One of the clearest signals of being one of the Mormon people is our unique experience of the passing of the head of our church. At least for me, this is not the experience of the death of a family member—though similarly poignant. Nor is it the experience of the death of a political leader—though it feels similarly, collectively momentous. Significantly, as the Deseret News pointed out, this particular passage marks another point of change in the history of the church, with another remove now in place between us and the founding of the Restoration: “He was the final prophet to have served in the Twelve with church leaders who had known men who knew the first, Joseph Smith.”
I love that his final General Conference talk focused on studying (not merely reading) the Book of Mormon. My posts on Nephi are in part inspired by similar prophetic calls for us to take our scripture seriously. And I appreciate the attention that this has received. I am even more moved, however, by the other talk he gave last April, succinctly exhorting us to kindness, charity, and love:
Let us examine our lives and determine to follow the Savior’s example by being kind, loving, and charitable. And as we do so, we will be in a better position to call down the powers of heaven for ourselves, for our families, and for our fellow travelers in this sometimes difficult journey back to our heavenly home.
Calling down the powers of heaven in this manner is surely what we are about as God’s covenant people.
With you, I mourn his passing, while expressing gratitude for the system of transmission set up by the prophet Joseph Smith that allows the keys of this dispensation to continue in the quorum that Thomas S. Monson has now departed. May we as a people continue the work for which those keys were originally bestowed and stand ready to return them when our Lord comes again.
Please share any moments or words from his life that you keep with you.
The following is a list of major news sources covering his passing. I also encourage you to list any additionally worthwhile coverage below.