Thursday, February 28, 2008
The Man in the Hat is back! Is anyone else as excited about the new Indiana Jones movie as I am? I doubt it. Indiana Jones is the greatest movie hero of all time (I know, the American Film Institute says that it is Atticus Finch, from To Kill a Mocking Bird, but that’s just being socially responsible...I may be persuaded to put Atticus in the number two spot though). My favorite movie of all time is Raiders of the Lost Ark. I remember the first time I saw it - December 9, 1981, it was my best friend’s ninth birthday. What I knew about movies at that point essentially involved lightsabers, death stars, droids and wookies, and that was all perfectly fine. But, there I sat, in the darkened Villa Theater -- an old time movie palace, with a gigantic screen. The lights went down, the curtain came up. The Paramount logo faded to the silhouette of a South American Mountain. Five minutes later, as one of Indy’s guides pulled a gun on him, out flashed the bullwhip...A BULLWHIP! My life was never the same. There was all of the normal, cool things about Indiana Jones -- the aforementioned whip, the hat, the theme song, the nazi butt-kicking...but something else happened too. Raiders of the Lost Ark sparked in me a fascination with ancient Egypt, which in turn led to a fascination with all ancient civilizations, and eventually a love of all history.
So now, 19 years after we last saw Indiana Jones, he comes crashing back into our lives, and I, for one can’t hardly sit still anymore. It’s like I’m nine years old again!
Monday, February 25, 2008
Thursday, February 14, 2008
Tuesday, February 5, 2008
I only met him once. I was a missionary in Indiana, and we we're having a regional conference. Gordon B. Hinckley, then first counselor in the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, along with Elder Russell M. Nelson - a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, were in town to address the conference. Before the meeting, they met and taught the missionaries in a special meeting. Afterward, we had the privilege of shaking their hands. There were probably 150 missionaries there, but President Hinckley (and I'm sure, Elder Nelson - though I don't recall) took the time to address each missionary by name as he shook our hands. What stands out to me was the fact that he got my last name correct. Most people don't the first time they see it. My name is Thornblad, but most people pronounce it Thornbald. It's just a little thing, but it lingers in my memory. Of course this doesn't make him any more or less a prophet, but it is a sweet memory for me. How often do you get the chance to shake hands with a prophet of God?
On January 27, 2008 the world lost a great man. A great leader, a great teacher. Gordon B. Hinckley made the world a better place. He made us better. He asked us to stand a little taller. Be a little kinder. Try a little harder. He was a rock upon which God could build a church and a people. President Hinckley was firm and immovable in his faith. He stood, unapologetically, for the beliefs he held. He declared to the world that Jesus Christ is the Redeemer of the world. I always loved his interaction with the youth. I think he had a deep love for the youth of the world (and I do mean the world, not just the church -- President Hinckley was truly Christlike, his love was unconditional). I never heard him utter a negative word towards the youth. I've appreciated that even as I've grown older.
He has been in the forefront of leadership in the Church for as long as I can remember. He has always been my favorite speaker to listen to. I loved his gentle admonitions...be a better neighbor, be a better citizen. I'm so thankful to have benefitted from his teachings for so much of my life to this point. He did so much to move the Church forward, not only as President, but in his seven decades of service in all areas of the Gospel. I would rank him (I probably shouldn't do that) right below Joseph Smith, and right on par with Brigham Young in terms of his work and influence on the Church and the world in general.
The Church today is in good hands. The work will roll forward. The work of President Hinckley will be expanded upon, and reap benefits eternally. But I will miss this great man. God be with you, President Hinckely, till we meet again.