- He became the prophet when I was 17 years old, and he was a great influence on me as a youth and young adult - as I struggled to find out who I am and what I believe personally.
- Among other things, his words encouraged me to make the decision to serve a full time mission...and he is the one that signed my mission call. And, of course, he was the living prophet that I was able to testify of to the people that I met in Germany as I 'spread the good news' there.
- I was honored to sing in a missionary choir that accompanied a talk by President Hinckley. I felt so strongly of his sincerity when he expressed his love for the missionaries, and for all members of the church.
- He gave his talk to the young adults on the "6 Be's" while I was engaged to Mark and it rang refreshingly direct to me.
- He was the prophet that introduced 'The Family - A Proclomation to the World' which hangs in our home.
- He put an emphasis on education (with his own words, and by introducing the perpetual education fund) during a time that I needed encouragement to keep plugging away at my college degree.
- I listened to his book "Standing For Something" on CD in my car as a college student, and it helped give me a little pick-me-upper during that busy time in my life.
- Often times his words were of comfort to me during the years that I yearned & struggled to become a mother.
- He showed me not to be ashamed of sharing the message of the gospel. He never shyed away from the media or avoided difficult questions. He was simply honest, direct, and kind.
- He reminded me of the importance of having a sense of humor.
As I look over this list, I think to myself that millions of other people around the world have the same memories and feelings about President Hinckley as I do - so I hesitate to state them myself for fear of being redundant. I don't flatter myself to think that the feelings I have for President Hinckley are unique, but that doesn't make them any less real for me. To me, these memories and feelings are personal. They are mine. And they are from tender, growing times in my life - which embeds those feelings only more deeply into my heart.
So, I suppose that I'm reflecting and recording these thoughts and feelings more for myself than anything else. I'll miss him. There are much more articulate tributes to the prophet out there, and I've read and seen several of them over the last week. Here is a link to one of the video tributes that was passed on to me. I really liked the choice of song...
Thank you for letting me share some of my personal feeling about "my" prophet. And - I do want to mention how excited that I am to better get to know, and learn more from, the new leader of our church, President Monson - as well as his counselors Elder Eyring and Elder Uchtdorf.
"Let your children be exposed to great minds, great ideas, everlasting truth, and those things which will build and motivate for good." ~ Gordon B. Hinckley