One year ago on Jan. 2, 2018, President Thomas Spencer Monson, 16th President of the Church, died peacefully in his home in Salt Lake City.
The prophet was 90 years old at his passing and had been called to serve in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles at age 36 — making a total of 54 years that he had served as a General Authority. Previously, he had also been called as bishop at age 22 to a ward of over 1,000 members.
His funeral service was held in the Conference Center on Temple Square on January 12, 2018, where President Russell M. Nelson, President Henry B. Eyring, then-President Dieter F. Uchtdorf and Sister Ann M. Dibb paid tribute to President Monson.
Concerning being sustained as President of the Church, President Monson told the Church News that, “I’ve always followed the philosophy, ‘Serve where you’re called, not where you’ve been or where you might be. Serve where you’re called.’”
President Monson also spoke of the honor that he felt in giving service to the Savior.
“There is nothing quite like being in the service of the Lord Jesus Christ, and all of us have that privilege,” he said. “I want to live the best I can and do the most for others as long as I can.”
Recognized in his funeral for the work he did for the Church in Europe, in 1975 President Monson offered the dedicatory prayer upon what was then known as the German Democratic Republic. He shared the sacred nature of that experience with the Church News, speaking about the literal opening of the heavens at that time.
“As I said the words, ‘May this be the dawning of a new day for the Church in this land,’ we heard a rooster crow in the valley below,’” he said. “A church bell began to chime. Then I felt warmth on my hands and face. After I finished the prayer, I opened my eyes and saw that the clouds had parted and a ray of sunshine was streaming down on the spot where we were standing. Before we could return to our automobile, the clouds had gathered and it began to rain again.”
Perhaps most known for his quiet moments of ministry, President Monson often took the time to do small acts of service, such as visiting the gravesite of a missionary, and caring for the sick and the lonely. In his free time, the prophet also enjoyed fishing and caring for birds.
At President Monson’s funeral, Sister Dibb spoke of her father’s great love for others and for his Savior, Jesus Christ.
“President Monson, by simply ‘trying his best,’ left an unforgettable legacy of love,” said Sister Dibb. “He loved the Lord and he loved people. He saw our potential and believed sincerely in our ability to change and progress through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.”
President Russell M. Nelson also spoke of President Monson’s lasting influence and his example of goodness.
“We are all better because of him," said President Nelson, then President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. "And the Church is better because of him.”