Memories of President Monson
I was sad when I found out Thomas S. Monson passed away. But I’m glad he doesn’t have to suffer anymore. I really liked his personality. He always smiled and had a positive attitude. One of my favorite quotes by him is, “The future is as bright as your faith.” I also like the often-told story from his life about following promptings even if it means getting up in the middle of a meeting and leaving in order to go and minister to someone who needs you.
I’ve known President Monson as a leader in the church all my life. I have so many sweet memories of waking up in general conference morning to his cheery voice conducting the session! As a child, I always loved hearing the stories in his talks. As a teen, I heard the additional layers of his parables more keenly, and as an adult I have come to appreciate his consistent messages of kindness, service and love. I wish we could all hear his urging for us to treat each other better and act on it.
As he aged and it became noticeably difficult for him to participate in General conference, I wished for us as a church and as a people (and his fellow apostles in the Q12) to grant him some of that kindness he always showed to us by relieving Him of expectation to show up and speak. The last few conferences it seemed like they were trotting him out like a mascot. After seeing Pope Benedict recuse himself to emeritus status so that a more robust leader could take the helm of the Catholic Church, I’ve wondered if it would be the more loving thing to do something like this for our aging prophets as well, rather than expect them to complete their callings (or abandon them in duty, if not in name) until their death.
Would a prophet more in tune with his mental faculties have been willing to meet with Ordain women? Or temper the adverse reactions to gay marriage? Or call in more diverse leadership instead of 3 more white guys all at once?
Blessings to you, dear President. May you be in a place of peace and rest to your weary and worn soul.
My favorite Monson quote is “Never let a problem to be solved become more important than a person to be loved.”
April Young Bennett
I am so grateful to President Monson for his emphasis on caring for the poor–the scriptural definition of “pure religion”–and that he made it a permanent emphasis of our institution by making it the fourth mission of the church.
His announcement that women could serve missions at age 19 was another particularly meaningful policy change to me, especially given that his predecessor announced from the pulpit, when I was a 21-year-old serving my own mission, that the mission age was higher for women because they preferred to keep the number of female missionaries small. That change told me that President Monson really did appreciate and welcome the service of women and would not want to discourage women from serving as missionaries.
One thing that was hard for me during his tenure is that, as one of the organizers of Ordain Women, I had hoped that because President Monson seemed so kind, and seemed to care about women so much, that he would be receptive to hearing our concerns–even if he didn’t act on them. He was not. His administration would not even grant us a single meeting to talk to any church representative of their choice. Not one meeting! And he approved (or at least, his First Presidency did) efforts to silence Ordain Women supporters and punish them for expressing their concerns. I was deeply saddened to learn that his support for women was limited to charity toward poor, helpless widows, and did not extend to listening to women and allowing them to voice their concerns.