A couple weeks ago, I met the prophet of our church, Thomas S. Monson. It was such an incredible experience, so tender and dear to me. I knew I was going to see him and a few other apostles at the Century of Honor Celebration to commemorate 100 years of scouting in the LDS Church, but I didn't know I would actually shake his hand and talk with him.
We arrived 2 hours early to snatch up some good seats. We were the first ones to be there in our section, section 2. We were on the 6th row, rows 1-5 were being reserved. I was thrilled! After a few short moments, the security guard and ushers said they were opening up rows 2-5 and we had first dibs. We quickly changed our seats to the second row. How exciting!
About 10 minutes before the show was to start, 9 of the 12 apostles started to walk in. We were sitting in Section 2, second row, the seats are in the front and close to the door that the apostles and prophet walk through. We were so close to them. The front row was reserved for ushers and security, so really there wasn't anyone in our way of seeing anyone walking in.
All of the security guards stood up and faced the audience, that was a sure sign that the prophet would be walking in soon. And there he was! Just watching him walk in was so moving. It was touching to see his bodyguard helping him walk down the aisle. There were thousands and thousands of people in attendance, but you could hear a penny drop to the floor because of how quiet it was. It was that reverent.
He started walking in front of the audience and was waving to people. The prophet noticed Tyler standing next to me, looked him in the eye and said "Now there's a future missionary." He was in the middle of continuing to step forward when he changed his position and walked directly towards us. The prophet then said, "watch this!" He wiggled both of his ears and all the people around us laughed. The prophet held out his hand and shook Tyler's with authority and love. They spoke for just a few more short moments about scouting, and he was on his way. He continued to wave to people and sat down.
What an amazing experience that Tyler and I shared. He will (hopefully) remember it always. I can imagine Tyler on his mission talking with the youth telling them that he met the prophet Thomas S. Monson and the prophet told him he'd be a missionary. Such a tender and simple act of kindness the prophet showed to us that evening.
At the end of the celebration, Thomas S. Monson received an award and was asked to come to the pulpit and say a few words. Again, his bodyguard gently helped him. The prophet looked frail. He looked old. He looked just like someone's cute grandpa. Then he spoke. Each word was strong and precise. He spoke with love and firmness. It was powerful to witness. He even cracked a couple of jokes. He has always been such a kidder.
After the hour long scouting program (which, by the way, was absolutely amazing!) the Apostles started walking out and we were all able to shake their hands. It was amazing. It was reassuring. I was truly humbled by their compassion and love.
As Thomas S. Monson started walking towards his exit, he continued to wave and shake everyone's hand in the 2nd row. As he walked closer to us he said, "There's my missionary", pointing to Tyler. I told him I have 7 boys. 7 future scouts. 7 future missionaries. He looked back at me with astonishment and said something on the lines of "Wow, no girls?" I placed my hand on his shoulder and asked him, "I don't know, you tell me. Are there any girls waiting to come down to my family?" Everyone around us laughed, and he threw his arms in the air and said, "I do not know that information!" Again, we were laughing. The prophet continued to walk down our aisle shaking hands with Tyler, my mom, Bill and our cousin Trey.
That evening will always be remembered deep in my heart. I am truly thankful for the opportunity to live so close to events that the Prophet and his Apostles will attend. It was such a memorable and wonderful experience!!!