Although I knew the day was approaching, it still hit me hard when I found out last night that Elder Wirthlin had passed away. I truly looked up to this man. Of all the talks at the General Conferences of the Church, his are among the ones I remember the best; they always touched on the simple, honest truths of the gospel, focusing much on love and service.
I don’t think everyone saw him as a natural born speaker; he didn’t take the stand to entertain the audience with elegant rhetorics and the waving of arms. His words were always simple and his presence humble. For me it was never about how he said it – it was what he said that made such a profound difference in my life.
His last talk given at the latest General Conference is a perfect representation of what he stood for in life, and what he believed in. It is a great teaching on how to deal with adversities in life (among other things with humor). Click to read Come What May, and Love It. Or you can see the broadcast below in two parts.
I have never met Elder Wirthlin, but on my mission 1988 I served for three months in Salt Lake City, and there I happened to knock on the door to his house. His wife Elisa opened and let me and my companion in. She was the most darling person. She invited us in to their kitchen where she gave us some cookies and lemonade. We had a great little chat with her. Sadly she passed away two years ago, but I can just imagine what a joyful reunion it must have been when she met her Joseph again.