On Tuesday January 2, 2018 at 10:01 PM Mountain Time President Thomas S. Monson, 16th prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints passed away peacefully. He lived 90 remarkable years.
My heart is filled with happy-sadness tonight with this news. I love President Monson! A giant of a man in both stature and spirit. A man that possessed boundless kindness, a hearty laugh, and a delightful talent of wiggling his ears. 🙂 The stories of his tireless acts of service and charity are legendary. The love that he and his dear wife Frances shared is also legendary. I blogged about their sweet love story here.
I am absolutely delighted with the idea of Thomas S. Monson’s heavenly homecoming party that is taking place right now. I cannot imagine anyone more joyful seeing their beloved spouse again – and being greeted by his “BFF” President Gordon B. Hinckley, and all of the other past LDS prophets and apostles and leaders throughout the ages. And then there is that long, long, long reception line of widows and veterans whom he tirelessly cared for personally throughout his ministry.
What a joyful shout the angels must be raising!
I feel so blessed to have heard President Monson speak on multiple occasions not only in General Conference sessions, but also in personal moments as he visited with the Choir. President Monson loved the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and appointed himself personal adviser to the Choir after President Gordon B. Hinckley passed away ten years ago. I have been blessed to sit at his feet and listen to his messages of love, and his prophetic counsel. He would always come and pronounce special blessings on us before we were departing on Tour, and during the first five years of my Choir membership we were blessed to have him attend our annual Christmas party and share a special message. We were privileged to have him attend our final concert of the 2009 Tour in Colorado at Red Rocks, and in 2011 he attended our final tour concert in Toronto, Canada.
One of my fondest personal memories of President Monson came during a regular Sunday morning broadcast of Music and the Spoken Word. Presdient Monson happened to “sneak in” quietly to the Tabernacle after the broadcast had begun. At the end of the broadcast he gave us a rousing standing ovation. The Choir and Orchestra waited in our seats afterward for President Monson to have time to clear the building. However, when they released us and we came down the back stairs, President Monson was standing there waiting for us! And he stood there and personally shook the hand of each and every one of us – about 400 of us – looking into our eyes, smiling and saying “Thank you” to each of us one-by-one. ♥
I am absolutely certain that he was tired. It was not convenient or even comfortable for him to stand so long to personally greet and thank each and every one of the Choir and Orchestra members personally. And yet, that was a hallmark of his character. Reaching out, and Putting others first. And he did it so joyfully! President Monson made me feel of infinite worth that day. I have never forgotten his act of selfless service and tender kindness he gave to me personally.
In April 2017, President Monson delivered what would be his final two conference talks. They were each brief, but very powerful, and have even more power now that they stand as his last earthly testimonies.
1. Be Kind
During the General Priesthood Session on Saturday April 1, 2017 – he spoke about the importance of living with Christ-like kindness.
“let us examine our lives and determine to follow the Savior’s example of being kind, loving and charitable, and as we do so we will be in a better position to call down the power of heaven – for ourselves, for our families, and for our fellow travelers on this sometimes difficult journey back to our heavenly home.”
During the Sunday morning session, President Monson looked remarkably refreshed and renewed as he stood to the pulpit and announced 5 NEW TEMPLES! (If you listen closely, you can even hear the excited reactions in the crowd.)
Then, he gave wonderful counsel on how we can each develop strong testimonies of the Gospel of Christ, and be closer to our Savior – by reading and studying The Book of Mormon.
“I implore each of us to prayerfully study and ponder the Book of Mormon each day. As we do so, we will be in a position to hear the voice of the Spirit, to resist temptation, to overcome doubt and fear, and to receive heaven’s help in our lives.
I so testify with all my heart in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.”
– Thomas S. Monson, The Power of The Book of Mormon, April 2, 2017
Thank you President Monson, for your incredible life of dedication and service to others, for your cheerfulness, your example of kindness and charity, and your testimony of Jesus Christ and His restored gospel as one of His special witnesses and prophets upon this earth. May your heavenly homecoming be joyous. ♥
The world needs so many more human beings like this man of pure goodness and kindness. May we ever strive to be more like him! – MoSop