I wrote this note this morning in response to the news of the death of LDS Church President Gordon B. Hinckley, who passed away last evening at age 97.
To the American Fork North Stake Council and Bishops,
Brethren and Sisters,
I feel, as I am sure you do, sadness at the news of the passing of President Hinckley. We will all miss his intelligence, common sense, conviction and encouragement. As Brother Puckett notes below, his faith and unwavering certainty will be missed beyond what words can express. We have all been witnesses to an era in which the Lord has spoken and acted boldly and courageously through one of His anointed and foreordained servants to move the work forward in unprecedented ways.
One of my favorite quotes from President Hinckley is this passage in which he speaks about the certainty of the resurrection and bears witness of the Savior:
“There is nothing more universal than death, and nothing brighter with hope and faith than the assurance of immortality. The abject sorrow that comes with death, the bereavement that follows the passing of a loved one are mitigated only by the certainty of the Resurrection of the Son of God that first Easter morning.
“Whenever the cold hand of death strikes, there shines through the gloom and the darkness of that hour the triumphant figure of the Lord Jesus Christ, He, the Son of God, who by his matchless and eternal power overcame death. He is the Redeemer of the world. He gave His life for each of us. He took it up again and became the first fruits of them that slept. He, as King of Kings, stands triumphant above all other kings. He, as the Omnipotent One, stands above all rulers. He is our comfort, our only true comfort, when the dark shroud of earthly night closes about us as the spirit departs the human form. Towering above all mankind stands Jesus the Christ, the King of glory, the unblemished Messiah, the Lord Emmanuel. In the hour of deepest sorrow we draw hope and peace and certitude from the words of the angel that Easter morning, “He is not here: for he is risen as he said” (Matt. 28:6).” (Ensign, May 1996, p. 67)
In our mourning of the loss of a great prophet, we will certainly seek and receive the peace President Hinckley promises – peace that comes from the Savior’s Resurrection and Atonement. Let us also pray for the faith to accomplish the work that remains before us, continuing to strive to act and teach as effectively as his example and words have invited us to do. With the Prophet Joseph, he would want us most to “go on in so great a cause;” to “Go forward and not backward. Courage, brethren; and on, on to the victory!” (D&C 128:21-22)
To that end, and in honor of his memory, we have much to do: “…verily thus saith the Lord: Let the work of my temple, and all the works which I have appointed unto you, be continued on and not cease; and let your diligence, and your perseverance, and patience, and your works be redoubled, and you shall in nowise lose your reward, saith the Lord of Hosts” (D&C 127:4).
May each of you be blessed as you ponder President Hinckley’s remarkable life and teachings, and find therein instruction for your daily lives and the work to which you have been called.
Thank you for your dedicated and committed service to the cause for which President Hinckley gave his all.
(You are welcome to forward this to other stake and ward leaders and members as you wish. – SMJ)
On 1/27/08 9:52 PM, “Gene Puckett” wrote:
Brethren – I expect that you have all heard of president Hinckley at
about 7:00 this evening. I first met him in 1966 when I was a
missionary in Taiwan. I have no words. Gene