Monday, March 19, 2007

men of god

OK, so some may find this a little strange...Why, you ask, under the title Men of God, did she post pictures of Bishop Burton and Howard W. Hunter? Of course, we all know that they truly are men of God, but why these two...together? Well, this weekend we had our Stake Conference, and had the rare opportunity of having a General Authority preside over the meetings. Bishop Burton was invited to come, and oh how I felt the spirit of God when he spoke. Saturday at the adult session, he shared a scripture that I love, actually have always loved, and am very familiar with. But for some reason, as he read it that night, I felt like it was meant for I needed to hear it in that very moment.

And the Lord God doth work by means to bring about his great and
eternal purposes; and by very small means the Lord doth confound the wise
and bringeth about the salvation of many souls.
Alma 37:7

This particular scripture especially felt significant as a missionary, when I young and small, in a big city, surrounded by millions of people...
But, I realized (on Saturday) that the Lord still needs me, as small as I am, he needs little me to help build his kingdom. What am I doing to bring about the salvation of souls? the question I've been pondering over the weekend and especially today.

On Sunday, when he addressed us, Bishop Burton went down the line of prophets (beginning with Joseph Fielding Smith), and shared a personal experience that he had had with each one. I was particularly touched as he shared his story about President Hunter (I think it's because President Hunter has always had a special place in my heart to begin with). He said that years ago, he (Bishop Burton) was assigned to preside over a stake conference somewhere in California. The first thing the stake president said to him when he greeted him at the airport was, "Are the rumors true?"
"What rumors would you be referring to President?" replied Bishop Burton.
"Well the rumors that President Hunter will be attending our Stake Conference."
"No, I'm sorry, those rumors are not true." And they left it at that.
Well, lo and behold, just before the adult session was about to begin, the two chapels each overflowing with saints, in walks President Hunter, the Prophet of the Church! He walked right over to Bishop Burton and apologized for neglecting to tell him that he would be coming!
When the meeting was over, Bishop Burton had some business to attend to, and was gone for an hour and a half. When he returned, President Hunter was still shaking the hands of the saints, and it was almost 10:00 PM! What love he exemplified, in his life and during his ministry as our Beloved Prophet!

I remember, going to the dedication of the Bountiful Temple; and being overwhelmed by the feeling of love I felt for him, (as he wheeled in the room in a wheel chair), and the power of the Spirit that was present (even though we watched it on video), as he said the dedicatory prayer, and then the Hosanna Shout.

I still remember where I was the day he died. I was a senior in High School, and in a group called P.R.I.D.E. (peers responsible in drug education). We traveled to elementary schools, and junior high schools, and in a very fun way (through song and dance), admonished the students of the imperils of drug and alcohol abuse. We had been on tour in Saint George, and, in between shows, as we were warming up, one of our advisers came in the gym and said "I know several of you are Mormon, and I just wanted to let you know that your Prophet passed away."
But he just became our Prophet, I thought. But He was so loving, and so kind, and it's too soon to have to say goodbye. I was devastated...we all were. And this is the part I will never, in a million years, forget. My friend Matt, in the sweetest, most angelic voice I have ever heard, sang the familiar words, We thank thee oh God for a Prophet...
We all joined in, and came together close, and put our arms around each other, and sounded like a choir of Heavenly Angels, as we (through our tears), paid tribute to our Beloved Howard W. Hunter. I will never forget the way I felt that moment. The Spirit carried me through that day, and for several days, and even weeks after that...

I love all the Prophets, but when I think of President Hunter, I think of a quiet, sweet, humble, loving man. Do you know what his grave marker says? It says:
A Prophet, and a kind, patient, courteous, forgiving man. I never met him personally, but, to me, these words describe everything he represented and exemplified. I can't wait to meet him someday...
I am grateful to Bishop Burton, for sharing such a sweet sweet story with us.


Brooke said...

That was good to read because I was wondering exactly what he talked about on Sunday. I am so sad I missed it.

Dad said...

Sweet feelings and sentiments, and I agree completely about President Hunter. Oh, if we could all be like him, huh? (And like Melanie on Gone With the Wind...) :-)

I never knew you felt so strongly about him. That's exactly the way I felt about President Spencer W. Kimball, and how I felt when I heard he had died. (I was in the Idaho Falls Temple doing Initiatory...could not stop crying as I completed the work.) What a blessing to have a Prophet on the earth!

Thank you for sharing!

dorothy said...

Hey Nic,
I've just spent the last hour of work looking at your bolg, great distraction, and wanted to tell you how good it is. First of all it's so cute, I love your narritives, it's insightful, the pictures look great, it's just really sweet and fun, and so endearing. I love you and am glad I'm part of your family.
love, dorothy

Judy said...

Your comments were so inspiring. I can't wait for General Conference in a few weeks. I am so thankful that I have had the opportunity to be so close to President Hinkley many times with my calling. He is so wonderful. I wish I could have just reached out and touched him. We are all so blessed.

Judy said...

Your comments were so inspiring. I can't wait for General Conference in a few weeks. I am so thankful that I have had the opportunity to be so close to President Hinkley many times with my calling. He is so wonderful. I wish I could have just reached out and touched him. We are all so blessed.