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Farewell to the prophet — ‘Held spellbound’

Members of the LDS Church News staff share their memories of the prophet

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President Gordon B. Hinckley had just completed addressing several thousand youths and adults on June 12, 2004, in the famed Radio City Music Hall the evening prior to dedicating the Manhattan, N.Y., Temple. While the church president exited a side door to his waiting transportation, a middle-aged couple, probably tourists, happened to notice him down the side street.

President Hinckley was patiently shaking hands with the many well-wishers who followed him, unaware that he was being watched by this couple from a distance.

It was a busy Saturday evening. People were scurrying in all directions, including church members in their Sunday attire. All were oblivious to this innocent scene that captivated the couple.

Something about the aura of the man held the couple spellbound. They didn't speak, just stared, as if any commotion would break their reverie.

The couple seemed unconcerned that people were weaving around them, and that light after light was changing without them crossing the street.

In time, the man glanced away long enough to ask a passing LDS member if that man was the president of his church. They didn't know his name but probably made the connection because of the marquee that displayed the name of the church.

As President Hinckley closed the door to his car and sped away, the couple began to saunter across the street, looking backward as much as possible, as if fearing to miss a precious second of his charm.

Once across the street, they stopped again, their fascination not yet satisfied.

For a few moments, above the din and commotion of a New York street, one couple felt a witness that a prophet of God was among them.

E-mail: shaun@desnews.com