I have wanted to blog about my feelings about the passing of President Gordon B. Hinckley but I have been at a loss for words. I admired and respected and loved this man so much it hasn’t really sunk in that we won’t be hearing his words any longer. I loved to hear him speak. He had a humor and spark that made him seem just like an ordinary man, but a spirituality and love of the Lord that showed that he was not just an ordinary man, but a prophet of God.
When I first heard the news of his passing my first thoughts and feelings were of happiness for him that he had been reunited with his sweet wife who he loved dearly. You could tell how much he missed her since her death in 2004. They were an inspiration as an couple, and as a mother and father.
I was lucky to be able to hear him speak in person twice and I was so honored to be in the same room as him my eyes were filled with tears from the moment he walked in until the programs were over and he left.
The first time I saw President Hinckley was at a celebration for Independence Day in 2004 and I was overcome with emotion as the crowd of 21,000 people stood the moment he walked in the door and it was silent as we waited for him to walk to his seat. I loved how he raised his cane as a sign of greeting to everyone before he sat down.
The next time I heard him speak was in St. George, Utah in 2005. Our little town had experienced some devastating flooding and many homes had washed away into the river. He came down to talk to the two stakes that were most affected by the flooding and we happened to be in one of them. He was so sincere as he expressed his sorrow for those who had experienced losses in the floods and his words were full of comfort, faith and hope.
In the August Ensign in 2005 President Hinckley challenged members of the church to read or reread the Book of Mormon every day and finish it by the end of the year. The August Ensign comes out mid-July and we were in the process of moving at that time and I didn’t hear about the challenge until mid-September so I was really behind, but when I read what he said about it I knew I had to do it. He promised, “Without reservation I promise you that if each of you will observe this simple program, regardless of how many times you previously may have read the Book of Mormon, there will come into your lives and into your homes an added measure of the Spirit of the Lord, a strengthened resolution to walk in obedience to His commandments, and a stronger testimony of the living reality of the Son of God.” I can testify that this is true and this happened for me in my home. My bond with my husband and kids during the time that I was reading was stronger. I was much more patient and rarely raised my voice. My kids weren’t fighting nearly as often, and I felt a lot of added peace in our home. I enjoyed my church meetings more than I had in years and I felt like I had more understanding of the scriptures and the lessons that were taught.
I wish I could say that I kept up this habit and continued reading even after I finished the Book of Mormon on Christmas Eve of that year, but my reading has been sporadic since that time. With the passing of President Hinckley it has reminded me of his promise and I know that I need to start reading regularly again. My goal is to finish reading the Book of Mormon again before my birthday in May. I also am going to read more regularly with my family so that my children will learn the value of scripture study.
We know that we will soon have another prophet to lead the church, who I know we will grow to love in his own way, but we will always miss President Hinckley. He cannot be replaced as a man and I will never forget the legacy that he left.