Don’t think I’m disrespectful for the title, but you had to know my friends and I growing up! President Gordon B. Hinckley was prophet of the LDS church
for 12 years, from the time I was 13 until this past Sunday night. He died at the age of 97, surrounded by his family in his Utah home. President Hinckley was deeply loved by the members of the church, but even more so I think by the youth of the church. We really felt that he cared for us and loved us and we all felt like he was our own grandpa! (How cool would it have been to have him for your grandpa!?!?!) When mom called me this morning and told me he had died I was shocked. I mean, of course I knew he was old, but he has always been so healthy! But I’m sure he was ready to go home, and I’m sure he’s being greatly blessed at this time for his service on this earth!
So now on to those memories. The first actually occurred when we went as a family on vacation to Niagara Falls and Palmyra, NY one summer. He had not been the prophet very long, maybe a matter of months, a year at most. Palmyra, NY is the where the LDS began and is the site of a very large outdoor pageant in the summer. We were sitting on a blanket playing games and waiting for the pageant to begin when a murmur started through the crowd: “The prophet’s here! The prophet’s here!” We began looking around and sure enough, there he was a few rows behind us, wearing a red baseball cap! He walked around and spoke to people and he was just so cute and so chipper for a man that was 84 at the time!
(Scene from the Hill Cumorah pageant)
A few years later, actually it was more like 7 or 8 years later he came to Columbus, OH for a regional conference where he announced the building of the Columbus temple. Of course every one was very excited, but I just remember how calming it was to be in his presence! He was such a special man!
(Columbus, OH temple)
He gave the LDS church so much and I know I will never forget him!
And now to leave you with a rap, written by Matt Porter, Nate Nelson and Bill Tipton all these years ago, set to a Biggie song:
“Gordy, Gordy, Gordy can’t you see
sometimes your word just sanctify me
and I just love your prophet ways
I guess that’s why you’re saved for these last days!”
(yeah, it was a little sacrilegious, but we were young and thought it was cool!!!! But that’s how much we loved him, we wrote songs about him!!!!!)
Oh, just one more song! I wrote this verse when I was serving as the music leader in primary (which feels like a million years ago). It’s an additional verse for the song “Follow the Prophet”. It goes like so:
Gordon Bittner Hinckly prophet of our day,
gave us the 6 B’s to help us find our way,
Be grateful, smart and humble,
Be clean and true and pray
we must be examples in our world today!
And that’s what I will remember the most- his appeals to all to be the best we can be. Not too give in to the temptations of the world but to live a holier life! He will be dearly missed!