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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Mormon students lament president’s death

    UA students mourned the death of Mormon president Gordon B. Hinckley yesterday, not with flowing tears and makeshift memorials, but serenity and comfort in the late leader’s accomplishments.

    “”It was sad, for me, because I’ll miss him, but it’s good for him, because he’s in a better place, with his family,”” said Jamie Patel, an aerospace engineering freshman.

    Hinckley died Sunday at 97. He served as president for nearly 13 years, traveling more than any Mormon leader for humanitarian pursuits and to expand the church’s membership in the United States and abroad, according to The Associated Press.

    The Mormon president, who serves a lifetime term, is considered a messenger on Earth who receives the word of God and disseminates it to followers.

    “”He was a wonderful prophet,”” said Sarah Kim, a statistics senior.

    Hinckley suffered from diabetes and had a cancerous growth removed from his large intestine in January 2006, according to The AP. His last public appearance was Jan. 4.

    Students gathered in armchairs yesterday in the lobby of the Tucson Institute of Religion, 1333 E. Second St., a satellite of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, called Hinckley’s death tragic but not altogether unexpected due to his advanced age.

    “”He seemed kind of shady the last time he talked,”” said Ashley Esser, a physiology sophomore.

    The UA has approximately 500 Mormon students, said Norm Gardner, director of the Tucson Institute of Religion.

    Those he encountered since Sunday “”have felt sad but respond gratefully for 12 years of knowing”” Hinckley.

    Mormons are relatively at peace with the leader’s passing in part because of the church’s efficient succession process, Gardner said.

    In the event of a president’s death, the Council of the Twelve Apostles ordains the most senior apostle, according to The AP, and Gardner said this criterion results in a lack of drama and mystery.

    “”There isn’t any of the speculation that might go along with a change of leadership in another organization,”” he said.

    Thomas S. Monson, 80, would appear to be Hinckley’s successor, although a decision isn’t expected for a few days, according to The AP.

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