Like many of you, I experienced a few emotions when I heard that our beloved Prophet had passed away. My first reaction was sadness that he was gone, which was followed by happiness thinking that he had been reunited with his sweet wife, which has been followed with a deep sense of gratitude for the life he lived, the example he was, and the lessons he taught. I'm grateful for his example of someone who approached life with optimisim, kindness and hard-work. I appreciate the way he was constantly encouraging the saints to "try a little harder" and "do a little better." His encouraging words really made my eternal quest for perfection seem attainable. I loved that he faced challenges in life with a smile and a sense of humor. I loved the way that you could feel the spirit the moment he walked into a room.
After he was sustained as the Prophet and President of the Church in April of 1995, he said the following quote in conference:
"Now, my bretheren and sisters, the time has come for us to stand a little taller, to lift our eyes and stretch our minds to a greater comprehension and understanding of the grand millenial mission of this The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This is a season to be strong. It is a time to move forward without hesitation, knowing well the meaning, the breadth, and the importance of our mission. It is a time to do what is right regardless of the consequences that might follow. It is a time to be found keeping the commandments. It is a season to reach out with kindness and love to those in distress and to those who are wandering in darkness and pain. It is a time to be considerate and good, decent and courteous towards one another in all of our relationships. In other words, to become more Christlike." (May 1995 Ensign, p.71)
This has been one of my favorite quotes from the Prophet. I have kept it in my scriptures and read it often because it always inspires me to try to be a better person.
In a press conference after President Hinckley was formally introduced as the 15th president of the church, he was asked by a reporter what his focus or theme of his administration would be. To which he answered, "Carry on. Yes. Our theme will be to carry on the great work which has been furthered by our predecessors.”
He made such a simple statement, but I think it perfectly describes the way he led the church up until the very end of his life. What a great example he has been of "carrying on". I am truly grateful that I have been blessed to learn from the life and example of President Hinckley.