January 27, 2008
Gordon B. Hinckley, RIP
Posted by Gordon Smith

Gordon B. Hinckley, President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, died this evening at the age of 97.

It would be hard to overestimate his influence on the modern face of Mormonism. Hinckley worked for the Church his entire adult life, beginning immediately after serving his mission in England in the mid-1930s. Prior to being ordained an Apostle in 1961, Hinckley worked in the Church's PR department, but his biggest impact on the Church came while he was in his 80s and 90s:

When he became the church's 15th president in March 1995 at 84 years old, Hinckley essentially had been leading the church for more than a decade due to the frail health of his predecessors. He was determined to defy the view of LDS presidents as feeble, secretive and quaintly parochial. He dazzled people - members and outsiders alike - with his encyclopedic memory and almost superhuman work ethic. During his nearly 13 years as president, Hinckley gave more than 2,000 speeches, visited more than 150 countries, and greeted hundreds of diplomats and ambassadors. He was interviewed by journalists from nearly every major American newspaper, charming many with his folksy wisdom and self-deprecating humor. "Treat me well," he would say with a sly grin. "I'm just an old man."

His death was not a surprise, but as is always the case when a beloved person dies, I am sad to face tomorrow without him.


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