How can we all become better leaders?
We are better people thanks to him
Dear Monson Family, Brothers, Sisters, and Friends, I am honored to speak at the funeral service for my guide, mentor, and dear friend, President Thomas S. Monson.
I have many good feelings for this man, whom I have known and loved for more than 50 years. On behalf of all General Authorities and Church leaders, I express my love and gratitude for President Monson. We also express our deepest love and condolences to his family - Thomas, Ann and Clark and their spouses, children and grandchildren. We are heartily grateful for the touching messages - the words of Ann M. Dibb, President Dieter F. Uchtdorf and President Henry B. Eyring and also for the wonderful singing of the Tabernacle Choir.
President Monson had a remarkable life. There will never be someone like him again! We have all shed many tears because he is no longer with us, and we will continue to weep for him in the future. We will really miss him! Yet our grief is eased through the Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ. His bitter cup makes our painful loss bearable. His Atonement makes the resurrection a reality. His Atonement enables families to be together forever according to Heavenly Father's plan. We rejoice because we know that President Monson is back with his beloved Frances, and that one day we will meet her again.
Since President Monson's death, memories of his life have been excellently prepared and disseminated by the media. I was excited about it. In addition, dignitaries and friends from around the world have sent condolences and expressed their great appreciation.
That was to be expected in a man who influenced the lives of millions of people around the world. We are all better people thanks to him. And the Church is also better thanks to him. He leaves a legacy of growth. Since his ordination as an apostle in 1963, the membership has grown from 2.1 million to nearly 16 million. The number of missionaries in the service has grown from 5,700 to more than 70,000. And let's look at the temples: back then there were only 12, now there are 159, and there are more.
But in all of this, President Monson has always focused on the individual. He reminded us of this with statements like these: “Write to the friend you have neglected.” “Take your child in your arms.” “Say more often: 'I love you!'” “Always thank you. "And:" Never take a problem that has to be solved more important than a person who is to be loved. "
President Monson never sought the spotlight. In a world full of "selfies" he was selflessness in person. He embodied the utterance of the Lord who said: "The greatest of you shall be your servant."1 He spent his time visiting, blessing, and loving others. Even as he got worse and worse, he continued to serve his fellow human beings and made frequent visits to hospitals and retirement homes.
Over the years I had many special experiences with President Monson. I would just like to report one who shows how he achieved incredible things with persuasive speech, long-suffering, mildness, gentleness, and unfeigned love.2
From 1985 I was responsible for the Church in Europe. President Monson had previously served this role for many years. I was his junior partner on many of these difficult tasks. Behind the Iron Curtain, President Monson had worked for almost two decades to win the trust of the government of the German Democratic Republic.
In 1988 we both went to the capital, East Berlin, with a small group of local Church leaders. Foreign missionaries have not been allowed into this country for over 50 years. But now we felt we should seek permission to serve missionaries there. We also asked for permission to give worthy elders from the GDR the opportunity to serve the Lord anywhere in the world.
This important meeting took place on October 28, 1988, a gray, dreary day. We met with Erich Honecker, the chairman of the GDR State Council, and his staff. He started with a long speech about the achievements of socialism. (We could just sit and listen.)
Countless cameras were then turned on President Monson and asked to speak. Bold but also friendly, he explained to what extent and why our missionaries would be of use to the GDR.
After President Monson presented his request, everyone was very excited to see what Erich Honecker would say about it. I will never forget his answer: “President Monson, we know you. We have watched you for many years. We trust you. Your request regarding the missionaries is granted. "
When we stepped out after the meeting, the cloud cover tore open briefly and the sun shone down on us. It seemed like Heaven was about to give us its approval for what had just happened.
At this point, President Monson's earthly life has ended, and we believe that the blessings the Lord imparted to his prophet Nephi also apply to our beloved, departed prophet:
“Blessed are you [President Thomas S. Monson] for what you have done; for I have seen how you tirelessly preached to this people the word that I gave you. And you did not fear them and were not concerned about your own life, but were concerned about my will and that you keep my commandments.
And now, because you have done this so tirelessly, behold, I will bless you [and your family] forever. "3
I solemnly declare that President Thomas S. Monson was a prophet of God. He taught as a prophet and testified as a prophet. He had the courage of a prophet and the kindness of a prophet. He received revelation as a prophet and acted as a prophet. He lived like a prophet and died like a prophet. With his life he sealed his testimony that God lives, that Jesus is the Messiah, that the Lord's church has been restored to earth, and that this sacred work is true. To the testimony he gave so many times at this lectern, I humbly add mine. In the holy name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
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