Monday, January 28, 2008

When a Prophet Dies

I was threading the last loop on my tie early this morning, when Mari came into our bedroom a little teary-eyed.

"President Hinckley died," she said.

I was a little shocked, but not very sad. Although I loved and admired President Hinckley, I didn't know him personally, so I didn't feel a personal loss. And I felt like, at 97, that's as good a time to die as any. He had lived a long, full life; he served the Church well; and I learned things from him that made me a better person.

Mari, it seemed, was more emotionally invested in the Prophet. I love that about her.

In seminary, we talked about his death with the kids. We noted that, in the Old Testament when a prophet or judge died, often the people fell back into apostacy. But not us. Our church rolls on.

We talked about succession - how the next President of the Church will be Elder Monson (and not because he's the First Counselor in the First Presidency). Perhaps it doesn't have to be this way, i.e. it's not written in scripture that the longest-serving Apostle will be the next President, but that's how it is and how it has been since the Church began. (I think-was Brigham Young the longest-serving Apostle?) Well, if not Brigham, than that's the way it's been done since Brigham Young.

We then had the kids write a little journal entry about what they remember about President Hinckley. I figure, I can do the same thing here.

I enjoyed President Hinckley's straight-forward way of speaking. He didn't use much fluff in his talks, but he always spoke from his heart. He's not my favorite speaker (Elder Holland is), but I did enjoy listening to him. But that's judging my favorite speaker by speech style. I can't really say which Church leader has had the most impact on how I live. I just don't know the answer.

President Hinckley introduced the policy of building many mini-temples throughout the world. I remember watching conference on a TV in Puerto Rico when he made the announcement. I was so excited, because I remember Dad had told of an experience, I believe in a temple-worker meeting, in which President Kimball had said he envisioned the day when smaller temples would be built next to stake centers, so we could do our family history work and then go next door and do the ordinances for our families.

He also instituted the Perpetual Education Fund (how's that going, anyway? I loved hearing the stories early on).

Also, he was a little irreverent. He challenged Elder Haight to a duel in conference, and "knighted" Elder Eyring after he was sustained as a member of the First Presidency. Scandalous.

I will miss President Hinckley - he's been in the First Presidency of my church for as long as I've been paying attention. He's taught me much, and he'll be in my memories forever.

But I don't think I'll cry. We weren't tight like that.


  1. I like your thoughts. I feel kinda the same way. By the way, your constellation t-shirt is just wierd!

    --Your big sis., Julie

  2. When the Prophet passes, the First Presidency is dissolved and the authority and keys devolve to the Quorum of the 12. Since the senior Apostle is the President of that Quorum, he is the head of the Church. Unless the Lord should dictate otherwise, he will be ordained the President and Prophet of the Church and reconstitute the First Presidency.

    :-) Dad