One week ago tonight Gordon B. Hinckley, prophet, seer, revelator, and president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormons) passed away at the age of 97.
A few nights later at a high school basketball game, a good friend of mine--Catholic, not Mormon--approached me to offer her condolences in the loss of our "president." Her wishes were genuine and I was touched her thoughtfulness. But her reference to President Hinckley as "your president" took be aback. He certainly was the president of the Mormon Church. But he was much, much more than that.
As far as I know, Mormons alone claim living prophets guiding their Church. Some find that odd, viewing prophets as some Old Testament fixture no longer needed by modern people. I find it incredibly comforting and fortifying, and I wonder why anyone would NOT want to be led by prophets.
The Book of Mormon writer Mormon describes prophets as "them of strong faith and a firm mind in every form of godliness. . . [who] bear testimony of him [Christ]. And by so doing, the Lord God prepareth the way that the residue of men may have faith in Christ."
My life has been shaped, guided, and blessed by prophets. Whether the prophets lived and ministered centuries ago, or walk among us today, their testimonies of Christ and his doctrines have made me a different person. As I have applied their counsel--whether as a wife and mother, a neighbor, or an individual daughter of God--I have become better. And that means that my own little corner of the world has been improved as well.
In a future day I hope to clasp hands with these great prophets--such as Moses, Enoch, Joseph, Nephi, Mormon, and Gordon B. Hinckley--and express to them my gratitude for their "strong faith and firm minds in every form of godliness." I'm not quite sure how I will verbalize that, but I sincerely want to do it.
And I will be eternally grateful to my Heavenly Father for sending such prophet-men into my life.