Sunday, January 27, 2008

Praise to the Man

I write with a heavy heart tonight. I just learned that Gordon Bitner Hinckley, prophet of the Lord, has died. President Hinckley was one of the truly great prophets with a vision of the Lord's work unmatched by almost anyone. I am sure much will be written of his legacy. Presidnet Hinckley built and dedicated more temples than anyone in history. He published two great and inspired documents: one setting forth the significance of the family in the work of the Lord, and one testifying of Jesus Christ.

I want to spend more time talking about this great Prophet's impact in my life. I could detail many years of his talks at General Conference, but I will just pick a few events to highlight. First a general observation: It was a tangible Spirit of peace to be in the presence of the Prophet. It was often a large, crowded room, with people buzzing like before any other meeting. The instant the Prophet entered the room the Spirit would come in waves. Almost instantly the whole room would stand up and become silent.

In August of 2005, President Hinckly gave the whole Church a challenge to read the Book of Mormon by the end of the year. I have read it several times before and since, but there was something different about that time. President Hinckley promised, "Without reservation I promise you that if each of you will observe this simple program, regardless of how many times you previously may have read the Book of Mormon, there will come into your lives and into your homes an added measure of the Spirit of the Lord, a strengthened resolution to walk in obedience to His commandments, and a stronger testimony of the living reality of the Son of God." I found that to be true. That challenge increased my love for the Book of Mormon and the testimony is bears of Jesus Christ. I came to know even more fully that Jesus lives and is involved and concerned about my life.

In October 2006, President Hinckley gave a talk to the Priesthood of the Church where he challenged the men to obtain all the education they could. That one talk inspired me to enter grad school here at Texas A&M University. I took the GMAT two months later and was acceped into the MBA program. My experiences over the past five months have been the happiest of my life. I have been genuinely stretched academically and have met some friends who will be friends for the rest of my life. I have never been so happy. There have been three times in my life when I have had the calm assurances of the Spirit telling me I am at exactly the right place in my life: when I started my mission, when I started my undergrad at BYU, and when I started the MBA program. President Hinckley's teachings affected each of those stages of my life, but without his challenge that October, I would have been robbed of the great experiences of the past few months of my life.

I thank God I was ever able to hear the testimony of the great Prophet, Gordon B. Hinckley.

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