Thousands Pay Respect to President Thomas S. Monson during Public Viewing

Contributed By Jason Swensen, Church News associate editor

  • 11 January 2018

People of all ages and backgrounds participated in the January 11, 2018, public viewing of President Thomas S. Monson at the Conference Center.

Almost 33 years ago, Marty Nowling attended the public viewing of the Church’s 12th President, President Spencer W. Kimball.

Now a father of four, Nowling wanted to ensure Thursday, January 11, that his own young children shared similar memories of their “first prophet,” President Thomas S. Monson.

The Nowlings were part of a steady crowd that arrived early at the Conference Center in downtown Salt Lake City to pay respects to President Monson, who died January 2, 2018, at age 90. People of all ages and backgrounds braved chilly but clear conditions early Thursday. Ushers quickly filed the visitors into the warmth of the stately building, where they quietly passed by the casket of the Church’s 16th President.

“I’m here this morning because I wanted President Monson to know how much I love him,” said Leslie Jensen, who bundled up her four children and drove to Salt Lake City from their home in West Haven, Utah.

She fought back tears after being asked how President Monson had impacted her life. “He’s just been a great example for me.”

The American flag flies at half-staff during President Thomas S. Monson’s viewing outside of the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on Thursday, January 11, 2018. Photo by Kristin Murphy, Deseret News.

Ali Jensen, 15, said she is grateful for the opportunities President Monson offered young women who desired to serve full-time missions at a younger age. She’s considering serving a mission after she finishes high school.

“President Monson has helped me want to make my own life better,” said Ali.

The Jensens’ sister and aunt, Ashli Zeigler of Farmington, joined them Thursday morning at the Conference Center.

“I wanted to pay tribute to our prophet; it’s wonderful to be here,” she said.

Read and Sharon Howard from Holladay didn’t allow the mid-January cold to keep them from Thursday’s viewing.

“President Monson is our prophet,” said Read Howard. “We love him and we’re here to show our appreciation.

Lucas and August Moulton of Lehi arrived early with their children—ages 2 to 11. For the Moulton kids, President Monson will forever be the “prophet of their youth.”

“This viewing gave us the opportunity to remember the prophet and remember his life,” said Lucas Moulton.

“It was a nice time,” added 5-year-old McKenna Moulton.

The viewing was scheduled to continue through 8 p.m. Thursday night.

The casket of President Thomas S. Monson is displayed during the public viewing on Thursday, January 11, 2018, at the Conference Center in downtown Salt Lake City.

People of all ages and backgrounds participated in the January 11, 2018, public viewing of President Thomas S. Monson at the Conference Center.

People of all ages and backgrounds participated in the January 11, 2018, public viewing of President Thomas S. Monson at the Conference Center.

A wreath of yellow flowers from the counselors of President Thomas S. Monson pays tribute to the man they served under for several years. Yellow was President Monson’s favorite color.

People leave the Conference Center after attending the public viewing of President Thomas S. Monson in Salt Lake City on January 11, 2018. Photo by Kristin Murphy, Deseret News.

People leave the Conference Center after attending the public viewing of President Thomas S. Monson in Salt Lake City on January 11, 2018. Photo by Kristin Murphy, Deseret News.