God Be With You Till We Meet Again
So, I'm following in the vein of so many other blog posts today, and I feel the need to express my own thoughts and feelings about this. Our beloved prophet of the LDS church, Gordon B. Hinckley, passed away last night, and when I found out, my emotions were a mix of shock (even though he was 97--go figure), sadness, and excitement for him. His life's work is finally finished! He is finally reunited with his wife! This is such a significant event for me, because President Hinckley is the prophet of my youth, the man who was prophet when I realized my own testimony, when I ascertained for myself the reality of God, the Atonement, and living prophets on the earth today. I remember having President Benson and President Hunter as prophets; I remember their deaths, but when I was only 6 and 7, their deaths didn't really mean anything to me. I feel such a special connection with President Hinckley (as I'm sure the rest of the world does) and I feel such a deep and personal love for him. I always felt that if I ever met him face to face that he would know my name and know me, even though I know he wouldn't. I felt such a personal love from him, like he loved me as Charlotte, and not just as a member of the Church. Last night I wrote in my journal all my initial thoughts and feelings, and I want to write that here:
I really want to write in my journal tonight because today is a significant day. President Hinckley died this evening and I have so many emotions coursing through my mind. It's bittersweet, really; I'm sad that he's no longer with us, but moreso I'm so that his life's mission is fulfilled and that he's reunited with his wife. I am so grateful that I was blessed to live during his administration as prophet. I am rendered almost speechless when I realize what an amazing man he was and still is.
I love him in such a personal way--I am just so incredibly grateful for him and that I could live on this earth at such an amazing time.
The best part about this is that my testimony doesn't change or weaken because of a change in leadership. The Church is always true and my testimony is not based on who the prophet is, but on the Gospel itself, on Christ and His Atonement. It's so amazing to live at this time; I feel so blessed. I feel so blessed to have the testimony I have. I feel so united in the Church; millions of saints all over the world will be mourning and rejoicing together--the Gospel is so unifying.
I know this Gospel s true, that the Church is true, that Christ is our Savior. I've always known it and will always know it. This is true, this is real, this is eternal.
Today at school, many people decided to wear white in honor of President Hinckley, and many people were also dressed up to show respect. The flag was at half mast, and everything has been a bit subdued today on campus. There is an Italian class next door to my grammar class and they sung "We Thank Thee O God For a Prophet" this morning, which succeeded in bringing tears to the eyes. In Living Prophets, it was really cool, because the chapter that we read for today, and the subject that we just started studying, is the doctrine regarding succession of the Presidency, and so that was just really neat to be able to study that and know that even though the leadership in the Church may change, the truthfulness of the Gospel doesn't, and that's what's important. With the death of President Hinckley, I'm glad to re-realize that my testimony is not based on who is leading or who is in charge, but rather on the truth, on Christ.
For some reason, today I've listened to the BYU choir's recording of "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing" a few times, and I feel it quite appropriate to represent President Hinckley's life. The ending lines state Here's my heart, now take and seal it, seal it for thy courts above, and that is exactly how I know Gordon B. Hinckley lived his life. He gave his life, his heart, his entire person to the Lord, gave his heart to Heavenly Father so it could be sealed in the heavenly courts. I love President Hinckley so much and will greatly miss him. Now, I pray not only for the Hinckley family, but for President Monson as he takes up this mantle. The Church is true, regardless of who is leading, and the system is perfect. I love it so much.
There's an excellent slide show of pictures of President Hinckley regarding his relationship to BYU on the BYU website if you want to check it out. It has him talking and it made tears come to my eyes (yeah, so much for no-crying-since-Thursday) to hear him speak again.
Well, dear President Hinckley, God be with you till we meet again.