in memory of

H. Clay Gorton

Born: March 7, 1923 ~ Soda Springs, Idaho

Died: June 20, 2008 ~ Salt Lake City, Utah

Son of: Rees Dubois and Sarah Dorleska "Dorothy" (Sterrett) Gorton

Married to: Hilda Edna Francis Foot

Children: David Rees, Deborah Lynn, Stephen Richard, Rebecca Sue, Elizabeth Anne

Funeral Services

Tuesday, June 24, 2008 at 2:00 p.m.

Bountiful 31st Ward, 600 East Center Street, Bountiful, Utah

Conducting: Bishop Jerry Allen

Family Prayer: Stephen Gorton, son

Prelude Music

Opening Hymn: #292 "Oh My Father"

Invocation: Roger Brown, son-in-law

Song: Carol Ridge, niece, accompanied by Becky Malm

"O Divine Redeemer"

Speaker: David Gorton, son

Speaker: Richard Spencer

Speaker: Larry Barkdull

Speaker: Terry Clegg

Song: Cathy Dalyrmple, niece, accompanied by Becky Malm

"How Great Thou Art"

Remarks: Bishop Jerry Allen

Speaker: Elder Lawrence E. Corbridge

Closing Hymn: #152 "God Be With You Till We Meet Again"

Benediction: Shane Conley, son-in-law

Postlude Music

Dedication of Grave: McKay Burton

Interment

Lakeview Memorial Park

1640 East Lakeview Drive, Bountiful, Utah

Pallbearers

Christopher Gorton Chris Horne
Joshua Conley Jeremy Evens
Jereme Conley Troy Petersen
Ryan Brown Joel McMlellan
Joe Gorton David Gorton

Honorary Pallbearers

Daniel Mason

Conducting: Bishop Jerry Allen

Today we express our sincere appreciation for your attendance and for being here for funeral services for H. Clay Gorton. We recognize Elder Lawrence E. Corbridge, a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy, who will be presiding at this meeting.

We also recognize President Redar Hallowell, first councilor in our Stake Presidency and David H. Robin, second councilor in our Stake Presidency as well as Jay Bicken, councilor in the Bishopric. I’m Jerry Allen, Bishop of the Bountiful 31st Ward and I’ll be conducting.

We express our thanks on behalf of the family for all of you who have come and for your love and sympathy and good will and for those who attended the viewing last night and this morning, prior to the service. We’re grateful for those who have expressed your love and appreciation with your flowers and other remembrances.

We’re also grateful to the High Priests Quorum who has come down and prepared the building and for getting it ready for these services and for the Relief Society providing for the family meal for the friends and family following the service. We’re also grateful for Sister Julie Haltiman for that beautiful prelude music.

Family prayer was offered by Stephen Gorton, a son of Clay, just previous to this meeting. We would begin our services today by singing opening hymn 292, “Oh My Father”, after which the invocation will be given by Roger Brown, a son-in-law.

Opening song: "Oh My Father"

Invocation: Roger Brown

Our Father in heaven, as we come before thee at the commencement of this funeral for Clay Gorton, we wish to have thy spirit to be here with us. To comfort and to support all those here. We give thee thanks Father for the reason that we’re here. The opportunity which we have had of knowing this special person. Father we seek for thy blessings to be with us that we might be able to comfort one another and be lifted up and know that this is just another step. We give thee thanks Father for all that we have and acknowledge thy hand in all things. We say these things humbly, in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Conducting: Bishop Jerry Allen

We will first be blessed with a song from Carol Ridge, a niece, accompanied by Becky Malm, “O Devine Redeemer”. After which David Gorton, Clay’s son, will speak to us and Richard Spencer, a long time member of the ward and good friend of Clays. Then after Richard we’ll hear from Larry Barkdull, a missionary that served in Clay’s mission. Then after Larry, we’ll hear from Terry Clegg, who served with Clay in the temple as a temple sealer. After Terry’s remarks we will have another song from Cathy Dalyrmple, a niece, accompanied by Becky Malm, “How Great Thou Art”. We’ll go to that point.

Musical number: "O Devine Redeemer", by Carol Ridge, accompanied by Becky Malm

Speaker: David Gorton

My dear brothers and sisters, friends and family, on behalf of my Dad and our family I want to thank all of you for coming out here this afternoon. To tell you how much he loved each one of you. You all meant so much to him and every time we talked on the phone there was always another story about someone who had done something for him or a kindness towards him. I would imagine right about now that our Heavenly Father is working on an expansion plan for the Celestial Kingdom just to accommodate all those wonderful people that have taken such great care of my father and my mother since they’ve lived here. This was such a dream of his, to come to Bountiful and to live in an area surrounded by people who shared his love of the Gospel. We’ll never be able to adequately thank or repay you, but please know that we do love you.

Eighty-five years ago in a small little town called Soda Springs, Idaho; a young baby boy was born who would later become my father. And grow to have an influence and impact in the lives of thousands of people around the world. I’m sure little did he know the influence and the impact as he was growing up, and the love he would genuinely share with so many, some that he met and some that he never met.

He struggled through life, and as hard as it is to believe, he was actually terrified of public speaking. At the outbreak of the Second World War he enlisted in the Army Air Corps with the goal that he would overcome that fear. So his challenge was that he would accept every speaking assignment that would come his way hoping that by the war’s end, when he came back to Soda Springs he would be able to actually stand in Sacrament Meeting and give a talk. Throughout the war he actually tried to do just that, and came home and eventually received his call to go on a mission. The bishop asked him to speak in Sacrament Meeting prior to leaving. When that appointed time came, my Dad got up to the pulpit, he stood and looked out at the audience for a few moments, so terrified that he couldn’t say a single word, turned around and sat down. He left a few days later on his mission and figured out he’d start speaking in Spanish, and we know what happened since then anyway...

One of his companions while on his mission, by the name of Wally Bruce happens to live in my Ward in San Antonio. He tells a story of my Dad going out tracting and knocking on doors with him all day long. Coming home and taking his shoes off filled with blood because his poor feet were so crippled and mangled, one leg shorter than the other. Every step he took his whole life caused him pain, but it never slowed him down.

He loved to fly and always dreamed of being a pilot; his eyes were never good enough to see and that held him back throughout the war and it wasn’t until he was sixty-nine that he was able to get his pilot’s license, with the love and patience of so many of you, he actually achieved that goal. He loved music, but his ears were so bad he never heard all the notes. You know, if there’s any one blessing in his passing, he now walks without pain, he sees without his glasses and finally he can hear all the notes of the music he so loved. You know, he was ready to go and as much as we miss him there is great joy in knowing what he’s about.

Some years ago, twelve, thirteen, fourteen… I felt a strong urge to get closer to my Dad. One of the things I wanted to do was to build a web site as the internet was slowly starting to become common place. To showcase and honor my father, so we started to put a little page together that talked of his life and his accomplishments. We thought it might be a little fun to make it interactive with the family and I chatted with my oldest daughter and asked what we could do to make this something that would be meaningful to our family. And she said, “Well, why not make a little thing called ‘ask gramps’ where we can email and write him questions, and he could answer us back because he always loved to tell us how much he knew.” You know, we put that in there for something his grandchildren and children could interact back and forth with him. This whole email thing was just starting to emerge and we thought it would be fun. For the first short while we got questions from the kids and their friends, and then it slowly started to expand a little bit. It got picked-up by an organization called ‘Mormon Town’ and then through LDS Living, they started showcasing the site. Then questions started coming in, not just one or two a month, but ten and twenty a day. My dad would spend hours and hours a day going through those questions researching the answers. Then getting back with the people, some were so personal that he never published them. Others we put out so that those who were curious could go look up some of the things he talked about. It was a way for him to share his love of the gospel and his love for all of us. The accolades and comments he would get back from people were so heartfelt. “Dear Gramps, you can’t imagine how much you’ve done, how many heartaches you’ve saved or how many broken dreams…” whatever the issue was, you know he was just so pleased and happy to share those with me and they came in. I guess perhaps the greatest thing, not withstanding all the good he did with all those people, was that it finally brought a son and his father together. It was a project that we loved and worked on together. Dad, we’re going to miss you and we do love you. I just want to leave those thoughts with you in the name of our dear Lord Jesus Christ, Amen.

Speaker: Richard Spencer

My dear Podge and your beautiful family, and my dear brothers and sisters, I’m happy in the gospel of Jesus Christ. The gospel of Jesus Christ is amazing and I’m not sure that we can grasp it all at once. It is truly amazing and at this particular time it’s kind of bitter sweet. A bitter sweet experience indeed. I know that President Gorton has a lot of friends, I know the family has a lot of friends and Sister Gorton, bless her heart, everybody loves Sister Gorton and her beautiful, beautiful family.

You know if we think for a moment of the joy that President Gorton has experienced with the reunion he’s having. What a great time, and to see Beth. That’s Podge and Clay’s daughter that’s been gone now about thirteen years. To see her and embrace her, and he’ll also embrace our Savior. What a comfort and joy that will be. To know that everything is all right. Everything is forgiven. Because He made it possible. What could be sweeter? What could be sweeter? In the book of Matthew in the New Testament it says this, "His lord said unto him, Well done, [thou] good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord." [1]

It’s truly amazing, truly amazing, the gospel of Jesus Christ. And you know what? Not only do we receive countless blessings in the hereafter, but as we live the gospel of Jesus Christ here we get an extra bonus. We get to associate with some of the finest people on earth. And I say that carefully, I say that carefully. But you know what? We really do. There are a lot of good people out there that don’t belong to the church, but there’s a lot of good people that do. And we get to associate with them. And as we so live our life and strive to live the gospel of Jesus Christ, it’s probably the best thing we can give our self, it’s the best thing we can do, and not only for us, but for our family.

Now, President Gorton was not only blessed with an unusual intellect and spirituality, he had an impeccable sense of humor. Very subtle, but man was it terrific. Maybe I could share some of those things. You know, he would tell me… he said, “I wouldn’t mind being just average, if I didn’t have to work so hard for it.” Yeah, I know what you mean… When we were going into emergency one time and he was in excruciating pain, he was bent over and he looked across to me as I was driving and he said, “Why can’t pain feel good?” And we both laughed. On one occasion, we were checking in at the hospital and the nurse asked President Gorton, she said, “When is your birthday?” And he replied, “On March the seventh.” And she asked, “What year?” And he replied, “Every year.” Recently, when he was asked by a nurse, she said, “How’s your pain?” And he responded, “Fine, how’s yours?” At one point when President Gorton was being looked after, the nurses asked if we would adjourn to the hall for a few minutes. I lingered behind… by the way, President Gorton often thinks of things in terms of church. After we were in there with the nurses for about twenty minutes, he asked me, “Is that small branch still assembled out in the hall?” Referring to his family and friends that were there. Later he said, “I wish I could pass away so you could all go home.” Sometimes my brothers and sisters, we have to laugh a little to keep from crying, don’t we.

There were a lot of tender moments at the hospital. One time he looked over at me with a trace of a grin and he gave me just a soft wink of the eye and then with his forefinger he just moved it in a little arch like this… Just one time. I didn’t know what to do, so I kind of smiled back and I waved my hand like that… And a small arch, just one time… I realized then that we were saying goodbye. President Gorton asked Podge, he asked her to move her chair up closer so he could hold her hand. He said, “I want to make contact.” And Podge pleaded, “You can’t go and leave me.” And he said, “Come with me.” We all smiled. President Gorton beckoned Podge to lean forward, his voice was weak by now, and he whispered, “Goodbye Podge.” Podge reminded him of that promise he made when they were young, a long time ago. That he would always take care of her, that she was supposed to go first. At the bedside, I heard Podge plead to Clay for him to remember that promise he made. President Gorton made a promise to Podge a long time ago, when they were about to be married. Podge came to America as a teenager all by herself, traveling alone to a place called New York City, to rendezvous with a return missionary that she met. She made him promise that he would never leave her alone, and he never has. And he never will. He’ll always be close by. And I say these things humbly in the name of our Savior, Jesus Christ, Amen.

Speaker: Larry Barkdull

I first met Clay Gorton when I stepped off Aerolineas Argentinas and into the autumn air of Cordoba. I was a 19-year-old man, who was woefully unprepared to serve a mission. I was from Idaho, but that wasn’t my worst challenge. I had grown up in a family that was rapidly disintegrating when I left on my mission. That instability had affected my approach to the Church. I was an unenthusiastic “water treader,” who excelled in self-centeredness. Growing up, I had seldom seen the priesthood honored or heard gospel topics lace conversation. But now, here was President Gorton, a man for whom gospel literacy was a way of life. Moreover, he seemed to clothe himself in the priesthood, which he unashamedly honored as well as any man whom I have ever known. I willingly drank from his example like a desert traveler stumbling upon an oasis.

His example urged a tiny seed to take root and grow within me. Suddenly, I wanted to become a gospel student and learn everything I could about the priesthood. By design, I think, I was drawn to him as if by a gravitational pull – just what I needed. Elder Maxwell said, "We are... placed in human orbits to illuminate (others)." [2] Clay Gorton was like a great star or asun, who exemplified and illuminated God’s Beloved Son to me, a fledgling planet. I had been placed in a redemptive orbit, coursing around a man who became a father figure to me. Elder Russell M. Nelson said, "...if [a father] will lovingly cling to the Savior and the iron rod of the gospel, his family will want to cling to him and to the Savior." He added that this could be said of any righteous individual. [3] I clung to Clay Gorton and willingly took up my orbit around him.

At our first meeting in Cordoba, 38 years ago. I never imagined what an impact this man was to have on my life. I never supposed that on June 16, 2008, I would be called to his bedside to give him a final blessing. I never considered that he would provide me a lifelong example for pursuing a gospel-centered life. And I never imagined that ultimately he would show me how a righteous person transitions into eternity.

When Clay first entered the hospital and he realized that his condition was terminal, he called together his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. On that sacred occasion, he counseled with them one by one. After that, his condition deteriorated, and he became confused and incoherent. When I spoke to him on the phone on the morning of the 16th, he knew me, but he could make little sense of our conversation. Becky took the phone then, and I asked her what I could do. After she had consulted with the family, we spoke again and she said that everyone, including Clay, had asked if I would come to the hospital and give him a final blessing. While I believe that God reserves the terms of birth and death to himself, I also believe that a person’s righteous request can be answered through a priesthood blessing, which then directs the subsequent events. According to Elder Gerald N. Lund, administrations also sanctify and reconsecrate a person’s life to the Lord. [4] Administrations can also help a person rise to the necessary level of courage to submit to the Lord one last time. BYU professor Wayne Brickey equates the dying process to laying one’s life on the altar, and giving himself wholly over to the Lord. [5] I have personally come to believe that dying in the Lord is a manifestation of the sacrifice of all things, which Joseph Smith said is requisite for eternal life.

Of course, that sacrifice is no less exacting on the ones left behind, especially for the spouse. And so it was with Sister Gorton. Faced with the prospect of being alone after 59 years of marriage, she nevertheless displayed amazing courage that could only come from her testimony of Jesus Christ. Willingly, she yielded to the Lord and allowed her husband to slip from her arms and into the arms of the Savior. I should add here that during the blessing, Clay was fully lucid; more importantly, he was able to request it. We, who witnessed his sudden revival, deemed it a miracle.

We began with a prayer offered by his loyal Home Teacher. Then we brethren laid our hands upon Sister Gorton and blessed her. Then we administered to Clay. Afterwards, dear friends and family stood around his bed and offered words of love and gratitude. I don’t know if I have ever witnessed a more tender expression of affection between a husband and a wife than I saw between Brother and Sister Gorton. At that point, something most unexpectedly happened: Clay, the mighty patriarch of his family, called us into a circle around his bed, which circle approached but did not violate those sacred prayers offered in the temple. Then he bowed his head and offered a prayer – the benediction to his life! I have never experienced anything quite so fitting or amazing. After that prayer, his mind began to cloud, and, as I understand it, he never again fully regained his coherency.

What an example! Think of it. Clay Gorton, who knew the scriptures so well, followed the patriarchal example of Adam by gathering together his family for his final instruction and blessing in mortality. What was the blessing that Adam wished to bestow upon his posterity? To bring them into the presence of the Lord. That is the great possibility and privilege that now lies before the Gorton family. This has been the impression that has been pressed upon my mind as I have prepared for my talk. I believe that this is the desire – and the power – of your father and patriarch. You must believe that beyond any assignment that he now has, his single concern is, as it has always been, his family. Because of my conversations with him, I know that not having any one of you with him in the celestial kingdom is an unbearable and an unacceptable thought. But, if you will allow him, I am convinced that he will help you. As your father, he is in the best position to do so. If you will listen carefully, you will learn a new way to hear his voice and to recognize his help. If you will be observant, you will experience mercy after mercy that is showered upon you. Clay Gorton, you see, is now a ministering angel, who the scriptures tell us functions by assignment under the direction of the Holy Ghost. He has just taken a huge step forward in power and capacity to assist you.

Joseph Smith taught, "The spirits of the just are exalted to a greater and more glorious work; hence they are blessed in their departure to the world of spirits. Enveloped in flaming fire, they are not far from us, and know and understand our thoughts, feelings, and motions..." [6] President Joseph F. Smith said, "When messengers are sent to minister to the inhabitants of this earth, they are not strangers, but from the ranks of our kindred, friends, and fellow-beings and fellow-servants." [7] President James E. Faust said, "We do not consciously realize the extent to which ministering angels affect our lives... Their ministry has been and is an important part of the gospel." [8]

I am grateful to have known this great man from whom I learned invaluable lessons about living a gospel-centered life and about dying in Christ. I testify that the gospel, which he loved so well, is true. Goodbye, my dear friend. I love you. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Speaker: Terry Clegg

Brothers and sisters may I begin by simply saying that I love Clay Gorton. I’m grateful for what I consider to be an eternal friendship with a remarkable individual. I’m grateful to the Gorton family that you would be kind enough to ask me on this very special occasion to share a thought or two.

I’ve had the wonderful opportunity over the last several years to serve with Brother Clay Gorton in the Bountiful Temple. During that period of time I’ve had many special experiences with Brother Clay. Brother Clay is a remarkable man.

Some time ago, we had the opportunity of traveling to England together. The purpose of that trip was spiritual and historical. One of the historical sites that Brother Clay was anxious to visit in England was Stonehenge. I don’t know how many of you are familiar with this, what many refer to as a ‘wonder of the world’. It’s located near Salisbury; it’s located in the Salisbury Plane. It’s a series of large stones that have somehow been placed vertically in a circular pattern. There is more than one circle and there are capstones joining the large stones that stand in a vertical fashion. Clay was absolutely taken back at the opportunity to visit this site. Stonehenge is a very secure location today. There’s a large fence around the structure. There are security guards and as we walked around the circumference of the site I became a little panicked at a certain point in time because I couldn’t find Clay. I walked the path more than once and I couldn’t seem to locate him. Then finally, to my amazement I looked and here was Brother Clay Gorton walking, he has somehow penetrated the fence and had convinced a security guard to assist him and the two of them were walking among the stones. I will never forget Brother Clay pacing off the footage between the stones, and then at one point, I viewed him lying on his back with a camera photographing the stones in a very remarkable position. Clay was like that. He had a curious way of wanting to understand all things.

Another site we had the opportunity to visit in England was the John Benbow Farm, Hill Farm where Wilford Woodruff baptized well over a thousand of the United Brethren. Some of you and some of the family members, Podge, I believe know that Clay has ancestors that were very much involved in that process. As we visited that site, just the two of us on a summer day, Clay became very emotional and he wept openly. Then his curiosity had a way of taking over. In the summer this small pond becomes covered with moss and Clay was curious how those brethren, well over a hundred and fifty years ago, would have cleared away the moss in order to perform baptisms. So I watched as Brother Clay removed his shoes and his socks, and rolled his pant legs up and waded into the pond. I will never forget the experience.

Clay Gorton was a wonderful man, is a wonderful man, with a thirst for knowledge and understanding. Brother Gorton also had great faith. I will never forget sitting in the sealing office on one occasion and he turned to me and he said, "Terry, I believe I finally understand what faith is." Then he said the following, "As memory is a mental record of the past, faith is a witness and mental record of the future." That impressed me, and that touched me.

Brothers and sisters I bear testimony to you as one who was close to Brother Clay Gorton in the final days of his life here upon the earth. That he had great faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. He had great faith in the peace and spirit that comes, a sweet spirit that can come through death.

Brother Clay Gorton loved his family. Dear Podge, on many occasions your sweet husband talked openly to me about his love for you. Oh, how he loved you. How concerned he has always been about your health and your well being. Brother Clay Gorton loved his children. He had no greater desire for his children than that of knowing that they were actively involved in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. That they had testimonies and were faithful in every way. He loved his family. He loved all of you dearly.

When I think of Brother Clay Gorton, and when I think of you Podge as well, I’m reminded of a passage of scripture in the 76th section of the Doctrine and Covenants. I believe this really says it all...

"5 For thus saith the Lord--I, the Lord, am merciful and gracious unto those who fear me, and delight to honor those who serve me in righteousness and in truth unto the end.

6 Great shall be their reward and eternal shall be their glory.

7 And to them will I reveal all mysteries, yea, all the hidden mysteries of my kingdom from days of old, and for ages to come, will I make known unto them the good pleasure of my will concerning all things pertaining to my kingdom.

8 Yea, even the wonders of eternity shall they know, and things to come will I show them, even the things of many generations.

10 For by my Spirit will I enlighten them, and by my power will I make known unto them the secrets of my will--yea, even those things which eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor yet entered into the heart of man." [9]

A great man once asked the question, in the Book of Job, "If a man die, shall he live [again]?" [10] Then he answered that question with these words,

"25 For I know [that] my redeemer liveth, and [that] he shall stand at the latter [day] upon the earth:

26 And [though] after my skin [worms] destroy this [body], yet in my flesh shall I see God:

27 Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; [though] my reins be consumed within me." [11]

I testify to you that Brother Clay Gorton knows the Lord Jesus Christ. And I bear testimony to you Podge, and to the Gorton family, that all will be well. I pray with all of my heart and with any influence that I might have. It is my prayer that the veil, from time to time, might be thin, that the special relationship between a husband and wife will be renewed, from time to time. In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Musical number: "How Great Thou Art" by Cathy Dalyrmple, accompanied by Becky Malm

Remarks: Bishop Jerry Allen

Thank you for that beautiful music, Clay loved beautiful music.

We’d like to recognize the pallbearers; Christopher Gorton, Joshua Conley, Jereme Conley, Ryan Brown, Joe Gorton, Chris Horne, Jeremy Evens, Troy Petersen, Joel McClellan, David Gorton and honorary pallbearer Daniel Mason.

I’d like to thank you on behalf of the family for those who participated in this service and express the sincere appreciation of the family to each of you for your attendance. The interment and grave site service will be held at the Lakeview Memorial Park, which is located here in Bountiful at 1640 East Lakeview Drive, where McKay Burton, a long time family friend will dedicate the grave. There will be no police escort to the cemetery, so please obey all traffic signals and laws. The procession will travel slowly so that you’ll be able to catch up in the event you become separated. Members of the family and their guests are invited to return to this building, following the grave site, for a luncheon.

After my remarks we will hear from Elder Corbridge. And after his remarks we will close by singing hymn 152, 'God Be With You Till We Meet Again', after which the benediction will be given by Shane Conley, a son in law.

You know as I ponder and thought about Clay the last few days, we have quite a bit in common. Clay loved to fly airplanes, and I loved to fix them. Clay loved to write, and I loved to read his writings. I loved to ask questions, and he loved to answer them. Clay was brilliant, maybe that’s where it stopped... But, he was certainly one that I wanted to measure up, in the hope that someday I could become like the good qualities of Clay.

Alma wrote at length about the great plan of happiness and how death is a part of this plan of happiness and that seems a little bit contradictory as we weep somewhat, but our Father in Heaven knew that that would happen. For each of us it’s a loss of a loved one, thou from a different perspective. For Podge, it was her sweet eternal companion. Wonderful father, grandpa, great grandpa. Wonderful friend, neighbor and ward member. To many worldwide he was simply just 'gramps'. Excuse me for me... He was one of my mentors. Not from a formal sense that you would think to where we spend hours together, but as I carefully watched Clay, his great testimony of the Savior, his willingness to come each week and to prepare himself to worship the Savior. His willingness to raise his hand, to show the Holy Ghost he was ready to be taught and ready to participate, to where he was answers to prayers. Prayers that I’ve had that he never knew he answered, or was a part of an answer to my prayers.

I cherish the times we sat in our office and he taught me well, as I had conversations with him. But, most of all for me, he reminds me of a modern day Captain Moroni. This is Clay, the practical application of Captain Moroni,

"12 And it came to pass that he rent his coat; and he took a piece thereof, and wrote upon it--In memory of our God, our religion, and freedom, and our peace, our wives, and our children--and he fastened it upon the end of a pole.

13 And he fastened on his head-plate, and his breastplate, and his shields, and girded on his armor about his loins; and he took the pole, which had on the end thereof his rent coat, (and he called it the title of liberty) and he bowed himself to the earth, and he prayed mightily unto his God for the blessings of liberty to rest upon his brethren…" [12]

“17 Yea, verily, verily I say unto you, if all men had been, and were, and ever would be, like unto Moroni, (or Clay Gorton) behold, the very powers of hell would have been shaken forever; yea, the devil would never have power over the hearts of the children of men." [13]

As I think about Clay, many thoughts come to my mind. But, the one most of all that comes to my mind is his testimony of Jesus Christ as his Savior and his Redeemer. His understanding of the Atonement and how it applied in his life. It reminded me of the words of President Packer in understanding the Atonement. President Packer says, "There are times you cannot mend that which you have broken. Perhaps the offense was long ago, or the injured refused your penance. Perhaps the damage was so severe that you cannot fix it no matter how desperately you want to... When your desire is firm and you are willing to pay the 'uttermost farthing,' the law of restitution is suspended. Your obligation is transferred to the Lord. He will settle your accounts. I repeat, save for the exception of the very few who defect to perdition, there is no habit, no addiction, no rebellion, no transgression, no apostasy, no crime exempted from the promise of complete forgiveness. That is the promise of the atonement of Christ." [14] Clay Gorton understood that, he understood not only the redeeming qualities of the Atonement in his life, but also the enabling powers that come along with it, that allowed him to accomplish so much.

So our challenge today is to reexamine each of our lives as we think about Clay and do those things that we can to help draw closer to our Savior, like Clay. Most importantly today we bear witness of the divinity of the Lord Jesus Christ. That He lives and that we shall too live with him again. We testify to you that the Lord Jesus Christ, in fact, was resurrected as the prophets had testified from the beginning of the earth. What a comfort to know that Clay will be resurrected, that he's not dead, that he will live on. That we too can live with him.

Brothers and sisters, I bear witness to you the reality of Jesus’ resurrection. I bear witness to you of the resurrection and family reunion that awaits all of us after death. I bear witness to you of the love our Father has for each of us. He knows us, He understands our grief. He sent His Son to overcome death. Christ's victory over death is a victory for all of us. I know that our redeemer lives. I leave you my testimony in the sacred name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Speaker: Elder Lawrence E. Corbridge

Henry Clay Gorton. There are words in the English language that evoke within us feelings of light and gratitude, beauty; Galilee, Nazareth, Gethsemane, Palmyra, Nauvoo. Those words, at least for me and I’m sure for all of us, have significance and are beautiful words because of the person associated with those places. The words of Henry Clay Gorton are in that same category for me. In other words, because of President Gorton and Sister Gorton, and President and Sister Scott before them in Argentina, in other words… Mendoza, Godoy Cruz, Cordoba, Villa Belgrano.

What an honor it is for me to be here with you and to just share a few thoughts as we conclude this memorial service for this great man. We have, Jackie my wife and I had the opportunity of serving with missionaries in Chile. Occasionally, the missionaries that we served with will ask me, "President I don't know what to call you anymore... I mean, should I call you President or Larry or Brother Corbridge. What do I call you?" I always respond to that by saying, "Call me whatever you want." But, in my head I'm always thinking President Gorton will always be President Gorton for me. So I'll refer to him in that regard.

A week ago Sunday was Father's Day. After completing an assignment I had earlier in the day, I went to my father's grave site. I was supposed to meet with my mother and sister at the time, but I got there late and they had left. And better so, because had they been there, we would have talked and we would have visited. But, as a result of that I wouldn't have come to learn the things that I learned being there alone. There's just three things that I want to share with you that I learned on that occasion. That I hope will be helpful for us here as we celebrate the life of President Gorton. And in the same process, think about what he is about to do and think about what we are to do.

The first thing I learned is that a grave site... Brother McKay Burton in another hour or so is going to dedicate the grave of President Gorton. That is not just ritual. That's not just something nice that we do to make all of us feel better. He holding the Holy Melchizedek Priesthood will dedicate that grave site as a holy place. It will become a consecrated place. That was one thing I learned as a result of being there. I only intended to stay there for a few minutes. There were people back home waiting for me and yet the spirit restrained me from leaving. I just stood there thinking, praying, thinking some more and came to understand that a grave site is sacred ground. That it is a place of revelation. It is a place to go to be taught, a holy place.

The second thing I learned was this, as I sat there thinking about my father, I wondered what is it that my father would say to me now. What would dad tell me? As I thought about that another thought came to me. That is that I propose to you, if you were dead and somebody is standing on your grave site and they are thinking, "What would he say to me?" What did he say during his lifetime? What is it that I can remember that she taught me that would be of benefit to me now? That would give me courage, that would give me guidance and direction now. What would they think of? As I thought about what would my father say to me, I was not thinking or expecting the heavens to part and to necessarily hear what dad would say to me now having been on the other side of the veil for a few years. I was rather thinking in the context of the things that I remember dad to have said to me and things that he has taught me to. What can I draw from that? What can help me today? So again, I ask you the question, "What if it were you? What would people think of? What would they say?" Or, if you're not dead... let’s do it today. What do people today think of you? When they think of the things that you have said... yes, example is important and your example with bless the lives of many people. But, as they think about your words, what you have said, what you have spoken, what will come to their mind? What do you talk about? What is the level of our conversation? If I think of, for example my grandmother, I know what she would say. Grandma Corbridge to me would say, "Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His rightness and all else will be added unto you." I know that's what she would say because I heard her say that so much in her lifetime. As I think about, we don't have to wonder very much, or think very long, in terms of wondering what is it that President Gorton would say to us. One of the many remarkable characteristics of his life was that he was one... and I was so interested in the account Brother Barkdull shared with us about President Gorton at the outset of being called to be a missionary and not being able to give expression to his faith and so forth. Because that’s so uncharacteristic of him now, or at least we know if there was ever one that has opened his mouth, if there was ever one who spoke the principals as Nephi said, "The things of my soul." If there was ever one who spoke and gave expression and taught the things of the soul it was President Gorton. What do you talk about?

Here are some of the things that he said...

"When we die and leave these mortal shores, we may all be in for a few surprises. Most people seem to believe that the eternities beyond mortality are composed two homogeneous places, heaven and hell." I'm going to skip through some of this. "The fact of matter is that the afterlife is a vast, complicated series of locations, activities, feelings and opportunities."

"The potential of man is to become perfect like God. Since we are His children, we all have the possibility of growing to an eternal adulthood. To grow into the likeness of our heavenly parents." There's more to that, but I'll skip over it.

Here's another one... "The process of death is very much like taking off a coat. The body is the housing of the spirit. When the body dies the spirit continues to live in the same form that it was while in the body. We will look on the process of death, when we have passed through it, with about the same emotion as associated with taking off a cumbersome coat. Where will we go? Not far. The spirits assigned to this earth will remain on this earth after their period of mortality has ended. Society is organized in the spirit world much as it is in the physical world. We will find and be associated with those persons, or those groups, with whom we are most comfortable on earth. And we will continue to think, to learn and to do as we did in mortality."

Maybe just one last one... "Dear William, it is a very sad and often troublesome thing when friends and family members suffer. But, suffering is an essential part of mortality and so is dying. My belief is that among those who love the Lord, and who are trying to keep his commandants, there are no accidents. Think about it for a minute. Those who have been to the temple have been anointed to become rulers in eternity. To live with God and to inherit, with the Savior, all that the Father has. Do you not think that such people are under the specific and direct loving watch care of the Father? He is grooming them by every experience of their lives to assume their promised role in eternity."

Well, there is much more that we could think about in terms of what President Gorton has taught. But again, the thought that I would like to leave with us today is, "What will they say about you?"

In the Quorum of the Seventy there is a tradition that is followed, that those who are completing their assignment in that quorum have an opportunity to speak to the quorum and to share what is titled, "The things of my soul." You might recognize that that is a term that is taken from Nephi when he said that he wrote on the small plates of Nephi the things of his soul. Why is it, and that is a wonderful, powerful tradition, an amazing thing, why is it... why is it that we have to wait for an invitation to do that? Why is it that the most profound, the most important things that we know are bottled up inside of us and we don't talk about them? We don't open our mouths, and I’m not talking just about missionary work. I'm not talking about just talking to our friends and neighbors; I'm talking about talking to one another. What do you as a mother, what do you as a father still say? We are never too old; we are never too old to give expression to the things of our soul. And to teach those things that will be of a benefit and a blessing to others. Everyone has something to share. All of you know things that are important for others, to share.

The third thing that I learned, and I'll conclude with this, is what it was that came to me that my father would say to me. When he died we were in Chile and I was not able to be with him. To try to just say this quickly, he was... when we left to go to Chile, dad and I knew that we would never see each other again. He had pulmonary fibrosis and there was really no way, absent a miracle, that he would survive three years to see us return. And so, when a few months later he was dying, he had been a coma and in a few minutes when he woke up, I called from Chile. I said, "Dad, I'm sorry I'm not there. I wish that I could be with you." And he said... and this is what I learned that he would say to me again today, he said, "You have an important work to do there and I have an important work to do here."

That's also my testimony regarding President Gorton, that he has an important work to do there, where he is at. And you and I, every one of us, has an important work to do here. What is that work? That work is to exercise faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. It is to repent of our sins. It is to be baptized by priesthood authority for the remission of sins. Priesthood authority restored through Joseph Smith. It is to partake of the Sacrament worthily. It is by the laying on of hands, also by priesthood authority restored through Joseph Smith, to receive the blessing of having the supernal gift of the Holy Ghost in our lives. Everything depends on that. Pay whatever price you have to pay, do whatever you have to do, make whatever sacrifice you have to make in order to get and keep in your life the spirit and power of God. Everything depends on that. Receive the blessings and ordnances of the temple, then stay the course. Endure to the end. That doesn’t mean gut it out, that doesn't mean bite the bullet. It means to simply do everything that is necessary to get and keep in your life the spirit of the Holy Ghost. Then just never ever, ever, never ever, ever, ever, never ever, ever, ever, never give up. You just stay, we just stay on the path and we will make it. We will have the same and realize the same blessings that we all know President Gorton is realizing now.

I testify that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. He is the Redeemer of all mankind. He bore the weight of the sins of all mankind. He made it possible that we might be redeemed, all to the end. That we might receive the power of God in our lives. May that be our blessing I pray, in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Benediction: Shane Conley

Our Father, we are grateful to have been here. To have been witness to the life of this fine man, our father, our brother, our leader, our president, one whom we love. Thank you for our association with him. We are grateful to have been blessed with the spirit this day. May we keep this with us, as a reminder of the love which Clay had for thee. Bless those who have sacrificed so much to make this an experience and a blessing for the family members and friends. Those ward members who have sacrificed, will thou bless them. Bless the family with thy spirit of comfort and each of us that we might carry this work, is our prayer. In the name of Jesus Christ, our Savior, Amen.


[1] Matthew 25:21

[2]Neal A. Maxwell, "Encircled in the Arms of His Love,"Ensign, Nov. 2002

[3] Elder Russell M. Nelson, "Set in Order Thy House," Ensign, Nov. 2001

[4] See Gerald N. Lund, "Old Testament Types and Symbols," Sperry Symposium, 184-86

[5] See Wayne Brickey, "From the Altar to the Throne," an address given at BYU Education Week, 2006

[6] Alma P. Burton, ed., Discourses of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 128

[7] John A. Widtsoe, ed., Gospel Doctrine: Selections from the Sermons and Writings of Joseph F. Smith, p. 435

[8] Fames E. Faust, "A Royal Priesthood," Ensign, May 2006, emphasis added

[9] Doctrine and Covenants, section 76: 5-8,10

[10] Job 14: 14

[11] Job 19: 25-27

[12] Alma 46: 12-13

[13] Alma 48: 17

[14] President Boyd K. Packer, The Brilliant Morning of Forgiveness, Ensign (CR), November 1995, p.18