I just had a friend call and let me know that President Hinckley had passed away…It was a moment I was clearly unprepared for, and a little taken back. I had every expectation to hear him speak in 3 months at Conference, forgetting that he was 97 years old, and each and every day that he was allowed to live longer was just a blessing. I’m sure 97 is a little high on the life expectancy scale. I can remember when he was sustained a prophet, which being so young at the time seems like ages ago. But like most people my age, he has really been the only prophet I truly know and recall. I’m most grateful for his dedication and special spirit which he has shared with a world full of people. I will never forget as a student at BYU-Idaho I had the opportunity to hear President Hinckley speak for a building dedication in his name. I remember sitting their fascinated at the thought that he was speaking to me at that time. So I filed that talk away and I’ve read it many times since then. Here is an excerpt from it.
“First, I want to tell you that I love you. I love you kids, you wonderful young people of this Church. I love you. I believe you are the best generation this Church has ever had. No generation which has gone before measures up to the stature to which you measure up. You are better educated. I think you have greater faith I think you have shown that faith and are showing that faith than any other previous generation. I am so thankful for you. I thank you for your strength; for your willingness to do the right thing; for your desire to serve the Lord; for your capacity to help build the kingdom; for the fact that you get on your knees and say your prayers, as I know you do; for the fact that you pray to the Lord to help you, to guide you in the things you do, as I know you do…
I wish for you nothing but the best. You are so choice and so wonderful and the future is so great that you can’t afford to betray yourselves in anyway or to do anything less than that which each of you is capable of accomplishing. You don’t have to be a genius. You don’t have to be a straight-A student. You just have to do your very best with all the capability you have. You have to do your very best. And somehow, if you do that, God will open the way before you and the sun will shine, and your lives will be fruitful and you will accomplish great good in the world in which you take a part. I couldn’t wish for you anything better as I look into your faces this day.
May heaven smile upon you. May you be blessed. May you be happy. May you have joy in your lives. May your tears be few and your smiles many as you go forward with your lives.”
October 22, 2002