The following is an excerpt from Jeffrey R. Holland’s October 2006 General Conference address, “Prophets in the Land Again.” I was present in the Conference Center that afternoon and count the feeling felt in that room during Elder Holland’s comments, President Hinckley’s short remarks following, and the singing of “We Thank Thee, Oh God, For a Prophet” immediately after his words among the most spiritual experiences of my life. I wept that afternoon, and I wept tonight upon hearing of President Hinckley’s death. I felt this excerpt from Elder Holland’s address a fitting tribute to the prophet of my adolescence and early adulthood.
We are coming to the close of another marvelous general conference. We have been blessed to hear messages from our leaders, including and especially President Gordon B. Hinckley, the man we sustain as God’s oracle on earth, our living prophet, seer, and revelator. As prophets have done in dispensations from Adam down to the present day, President Hinckley has figuratively gathered us in a kind of global equivalent of the valley of Adam-ondi-Ahman, has loved us and taught us and bestowed upon us his blessing. . . .
To all of you who think you are lost or without hope, or who think you have done too much that was too wrong for too long, to every one of you who worry that you are stranded somewhere on the wintry plains of life and have wrecked your handcart in the process, this conference calls out Jehovah’s unrelenting refrain, “[My] hand is stretched out still.” “I shall lengthen out mine arm unto them,” He said, “[and even if they] deny me; nevertheless, I will be merciful unto them, … if they will repent and come unto me; for mine arm is lengthened out all the day long, saith the Lord God of Hosts.” His mercy endureth forever, and His hand is stretched out still. His is the pure love of Christ, the charity that never faileth, that compassion which endures even when all other strength disappears.
I testify of this reaching, rescuing, merciful Jesus, that this is His redeeming Church based on His redeeming love, and that, as those in the Book of Mormon declared, “there came prophets among the people, who were sent from the Lord [to speak it]. … [Yea,] there came prophets in the land again.” I testify that President Gordon B. Hinckley is in every way, from head to toe, such a prophet, one whose life and voice we cherish and for whom we have prayed so much. He will now conclude this semiannual gathering. For such a blessing—and all these blessings and so many more— I give personal thanks at general conference time, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.