Gordon B. Hinckley passed away Sunday, and since then I’ve thought back on the many memories I have of him. He was called to serve as a counselor in the first presidency one week before I was born, so his face has always been a familiar one. In March of 1996 he was ordained 15th President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (casually known as the Mormon Church). In our seminary class later that year we were given a challenge to learn if he really was a prophet. Around the time of General Conference that fall, I took that challenge to heart and prayed to learn if he really was a prophet of God. After praying, I felt in my heart that he really was someone that God had ordained to teach us and reveal his will to us. Explaining how I know it is difficult, but this scripture from the Book of Ether, written by an ancient American prophet, may help:
“But he that believeth these things which I have spoken, him will I visit with the manifestations of my Spirit, and he shall know and bear record. For because of my Spirit he shall know that these things are true; for it persuadeth men to do good.”
Ether 4:11 (emphasis mine)
As a prophet, President Hinckley led and guided his people. As a leader, he touched our hearts and helped us do good. As a person, he was a humanitarian and someone who loved others. A recent insert to the Daily Universe, Brigham Young University’s student newspaper, highlights many of the major accomplishments of his life.
I am very grateful to have been able to listen to his words, including a few times when I was able to listen to his teachings in person. His words touched my heart and helped me become a better person.