As we prepare to bury our dear prophet, I was blessed last night to attend a fireside given by his biographer, Sheri Dew. This was a two-stake event, which had been planned several months ago. A funny thing happened at the beginning — the person who was conducting the meeting announced a musical number given by Bishop Cope of the such-and-such ward (in the other stake), and Bishop Cope turned out to be Kenneth Cope! When I was 12 or so, I thought that guy was a rock star! Turns out he doesn’t live too far from me.
Anyway, because I haven’t written anything about President Hinckley’s death, I wanted to share a few memorable things from Sister Dew’s remarks. It’s one thing to know a prophet by his wonderful way of speaking to us, by reading the things that he has written, and seeing the great work he has done in the Church. It’s quite another to really know him, as Sheri Dew did. When you work with a person closely, you see all of them. So when she looked at us (and I was sitting right near the front with a friend who came an hour early to save a spot) and testified that President Gordon B. Hinckley was a prophet of God, it was a powerful moment.
Sister Dew also commented on the differences between our way of choosing the next prophet, and the way our country’s president is chosen — aren’t we glad not to have all of that rancor? Much as we adored President Hinckley, I don’t think many believers have any fear about what will happen next.
Most of Sister Dew’s remarks focused on how powerful we are as women (this was an audience of women). I find it very touching that a woman who has not married, nor had children, would tell me how very important the work I do as a wife and mother is. She reminded us that examples of women doing God’s work will not be found in the news media, or in entertainment. As followers of Christ, we should feel joy! We should not focus on perfection, but can try to purify ourselves in order to draw near to Him.
I feel a renewed desire this morning to do better and be better. As I listened to her remarks last night, I was reminded again of how many distractions (including the internet) throw me off course on a daily basis. I want to stay on course.
As I drove to the fireside last night, I wondered if these Utah women realized how lucky they are to be in the presence of someone like Sheri Dew — people in Ohio or Georgia would (and do) drive two or three hours to hear her. Rest assured, the place was packed and there was no parking to be found. And it was well worth it for everyone in attendance.