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Nine Moons » Blog Archive : “I Want You To Burn Out, Not Fade Away.” » “I Want You To Burn Out, Not Fade Away.”

“I Want You To Burn Out, Not Fade Away.”

Rusty - January 28, 2008

Last night when I found out about the passing of President Hinckley my response was more emotional than I had anticipated. My wife and I sat on our couch tearfully discussing our experiences and feelings for our sweet prophet. I told my wife that he was my prophet. I gained my testimony before he was sustained, but it was during his term that I solidified it.

I, like Seth, have little to add that our community hasn’t already so I will share a sweet anecdote: Years back Elder Ballard came to Spokane and before speaking at a multi-stake conference he met with the priesthood leadership in which he shared an experience he had with President Hinckley. Elder Ballard had recently undergone some sort of operation after which he sat down with President Hinckley regarding his upcoming schedule. In order to fully recover from the operation Elder Ballard proceeded to suggest a cut-back in his responsibilities from three conferences a month to one, and five missionary meetings to two (or something like that, I don’t remember the exact cut-backs he recommended). At one point President Hinckley cut him off and said, “Stop, Elder Ballard. I want you to burn out, not fade away.”

That perfectly summarizes President Hinckley’s devotion to this work, a dedication which has always inspired me. Like King Benjamin before him, our dear prophet lived his own counsel to the very end and will be missed. Thank you Gordon B. Hinckley.

11 Comments »

  1. Years ago I saw President Hinckley speak at a regional conference. It was held in Tacoma, I think at the Tacomadome. There were thousands of people there. I can still remember standing as he walked in and took his seat, and the amazing Spirit that filled the stadium. It was a very physical sensation. You could feel it. It made me cry.

    My husband, who was inactive at the time, said it was almost painful.

    My husband had mentioned to me a little bit earlier that he always hears people say things like “that speaker said exactly what I needed to hear” but he’d never had that happen to him. When the prophet spoke, he touched on the evils of smoking. I nudged my husband and said, “That was for you.”

    Comment by Susan M — January 28, 2008 @ 9:14 am

  2. Wow, this must be the first story I’ve heard where a prophet has directly quoted Neil Young. Cool. Maybe it’s because he was in Spokane and he knew that Kurt Cobain quoted the same line in his suicide note…

    Comment by gc — January 28, 2008 @ 10:00 am

  3. This probably isn’t appropriate, but I chuckled at the thought of President Hinckley listening to Def Leppard.

    President Hinckley was a great man, and arguably the most influential modern-day prophet. NPR ran a very nice story about him this morning, remarking that he brought Mormons into the mainstream. God bless him and his family.

    Comment by ECS — January 28, 2008 @ 10:02 am

  4. The quote I read about President Hinckley that got me was when he was first sustained the newsman asked him what he was going to do now that he was the prophet. He replied he would “carry on”. I find that so him. That’s what he has always done, but his carry on turned out to me huge. He didn’t carry on as usual, he carried on as only he could and look a the legacy he has left.

    Comment by Don — January 28, 2008 @ 3:26 pm

  5. I’m sorry to be clueless, but I don’t understand. It sounds like Pres. Hinckley is being mean-spirited and forcing Elder Ballard to run faster than he feels up to, or medical advice has recommended. What am I missing?

    Comment by Naismith — January 28, 2008 @ 7:17 pm

  6. “What am I missing?”

    The personal friendship and understanding between the two of them?

    Comment by JM — January 29, 2008 @ 5:57 am

  7. “What am I missing?”

    The fact that sometimes we are called to do more than we think we can by prophets and inspired leaders who sometimes see us in a greater light than we see ourselves.

    Comment by TMD — January 29, 2008 @ 11:23 am

  8. “What am I missing?”

    The fact that sometimes prophets and inspired leaders see us in a greater light than we see ourselves, and call us to act in accordance with that light?

    Comment by TMD — January 29, 2008 @ 11:25 am

  9. Like Rusty, I too just wanted to share a sweet anecdote regarding President Hinckley.

    While I have seen him in person on various occasions (a couple of times he wasn’t more than a few yards away), I never shook his hand. And yet I feel like he’s given me a hug countless times as I’ve listened to him speak!

    When I heard the news of President Hinckley’s death, a memory surfaced from my mission. It was several months after General Conference. In my area in Honduras we had no way of watching it, and we had not yet received the Liahona containing the texts of the talks.

    One tiring day on a bus ride back to our area, I was opening my mail and found a clipping from the Church News’ conference highlights. It was only a paragraph long, summarizing President Hinckley’s concluding remarks. He apparently got a little choked up, and then he went on to say how much he loved us, his fellow companions in this great work.

    Tears filled my eyes. I felt a warm embrace wrap around me that was bigger and stronger than human arms could offer. President Hinckley loved me, and he considered me a fellow companion in this work! One simple line in a newspaper article, written months before and mailed thousands of miles across the globe, reached out and touched the heart of an insignificant, struggling missionary in a way she never forgot.

    As we all know, that’s the kind of man President Hinckley was. He spent his life traveling the world and blessing the lives of countless people in very individual and meaningful ways. Certainly we are happy for his life well-lived and for the heavenly reunions he’s experiencing. But oh, how we will miss our dear and beloved prophet and president, our friend and “senior associate” in this work!

    Comment by Amy — January 31, 2008 @ 8:49 pm

  10. We were at a baptismal service and the presiding member of the SP announced Pres. Hinckley’s passing after the talk on the Holy Ghost.
    .
    My personal motto is similar to Pres. Hinckley’s “burnout” comment: “I’d rather become ashes than dust.”

    Comment by manaen — February 5, 2008 @ 4:50 pm

  11. [...] Rusty at Nine Moons shared this experience that characterizes his work ethic: “Years back Elder Ballard came to Spokane and before speaking at a multi-stake conference he met with the priesthood leadership in which he shared an experience he had with President Hinckley. Elder Ballard had recently undergone some sort of operation after which he sat down with President Hinckley regarding his upcoming schedule. In order to fully recover from the operation Elder Ballard proceeded to suggest a cut-back in his responsibilities from three conferences a month to one, and five missionary meetings to two (or something like that, I don’t remember the exact cut-backs he recommended). At one point President Hinckley cut him off and said, ‘Stop, Elder Ballard. I want you to burn out, not fade away.’ [...]

    Pingback by Gordon B. Hinckley « Miguel’s Plates — October 14, 2008 @ 5:16 am

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