Friday, February 10, 2017

President Howard W. Hunter on expressing appreciation before it's too late

President Howard W. Hunter (1907-1995) was called to the Quorum of Twelve in 1959.  He served as Church President for only nine months, from June 5, 1994 to his death on March 3, 1995.
"We should never delay expressing appreciation. Some time ago I had a lesson of gratitude taught to me. I was in the mission home in San Francisco when the mission president received a telephone call and said, 'I must cross the bay and take a message to an elder that his father has just passed away.' I went with him. We crossed over the Bay Bridge, up to Berkeley, and stopped at an apartment building. A fine-looking elder came to the door. He was excited to see his mission president and said, 'Oh, president, come in; we want to tell you what happened this morning.' The president said, 'Elder, sit down with us for a moment; we have a sad message to deliver to you.'
"I will never forget that occasion as the young man's head fell into his arms and he commenced to sob. After we had comforted him he said, 'My father was the greatest man I have ever known. I have never told him that. I don't believe I realized it in my years of growing up, but since I have come into the mission field a maturity has come to me to make me appreciate my father and my mother. I decided last week I was going to sit down and write my father a letter and tell him how much I loved him and how much he has meant to me, but now it is too late.' He commenced to sob again.
"My heart went out to that young man, but I thought how typical that is of many of us. The letter we intended to write, the word of appreciation we intended to express, the prayers we intended to offer when we had more time to express to the Lord our appreciation for his goodness. We are grateful for all of these things that are done for us, of course, but in our busy life we don't always express appreciation for what others do for us."
- Howard W. Hunter, New Zealand Area Conference, Wellington, New Zealand, 11/27/79; see THWH, p. 94

This was a touching and poignant message from President Hunter. Someone waited too long to share feelings that should have been expressed. Book of Mormon prophets talked several times about "procrastinat[ing] the day of your repentance" (Alma 13:27) but we don't usually think about procrastinating the day of gratitude "until it is everlastingly too late" (Helaman 13:38).

What a wonderful reminder. We should be looking for every opportunity to express that gratitude to those we love, those who have helped and blessed us, set examples, made sacrifices, inspired, lifted, encouraged. Surely there are almost countless people that fall in those categories for all of us!


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  2. Hi cousin David. Found this cause someone had it on their facebook. Cool to see you here doing good work.


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