January 27, 2008, President Hinckley died at the age of 97 while surrounded by family in his Salt Lake City apartment. According to a church spokesman, the death was due to “causes incident to age.” He worked until the very end.