Speakers highlight President Monson’s focus on the individual during funeral service

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Flowers filled the rostrum for the funeral of President Thomas S. Monson on Friday, January 12, 2018.
(Photo courtesy of LDS Church)

Thousands attended the funeral services for President Thomas S. Monson at the Conference Center on Temple Square in Salt Lake City Friday afternoon.

During the funeral service for the 16th prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the four speakers reiterated President Monson’s continued desire to serve the individual.

“Caring for others happened often in the ministry of President Monson,” said President Henry B. Eyring, who served as first counselor in the First Presidency under President Monson. “The love of God, and love for God’s children, permeated his life. That love began early and endured with him to the end.”

President Monson, who died on Jan. 2 from causes incident with age, was called to serve as the prophet of the Church on Feb. 3, 2008, following the death of President Gordon B. Hinckley. Prior to serving at the prophet, President Monson was called as an apostle in 1963 at the age of 36.

President Nelson, president of the LDS Church’s Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, shared statistics from President Monson’s time as an apostle and prophet, which included a missionary force that grew from 5,700 to nearly 70,000 and the number of temples increasing from 12 to 159.

“We are all better because of him. And the Church is better because of him,” said President Nelson, who has known President Monson for more than 50 years. “He leaves a legacy of growth. Since his ordination as an Apostle in 1963, Church membership has risen from 2.1 million to nearly 16 million.”

President Nelson said about President Monson’s willingness to serve was instinctive.

“President Monson never sought the limelight,” President Nelson said. “In a world now saturated with ‘selfies,’ he modeled selflessness. … He gave his own time to visit, bless, and love others. Even in his waning season, he continued to minister, making frequent visits to hospitals and senior centers.”

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, President Monson’s second counselor, shared examples of President Monson’s service. He talked about meeting President Monson in Germany and how President Monson brought love and hope with him in his service.

“Thomas S. Monson was a man for all seasons, truly a spiritual giant,” said President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, President Monson’s second counselor. “President Monson was truly a prophet for our time.”

“He abounded in knowledge, faith, love, vision, testimony, courage, and compassion — leading and serving never from a pedestal, but always eye to eye. He had a special place in his heart for the poor and the needy,” he said.

Ann M. Dibb, President Monson’s daughter, spoke on the family’s behalf. After her mother died in May 2013, Dibb served as her father’s companion, helping him in his duties and serving alongside him in his old age. Dibb shared that she often had the privilege of accompanying her father on his visits to the needy.

“I am profoundly grateful for my father and the legacy he created — a legacy of love and service,” Dibb said. “Although he was a prophet, my father knew he was not perfect. With all his heart, he humbly relied on and tried to be like our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.”

When her father was unable to attend to the individual needs of others, Dibb said he would seek out other helpers to go in his stead. As a code phrase, President Monson would ask, “How would you like to paint a bright spot on your soul today?” when requesting a service favor from another.

“We do not need to be the President of the Church to notice another’s need and ‘paint a bright spot on our souls,’” Dibb said. “By following the promptings of the Spirit, our simple acts of service can also be answers to prayers, and we can carry on this legacy by serving others.”

President Monson is survived by his daughter, Ann M. Dibb, and sons, Clark S. Monson and Thomas L. Monson, as well as eight grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren. His son Clark offered a family prayer prior to the service.

Following the funeral service, a private burial service was held at Salt Lake City Cemetery, where President Monson’s son Thomas offered a prayer.

Watch the funeral service below.

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Rebecca Lane

While her first language is sarcasm, Rebecca dabbles in English and Russian to achieve her lifelong dream of being a journalist. A BYU sports fan, reading enthusiast and wannabe world traveler, Rebecca is a Colorado transplant that is convinced Colorado's mountains are much larger than the many Utah County peaks. Rebecca manages UtahValley360.com for Bennett Communications. Follow her on Twitter @rebeccalane.

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