by Jenniffer WARDELL
SALT LAKE CITY—It’s a chance to say goodbye to a beloved prophet.
Funeral services for President Thomas S. Monson will be held on Friday, Jan. 12 at noon in the Conference Center at Temple Square in Salt Lake. Though the funeral is restricted to those ages 8 and older, a viewing will be held on Thursday, Jan. 11 from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Conference Center.
Since news of the prophet’s passing on Jan. 2 spread, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have felt a complicated mix of emotions.
“(When I heard that the prophet had passed away,) my heart leapt with joy that he was going to be reunited with his sweetheart and would no longer have to suffer,” said Bountiful resident Leon B. Nelson, bishop of the Bountiful 22 Ward. “But I was also saddened, because he was such an example of service and love to all of us.”
Thomas S. Monson, who was born in Salt Lake City in 1927, served as a counselor in the First Presidency for 22 years and as Prophet for nearly 10 years. He was called as an Apostle in 1963 at the age of 36, the youngest Apostle called since 1910.
Currently, the Quorum of the Twelve leads the church. The quorum has yet to meet to officially determine who the next prophet will be. During that process, the current First Presidency is dissolved and the two surviving members return to the Quorum. Through prayer and unanimous decision-making, a new prophet is chosen. The new prophet then chooses his new first and second counselors.
“The process is established,” said Nelson. “We don’t have to go through smoke and mirrors to know who our leader is going to be.”
In the organizational pattern of the church, Quorum of the Twelve president Russell M. Nelson is the longest-serving member and therefore next in line. If he is chosen, Nelson (who isn’t related to the apostle) is prepared to welcome him in the role with open arms.
“I’m totally looking forward to the leadership President Nelson will provide as he takes on the mantle,” he said. “I totally support him in that mighty role. He’ll be an awesome, awesome prophet.”
Those who attend the funeral services at the Conference Center (which seats 21,000 people) must be in their seats no later than 11:30 a.m. Seating is open and on a first-come, first-served basis. Overflow seating with large-screen viewing of the proceedings will be offered in the adjacent Tabernacle, Assembly Hall and Conference Center Theater. The funeral services will be broadcast live via MormonNewsroom.org, LDS.org, KSL TV, BYUtv and more. In addition, audio broadcasts will air on KSL Radio and BYU Radio.
Expressions of sympathy can be posted on the President Monson Facebook page or emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the Humanitarian Aid Fund or the Church’s General Missionary Fund at give.lds.org/monson.