SALT LAKE CITY — Sen. Orrin Hatch paid tribute to his "dear friend" LDS Church President Thomas S. Monson, who died last week, in a speech in the U.S. Senate on Monday.
President Monson's love for God defined a lifetime of selfless service, the senator said. Growing up during the Depression, he learned from his parents the importance of taking care of others.
"From any early age, Tom displayed a remarkable concern for the most vulnerable among us, and throughout his life he showed that concern and worked on solving problems for them," Hatch said on the Senate floor.
The stories of President Monson dropping everything to visit a grieving widow, bless a sick child or minister to a family in need are endless, he said. Hatch described him as a servant first and leader second, a man of remarkable kindness, love and empathy.
"Although he presided over a church of millions, his focus was always on the one. Although tasked with making administrative decisions affecting thousands of people the world over, his lifelong commitment was to serving individuals in need," he said.
The Utah Republican said President Monson showed him great friendship and "at times stood up for me."
"I'll never forget one time he leaned over to me and said, 'I voted for you.' That meant so much to me," said the senator, who announced last week he would not seek an eighth term.
Hatch said he would miss President Monson, as will members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints around the world.
Funeral services for President Monson will be held in the Conference Center on Temple Square on Friday.Comment on this story
Gov. Gary Herbert ordered the U.S. and Utah flags to fly at half-staff to honor President Monson's life and service.
"His legacy of service, compassion and unwavering love for all of God’s children will be felt for generations to come," the governor said in a statement.
"As we celebrate President Thomas S. Monson’s remarkable life, let us remember his focus on the one — his admonition to serve the individuals around us — recognizing that even the smallest actions can lift lives and brighten our world," Herbert said.