President Hinckley’s Funeral

Today I watched President Hinckley’s funeral online. The above quote was on the KSL website throughout the services. It was a beautiful funeral, full of the spirit and insight into the life of one of the most influential leaders of the church since Joseph Smith. I will miss his wit and guidance, but rejoice in the knowledge that he is reunited not only with Marjorie, but with countless others whose lives he’s influenced. God be with you till we meet again.

Farewell to a Prophet

One of my greatest heroes passed away yesterday, the beloved Gordon Bitner Hinckley. His life is well documented on many websites today, including, 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.

Adieu, My Friend

Elder David B. Haight dies at 97
Elder Haight was one of my very very favorite apostles…if it is appropriate to have a favorite. I had a brief, but impressionable time in my life where I spent some time with him somewhat frequently. When I was working with Dr. Downard at Utah Vision Care, Elder Haight was one of his patients, and due to his macular degeneration, his prescription changed rapidly. When I was working there, he was testing out contact lenses to have decent correction between changes in his glasses. Since I was a contact lens tech, I spent hours with him, not only helping teach him to wear the lenses, but actually inserting the lenses in his eyes. Just touching his face, I could feel a surge of power.

He taught me some great lessons. This was at the time that John had just left on his mission. I was very disheartened from missing him so much, but so happy that he was in the service of God. He told me to keep up in writing the letters, be positive but not brag about life at home, and use the time to become a better person instead of miss him. He also taught me great things about being married, and being a good spouse. I think he told me the story of his and Ruby’s honeymoon five times, and it was so sweet and adoring. One time he had me call her to tell her that he was on his way home to her. Such a sweet man.

It’s kinda crazy….two apostles dying in 10 days. I wonder who will be called into the Quorum of the Twelve. I’m sure there will be some announcements soon.

Farewell Elder Maxwell

Elder Neal A. Maxwell Dies After Long Battle With Leukemia

JULY 22, 2004, SALT LAKE CITY — Elder Neal A. Maxwell, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, died last night after a lengthy battle with leukemia. He was 78 years of age.

Elder Maxwell died at home surrounded by his family at 11:45 p.m. Wednesday night. It was the 23rd anniversary of his call to the Quorum of Twelve Apostles, one of the highest ranking bodies of the Church.

Funeral arrangements are pending.

Elder Maxwell served as a member of the Presidency of the First Quorum of the Seventy from 1976 to 1981, and as an Assistant to the Twelve from 1974 to 1976 before being called as an apostle. A lifelong educator, Elder Maxwell was executive vice president at the University
of Utah at the time of his appointment as the Commissioner of Education for the Church Educational System, where he served from 1970 to 1976.

Prior to his Church callings, Elder Maxwell held a variety of administrative and teaching positions with the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. He earlier served as a legislative assistant to United States Senator Wallace F. Bennett of Utah.

He has written some 30 books on religious topics with one of the most recent receiving a literary prize for LDS literature. Earlier he authored many articles on politics and government for national, professional, and local publications.

A political science graduate of the University of Utah, Elder Maxwell also earned a master’s degree in that field from the same school. He later was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the University of Utah; an Honorary Doctor of Letters degree from Westminster College, Salt Lake City; an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Brigham Young University,
Provo, Utah; an Honorary Doctor of Humanities degree from Utah State University, Logan, Utah; an Honorary Degree from Ricks College, Rexburg, Idaho; and an Honorary Degree from the Salt Lake Community College.

In the fall of 1998, the University of Utah announced the establishment of the Neal A. Maxwell Presidential Endowed Chair in Political Theory, Public Policy, and Public Service.

Prior to his call to direct the Church’s worldwide education system, he had served the Church in a variety of positions, including bishop of Salt Lake City’s University Sixth Ward; a member of the General Board of the Y.M.M.I.A., the Church’s youth organization; a member of the Adult Correlation Committee; and as one of the first regional representatives of the Twelve. As a young man, he served two years as a missionary in eastern Canada.

Elder Maxwell has served as a director of several business firms, including Questar Corporation, Questar Pipeline, and Deseret News Publishing Company, and has been active in public service such as chairman of the Utah Constitutional Revision Commission.

In 1967 Elder Maxwell received the Liberty Bell award for public service from the Utah State Bar, and in 1973 he was named Public Administrator of the Year by the Institute of Government Service at Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah.

Elder Maxwell and his wife, the former Colleen Hinckley, are the parents of four children.