Who more than self their country loved

by Mark Stoddard

When I was chairman of Americas Freedom Festival Grand Parade, I turned away more than 70 entries from self-serving people wanting free advertising. I tried to emphasize to them that the 4th of July is a celebration of the sacrifice our founding fathers made to give us the chance for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. They remind us of Americas promise that began with the sacrifice made by the signers of the Declaration of Independence.

Fifty-six Americans of the Continental Congress stepped forward to sign the final document written by 33 year old Thomas Jefferson. Standing tall, straight, and unwavering, they pledged: For the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of the Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other, our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor."

They deeply believed in what they signed. It was not a lark, or a fun jab at the establishment, because THEY were the establishment in their communities. Twentyfive were lawyers or jurists. Eleven were merchants. Nine were farmers or large plantation owners. One was a teacher, one a musician, and one a printer.

These were family men of means and education. When they signed the Declaration of Independence, they knew they had nothing financial to gain. In fact they knew that by signing such an inflammatory document, the British would brand them traitors and do everything to cut off the head of the revolution snake.

Knowing full well that the penalty for signing could be death if they were captured, they signed from conviction without compensation, with no thought of glory.

Their wives and family knew the risks too and proudly supported their husbands and fathers.

Soon the ledger of leadership began to be filled with notations from the price they paid. Five signers were captured by the British and brutally tortured as traitors. Nine fought in the War for Independence and died from wounds or from hardships they suffered. Two lost their sons in the Continental Army. Another two had sons captured.

At least a dozen of the fiftysix had their homes pillaged and burned.

In the face of the advancing British Army, the Continental Congress fled from Philadelphia to Baltimore on December 12, 1776. Its president, John Hancock, worried the flight would be a problem for his wife who had just given birth to a baby girl. Complications stemming from the escape to Baltimore cost the child her life. Hancock pressed on in the cause of liberty. He said his reason for signing the Declaration in such a large script? So King George III would not need glasses to read Hancocks signature. That signature assured Hancock of years of turmoil.

William Ellery signed at the risk of his fortune. In December 1776, during three days of British occupation of Newport, Rhode Island, Ellery's house was burned, and all his property destroyed.

After signing the Declaration, New Jersey State Supreme Court Justice Richard Stockton, rushed back to his estate near Princeton only to find his wife and children living like refugees with friends. He and his family had been betrayed by a Tory sympathizer. From another Loyalists tip, British troops pulled him from his bed one night, beat him and threw him in jail where he almost starved to death. When he was finally released, he went home to find his estate looted, possessions burned, and horses stolen. With his health in ruins from the terrible treatment in prison, he died before the war's end. His surviving family had to live the remainder of their lives off charity.

Wealthy planter and trader Carter Braxtons ships were captured by the British navy, yet he loaned a large sum of money to the American cause. The money was never paid back and Braxton was forced to sell all of his plantations and properties to pay his debts.
Hounded by the British, Scotsman turned American, Thomas MKean, moved his family almost constantly. He served in the Continental Congress without pay, and kept his family in hiding.

Vandals or soldiers or both looted the properties of George Clymer, Lyman Hall, Benjamin Harrison, Francis Hopkinson and Phillip Livingston. Seventeen lost everything they owned. Thomas Heyward, Jr., Edward Rutledge and Arthur Middleton, all of South Carolina, were captured by the British and kept a year in dungeons at the St. Augustine Prison.

At the Battle of Yorktown, Thomas Nelson, Jr. urged General George Washington to open fire on the headquarters of British General Cornwallis. The fact that Cornwallis was in Nelsons own home did not deter the patriot. Washington reluctantly shelled the home. Nelson later died bankrupt.

The British jailed Francis Lewiss wife for two months, destroyed his home, and his properties. The war so affected his wifes health that she died two years later.

"Honest John" Hart, a New Jersey farmer, was driven from his dying wife's bedside. Their thirteen children fled for their lives. Hart's fields and his grist mill were laid waste. For more than a year he eluded capture by hiding in nearby forests. He never knew where his bed would be and often slept in caves. When he finally returned home, his wife had died, his children disappeared, and his farm and stock were completely destroyed. Hart himself died in 1779 without seeing his family again.

These were not wild-eyed emotional radicals, nor reactionaries, nor self-engrandizers. They were patriots deliberate in their beliefs of freedom, putting principle above personal prosperity.

Klara Szita and the Trial of a Soul

by Mark Stoddard

This is the true life of a real face of a Hungarian teacher educated in Russia coming to grips with the past and a brave new world. Her story is one of millions everywhere in the former countries of the Warsaw Pact.

Klara Szita could not understand her father. For that matter understanding other Hungarian fathers was as difficult. They always seemed sullen and distracted. Life was miserable to them. It showed in their countenance. Whenever her own father looked at her he would seem to become more sullen and removed. She always felt she was disappointing her father, causing him his sadness.

For more than 15 years the USSR had been more dominant than their own unique and colorful Hungarian culture. Sure, they had heard rumors about Soviet military people doing something wrong in the mid 50's, but didn't soldiers everywhere cause a few problems?

Russian was now their second language. Never did one study any other foreign language. To speak the language of the proletariat was an honor. Klara quickly found she enjoyed studying language although she didn't want to study Russian.

Her mother told her that learning Russian would give her the key to travel and economic opportunity. Her father said little and in fact shrunk back when the conversation turned to Russia. He said he had nothing to say.

When she mastered Russian, she looked for another linguistic challenge. Her mother decided English would serve her well. For the first time, Klara's father's eyes lit up and he quietly, but with a smile, agreed.

The light quickly dimmed, however, when word came back that her application to learn English in high school had been turned down flat. The word never came in a letter, but by verbal innuendo. Came the word that neither she nor her family were Communist Party members and should not expect privileges. Besides, there was still information that revolution had been part of her heritage. She could not be trusted.

At age 21, because of her great abilities with language, she was part of a select group that got to travel to Leningrad, Russia where they could study under Russian professors. What a chance to not only study the lexicon of Russia, but the literature as well in its original language. The literature of Tolstoy, Dostoevski, Pushkin, Chekhov, and others. Klara could barely contain her enthusiasm. Her father said nothing. In the winter of 1982 she boarded a plane for her first trip to the Soviet Union. Her first trip anywhere.

They were often told that the USSR was the epitome of civilization and it was the sworn aim of all nations, particularly the crumbling USA to emulate that great giant of culture, progress, humanity and enlightenment. They were told by their teachers that the USSR was the most beautiful country on earth and by far the richest. How her friends envied her!

For four hours after arriving at her dormitory in Leningrad, neither Klara nor her fellow Hungarians spoke. They could not. They were in shock.

Leningrad was dilapidated, dirty, and sullen. All around were lines of people waiting in the cold to enter shops. Not just a few people, but lines that stretched around the block. Lines everywhere.

The snow outside seemed warmer than their dorms, and cleaner too. Finally, the cold made them stir to get things in order. When they asked about hot water, heat, brooms and such, they were quickly told that Hungarians were always the biggest complainers. They had no socialist loyalty. Hungarians could not see the good in something if it was not Hungarian.

The next day matters definitely improved. She met their teacher. From the moment they met, the Hungarians fell in love with her warmth and humanity. She was like so many Russians. From a distance they are cold and aloof, but when met face to face are warm and giving.

Olga welcomed them and listened to their stories of back home in Hungary and why they had come. Olga made them nearly forget the dismal lot of Leningrad; until the next day when they received their course outlines. The history of the Communist Party. The history of Lenin, Khrushchev and Brezhnev. The history of Soviet literature; Gorki and the lot. Pasternak and Solzenitzan were not included.

But what about Tolstoy, Pushkin and Chekhov?The teacher avoided the questions until she could resist their pleadings no longer. Without answering a single question she dismissed the class and told them to prepare their lessons for the next day.

Later that night Olga came to their dormitory. As she spoke, she choked up a little and tears came to her eyes.

"You are young. You see no boundaries and no dangers. That is good. So I must say something that you must never repeat. Will you promise me?" They did.

"I have been told if I cannot take care of you and teach you what I have been told, then I will be released and sent north. "

One brave student ventured the obvious question, "Siberia?"

"Yes. It is serious. Will you please go against your good desires and bear with me?" They nodded sadly.

For one year they studied in Russian, but never read a word of Pushkin.  Or Tolstoy.   No Chekhov. Not officially.

Her new Russian friends snuck in books of Pushkin, the writer all Russians adore.   Under blankets they read the tales late at night.

After one year of being in Leningrad, Klara Szita returned home to her father and mother in Budapest, Hungary. She was now year older and a decade wiser. She had learned one of the prime arts of communism. "I learned how to lie to stay alive. "

But lying to stay alive would mean a change of life. She could lie on some things, but lie to children? In a classroom?!She could not. Upon her return, she told the authorities she no longer wanted to teach children. She lied about the reasons. Instead, she became a guide to the many Russian tourists for three years.

At age 25, in 1985, life had become settled and peaceful. No turmoil and strife.   She guided, she got paid, she lived. She took up studying German and English on her own. Occasionally she met an Englishman or a German, and practiced on them.

Then came the chance to go to the backward nation of Austria, to study some German and perhaps some English. She and other guides were to be translators for some Russians who were cooperating with the Hungarians on a project. The project called for some work in Austria and they needed translators.

Klara was pleased to do some different work, but not terribly pleased to be going to her first capitalist country. She had been told they were rude, had a bad economy and it was a bad place. But, it was a change. And she was requested. So she went.

A few hours drive from Budapest was the border. The translators, all in their late 20s or early 30s, laughed and joked, even at the serious border crossing. Guards with machine guns and dour expressions were routine to them.

After the usual questions, grilling, passport controls, visa authentications, and making sure all papers were in order, they decided to walk into Austria to wait for the bus. Patrol dogs sniffed the luggage area for stowaways and soldiers inspected the underneath portion of the bus.

 Klara was glad to leave the scene, even if it were to cross into the dismal country of Austria.   "Just three feet into Austria, we stopped. We collapsed to the ground. We saw paradise.

 "They had to be helped up. On the bus they cried. None of them spoke to each other the rest of the trip. They could not find the words.

"In a matter of a few seconds we realized how completely our lives were based on lies. We wanted to return to Hungary immediately and do suicide. Our lives were over. "
But they could not return. They had learned to be tough in Russia, and now they counted on that toughness and coat of lies to get them through.

For three days they worked harder than ever, anything to rid their minds of the plaguing conundrum.  But they had to work harder still when returning home not to openly criticize their communist government. For four years their silence prevailed. In those years the despair took over. They could see no end to communism's ruinous appetite for control.
Life did go on. But not with joy.

One day her parents asked her when she would have children. She turned to her father sternly and told him, "Never. I have always been a disappointment to you. I don't want to have a relationship with a child. You have always been so cold to me that I know you've never liked me. I could not do that to my child. "

Her father started to speak, then bitterly reconsidered and said nothing. He went to his easy chair, turned on the television and began smoking; something he had always done whenever such a subject was brought up.

And so it went until 1989. In an explosion of freedom that the world has never seen, Hungary declared their era of communism dead. Suddenly Klara and her friends found out they were not the only ones hiding their thoughts.   One would mention something small that had bothered them, testing the waters.   Then others chipped in a little, emboldening each of them to say more. Soon they talked about all the forbidden things.

"In that moment I felt freedom for the first time. I freely spoke of my experiences in Russia and Austria.  About the lies, the criminal acts, the suppression. To my surprise others spoke equally free about similar thoughts. Together, we had a new beginning. "
She returned home rejoicing. She then went to her parents' home to hug them both. But her father hugged her first. He wept openly. For the first time in her recollection, he was alive and animated. She was taken aback.

"Oh my darling Klara.  Forgive me. Forgive. I could say nothing until now."

"Why not?" was all Klara could manage. Such emotional whiplash left her dazed.
"I was there in Heros Square in 1956. I was young like you. Full of dreams. We had a
whole new world of glorious promise.  All the students gathered and talked and planned for a better life with freedom. In Heros Square we cheered the future.

"Within an hour the Soviet tanks came. They killed my friends. I escaped at first only to be captured and tortured. After that, they knew me. If I said a word, you would have died, too. I could say nothing.  Forgive me. "

Klara Szita received many freedoms that day.   Today she will tell you, "Now we have freedom, but some confusion of the mind on what to do. But, we see you Americans with your smiles and eyes of freedom. We see strong people with freedom AND independence of mind and it gives us hope. We will succeed like you. "

Our best to you, Klara.

To the family of Ernie Peschau

by Mark Stoddard

In 1998 on Memorial Day, I stood in the rain at the Ofunu railroad station just outside of Yokohama in Japan.  I’d always heard how Japanese were polite and many spoke English, but it’s often unwise to rely upon conventional wisdom.  While they were polite, few spoke English, and my Japanese was non-existent.

So I stood in the rain watching the Japanese world go by.  Then I spotted a middle age man with a child.  I asked him, by chance, if he spoke English and he said he did a little.  I asked him if he knew where the World War II prison camp had been.  He said he did not and was surprised to hear that there might have been one here.  He’d been raised in Ofunu and the subject had never come up. He also couldn’t imagine such a thing being so near Tokyo.  I assured him it was and he apologized for not knowing.  I thanked him and went about trying to find someone in their sixties who might have lived here as a child during the war.

A little while later as I was asking more people if they spoke English, the man came running up, out of breath. He told me his wife had just arrived to pick him and his daughter up, and she thought she had heard of it.  He invited me to come with them and find the spot.

His wife said her English name was Lucy and his was Guy.  She was charming and spoke a little better English than he did.  She asked if I knew details about the camp.  I could also tell from Lucy’s manner and questions, she really wanted to know why I would want to find a prisoner of war camp.

I explained that my father had been a prisoner in Ofunu during World War II.  They both were very quiet and apologized for his suffering.  If they could have disappeared in that moment, they would have.  I told them quickly that my father loved the Japanese people.

They were more shocked.  Yes, I explained, he understood the difference between the political events and the people.  It was the guards who were brutal.  I told them of the days by the wire fence of the camp where the local people had come up to bow to them and offer greetings.  Despite their homes being fire bombed nightly by the B-25s, they went about their business the next day and part of that business was being hospitable to the American POW’s.

My father related many stories of kindness as well as stories of shock of how the guards often ran outside of the fence and beat the villagers for their kindness.  Still, they returned.
That made Guy and Lucy smile and say that during war much could not be understood.

I then took out my father’s book and read some of the descriptions of the area around the camp.  Lucy then said she knew exactly where the camp had been and drove to the spot.
Just as my father had described, a hill suddenly rose up, covered with a dense forest.  In the middle was a Buddhist temple, the same one my father had seen from his camp.

I told Lucy and Guy that I had two reasons for being there.  The first, to see the spot where my father had lived for 15 months and the second, to find the grave of Ernie Peschau, my father’s navigator on his B-24 that had been shot down over Saipan while flying cover for a crippled plane.

Ernie had had serious internal injuries, but somehow managed to survive the days in the raft after the crash landing, the days of torture in Saipan, the flight to Tokyo and the torture and starvation in the Ofunu camp.  One day it was all too much and he died.

The Japanese by custom cremated his body, but my father wanted him to have a proper burial.  As commanding officer it was his duty to see to the service.  So he bribed the guards to take him to the Buddhist shrine where they might have some burial area.  A young Japanese girl met them and said she had a sacred spot up the hill.  They wound their way through the thick forest to a little burial spot.  There they spoke their words and buried the remains of Ernest T. Peschau, a brave fellow who died for his county.

Dad said he thanked the young lady and wanted to give her a gift, although he had nothing much to give.  He offered her some items, but she refused and said it was but her duty to care for them.

So I was there some 52 years later to find the grave that the Peschaus had never found.
Lucy went inside to see if someone there knew of a grave site on a hill.  She returned with an older gentleman and an older lady, both dressed in traditional Japanese clothing.  They bowed and said they remembered the prison camp and offered their apologies.  I assured them none were needed.  The gentleman said he remembered a burial spot but was too old to hike the hill.  The quiet old lady said she would take us there.

We wove our way through the formal gardens into the forest and up the hill.  Soon we arrived at the little clearing where some stone markers stood and about twenty five foot high wooden stakes leaned up against trees.  Each stake was about three inches wide and ornately carved at the top with Japanese characters gracing the face of the stake.
She asked the name of the soldier and I told her.  One by one we read the stakes.  Finally, they read, Ernest T. Peschau.  I’d found his grave.

The old lady said his name over and over.  In broken English she asked, “Was your father named, Loren?”  Shocked, I said it was.

She smiled.  “I remember him. He was most kind and gentle.  He offered me gifts for helping him bury this young man.”  It was the young lady.  She smiled, “How is your father?”

“Quite well,” I said.

On this Memorial Day as I write, I remember Ernest T. Peschau, my father, the lady of the Buddhist Temple and the others who gave of themselves for others.  Especially to the families of those who died for our blessings of liberty, I remember you.

Is Eternal Progression a Radical Concept?

By Mark Stoddard

We might, from time to time, stand back and think some of the Restored Gospels beliefs are so radically different from Catholicism and Protestantism that we consider ourselves perhaps too peculiar.

Take the doctrine of Eternal Progression. Lorenzon Snow blows the minds of many with his easy summary of this: As man is God once was. As God is man may become. Blasphemy cries the Preacher.

But is it really so bizarre? Consider first the words of the Gospel of John, Chapter 10  in the New Testament:

33-35 The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God. Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods? If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken; Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God?

Read similar thoughts in Psalms and Isaiah.

Consider also the words of a 20th century philosopher and famous Christian apologist (that doesnt mean hes sorry but just seeks to explain Christianity). He is arguably the most popular Christian thinker, a member of the Church of England, a professor at Oxford, had a great following who listened to him on the radio during World War II and thereafter.
Today we know his works like the Chronicles of Narnia  The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Of course this wonderful collection of books is actually an allegory about the Plan of Salvation and life of Christ.

Heres what this non-Mormon had to say about the concept of Eternal Progression on one radio program:
The command, Be Ye Perfect is not idealistic gas. Nor is it a command to do the impossible. His going to make us into creatures that can obey that command.
He said (in the Bible) that were gods and He is going to make good His words. If we let Him  for we can prevent Him, if we choose  He will make the feeblest and filthiest of us into a god or goddess, a dazzling, radiant, immortal creature, pulsating all through with such energy and joy.
And wisdom and love as we cannot now imagine, a bright stainless mirror which reflects back to God perfectly (though of course, on a smaller scale) His own boundless power and delight and goodness.
The process will be long and in parts very painful; but that is what we are in for.
Nothing less. He meant what He said.
     Clive Staples Lewis (C.S. Lewis) 
     Mere Christianity
Its a striking concept so full of promise that most people cannot comprehend that God means to help us. How could we be deserving of such a noble and glorious plan.
Many picture heaven as an endless, and to my way of thinking monotonous, round of praising God. I cant imagine a magnificent God having such an ego to stand that much affection, nor a God possessing such megalomania as to make us suffer through the great trials of earth life just so we can better praise him.

Moses stated the truth when he quoted our Father in Heaven as saying, this is my work and my glory to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.Now, that is a God that makes sense and inspires man to greatness. Hes doing something. Were here for a reason. It strikes deep into my heart and spirit every time I hear such a truth that a loving Father would care so much about what we will become.

The Facts About California Proposition 8

by Mark Stoddard

In 2000, California voters passed with 61% of the vote, ballot initiative Proposition 22, which changed the California Family Code to formally define marriage in California between a man and a woman.

On May 15, 2008 four (4) California Supreme Court justices decided to overturn the will of the great majority.

In 2008 supporters of the 61% who voted for Proposition 22 got enough signatures to place Proposition 8 on the ballot which would add this phrase to the California Constitution:
“Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.”

Attorney General of California Jerry Brown (aka Gov. Moon Beam for his far out views) officially listed Proposition 8 on the ballot “Proposition 8 - Eliminates Right of Same-Sex Couples to Marry”.

A vote of “Yes” passes makes it part of the California Constitution. A vote of “No” defeats it. Those are the facts.

Why should Proposition 8 pass? Here are just 7 logical reasons for Proposition 8.

1. It’s a Democracy and in 2000 Democracy already passed this measure by 61% of the voters. Four California Supreme Court justices decided otherwise. Proposition 8 seeks to overturn the four “justices.” Voting for Proposition 8 is a clear signal that Californians demand that their voice be honored and not constantly retried.

2. Proposition 8 simply reflects the standards and beliefs of the vast majority while not taking any rights from anyone. Same-sex civil unions grant every right marriage does without imposing same-sex views on those who believe it is a non-sequitur.

3. Failure of Proposition 8 would officially make same-sex behavior the State mandated standard for accepted behavior, redefining what the majority consider normal. That is what same-sex proponents believe. They seek to impose their very minority view upon the majority.

4. Failure of Proposition 8 is an attack on Freedom of Religion. Opponents of Prop 8 demand everyone believe as they do. They cannot tolerate religions that believe in a way they don’t. They hate traditional Christianity and do so by being “in your face” and forcing their beliefs upon those who believe otherwise. Doctors who have refused to artificially inseminate a lesbian because of his religious beliefs are being sued.

5. Failure of Prop 8 is a further degradation of Freedom of Speech. Already it is Politically Incorrect to say homosexuality is a choice, that it is NOT biological, despite there being absolutely no evidence that a “gay gene” exists. If Prop. 8 fails then the gay proponents will have official sanction to impose their views in a dictatorial fashion as they’re already doing in Massachusetts where kindergarten teachers are forced to teach five year olds that same-sex marriages are just as acceptable as any other marriage. Teachers and doctors are losing their freedom to live, believe and speak as they choose.

6. Proposition 8 simply declares that Common Law usage of the word “marriage” ONLY refers to a union of a man and a woman. 130 years ago some tested the definition by one man having more than one wife. The people decided their common law definition was clear and could not be changed. If Proposition 8 fails then California will become the haven for polygamists, pedophiles, and bestiality with each claiming “I can’t help it. It’s biological.” If you can redefine marriage to mean anything then it will mean nothing.

7. Proposition 8 is logical. No rights are lost to anyone. No views imposed. No harm done. But if it fails it will be emotionalism and tantrum politics.

Proposition 8 deserves to pass. No logical reason exists to defeat it. Just emotionalism. It already passed once. To unfairly have a “do-over” is, by law, Double Jeopardy.
Pass Proposition 8. Say “YES” to reason, fairness and logic.

A Leader Worth Emulating

by Mark Stoddard
I’d like to keep this on a professional level, so my apologies in advance to those wanting
something more spiritual and to those who think I’ve gone all religious on them.

Professionally, I’ve watched, up close and personal many leaders perform. I’ve been with giants of industry, and leaders of nations as they’ve addressed those they lead. I’ve sat with Saudi sheiks and princes; Supreme Soviets; councils of ministers, city councils and a gathering of the USSR’s top 50 business leaders. When President Reagan drove home his point about the national economic recovery, I was five feet away.

But in all of those meetings and of all of those speakers, one stands head and shoulders above the rest as a true leader of men and women.

On March 16, 2002 I sat at a banquet table and listened as the President’s Club of BYU-Idaho was favored to hear from Gordon B. Hinckley, the head of the board of trustees for that school and the president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

I’ve never heard a man or a woman so totally in command of his topic and so totally confident in what he was saying. Yet, he wasn’t bombastic or dictatorial in his content or his demeanor.

He’s not a tall man, yet he seemed to tower over the room. His enthusiasm and vigor as a speaker belied his age. The man is nearly 92 years old, yet he strode to the podium and stood erect and spoke for between fifteen and twenty minutes to a captivated audience. They might have been captivated just because of his title, but it was his unflinching dynamics that cemented the relationship with the audience.

He spoke without notes and constantly showed what a good leader is all about. He never bragged of himself. Never pointed to his accomplishments. At one point he leaned across the podium and said in a lower voice, “I want to let you in on a secret...” He told of one night a few years ago that he was “pondering the situation of Ricks College. It struck me that it will never be a great school so long as it is a ‘college.’” He went on to say that he discussed this with his counselors and then the council of the twelve apostles of the church. Together they decided. Then he pointed out how he discussed the matter with the president of Ricks College and how they arrived at the course they needed to take.

It was never “I” but always “we.” A great lesson in leadership for everyone.

Normally I’ve watched the man keep an even tone in his speeches with occasionally an increased tone for emphasis. Never the jingoism of a Jesse Jackson or the grand eloquence of a Jerry Falwell. But on this evening, for the first time, I heard him raise his voice and nearly shout. Not for a second, for quite a time. He wasn’t excoriating people, but praising them for their diligence and faith. He pointed out that the church builds more than 400 buildings a year in more than 160 countries. That it funds a huge seminary and institute program the world over.

He pointed out that the church he leads is led financially by the faith of the contributors who pay a full tithing and then some.

He grew very quiet as he said, “It is a great and worrisome thing to manage tithing funds.” Again, a great mark of leadership seldom seen – humility and the distinct feeling that he sees himself less as a leader and more as a servant and steward to the God he professes and the 11-12 million people who see him as a great leader.

As mentioned, his voice rose in volume as he said, “Never has there been a greater season upon the face of the earth. The growth of the church is at an unimaginable scale. These are exciting times. We couldn’t retreat if we wanted to do so.”

He then quoted from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar when Brutus said, “There is a tide in the affairs of men, which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune; Omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries. On such a full sea are we now afloat; And we must take the current when it serves, Or lose our ventures.”

He went on to praise the Olympics and said, with a ringing voice, “The people of the world came to Salt Lake City with suspicion and left with appreciation and gratitude.”

In the world of leaders I’ve seen, leaders like Hinckley are rare in deed. He’s a dynamic leader filled with appreciation and trust in the people he serves. Love or hate his philosophies and one still can’t deny a fact – he’s a leader worth emulating.