Tributes to President Hinckley

“Tributes to President Hinckley,” Liahona, Apr. 2008, 4

Tributes to President Hinckley

He had the heart of a servant, the wisdom of a leader.

News of the death of President Gordon B. Hinckley evoked an outpouring of condolences and tributes from all over the world. Below is a sampling of the many expressions of love and admiration paid to him.

President George W. Bush, United States of America: Laura and I are deeply saddened by the death of our friend Gordon B. Hinckley. … [He] demonstrated the heart of a servant and the wisdom of a leader. … I was honored to present him with the Medal of Freedom, our nation’s highest civil award, in recognition of his lifelong public service. … Our thoughts and prayers are with his five children and the rest of the Hinckley family.

Bishop Carolyn Tanner Irish, Episcopal Diocese of Utah: I find it difficult to imagine the world and its faith communities without him. Leading the LDS Church for decades, he has been its heart and soul to many millions—members and nonmembers alike. Like so many others, I have been deeply touched by his generous wisdom, kindly voice, and delicate humor.

Jeanetta Williams, President, NAACP of Utah, Nevada, and Idaho: I want to convey my deepest, heartfelt sympathy to President Hinckley’s family and to Church members. I was very fond of President Hinckley. I personally knew him, and I will truly miss his voice and his concern for the community.

Larry King, Larry King Live, CNN: President Hinckley was more than a leader of a church; he was a great friend. I have met very few people in my life who had his passion, his understanding, or his wisdom. He will be sorely missed.

President Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, Iceland: With the death of President Gordon B. Hinckley, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the entire world have lost a great and wise leader, a man of vision and courage. The people of Iceland have lost a good friend, and I offer the Church of Jesus Christ our sincere condolences.

Dr. Hussein Hassouna, Ambassador of the League of Arab States to the United States: It is with great regret that I learned about the passing away of Gordon B. Hinckley, President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I still remember meeting him during my visit to Salt Lake City a couple of years ago. I was impressed by his knowledge, wisdom, and interest in world affairs.

Zamira Sydykova, Ambassador of the Kyrgyz Republic to the United States and Canada: Mr. Hinckley was a great … person who made Mormonism more familiar to the globe and promoted civility and mutual respect among people everywhere.

Yuval Rotem, Ambassador, Embassy of Israel in Australia: I join with millions of people around the world to honor and grieve for this compassionate and benevolent man. … President Hinckley impressed me as a strong leader with an ability to understand the most crucial points of any issue. I greatly appreciate his significant efforts in bringing Christians and Jews closer together.

Teens Honor President Hinckley

Cell phones throughout the world spread the news of the passing of our beloved prophet Gordon B. Hinckley on Sunday evening, January 27. Within hours additional text messages filled the airwaves with teens encouraging each other to dress in their Sunday best instead of casual clothes for school the following day in honor of President Hinckley.

One surprised parent in Mesa, Arizona, found her daughter up early and ironing a skirt for Monday’s day at school. She said after her daughter, Mackenzie, received many text messages, she and her friends decided to wear church clothes to school in honor of the prophet. So did thousands of others.

President Hinckley’s grandson, James Pearce, explained his understanding of why so many youth wore their best clothing to school: “He loved the youth so much, and they felt that love. They acknowledged it with their behavior.”

That same spirit was exhibited along the route from the memorial services to the cemetery, as youth and adults waved white handkerchiefs and held up canes as a farewell to the prophet.