A well-read prophet
At least twice (in two different discourses) this past General Conference, President Hinckley made reference to books he has has recently read. On another occasion Sunday morning, he actually brought one of his books (A History of Joseph Smith by His Mother) to the pulpit to show as he quoted from it.
By no means did his messages seem to be responses to the timeless question, "What books are at your bedside?", but I got a thrill both times to hear that our prophet reads. And not Harry Potter, the USA Today, or simply the Ensign. Two of the three mentioned books were scholarly studies: one on the compilation of the biblical texts (title not given and author noted only as a "renowned scholar"), and the other was a study of religiosity of young people published by Oxford UP. Did any of you have a similar reaction? I really liked these acts, but I can't say exactly why.
Here of some possibilities for my reaction:
1. I am a bibliophile (discriminating, to be sure) and like to see reflections of my own interests in President Hinckley.
2. His mention of these readings might be an implicit call for the membership of the church to engage in informal but valuable continuing education, and see that as going hand-in-hand with our other religious duties.
3. It is one thing to say that we have a living, healthy 95 year-old prophet at our head; it is quite another to say that this same prophet has the mental acuity to read and digest scholarly publications, and that he is able to see the importance of these academic works in his role as leader of the church. That is more miraculous than mere survival to an unusual age (though I would personally not claim it as a divine proof of the church).
There are probably other possibilities. Who else cheers inside for a well-read prophet?