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The Passing of a Prophet

With the flood tide news of the passing of President Gordon B. Hinckley, perhaps it's only fitting that I take an entry to express some thoughts related.

President Spencer W. Kimball is the first prophet that I have recollections of in my early childhood, followed by President Ezra Taft Benson, and then briefly President Howard W. Hunter. But by far, President Hinckley is the living prophet whose teachings have had the most impact upon my life and the direction that I've taken.

I was seventeen when he became the prophet. It was the decisive year of my youth. The major life changes that have affected who I am today have been made during his tenure as president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

I choose to serve a full-time mission at the tender age of nineteen. When I received my call to serve a mission, his signature was on the paper that sent me to spend two years of my life serving the people of Costa Rica. This was a decision that has had a more profound impact that I can begin to express in words.

After my time as a missionary, I was quick to get married with little college education at that point, and we didn't postpone having children in light of the fact that we were both still attending college. I remember studying intensively The Family: a Proclamation to the World during our first year of marriage. That inspired document was introduced within the first year of his presidency.

I have a hard time reading. Actually, it's just that I read very little. However, one captivating read for me was President Hinckley's life biography. It resonated with me. I have frequently looked back at his home life and hoped to provide something of a similar environment to my own children and family.

President Hinckley's announcement to build smaller temples brought two temple into close proximity of those I had a personal interest in: one in my mother's hometown of Snowflake, Arizona, (which fulfilled an one hundred year old prophecy made by a visiting apostle to that small town) and in San José Costa Rica. We were privileged to return to Costa Rica for the temple dedication a year after my return home from my mission.

The Perpetual Education Fund was even another project that he initiated which on occasion we have supported financially, knowing the impact for good that can have for people who would otherwise not have an opportunity. The PEF is truly an inspired program.

More recently, President Hinckley spoke to the Priesthood of the Church recounting a dream that President Joseph F. Smith had as a young missionary. When he presented the talk, I was electrified and empowered. Understanding that to be clean is strength and power has helped me to increase in confidence and to tackle the harder tasks that stand before me.

His optimistic outlook, strong moral courage, and gentle leadership will be missed. I can't even begin to fathom the reunion and reception that awaited him on the other side of the veil, especially with his beloved wife and then together before their Savior and Father!

Onward we go, Christian soldiers!