Saying good things about people before they die.
Or alternate title: Follow the prophet, and not just give him lip service.
Many of my friends are in their 50's and older. Statistically speaking, men start to die off in their 50's. And, statistically speaking, Vietnam Veterans (those 6 to 15 years older than I) have had a higher mortality rate than those of the same age who did not serve in Vietnam. (Some attribute it to many of the stressors there, including Agent Orange.)
I need to make a point of complimenting my friends and those with whom I have associated, and let them know I appreciate them, so that if/when they pass on to the great beyond, I hopefully won't regret not having let them know how important, influential and admirable they have been.
Now is the time when many LDS are recounting the great life led by Gordon B. Hinckley and his prophetic service and leadership to church members and to the world.
There's nothing that I can add to what has been said and what is currently being said. In fact, I'm still "stuck" on what a prophet "two prophets ago" said almost 20 years back about flooding the earth with a miraculous book of scripture.
It may be correct to say "It's more important to follow a prophet than to praise a prophet." Praising a prophet for his service, even when he is emminently qualified for such praise, may not be what he wants. I remember meeting two of the Apostles back in the 1980's at an airport. After I approached them and offered any service or assistance, and gushed over them, they basically told me they didn't need anything, that they were tired from meetings all day, and that I should go sit down.
What may be more important in President Hinckley's eyes, is to study his prophetic teachings and injunctions, and follow them, and encourage others to follow the teachings of him and other prophets.
One of the things President Hinckley was famous for was his list of "Six Be's".
1. Be grateful.
2. Be smart.
3. Be clean.
4. Be true.
5. Be humble.
6. Be prayerful.
President Hinckley also had a catch-phrase: "Stand a little taller."
I hope that I can be grateful, smart, clean, true, humble, and prayerful, and stand a little taller. Those are some ways I hope I can follow his teachings.
Spencer W. Kimball was prophet/president when I joined the church in 1982. Ezra Taft Benson became prophet/president towards the end of my mission in 1985. He was still prophet/president when I left the church in 1987. Howard Hunter, and then Gordon B. Hinckley became prophets/presidents while I was inactive, and President Hinckley was prophet when I returned to the church in 2002.
Now, according to long established precedent, Thomas S. Monson, the most senior member of the Quorum of 12 Apostles, will soon be set apart as the new prophet and president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and will be sustained at the next General Conference of the church in April of this year.
President Monson has been my favorite conference speaker over the last few years. I love the way he tells a story. I love the way he emphasizes service to those who are most in need of service and compassion, the widows, the elderly, and the sick. His emphasis in that regard has motivated me to visit people I know from church when they are in a hospital or nursing home.
President Monson's stories of how small acts can have big effects have motivated me in my attempts to create many such small acts as giving out scripture and other church material in foreign languages.
His stories of how following the promptings of the Spirit can lead to wonderful things has also motivated me, and given me comfort that the ideas I sometimes get are not entirely my own imagination.
Let us study and do what the prophets of old wrote in the scriptures.
Let us study and do what the living prophets during our lifetime have taught us.
Let us now pay attention and do what the new prophet, Thomas S. Monson teaches us.
P.S. By the way, Geoff B, Adam Greenwood, Annegb, Jeff Lindsay, Larry K, I admire you guys.