MURRAY — The halls at Murray High School were filled Monday with girls wearing dresses and boys wearing white shirts and ties as students dressed up in memory of President Gordon B. Hinckley.
Senior Mark Farmer said he first heard President Hinckley had passed away on a TV news bulletin Sunday night. Then his cell phone started lighting up with text messages encouraging the dress-up day. "It spread like wildfire," he said.
"hey everyone wear church clothes tomorrow to respect president hinkly's death. Like for real. Pass this on." The message was clear, despite the text message's expectable disregard for spelling and punctuation.
Kara Fitisemanu and her sister Kathleen wore dresses to school Monday. Kathleen said she received 42 texts about President Hinckley Sunday night. Kara said students in each of her classes, who didn't know about the dress-up campaign, noticed all of the nice clothes. "I got asked about it in every class."
Chandler Daniels' reaction to the news of President Hinckley's death drew nods of agreement from friends: Shock and surprise. "He made it to 97 years old and you just think he's going to live forever. He's the only prophet we've ever known."
Farmer and friends Matt Brown and Michael McLaughlin said they all plan to serve as LDS missionaries after high school. McLaughlin said the aggressive temple-building program is something he will remember President Hinckley for.
Brown said the rebuilding of the Nauvoo temple in Illinois is another highlight. "I think he has brought the church into the world so people know more about who we are and what we stand for," he said.
President Hinckley's direction about "raising the bar" among prospective missionaries so they would be better prepared for church service "made it so we would have a deeper conviction of our faith," Brown said.
Just where the dress-up campaign got started isn't certain, but a sampling of high schools and junior high schools showed the text message campaign spread into Davis and Utah counties as well.