We had a pleasant time "spending the day" yesterday with President Hinckley, his moving funeral, and the extended coverage about him on BYU-TV. President Monson hit the nail on the head when he quoted an unnamed poet and said: "'Here and there, and now and then, God makes a giant among men.' President Hinckley was such a giant--a giant of knowledge, of faith, of testimony, of compassion, of vision."
President Hinckley had so much knowledge. He was always learning. He was always advocating getting more education and doing our best--in short, being smart. The theme of his life was one of faith--building faith in the hearts of the people, faith in God and in His Son, faith in this restored gospel, faith in our ability to "not just be good, but to be good for something." His testimony will always be remembered as one who was a special witness of the living Christ. His compassion--his love for all peoples of the world, both in the Church and outside of the Church. His love and desire to bless was so evident. And finally, his vision. He was a visionary and he shared an inspired vision with all the rest of us, making us feel that our contribution in our sphere was every bit as important as his contribution in his sphere. He envisioned temples dotting the world, and that has come to pass. He had a vision for us all, from the youth to the most senior member of the Church, that has inspired us all to be a little better, rise a litter higher, and to do the very best we can.
Last week we had the pleasure of visiting one on one with my Uncle Con and Aunt Carolyn when they came out to visit Sally, Brad, and Tyler. We haven't had a lot of one on one time--almost none--since he was called first as a mission president, then to the Second Quorum of the Seventy, and now as president of the Portland Oregon Temple. So it was delightful to attend our ward together and have lunch together Sunday afternoon and hear of some of their funny and memorable experiences. My favorite was having a family home evening with all of us together at our house the day after President Hinckley passed away. We shared our thoughts and feelings about him. Then we got to hear Carolyn talk about Grandpa Lake as she was growing up. I think I'll cherish that memory for a long time.
Con has always been big on obedience. I remember when he gave his talk in General Conference entitled "Faith Obedience". It is a talk I've referred back to multiple times when the topic of "blind obedience" has come up from time to time. It was recently re-printed in the Novemeber 2007 New Era magazine. One of my favorite parts of the talk demonstrates that by obeying because of our faith, we'll be safe. It makes me grateful that Heavenly Father loves us so much to give us a prophet to guide us and help keep us safe. After sharing the story of experiencing a dangerous "sneaker wave" first hand, he taught:
"One of the sneaky ploys of the adversary is to have us believe that unquestioning obedience to the principles and commandments of God is blind obedience. His goal is to have us believe that we should be following our own worldly ways and selfish ambitions. This he does by persuading us that "blindly" following the prophets and obeying the commandments is not thinking for ourselves. He teaches that it is not intelligent to do something just because we are told to do so by a living prophet or by prophets who speak to us from the scriptures.
Our unquestioning obedience to the Lord's commandments is not blind obedience. President Boyd K. Packer in the April conference of 1983 taught us about this: "Latter-day Saints are not obedient because they are compelled to be obedient. They are obedient because they know certain spiritual truths and have decided, as an expression of their own individual agency, to obey the commandments of God. . . . We are not obedient because we are blind, we are obedient because we can see" ("Agency and Control," Ensign, May 1983, 66).
We might call this "faith obedience." With faith, Abraham was obedient in preparing Isaac for sacrifice; with faith, Nephi was obedient in obtaining the brass plates; with faith, a little child obediently jumps from a height into the strong arms of his father. "Faith obedience" is a matter of trust. The question is simple: Do we trust our Heavenly Father? Do we trust our prophets?"
Our prophet, President Gordon B. Hinckley, made it easy to trust him. He loved us. A card that his grandchildren made him at his viewing said: "Dear Grandpa: We will always be grateful, be smart, be clean, be true, be humble, be prayerful because we love you." I too want to pledge to always be grateful, smart, clean, true, humble, and prayerful because I love President Hinckley. Goodbye to an awesome friend.
"The fundamental principles of our religion are the testimony of the Apostles and Prophets, concerning Jesus Christ, that He died, was buried, and rose again the third day, and ascended into heaven; and all other things which pertain to our religion are only appendages to it."