It was with a heavy heart this morning that we learned the news of President Hinckley’s death last night.
When President Hinckley became President of the Church on March 12, 1995, I didn’t know much about him. His face was, of course, already a fixture in Church leadership, as familiar as any other that I could remember at that time because of his central function in Church leadership during the presidencies of Spencer W. Kimball, Ezra Taft Benson, and Howard W. Hunter. He became President of the Church only a few months before I entered the MTC for my mission to Berlin. I didn’t think too much about it, although by then his voice at General Conference was already as a balm in Gilead to me in the way that it conveyed the message of the Atonement of Jesus Christ and the marvelous work and wonder of the Restored Gospel. But it was while seated at a General Conference in the Tiergarten stake center in West Berlin when President Hinckley gave his electrifying and forceful rebuke of spouse or child abusers in the Church that I realized my gratitude for him and how lucky I would be to receive his counsel as the Lord’s mouthpiece for however long the Lord would prolong his days in his office of the Presidency. I’ll never forget that meeting, nor many others in which he taught the truths of the Restored Gospel in magnification of his weighty calling.