Thomas S. Monson
by Angela Halliday
President Thomas Spencer Monson passed away last week. He was the president of our Church, a man that we believe spoke for God-a prophet, seer, and revelator. Most people in the world have never heard of him. Many of those who have heard of him have no idea who he really was. But there are many who have been transformed, guided, and inspired by his 90 years of life.
I’ve been reflecting on what I’ve learned from him and have remembered several stories.
When I was a child, he was my favorite speaker in General Conference-a twice a year broadcast by Church leaders to the whole Church. He told the best stories, had such a booming, strong voice, and kept me interested in his entire talk (about 15-20 minutes each—loooong for a child!) I remember one talk in particular called “Anonymous.” (April 1983) I was ten years old. It has shaped my view on whether or not people need to see the good we do for each other, whether our donations or acts of service need to be noticed by anyone, or if we need any attention at all. He told of a prestigious plaque on a hospital wall, noting those who had donated $100,000 or more to its new expansion. All were notable people, but one stated “Anonymous.” He taught that this donor’s gift was laid up for treasure in heaven, not on earth. (See Matthew 6:19-20)
When my three daughters were very young, we went to Maddox Ranch House, a restaurant in Perry, Utah for my brother-in-law’s wedding luncheon. While we were waiting to be seated, President Monson was leaving. He had to walk through the crowded entryway to reach his car. Surely he had places to go, people to see, and things to do, but he took the time to shake everyone’s hand, look them in the eye, and ask them a question or two. Each of my daughters, my husband, me, and everyone else standing there had the opportunity to be touched by him-figuratively and literally. There were at least fifty people, so it didn’t just take a moment or two. He is known to have been compassionate, loving, genuine, and filled with the love of God. In that brief period of time, I certainly knew he cared about people-all people-the little ones, the older ones, the middle ones, everyone was deserving of his love. His love showed me who God is.
President Monson was the last Church leader-apostle, prophet, seer, and revelator-that was already in place when I was born. I remember all of the other members of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (the top bodies of Church leadership) being called to their positions since I’ve been paying attention. He has been around my whole life-setting an example of quiet strength and stellar faith. I will miss him. Surely he is now reaping his heavenly treasure.