I would like to take a moment of silence and mourn the passing of the Prophet of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, President Gordon B. Hinckley. As a relatively new member of the church, President Hinckley is the only prophet I have known. He is the prophet of my generation, having led the church for 13 years. Most people my age only really remember and know him. I knew that he was old (97) and every conference he said goodbye. When his wife passed in 2004, I didn’t think he would last long. I didn’t realize how much his passing would affect me. I truly loved the man. I think Alann said it best last night when we heard the news. “It’s like an uncle passed away. A member of your family.” Amen. I had always hoped I would meet him and shake his hand. I guess that will have to wait until we meet on the other side of the veil. I would like to offer my condolences to all who are mourning his departure, but we also know that he is with his wife again, and with the Savior, and that is the best possible thing for him.
In the Scriptures we read about how the earth mourned the death of the Savior, that all creation mourned the death of the Creator. Last night, in Utah, we had one of the loudest storms I have experienced here. The wind was not only howling, but roaring. It woke us up, it was so loud. And the rain (or hail, not sure which) sounded like it was being thrown around with such violence, I feared for the windows of my house. It was a violent storm, and when I woke up for the third time, the earth’s reaction at the death of the Savior came to my mind. Was the earth (or at least Utah’s part of it) mourning the passing of such a great and marvelous soul? I think it is entirely possible. But this morning is clear and bright. I guess like any violent mourning, it cannot be sustained. Mourning will continue, but the violent outburst at the first knowledge of death is short, and in that shortness, so cathartic. (Cathartic is a Greek word meaning purging or cleansing, and is usually in reference to emotions.) And the dear Earth does know that President Hinckley had filled his mission, and gone home. What a wonderful man. I am glad to have heard him and learned from him.