I had gone to bed Tuesday night without getting on my computer one last time. So it wasn’t until after I was up Wednesday morning that my husband gave me the news that our beloved Prophet, Thomas S. Monson, had passed away late Tuesday night. He was 90, and the last couple of years have seemed like a bonus—more time than we had a right to expect. What a life he lived!
|Pres. Thomas S. Monson, center, when called as Prophet, 2008|
photo from newsroom.lds.org
There’s a description of a leader in the Book of Mormon, Captain Moroni, that I think applies well to President Monson, so I’ll, respectfully, replace his name in the verse, Alma 48:17:
Yea, verily, verily I say unto you, if all men had been, and were, and ever would be, like unto [Thomas Spencer Monson], behold, the very powers of hell would have been shaken forever; yea, the devil would never have power over the hearts of the children of men.
The words that came to mind as I listened to news of his passing were “love” and “delight.” He was so loving—so outgoing and friendly, and able to connect to each individual. He had a sense of timing, and a twinkle in his eye, that allowed you to laugh with him.
He was a storyteller, as a way to teach, often using stories from his childhood, or young adulthood. One of the stories from childhood had to do with setting a fire that got way out of hand. His delivery adds so much to the humor. I recommend watching this video; the story is from 3:35-8:45.
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, one of the Twelve Apostles, shared this depiction of Pres. Monson three years ago:
The image of him I will cherish until I die is of him flying home from then–economically devastated East Germany in his house slippers because he had given away, not only his second suit and his extra shirts, but the very shoes from off his feet. More than any man I know, President Monson has “done all he could” for the widow and the fatherless, the poor and the oppressed.[i]
|Pres. Monson with Boy Scouts|
photo found at KSL.com
As you continue to participate in this fine program, your abilities to think, to plan and to achieve will be heightened. This along with your personal integrity and spirituality will help guide you and keep you on the right path as you journey through life. If ever there were a time when the principles of Scouting were vitally needed, that time is now.[ii]
I could probably do several posts of collected President Monson quotes, but I’ll share just a few.
This is his code for life:
Never let a problem to be solved be more important than a person to be loved.[iii]
I’ve had this one in a file for many decades. I don’t know whether he originally said it or quoted it, but I heard it from him:
Work will win when wishy-washy wishing won’t
Choose the harder right, instead of the easier wrong.
Don’t limit yourself, and don’t let others convince you that you are limited in what you can do. Believe in yourself and then live so as to reach your possibilities. You can achieve what you believe you can. Trust and believe and have faith.
We must develop the capacity to see men not as they are at present but as they may become.[iv]
Fill your mind with truth;
Fill your heart with love;
Fill your life with service.[v]
This is essential Thomas S. Monson:
The sweetest experience I know in life is to feel a prompting and act upon it, and later find out that it was the fulfillment of someone’s prayer, or someone’s need. And I always want the Lord to know that, if He needs an errand run, Tom Monson will run that errand for Him.
There have been several tributes in media the past couple of days. This one from KSL News in Salt Lake City, is good, with plenty of photos and videos. This article from LDS Living offers a nice list of memories, many with video clips.
The video tribute below, from the Mormon Newsroom, [ ] touched me. In it, President Monson offers several of my favorite quotes:
[iii] Pres. Monson said this in “Joy in the Journey” (Brigham Young University Women’s Conference, May 2, 2008), http://ce.byu.edu/cw/womensconference/archive/transcripts.cfm . The statement “Never let a problem to be solved become more important than a person to be loved” has been attributed to Barbara Johnson (see “Quotable Quotes,” Reader’s Digest, Jan. 1997, 161).