President Monson’s public viewing draws thousands to pay their last respects

SALT LAKE CITY – Thousands turn out for a public viewing to honor the life and legacy of the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Thomas S. Monson.

Once inside the LDS Conference Center when the doors opened to the public at 9 a.m. Thursday morning, groups were taken to the Hall of Prophets. That’s where they could personally pay their respects to President Monson.

It was a very somber mood as people young and old reflected on the life and legacy of the beloved prophet.

“He's been pretty monumental in my life. He's a man that I've really looked up to and loved,” said Allie Clauson. The West Jordan mother let her children miss school so they could attend the viewing.

“It was very important for them, that's the only prophet they've known since they can remember,” Clauson added.

Her 13-year-old daughter Brynnley was always impressed with his talks.

“I’m happy he’s in a better place now and not suffering anymore,” Brynnley said.

President Monson passed away January 2, 2018 at the age of 90 from “causes incident to age.”

During his nearly decade tenure as the leader of the LDS church, membership grew to 16 million. He taught that by serving others, you find purpose in life.

“I worked at the Highland Care Center for 13 years. He would come there often before General Conference just to be with the people,” said Karen Pulley of Spanish Fork.

Pulley shared fond memories of her encounters with Monson.

“I got to shake his hand quite often, super neat. He loved the people. He would get right down and sit by them and shake their hands and visit with them.”

LDS members say he inspired them through storytelling.

“He always had a great way of telling a fantastic story.  I remember as well in a Priesthood session that he would wiggle his ears for us. That was just really great,” said Matt Froelich.

Froelich said he will honor his legacy by following in his footsteps.

“One thing that was really important to him is that he was always about rescuing other people and service. I really want to be very service minded and try to look for others that have a need and try to meet that need,” Froelich said.

Funeral services begin at noon on Friday, January 12 at the LDS Conference Center. If you plan to attend, be there early, seating will be on a first-come, first-served basis. Doors open at 10:30 a.m., people will need to be in their seats by 11:30 a.m.. Following the funeral, a private burial service will be held at the Salt Lake City Cemetery.