One of my greatest heroes passed away yesterday, the beloved Gordon Bitner Hinckley. His life is well documented on many websites today, including desnews.com, so I won’t go into a full eulogy. But I wanted to share a few thoughts, and my favorite quote.
I was fortunate (and pushy) enough to meet President Hinckley in 1997 at the Bountiful Regional Center while working a performance of Barefoot to Zion. He was attending with his wife and entourage, incuding security guards and members of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve. I had a different seating assignment to usher, but I knew exactly where he was sitting and didn’t know if I’d ever get another chance to shake his hand. I shook Marjorie’s hand, and then Pres. Hinckley’s. I immediately was filled with an energizing sensation through my whole body. His goodness was evident and his smile was contagious. It was an amazing experience.
When he was sustained in 1995, his first admonition was given in the General Conference where he was sustained in solemn assembly. It continues to be my favorite quote of his to this day:
“The time has come for us to stand a little taller, to lift our eyes and stretch our minds to a greater comprehension and understanding of the grand millennial mission of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This is a time to be strong. It is a time to move forward without hesitation, knowing well the meaning, the breadth and the importance of our mission. It is a time to do what is right regardless of the consequences that might follow. It is a time to be found keeping the commandments. It is a season to reach out with kindness and love to those in distress and to those who are wandering in darkness and pain. It is a time to be considerate and good, decent and courteous toward one another in all our relationships. In other words, to become more Christlike.”
I will miss you, President Hinckley. I hope that the your reunion with Marjorie was sweet.