Monday, February 4, 2008

Remembering President Hinkley

This past week I have very much enjoyed remembering President Gordon B. Hinkley, President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, who passed away a week and a day ago. I thought I would share my favorite memories with you today.

Many years ago when Russel and I were attending BYU we went to October General Conference. It was an unusually hot sunny day for early fall in Utah, and the Tabernacle was stuffy and uncomfortable. When President Hinkley came to the podium to announce the next speaker he said, "We are sorry that it is so warm." Then he paused, and said in that dear, straightforward but droll voice of his, "You will all be a lot warmer if you don't repent."

Two years later as I sat listening to the general women's meeting, only days before delivering my first child, I listened in awe as President Hinkley read the Proclamation on the Family. It so clearly laid out for me what I was to do and teach my children to do as I embarked on this new venture of motherhood! I liked it so much I cut it out of the newspaper the next day and glued it into my journal. There has been a copy of it on my wall for as long as I have had children in my home.

There were a few years in the middle of Hinkley's presidency when he would announce a big surprise nearly every time he stepped up to the pulpit. He announced the restructuring of the quorums of the seventies to allow the church to grow to whatever size it would, he announced the building of small temples, he announced the Conference Center, he announced the Perpetual Education Fund, he announced the rebuilding of the Nauvoo temple. Going to General Conference was exciting simply because we wondered what vast sweeping changes President Hinkley would announce next!

As a personal tribute to President Hinkley, I have decided to try and follow his example of optimism and encouragement. He would always make me feel as if I was doing a great job, but somehow at the same time he made me want to do better! I'm going to make it my personal goal to learn how to do that for my husband and children.

I decided this after the garbage truck drove away without our garbage this morning. As I heard it go roaring down the street I yelled, "Garbage! GARBAGE!" in a very disappointed and angry voice.

"I'm getting my shoes on!" my husband snapped back.

In exasperation I flopped back in my chair and rolled my eyes at the ceiling. How could we have missed the garbage AGAIN? We had plenty of time to take it out this morning! Why didn't we remember?

"Too late!" my husband yelled as he came back in the house.

Then I thought of what President Hinkley would say. He would say, "Think of all the trouble you saved the garbage man, and I'm sure you'll remember to take it out it on Thursday." If I had said that, then no one would be mad! And the garbage would go out on Thursday, and everything would work out fine.

Thank you, President Hinkley! I will always remember.

1 comment:

Kathy said...

Thank you, Rebecca, for such an inspiring tribute to this great man! May we all work to carry on in the legacy he left us.