Monday, January 28, 2008

Hinckley Daikancho

For most of my years in primary, I learned and sang the "prophet song" with Ezra Taft Benson as the final prophet. I still remember the feeling of peace that I had when I saw pictures of President Benson. I didn't fully understand a prophets role, or why exactly we needed a prophet, but I felt that he was somebody important, somebody to respect; not so much like a grandfather (although he liked like he could be anybody's grandpa to me), but a figure that I knew my parents trusted and followed.

I remember when Howard W. Hunter died, and Gordan B. Hinckley was announced as the prophet. I felt the same feeling of respect and admiration for President Hinckley, but this time it was coupled with a better knowledge of a prophets role and importance.

My first real confirmation that President Hinckley was a prophet of God came when he was giving his "Six B's" devotional. I felt his love as he prayed for us. I tested the message he delivered, and tried to develop those B's. That was one of the things that helped change my attitude during high school.

The same feeling came during a temple rededication that President Hinckley presided over. I was at a national FBLA competition in Nashville, Tennessee. The day prior to the evening dedication, I had the chance to talk with a large group of students of different faiths from across the country about religion in a hall of the hotel. Almost all of the non-deonominational and Babtist/JW/evangelical students ganged up on the few Mormons that were there and went into attack mode. This was one of the first times I had my beliefs really (almost professionally) attacked. That night, I went into the bathroom so the other guys in our room could sleep, and read from my litle paperback copy of the Book of Mormon. I read for a couple hours, then prayed about it, not really getting any immediate answer. The next day, a few of us were able to go to the dedication (or, rededication...) of the Nauvoo temple. As President Hinckley spoke, and then as the congregation did the Hosanna shout, I felt another answer to my prayers about the truth of the Book of Mormon, and the calling and mantle of the prophet.

This testimony was only solidified as a missionary. When I testified of gospel truths, especially of the fact that there was a living prophet on the earth, I felt the same confirming feelings--peace, confidence, comfort. I read as many of President Hinckley's, Monson's, and Maxwell's talks that I could get my hands on. President Hinckley's optimism and enthusiasm (netsui!) was inspirational.

I think the best way to sum up my experience in Japan with the faith of the Japanese saints, and their love for the prophet, is by recounting a scene from a movie clip that I love. The church put out a Japanese film that showed the process of selecting the site, constructing the building, and then dedicating the Tokyo temple. This was when President Kimball was the prophet. The film showed a meeting that was held when President Kimball came to announce the temple. During the meeting, President Kimball stood on the podium and began to announce the site and location of the temple, and then he asked for the sustaining vote of the members. When general authorities speak at Japanese meetings, the translators are always a few sentences behind because they need to wait until the speaker finishes his sentence before they can start translating (because Japanese takes the verb of a sentence and puts it at the very end). Well, this time was no different--the translator was behind, but despite this delay, as soon as President Kimball raised his hand to sustain the action, the camera panned out and showed all of the congregation raising their hands, following the prophet's action. The translator was way behind, so they didn't know exactly what they were sustainin, but they trusted President Kimball and had faith in their prophet. They saw their prophet raise his hand to sustain, and they followed suit.

Every time I saw that video, I felt the spirit of faithfulness and sacrifice of the Japanese people (and all saints who follow the prophet). I hope I can have the same obedience and faithfulness.


Nellie said...

Wow Dave, I enjoyed hearing your testimony of our prophet. We will all miss him. I loved your stories and thoughts. I hope Jake is having some great experiences like yours on his mission. Thanks for taking the time out to blog about your love of Pres. Hinckley.

Bruce said...


I appreciated your testimony of Prophets. I'm hearing President Hinckley's funeral in the background with Papa and Grammy as i write. We love you.