My Dear Reader,
This was a man who loved his wife. I saw it personally in a General Conference that I attended back when Marjorie Pay Hinckley was still alive. At a point in the conference, the person conducting announced that Sister Hinckley had to leave because she wasn't feeling well. What the cameras didn't catch was President Hinckley's reaction as his wife walked off of the stand. I saw him lean forward, and with a look of love and concern that was detectible from a hundred feet away, he watched her until she had completely disappeared from sight. When Sister Hinckley died a few days later, the grief felt by the Church at large was nothing compared to the grief that we saw in his eyes. Every time he talked of her, he silently taught a lesson about the blessings that come from marriage, and through his example, I began to understand that a married couple is more than the last five minutes of a romantic comedy: it's a bond that is stronger than space or time, a bond that unites humanity throughout centuries. I would later see the same kind of love demonstrated by grandpa (Madre's father) when he cared for my grandma after she developed Alzheimer's disease. He still cares for her, without complaint, and through the example of these two men, I now know what love is like at its deepest, at its greatest, and I now know that I can settle for nothing less.
This was also a man who loved the youth. Growing up in the Chruch, I always looked forward to any special address that he gave to us, because he was one of the few adults who used a taboo seven-letter word when he addressed us: respect. He would always tell us that he had great respect for us, and that he knew that we were doing our best to do what God asked of us. I've never heard any other adult tell me that he or she respected me, though I've frequently had respect required of me by less-than-amiable adults. Without ever saying it directly, President Hinckley taught us that respect is the kind of love that we are required to give others, regardless of age, because each of us have an inner divinity and we are all children of God.
Most importantly, this was a man who protected the family. He was never afraid to defend our values, honor women, or publicize the Church's standing on the sanctity of the family. In 1995, President Hinckley introduced one of the most important documents of the twentieth century: The Family: A Proclamation to the World, where he and the other apostles affirmed that marriage is ordained of God, that children are sacred and precious, and that children have the right to a two-parent home, which was incredibly bold considering the current state of affairs. I love reading the Proclamation, as it helps me maintain a state of purpose. I honestly believe that if the world turned from its selfishness and followed the values set forth by the Proclamation, the we could create a society where the greatest atrocities of our day are completely eliminated.
In his words and deeds, no one I know has done more to protect and uplift the family than President Hinckley.
Best wishes, regards, and respect,