January 30, 2008

Blogging about the Church

Posted in Deep thoughts, Just thinking..., Mormon life tagged , , , , , , at 12:23 AM by Robin

gordon-b-hinckley.jpgI’ve been spending a lot of time the last couple of days reading blogs about President Hinckley.  What a wonderful blessing we have in the internet in being able to share our thoughts and feelings about him and the church with so many people.  It is so much more personal, so much more uplifting and inspiring, to hear other people’s thoughts on his life, than it is to just read a press release and its accompanying biographical sketch.  There was remarkably little about President Hinckley’s death on the main media outside of Utah.  I didn’t get a chance to watch the national news yesterday—does anyone know if they actually mentioned it there?  I saw some brief headlines on MSN.com and Yahoo, but they were quickly replaced by more breaking news on whether or not Mary Kate Olsen would be interviewed concerning Heath Ledger’s death.  Shows you where the rest of the world places their priorities, right?  Not that I really blame them.  I mean, seriously, if you weren’t a member of the church, you probably wouldn’t have any idea who the mormon prophet was, if he’s not that guy who was arrested for polygamy. 

Anyway, I have found it to be a fitting tribute to President Hinckley to read the many memorials posted about him.  Many of them quote his testimony from his conference addresses, many share their own personal witness of his calling and his effect upon their lives, many express their sadness that he is gone, but their joy that he is reunited with his beloved wife.  One began hers with a link to a talk given by Elder M. Russell Ballard  (excellent, please read) at BYU-Hawaii at their graduation last December in which he urged us as members of the church to use the internet and our blogs to share our testimonies and information about the church.  My favorites are the experiences of those who met him in person, like this essay written forty years ago, and this post by a young man who was a missionary companion of his grandson, and this one, who posted some wonderful, informal pictures.

This has been a great reminder of the blessing that technology can be when used correctly.  It makes the world a smaller place, as I can share in these deeply personal thoughts and feelings of members of the church on the other side of the world.  It’s almost as if we were all in one big room, having a sort of informal wake, sharing our memories of this man who has blessed so many lives.

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January 27, 2008

President Hinckley 1910-2008

Posted in Deep thoughts, Just thinking..., Mormon life tagged , , , , , , , at 10:42 PM by Robin

president-hinckley.jpgWe just got the news about President Gordon B. Hinckley’s passing away today.  We are very sad, but knew that this day would not be much longer in coming.  President Hinckley has of course been the prophet I remember best, and I remember the day that I received a personal witness that he was a prophet of God.  Although I was raised in the LDS church, I went through of period of not-quite-but-almost inactivity during my senior year in high school.  It was more for social and economic reasons than rebelliousness, however–I didn’t get along with the girls in my ward, and my job required me to work a lot of Sundays.  Anyway, I didn’t really pay much attention to the leaders of the church at that time, nor did I watch conference regularly.  Besides, President Benson was very sick and pretty much out of the public eye for the last few years of his life.  So I never really got to know him very well as a speaker and leader. 

But after I began attending BYU I had a renewal of spirituality, I guess, right about the time that President Benson passed away and President Howard W. Hunter took his place.  Because it happened right about the same time that I was going through a sort of spiritual awakening, I became very attached to President Hunter.  He just seemed so loving and soft spoken, and I came to love him very much in the brief time that he served as president before his death.  When he died, I was very, very sad, and I remember watching his funeral in tears, wondering if I could ever have the same feelings about the next president of the church.  As I thought that, the camera moved to a shot of President Hinckley at the funeral, and at that very moment, I felt very strongly, not a voice, but a very firm feeling: That man has been called by God to be his next prophet.  It took me by surprise, because I was almost resenting President Hinckley for taking President Hunter’s place, and the thought was sort of a reprimand.  But it was very powerful, and unmistakeable that it came from the spirit.  Anyway, since that time, I have come to know and love President Hinckley as our prophet.  He has done a wonderful work in his lifetime, and has fought the good fight.  We will miss him, but we all know that he was probably eager to take the next step and meet again with his loved ones who have passed on.  He was a great man and we honor his memory.