LDS Church members remember Pres. Thomas S. Monson
RICHLAND, Wash. -- The President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has died, and thousands of Mormons in our community are remembering and mourning him today.
For millions of LDS people worldwide, President Thomas S. Monson was a leader and fixture in the Church for decades.
“Dear Jessica,” Kimberly Heath reads. “Thank you for the delightful birthday card and the lovely photo.”
Not every four-year-old gets a letter from a prophet.
“I think it's even more special now, I’m really glad that she kept them,” Heath said of her daughter, Jessica.
More than 20 years ago, Jessica Heath sent a birthday card to Thomas S. Monson when she found out they shared the same birthday.
“The surprising thing was that a couple of weeks later, she got a response in the mail,” Heath said.
They received a letter written and signed by Monson who was an LDS Apostle at the time.
“She sent a graduation announcement when she graduated from Richland High School,” Heath said. “When she got married, she sent him a wedding invitation.”
And through the years, the Heath family always got a letter back from Monson.
“To take the time to answer a child, that just touches my heart as a mom,” Heath said. “But it touched her life too.”
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced late Tuesday night Monson died at 90 years old.
“This is a significant event; he has been serving as the leader of our Church for the last ten years,” said David Stapleton, Area Seventy of the Church.
Monson was called to be one of the youngest apostles at age 36, now LDS people remember the long legacy he left.
“President Monson was focused on not just bettering our faith but all faiths--helping all of us to be just a little bit kinder,” Stapleton said.
“He was a big light in this world,” Heath said. “And now that he's passed, the light hasn't gone out, it's just spread more.”
LDS church members said his impact was not only large enough to reach the world, but small enough to reach just one.
“We wish you all the best in all your future plans,” Heath reads an old letter from the prophet. “Your brother, Thomas S. Monson.”
Who will take Monson's place as president of the LDS Church is no surprise--the longest-tenured member of the Church's Quorum of the Twelve Apostles is the next in line--per Church protocol. It's expected to be Russell M. Nelson, but will be officially announced after Monson's funeral.