Yesterday, one of the best human beings on the planet quietly passed away, ending the mortal period of a life entirely devoted to service, love and hard work. President Gordon B. Hinckley was a model to me, an example, a shining beacon in a world of confusion and immorality. His words always filled me with peace, courage, faith and strength.
His vitality and enthusiasm were astounding, considering his very advanced age. When he spoke, we forgot his age and knew we were listening to a prophet of God. If you want to get an idea of what I mean, feel free to watch or listen to one of his general conference talks during the last 10 years, they are always freely available on the Church website.
His passing away was not a shock to me. I didn’t even cry. There is no sadness as such, but a sense of loss. He was a blessing to tens of millions of people. His death will cause many people to notice him, to learn of him, and to regret not having done so earlier. Like many of the great giants of human kind, his greatest influence will probably be felt during the coming years.
President Hinckley was one of the greatest men ever to walk the earth. His name deserves to be spoken in reverence, just like we speak of people like Ghandi, Martin Luther King, Mother Theresa, Joseph Smith, Moses and Jesus Christ. and yet he was a man like countless others, with weaknesses and temptations. I respect him and honour his memory because he chose to rise above the base things of the world so that he could better serve his fellow beings. He lived the kind of life I want to live, a life of kindness, tolerance, love and humour. I hope to one day become such as others can say similar things about me when I pass away; not because I want recognition for my actions, but because I want to know that many people have been blessed because of them. I believe that this was Gordon Hinckley’s attitude, and it is praiseworthy.