Sister Hinckley called 'exemplary woman'

Students at BYU gave Sister Marjorie P. Hinckley, wife of President Gordon B. Hinckley, the Exemplary Womanhood Award Feb. 28, calling her a "special individual whose life has exemplified the teachings of Jesus Christ."

The award, which is presented every other year, is the highest honor given by the BYU student body.Sister Hinckley told the Church News that the honor fills her "with a great deal of gratitude and humility" and a feeling that she "must try to be better and do better."

Along with the award - a crystal bowl - the BYU student body also presented Sister Hinckley with a $500 check to be donated to a charity of her choice. She selected the General Church Missionary Fund.

"If this gospel is anything at all, it is a gospel of love and I am grateful for it," Sister Hinckley said at a luncheon in her honor in the Wilkinson Center. She explained that the Church has made her what she is today.

"Anyone who has been active in the Church all their lives has been made by the Church," she told the Church News. "I am what I am because of my activity in the Church."

President Hinckley, who briefly attended the luncheon before going to other commitments, said he does not know of anybody "who could stand as a better example to the young women of this Church."

"You made a good choice," he told members of the BYU Student Association. "You couldn't have done better. I know because your choice was my choice 59 years ago."

The prophet said he has never found, in all his travels, someone who doesn't like his wife. "She speaks and she gets letters constantly telling her how much people enjoy what she had to say," he noted. "Then they add a little postscript at the bottom that says, `We also enjoyed your husband.' "

President Hinckley called his wife a leader. "She has been a great mother, a remarkable companion and a wonderful servant of the Lord. She has been active and done much in the Church and in the community." he said. "Thank you for honoring this, my delightful and wonderful companion of nearly 59 years."

Sister Hinckley told the Church News she believes it is important for women in the Church "to keep the faith" and "set an example of kindness and excellence."

BYU Provost Bruce Hafen, who spoke at the luncheon representing Pres. Merrill J. Bateman, said Sister Hinckley's entire life reflects the five aims of BYU: spiritually strengthening, intellectually enlarging, character building, life-long learning and serving.

"Today's world is increasingly confused about the nature and purpose of marriage, about the value of life-long commitments to spouses and children, and about the way women can best serve and give and grow," he said. "In these modern mists of darkness, your buoyant spirit and your fruitful life shine as a clear and steady beacon. By letting that light shine a little brighter today, we hope the students of BYU will understand better the kind of life their education is teaching them to live."

Sister Hinckley's granddaughter, Holly Hinckley, also addressed the luncheon. She called her grandmother a "quiet strength" to the Hinckley family. "She is always gentle, always loving, always kind."

The BYU student said her grandmother's "pragmatic and humorous" view of life has allowed her to be happy in any situation. "One of Grandma's mottos is: `Expect the worst, and if it doesn't happen you will be pleasantly surprised,' " she said.

BYUSA President Wesley McDougal said the students chose to give Sister Hinckley crystal because it is reflective of her life.

"She has filled her life with service, with love, with caring stewardship, and with being a woman of God," Brother McDougal said. "She is pure and clear. . . . We have all been touched by her light."

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