Sunday, February 17, 2008

Michael, Heber, and Hyrum

Faithful Servants to the End

Hyrum Smith never left Joseph. Heber C. Kimball always stood by Brigham Young. When many of Joseph's and Brigham's closest associates and leaders of the Church turned against them during some of the darkest hours in early Church history, Hyrum and Heber never wavered in their support of these two great prophets.

I believe they are type. Where Joseph had Hyrum and Brigham had Heber, I believe that Jesus had Michael. More importantly, I believe they are an example we can follow.

Few of us are called like Joseph and Brigham to lead. All of us, however, have the opportunity to support and sustain our leaders. Hyrum and Heber are shining examples of faithful support. Elder M. Russell Ballard described Hyrum Smith as “one of the firm pillars of the Restoration.” He spoke of this aspect of Hyrum's character:
After his older brother Alvin’s death in 1823, Hyrum bore significant responsibility in the Smith family. At the same time, he assisted and served his brother, Joseph the Prophet, throughout the long and arduous process of the Restoration. Ultimately, he joined Joseph and other martyrs of past gospel dispensations. His blood was shed as his final testimony to the world.

Through it all, Hyrum stood firm. He knew the course his life would take, and he consciously chose to follow it. To Joseph, Hyrum became companion, protector, provider, confidant, and eventually joined him as a martyr. Unjust persecution engulfed them throughout their lives. Although he was older, Hyrum recognized his brother’s divine mantle. While he gave Joseph strong counsel on occasion, Hyrum always deferred to his younger brother. (M. Russell Ballard, “Hyrum Smith: ‘Firm As the Pillars of Heaven’,” Ensign, Nov 1995, 6)
Heber was no less faithful in his support to Brigham. Following Heber's death, Elder George A. Smith said the following:
As we follow him to his last resting place, we must recollect that those men who stood side by side Joseph Smith the Prophet, who bore with him his burdens, and shared his troubles; who stood shoulder to shoulder with President Young while he faced the storm of apostacy, mob power and organized priestcraft, are rapidly passing away. Brother Kimball was foremost among them. (Journal of Discourses, Volume 12, The Death of President Heber C. Kimball)
Also speaking of Heber after the death, Elder George Q. Cannon said this:
It is now twenty-four years lacking three days, since Joseph and Hyrum were taken away from us. Twenty-four years so fruitful in labor, so abundant in toil, so rich in experience! During that period bro. Heber has never wavered, never trembled. It may be said of him with as much truthfulness to-day, as was said by bro. Brigham on one occasion in Nauvoo, "his knees never trembled, his hands never shook." He has been faithful to God; he has been true to his brethren; he has kept his covenants. (Journal of Discourses, Volume 12, The Death of President Heber C. Kimball)
While thinking of these great men and their faithful service to their leaders, it came to mind that Michael, or Adam, had also been an example of eternal support to the Great Leader, Jesus Christ. It was Michael who lead the forces of good against Lucifer in the war in Heaven:
“And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, and prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.” (Revelation 12:7-8)
Michael may have also been the angel who came to support our Savior during his suffering in Gethsemane. Elder Bruce R. McConkie said, “We know that an angel came from the courts of glory to strengthen him in his ordeal, and we suppose it was mighty Michael, who foremost fell that mortal man might be” (Bruce R. McConkie, “The Purifying Power of Gethsemane,” Ensign, May 1985, 9).

Elder Mark E. Peterson spoke further of Michael's role and position relative to Jesus Christ: “The Prophet Joseph Smith clearly identifies both Adam and Michael as one and the same person, an angel, the chief angel, or archangel, of heaven, the special servant of God and Christ” (Mark E. Petersen, “Adam, the Archangel,” Ensign, Nov 1980, 16).

May we follow the example of these great and just men—Michael, Heber, and Hyrum—in faithfully serving our sustained leaders to the end.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Photos of President Hinckley's Final Public Appearance

What was probably President Gordon B. Hinckley's final public appearance took place on January 20, 2008 when he presided over the rededication of the Garden Park Ward in Salt Lake City, Utah. Photos of President Hinckley at this meeting have been racing around the Internet. Deseret Book posted them on their website:

In honor of our beloved prophet, I created a video with these photos and set it to the beautiful hymn, God Be With You Till We Meet Again.