Monday, January 28, 2008

Where Were You When Gordon B. Hinckley Died?

[Local Culture] The phone rang last night just after dinner finished around 8 p.m. I was at a friend's house in Midvale. They're devout Mormon. The father, who'd just made his own pasta, is a longstanding member of his ward's Bishopric.

After he answered the phone, he said, "You're kidding." He hung up.

"President Hinckley's dead."

His wife's jaw dropped.

I was looking at Jessica, their 17-year-old daughter, who had her back to me.

She's about to attend BYU as an English major. I'd tutored her a few years ago in writing and was waiting for her to read some of her poems aloud. As a lapsed-Protestant, new to this country, Jessica was my introduction to Mormon folk. I've long admired her passion for a religion I confess I don't understand. What I have come to understand though is, as Harold Bloom said, the LDS faith is uniquely American.

As I watched her back and over her shoulder saw her mother's expression as she stared at her daughter's face, I could feel all of Jessica's pain radiating from her. Her sense of loss was palpable. Her back didn't move, nor her head. She was so rigid it made me ache to watch her. Finally, I turned away.

Where were you when you heard the news? How did you react? Or did it even register? (Stephen Dark)

1 comment:

  1. As soon as I heard the news I immediately sacrificed three small animals (squirrels) to appease the gods. I just hope I did enough!


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