Saturday, December 6, 2008

In Memory of Joseph B. Wirthlin

Each life that touches ours for good
Reflects thine own great mercy, Lord;
Thou sendest blessings from above
Thru words and deeds of those who love.

In my freshman year of college, my religion professor encouraged each of his students to find out which scriptural prophet or latter-day apostle spoke most clearly to us. Just as Nephi loved the words of Isaiah and delighted in the gospel through those teachings, my professor invited all of us to better love the words of God through one of His most personally potent mouthpieces.

I knew immediately who it was for me. Although I appreciated the writings of every ancient authority and the teachings of every modern mouthpeice, it was the words of Joseph B. Wirthlin that sunk deep into my heart and propelled me toward repentance.

I first appreciated his orderly mind. Elder Wirthlin gave step-by-step instructions for salvation, as in his general conference address, "Three Choices". He made the gospel seem manage-able and in this way was able to encourage me to be better without overwhelming me with my unending list of faults.

Although it was the structure of his teachings that first caught my attention, I was later impressed by the simplicity of Elder Wirthlin's message. In his most recent remarks ("Come What May, and Love It"), he said, "The simple secret is this: put your trust in the Lord and do your best. Then leave the rest to Him."

His unshakable testimony became a light in my life. I was particularly impressed by his October 2006 talk entitled "Sunday Will Come". It was given in the year of his wife's passing and focused on Elder Wirthlin's mighty testimony of the resurrection. As it was also given during the first few months of my marriage, that example of love and hope became the bedrock of my testimony of eternal families.

This week Elder Wirthlin died. He lived and served for 91 years. His wisdom and compassion enabled him to touch many souls. His teachings have been a tender mercy in my life.


Jennie Yri said...

It is so fun to share your love of this great man. Ever since you talked to me about liking him, I have always looked forward to listening to his talks.

Clint said...

Elder Wirthlin's "Concern For the One" talk was one of the most powerful for me personally in recent memory.

He will be missed.

Paula said...

I love the hymn you quoted at the top of this post. Elder Wirthlin stands out in my mind for his great compassion.
I wanted to let you know I am finally getting the Quest for Simplicity meme started. If you would loke to participate please stop by my blog. And if you have any ideas on how to make it better feedback would be very welcome.