Svithing the Prophet:
In Memoriam G.B.H.
Shortly after President Kimball died, my grandmother asked me who I thought would be the next prophet. I was young and didn't know there was an order to these things and so when she told me she thought it would be some guy named Benson I had no idea she was cheating.
My guess was President Hinckley.
How could it not be? To me, President Hinckley was the public face of the Church. His was the only name--besides the prophet's--that I knew and the guy I looked forward to hearing from.
I served my mission in Korea--started just a few months after President Hinckley was made president of the Church--and I was there when he spoke to the Saints in Pusan. The Korean Saints feel like President Hinckley is their guy--perhaps all the Saints in all of Asia feel that way; for years and years as an apostle, he traveled the world bringing the Word. And not just some abstract intellectual concept called the Word, but the Word as in Love.
I mean those capitalizations. President Hinckley was an emissary of Christ.
President Hinckley has been the physical symbol of what-being-Mormon means, for me, for all my life. I will miss him tremendously. But never have I seen a man more deserving of rest and reward.
In a religion class I took at BYU--"The Church in Asia"--the teacher quoted John Taylor, viz. "Joseph Smith, the Prophet and Seer of the Lord, has done more, save Jesus only, for the salvation of men in this world, than any other man that ever lived in it." Then he said that no man save Joseph Smith only (and, presumably, Jesus again) had done more than Spencer W. Kimball in this dispensation for the salvation of men in this world. But he added the caveat that perhaps Gordon B. Hinckley would win that honor away from him.
I think it's silly and presumptuous and misguided and absurd to rank people's lives in such a manner, but I will say my bias is that President Hinckley probably has done more for the human family, in terms of Salvation, than any one else in the last hundred years.
Certainly he has done all he could to save me.
I love you, sir. God give you rest. Embrace your wife. Be happy.
We know you will continue to serve.