I am a big fan of President Gordon B. Hinckley. His easy speaking style, his friendly manner, his relationships with the media at large and his managerial style all won me over – I knew he was a prophet of God and loved to hear everything he had to say. When he died, I was filled with sadness and I instinctively recoiled at the thought of another leading the Church. While I’ve always respected Thomas S. Monson and sustained him as President, I can’t say that I had a separate and bold testimony of him.
Last Sunday afternoon that changed for me.
President Monson’s concluding talk, “Until We Meet Again,” was short and perhaps nondescript in its content: thanking the speakers, the musical talents of the choir, and expressing love for the other general authorities of the Church.
President Monson lays out for general admonitions:
1. To you parents, express your love to your children…Children, let your parents know you love them.
2. Avoid pathways of destruction, in particular pornography (on the internet, via texting, or otherwise).
3. Attend the temple often.
4. Extend humanitarian aid.
None of these are anything new. But for some reason, sitting there watching him, I felt a wave of assurance and a fire within me. I knew he was a Prophet of God. His words of warning about pathways of destruction sounded clear and bold:
Now, a word of caution to all—both young and old, both male and female. We live at a time when the adversary is using every means possible to ensnare us in his web of deceit, trying desperately to take us down with him. There are many pathways along which he entices us to go—pathways that can lead to our destruction…. Seek the help you need to overcome and to change the direction of your life. Take the steps necessary to get back on the strait and narrow, and then stay there.
And just like that, the emptiness I’d long felt over Pres. Hinckley was filled and I could say that I knew he was a Prophet of God. I wish there had been something remarkable or revelatory in his words, some new secret doctrine or hidden ordinance I’d uncovered — it would explain this sudden onrush of emotion that I felt. But there was nothing new. I tend to find it oddly disappointing when revelation happens to me; it always seems like the sudden remembrance of something I’d learned long ago. But the key turned, the door opened and now I can say “I know.” I know it probably should have happened a long time ago. Blame my hard heart.