In Memory of Gordon B. Hinckley
President Hinckley, the president and latter-day prophet of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, passed away last night at the age of 97. Members of the church are mourning our earthy loss, but reflecting on our belief and knowledge that life continues after death, on into the heavens.
President Hinckley was one of my two favorite apostles as a child. When I was 14, he became the president of our church, and our prophet, I automatically loved and revered him. His eyes had a sparkle of joy, and he had perfect laugh-lines around his eyes. He was full of wisdom and was a man of God, but could smile and laugh - it was obvious he loved life.
President Hinckley, and his wife, Sister Marjorie Pay Hinckley, were such wonderful examples and teachers as I became a mother. I read "Glimpses into the life and Heart of Marjorie Pay Hinckley" and found President and Sister Hinckley's parenting of the children so uplifting and admirable. In a time when most all believed "spare the rod, spoil the child", The Hinckley's never spanked. They parented with love and kindness - and taught me that a kind word goes much further than a frustrated or angry word. It was because of this that I embraced "love and logic" parenting. The Hinckleys were kinds and wonderful parents, and I wanted (and still want) to pattern my parenting after them. In fact, one of my main New Year Resolutions for 2008 came from an article by our beloved President Hinckley
President and Sister Hinckley taught me the beauty of a forever love. They adored each other, and it was known! They teased and loved each other, while we watched on in awe of their sweet love. When Sister Hinckley passed away in 2004, my heart broke for our prophet. He was a man of God, our prophet and church president, but he was still a man who loved his wife in the purest and dearest way I've ever seen. I cried, and told my husband that President Hinckley wouldn't be around long - I thought he would die of a broken heart, missing his "sweet Marjorie" seemed too much for such a sweet man to bear. He spoke of his marraige this past conference, saying: "I think of my own marriage. My eternal companion passed away three and a half years ago. But we lived together for 67 years. I have no recollection of ever having a quarrel with her. She traveled with me and spoke on every continent, pleading for the exercise of restraint, kindness, and love." I strive to have that sort of marriage!
I will miss dear President Hinckley so much, but I have not cried about his passing. It was a great loss to us here on earth, but that thought is immediately accompanied with the thought of the moment he joined his sweet wife in heaven last night. The joyful and beautiful reunion they must have had. Gordon B. Hinkley lived a full, incredible life, and he was a great man of God. He showed love, kindness, compassion and taught us that great and marvelous works can be done today. He helped bring so many temples to the earth, and visited so many church members. He radiated love and joy to all who heard him speak. I remember going to General Conference one year in the conference center. We were blessed to have seats very close to the podium - we could see the details of the leaders faces. As President Hinckley came in, everyone stood. He took his seat, as did the rest of the thousands of people there. My husband whispered to me "listen!" and we heard President Hinckley speaking as he leaned over to his counselors, and addressing them by their first names, told them "Good Morning" and "you're looking sharp today!" with a large smile. It made me laugh, and brought tears to my eyes - They weren't his counselors - they were his friends. You could see in his eyes that he loved them. Later, at the end of conference, he spoke to the members of the church, expressing his love for us - and the same look came over him, I knew he meant what he said --- that he truly loved each of us and cared about us.
We will miss our beloved prophet and church president. But from him, we have learned more than we ever expected, and we will continue to feel his love and kindness for many more years.
We love you President Gordon B Hinckley. God be with you till we meet again.