Sunday, January 27, 2008

A Little Kinder

I usually try to let my example be proof of my testimony, so please excuse this departure from my usual approach to sharing my religion. I know that part of my "readership" are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and that part are not. If you are a reader of a different faith please read until you can't stand it anymore, and if you have any questions don't be afraid to ask.

I learned at a young age that the gospel was true, but the people weren't. (I am, at times, included in the not true people.) I often wondered how people that professed to be Mormon could be so mean, and sometimes do very un-Christ-like things. I knew that these hurtful actions were not sanctioned by the church, but it just seemed to happen too often, and people seemed to interpret beliefs of the church into justifications to allow themselves to be mean. I am thankful that I could recognize that worship did not have to be a social experience, and that I could recognize the importance of being Christ-like. Those experiences I had shaped my faith, and my determination to do better.

This is why I loved President Hinckley so much. The message that I heard from him over and over was that we could, and should be better, and not just better about doing church things, but better neighbors, parents, partners, and people in general. And his life was an example of how God expects us to "be better." He taught that we each had room for improvement, and included himself in the "each." In the October 2002 General Conference he closed the conference by praising the other speakers and the music, and then saying that what matters is what we each took from the conference, and went on to tell us what he was going to take:

"I, for one, have made a stronger resolution within myself to be a better person than I have been in the past. I hope that I will be a little kinder to any I meet who may be in distress. I hope that I will be a little more helpful to those who are in need. I hope that I will be a little more worthy of your confidence. I hope that I will be a better husband, a better father and grandfather. I hope that I will be a better neighbor and friend. I hope that I will be a better Latter-day Saint, with an increased understanding of the wonderful aspects of this glorious gospel."

In 2002 he was 92, and the prophet of the Church, like the Pope to the Catholic Church. Of all the people who should be trying to do better he wasn't on the top of the list, but he announced to the whole church that he would try to do better, and that made me love him more. If this man who had lived his life, and had the huge responsibility of leading the church could say "here are a few things I am going to work on" I better be working on a few things as well. And, who wouldn't want to follow in the footsteps who had such a tolerant and loving way of guiding you to change your life?

Although I never met him, I knew he was a prophet of God. I knew because of his actions. I knew because of the way he exemplified love. He wanted all people to be loved, and he wanted the members of the church to be the people loving them. There was not room for a "holier than thou" attitude.

I know that he was a prophet of God because of the way he talked about Christ, and the Gospel of Christ. The things he taught about Heavenly Father and His son Jesus Christ rang true. I could tell he knew what he was talking about. That he knew Them. That through the spirit he was able to lead the church in the way the Lord would have it go because he was selfless enough, and loving enough to let the spirit teach him.

Now, I may be weary of the constant stories of President Monson, and I don't think Boy Scouts should be part of the church education for boys. But if President Monson is called to the be the next president (Nothing official will happen until after President Hinckley's funeral, but because President Monson has been serving as an apostle for the longest it is likely that he will be called next) I will sustain him and, I will gain a testimony of his role as prophet of God.

If you would like to read President Hinckley's own words about being a better people you can find the 2002 talk here.

If you would like to know more about the basic beliefs of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints this is a great web site.


The Jones :) said...

Thank you for that Brecken...I've been a bit emotional tonight with this news...and my post on my blog is no where near as good as this!! But I truly felt the spirit as I read your's & Justin's two are amazing people, and I'm so grateful for your example and friendship. I know we all have things we can work on, but I also know that you are doing good!! I will miss Pres. Hinckley, and too will gain a testimony of the next prophet to come, but he was "our" prophet. I guess this is how the "older" generation all feel about Pres. Kimball huh!! Thank you again...I really enjoyed reading this post!! Love you and miss you LOTS!!
-Becki...aka Phatty #2 :)

JoJo &/or Bob said...

I too know President Hinckley was a prophet! I will miss him so much... but I know he is happy to be with his sweet wife.

emilysuze said...

Thank you for verbalizing your testimony for all of us. You are a great example to those around you and your thoughts about President Hinckley were beautiful.

Rebekah said...

I appreciated Pres. Hinckley's emphasis on kindness as well. He made all of us feel welcomed and loved every time he spoke. You could see charity and light in his eyes. He was truly radiant.

I'm so glad you said what you did about Pres. Monson's stories! My mom 'confessed' the same thing to me last year and was afraid that she needed to repent for feeling the same fatigue! I can hear his lilting cadence in my mind as I type this...;)

Tammy said...

Hey Brecken,

Thanks for sharing your testimony. I really love President Hinckley too - he's meant so much to me in different ways at different times. I think one of my favourite talks of his was one he gave several years ago now, titled 'How to become the Woman of Whom you Dream'. It really made me feel like maybe it was possible to become the person I'd so much like to become! I re-read the talk every now and again, and the talk itself is very good, but my favourite part is the title! He really is so gentle and encouraging - it's the 'lets all just do a little better' attitude that you were talking about. I'll really miss his talks at General Conference - I can't remember a time when we didn't hear them!

xo Tammy

Jessica said...

We'll all miss him. I've been very lucky in that his son is my stake president, so he came to our stake conferences on a number of occasions to speak, which was really amazing. Thanks for your testimony.

Morgan said...

Wow...that's all I have to say after reading your message. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. said...

You know what is amazing? I have seen so many kind words posted about our beloved prophet. They have been on blogs, in news articles, famous people sites, and you can literally see the impact this amazing man had on so many people. We all love Pres. Hinckley.