“What do you remember most about President Hinckley?”
Our teacher asked today in Relief Society, and my mind went immediately to his optimism.
I thought of his smile and the twinkle in his eye. I remembered when interviewer Mike Wallace commented that the church’s leadership was a “gerontocracy” and he responded, in that signature crackly voice, “Isn’t it wonderful?”
His optimism was disarming. He was a Prophet who was unafraid of showing us his humanity. He motivated those he led by encouragement rather than discipline. He found hope in the face of recurring illness, the Great Depression, a difficult mission, losing his mother to cancer, and World War II — and I feel it is no coincidence we get to focus on him in 2017. We’re in great need of a reminder to hope, in the world in general but also within Mormonism.
We started this blog in part to do just what President Hinckley did — help bring Mormonism out of weirdness and share its goodness with the world. But now it seems appropriate to add to our mission a fierce commitment to seeing good over bad, to choosing optimism like he always did.
Here are a few highlights I remember from his life, and here’s to learning more in 2017.
“Try a little harder to be a little better.”
“It isn’t as bad as you sometimes think it is. It all works out. Don’t worry. I say that to myself every morning. It all works out in the end. Put your trust in God, and move forward with faith and confidence in the future. The Lord will not forsake us. He will not forsake us. If we will put our trust in Him, if we will pray to Him, if we will live worthy of His blessings, He will hear our prayers.”
“Without hard work, nothing grows but weeds.”
“Cultivate an attitude of happiness. Cultivate a spirit of optimism. Walk with faith, rejoicing in the beauties of nature, in the goodness of those you love, in the testimony which you carry in your heart concerning things divine.”
“In all of living, have much fun and laughter. Life is to be enjoyed, not just endured.”