I woke up this morning and stumbled downstairs just in time to watch President Hinckley’s funeral on the BYU channel. I’m glad my dad reminded me that the funeral was today or I would have missed it.
We turned on the TV to catch the beginning of the funeral service. My dad and I watched together as the speakers and Mormon Tabernacle Choir gave moving tributes to this great man. I especially enjoyed President Monson’s tribute when he explained how President Hinckley would use his cane for about anything other than walking.
It’s hard to express in writing how I felt today. My heart was saddened, encouraged, and strengthened at the same time. I was inspired by the over 50 years of service he gave to the world. When I think back on his life I’ll remember his interview with Mike Wallace on 60 Minutes and The Family: A Proclamation to the World.
He become the 15th President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints about 4 months after I moved to Seattle from Salt Lake City. He shocked most members of the church (and the church’s PR dept.) by holding an impromptu Q&A session with the press after he’d been sworn in as president. He deftly handled every question the press tossed at him which set the stage for his interview with Mike Wallace. From this interview came this great exchange which shows how he used humor to disarm one of the toughest, most skilled interviewers:
Mike Wallace: There are those who say, this is a gerontocracy, this is a church run by old men.
Gordon B. Hinckley: Isn’t it wonderful? To have a man of maturity at the head, a man of judgment, who isn’t blown about by every wind of doctrine?
Mike Wallace: Absolutely, as long as he’s not dotty.
Gordon B. Hinckley: Thank you for the compliment.
Near the end of the service, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir sang one of President Hinckley’s favorite songs called “My Shepherd Will Supply My Need” which was accompanied by an woman playing the Oboe. It was so soothing and so neat I sat there on the couch just stunned in amazement.[audio:shepherd.mp3]
I enjoyed getting to spend the day with my dad whom I don’t get to see very often. It was a neat experience to watch the funeral with my dad and with Kim. It was an emotional day. One I won’t forget.