Its really late, after midnight. Doug and I have been up playing video games and sewing. As we settle into bed I notice that his parents tried to call us 3 times, and I mention it to him. "Oh, that's probably because Pres. Hinkley died," he replies. My only thought is "what!?!"
So now I'm up in the middle of the night blogging, because I wouldn't be able to sleep if I didn't get some of these thoughts out of my head.
I deeply respected Pres. Hinkley. In fact, he was probably the first prophet that I actually took notice of. I barely remember Pres. Hunter, and I know of Pres. Benson, but Pres. Hinkley was there as I gained my testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ. His words and deeds made me stop and think about what I wanted. He lead by example.
I think my most memorable memory of him was on Oct. 1st, 2000 at the Boston Temple dedication. I had flown up to Boston as a birthday present from my dad, and was able to attend not one, but two dedication meetings as an usher in the temple. I sat in the baptismal font room and watched the monitors during the 2nd and 4th sessions. I was humbled by his talks, esp. because they were two different talks given to two separate groups of people, yet I knew those words were especially for the people there. After, talking with my friend, Jon, he mentioned that he got more out of the 2nd session, while I felt like the 4th session spoke to me. I knew that Pres. Hinkley loved every person there. I knew that he had a testimony and his testimony strengthened mine. I knew he was a prophet. Those words came from my Heavenly Father.
He was the prophet of my mission. How I loved telling people that God's church on the earth today had a wonderful, caring prophet. I learned so much from the General Conferences on my mission and was saddened when Elders Maxwell & Haight died at the end of my mission. It was truly like seeing an end of an era for me.
I was telling Doug that I knew that eventually Pres. Hinkley would have to pass on, but even though he's old, this felt so sudden to me. I guess I was expecting to hear about a long illness, but I guess now it seems fitting. He did so much in his time as prophet, that he probably had to move on quickly so he could continue doing much in the next life. I know he is now reunited with his dear wife, and they are probably very happy.
I'm so thankful for the gospel in my life, and for the many temples that now dot the earth that Pres. Hinkley helped bring about. Its wonderful to know about the plan of salvation, that families can be together forever, that God loved us so much that he let Jesus Christ come down to this earth to suffer for us and die and be resurrected. The Atonement is perfect, and I'm thankful that my older brother was willing to do it for me and all of us. I'm also thankful that Heavenly Father chose to restore the church, to once again call prophets like Joseph Smith & Gordon B. Hinkley, so I can know the fulness of the gospel. We live in a blessed time.
The gospel & the church will continue on. Our next prophet will continue to do good. May Heavenly Father bless and comfort Pres. Hinkley's family at this time, and all of us that mourn him.