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I’m Trying to Be Like. . .

By Heather Herrick

Maybe this is Mormon folklore, but I have it from a source, only once removed. So from me to you it’s twice removed. Pretty reliable, right?

Pertinent background info: A member of the church has a friend at work. They talk a lot, the member shares information about the church. They have good conversations, the friend knows more about Mormons as a result of the relationship.

Story: The friend is traveling internationally and meets a nice older gentleman. They strike up a conversation and she finds out the gentleman is also a member of the church. She tells him about her co-worker. They talk and have a friendly conversation. As their meeting is coming to a close he asks her to tell her friend hello. Puzzled, she asks, “Will she know you?” He answers, “Yes, she probably will. Tell her Tommy Monson says hello.”

I love it! What an awesome example. Our prophet, responsible to receive revelation for the whole entire world, the president of a worldwide church, is making new friends in the process of his daily life and travels. He’s striking up conversations and sending hellos to members whom he knows will get a huge lift with those few words. He is a people person–being a friend, making connections. I bet there’s no one busier, and yet he finds the time. Elder Lansing of the Seventy spoke at our stake conference this past weekend and he shared a story of President Monson taking time to help his long-time friend, Elder Marion D. Hanks, who is in the hospital with Alzheimer’s disease. He went and looked up old newspaper clippings or found yearbooks from when Elder Hanks had been in school and copied pictures that he brought with him when he went to visit. He hoped that it would help him remember, so he’d have something to talk about with his grandchildren when they come to see him. The prophet did that. Figured out what might help, went out, researched, made copies, and went to the hospital to visit-all for the love of his friend.

I have been busy lately. Annoying to even say it, right? We’re all busy. But I’ve been feeling a bit overwhelmed, sometimes frustrated, tired, etc. I have good intentions that don’t turn into action, boo! I am going to be more like President Monson. I love him.

How does this inspire you? Any other “reliable” stories you can share?

About Heather Herrick

Heather currently lives in the center of the universe (she’s not being egotistical, it’s true—ask any other New Yorker). She loves NYC, but misses the mountains of Utah where she grew up. Heather and her husband are glad that the baby from her poem now sleeps alone; baby two spoils her mama by having the cutest dimple ever, and hopefully will not become a kicker like her sister.

18 thoughts on “I’m Trying to Be Like. . .”

  1. We have a President Monson story, too. Back when he was a young bishop, my brother-in-law's grandpa was his counselor in the bishopric. After that period of his life, the grandpa and his family didn't go to church much. At the end of his life, he was in a rest home near death, and he just kept hanging on. He told someone he was waiting for President Monson to come by to give him a blessing before he died. President Monson happened to come to the rest home and was thrilled to see his former counselor. President Monson gave him a blessing, and he died soon after. President Monson spoke at his funeral.

    Fast forward a few years and my brother-in-law's father died. His mother said, "I just know President Monson will come to the viewing" but we all thought there wasn't much chance. He had been made prophet and we all know how busy he must be. But when we got to the viewing, the room was all buzzing because the prophet had just been to the viewing. I was so surprised that he would have remembered this family, so many years later.

    That Sunday was our area conference and President Monson spoke. He said that earlier that week he was going to the viewing of a member of his ward, but somehow ended up in the wrong place. When he went through the line, he thought, "Who is this? I don't think I know this person." But then he met my brother-in-law's mother who told him that it was the son of his former counselor in the bishopric. He said he didn't know he was needed to be at that viewing, but the Lord did, and made sure he was there.

    He is a kind and good man who absolutely does care about the people around him.

  2. Great Stories of the Prophet – anxious to read more!

    I really liked your line about busy – annoying to say it isn't it? – that is great. I had an experience several years ago that has made quite an impact on me and now on my husband also about our schedules. I went past my Great Grandma's Church and on the board was this: Busy – Being Under Satan's Yoke!

    Wow, I have never forgotten that. So thru different discussions in our marriage we keep weeding out so there is more time for each other and for other people in our lives.

    We got rid of the tv stations and only watch movies from the library 1 or 2 times a nite. We only do one activity on the weekends. We shut down volunteering to 1 nite a week. We call relatives once every week, mothers and siblings. We do facebook to contact those, hard to reach by phone. I do most of the chores while he is at work, so there is little to do when he gets home or on the weekend.

    Sometimes it is hard – you want to DO – but then we see where where would have missed opportunities for the small joys of life, or to be there when someone calls for help or just plain old fun!

    Great Post!

  3. President Monson is such a caring person. If he were a woman, he would be the compassionate service leader EVERY time. (Take that back…with his leadership abilities, he'd probably be the Relief Society president.)

    But I'm glad he's the prophet instead!


  4. Tommy! Love it.

    I once taught an RS lesson where I asked the sisters to share their stories of meeting prophets and apostles. (It was a ward of older sisters in Utah, and their stories were absolutely amazing!)

    Here is mine: I was a missionary in Sydney and the only temple in all of Australia at the time happened to be in our area. Also, the Pacific Area Offices for the Church were on the same property along with apartments for those working/volunteering at the offices lived in. We had GA's in our ward, though they weren't able to attend very often because of being on assignment. Sisters Featherstone and Hafen came to church and sat together while their husbands spent weekends in Tonga or Fiji or wherever.

    I thought is was super cool when Sister Featherstone fellowshipped one of our investigators doing the Macarena at a ward party, but the best thing happened a week later.

    We were looking for our dinner appointment down around these little apartments. It was with a very nice family from the states; he was an accountant for the Church. The apartments all looked alike and we couldn't tell about the numbering. Thinking we had found it, we knocked on a door. Elder Hafen answered the door wearing jeans, a tee shirt and an apron that said "Girls Camp 199-" and was signed by a bunch of young women. Though we were not supposed to be there, and were totally unexpected, he lit up and said, "Sisters! I had no idea you were coming! We are just having soup, but please, come in." And oh how we wanted to! But we made our excuses and got our directions. He then said, "If they aren't just as happy to see you as I was, you make sure you come back okay?"

    They weren't. But we didn't.

    From this I learned that a general authority is just a regular person, but so much nicer. I think of how much notice I want when anyone comes to dinner, and there was Brother Hafen with nothing but a pot of soup and his incredible spirit, more than happy to share and fellowship. What a lesson!

  5. Nan, love the soup story. I'll remember it, and try to be like him.

    Pres. Monson was mission president in Toronto, where he knew my husband's grandparents. About forty years later, as a busy member of the first presidency, he attended Eric's grandma's funeral. Pres. Monson really does have an amazing talent.

  6. Elder Hanks is my grandfather and I just wanted to add my testimony about the love of the brethren. President Monson visits him often and has been so sweet to my grandmother as well. We feel so blessed to be remembered and taken care of by the prophet. Even more remarkably, President Monson often sneaks in and out of the nursing home so as not to draw attention away from the other people being cared for. He does it because he loves my grandpa, not for the recognition.

    Before him, President Hinckley often called to check up on my grandma and spend time chatting with her. What amazing leaders we have!

    Thank you for this post, what a great reminder of the time I certainly have to share and serve.

  7. Sorry I don't have a story. I just wanted to say that
    I vaguely remember in the past having some kind of issue with President Monson, but now, for the life of me, I can't remember what it was.

  8. This isn't a story either, but something that has expanded my understanding of prophets and my love for ours.

    You know how when the high councilor comes to speak in your ward that they always bring love and greetings from the stake president? Well, once when Pres. Hinckley was speaking and expressing those same feelings of love from the Lord for us, it became profoundly clear to me that this was a comparable situation: President Monson (now) is the Lord's mouthpiece to us in the same way that the high councilor is, for the purpose of High Council Sunday, the mouthpiece for the stake president and somehow it made me feel the Lord's love that much more for me–that He would have and send a prophet to periodically remind me of it.

    That these men are tender and devoted in their service, their full-time, never get a night off for the rest of their lives service, is awe-inspiring, ennobling and humbling. The Lord certainly does love us to give us living prophets, picking and then tutoring and inspiring them so that they will be willing and able to love us as He loves us. Just another tender mercy, to be so indivually known of and loved by the Lord.

  9. Recently I attended several leadership meetings with Sister Dalton (General YW Pres). I even had opportunities to interact with her in intimate settings. When she bore her testimony of President Monson's call to be a prophet, and shared specific interactions with him I got chills. Before that I had a testimony of prophets in general, now I have a specific testimony of President Monson's prophetic call (and Sister Dalton's).

    They are just people, as all prophets have been. But when you are with them in person you feel the spirit communicate that they have been called of God and are endowed with power.

  10. All of these stories are great. Thanks for sharing. I got all choked up when I read Allison's though. Elder Hanks performed my wedding in the Salt Lake temple. He was a Regional Rep. in Asia when I was a teen living there when my dad was a Mission President. He is really one of my favorite people, and was always very real when he came to visit. It was by watching him that I realized that even the General Authorities could be cool. Thanks for bringing a lot of great memories back to me.

  11. Pres. Monson was good friends w/ my husband's grandfather. The stories shared about his personal attention to individuals are real. He visited in the hospital, stayed longer than he probably 'should' have (and did so deliberately), and came to the funeral.

    He amazes me.

    But since he can't be everywhere with everyone, I think of our VT and other church assignments as being delegated actions of the kind of service he might give, which is, of course, supposed to be for the Lord. So I like that notion in the OP of trying to be more like him.

    I guess my thought is that we shouldn't minimize what our own personal service can mean to those whose lives we might touch — be it on the airplane with a stranger, or the neighbor or visiting teachee who needs a loving gesture or word. We may not be prophets or have other 'big' callings, but we can be instruments in God's hands in our own spheres of influence.

  12. While serving as President Hinckley’s counselor, and not long before becoming President of the LDS Church, A wonderful brother whom had been my home teaching partner, requested President Monson to perform the wedding ceremony for he he and his bride to be. Both having lost their eternal companion a few years earlier, it would be the second ceremony for each. Though Pres. Monson’s official schedule was busy, he was more that pleased to perform the wedding of his WWII Navy buddy. The two were very close friends onboard ship and have remained such throughout their lives, exchanging frequent contact. Those attending the Temple ceremony came away in awe saying that the ceremony was very special, as the two war buddies reminisced their experiences together more than half a century past. President Monson will always be loved as being down to earth and genuine.

  13. My husband and I served in a branch for elderly Saints. There were about 170 seniors and the average age was 88. President Monson knew several of the members, who had lived in his ward, been his neighbor during his youth, etc. Whenever one of them became ill and was hospitalized, my husband, the branch president, would make arrangements to leave work so that he could visit the elderly person and give them a priesthood blessing, if requested.

    In almost EVERY situation, President Monson had been there before us. These precious seniors told about his tender comments, his comforting blessings, and his loving kindness. One women who was visiting her elderly friend told me that President Monson also gave her a blessing and told her that the Lord was pleased with the service she gave her neighbor.

    I have profound respect for President Monson's devotion to the elderly, his Christlike service, and his compassion. I also watched him attend a graveside service of one of our elderly members. He visited with and comforted the children, grandchildren and great grandchildren, and spoke directly to the little children in his remarks. He also paid close attention to some elderly family members who were finding it difficult to get to and from the grave. He made certain that they rode in his car to the gravesite from the mortuary. I have learned the President Monson is a great example of those things he teaches in General Conference.

  14. Thanks so much everyone for sharing your stories as well. It is humbling and inspiring to learn more and more about our leaders who have truly been called by the Lord.


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