Gordon B Hinckley is a former president and prophet of the Mormon Church. The role of prophet and overseer is vital to the success and smooth operation of the Mormon Church. Mormons believe that in these latter-days, God calls a prophet to lead the people and receive continuing revelation. As prophet, he also assumes control of the Church Board of Education and Board of Trustees that runs the Church Educational System as well. Gordon B Hinckley has been an effective and well-received prophet, as he guides and counsels Mormons throughout the world. He serves as the oldest prophet in the history of the church.
Hinckley was born and reared in Salt Lake City, Utah, and as a young man, attended the University of Utah, receiving an education in journalism. He took time away from his studies to serve as a Mormon missionary in the London, England mission. The opportunity was quite unique for Mormon young men during the Depression Era. During his mission, he came into contact with Joseph F. Merrill, who acted as his mission president. During his mission, Hinckley traveled throughout Europe, proclaiming the gospel for two years. His relationship with President Merrill led him to become involved in the project to make better materials for the missionaries to use when proselyting. Upon completion of his mission, he was offered a job as executive secretary of the Radio, Publicity, and Missionary Literature Committee. He gained skills in using the era’s new communication technologies. In 1937, Hinckley was sealed to his wife, Marjorie Pay, who recently passed away in 2004. They had been married for nearly 67 years at the time of her death.
Early Callings in the Mormon Church
Hinckley served for years within the church, as stake president, a General Authority and then Assistant to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. He then became an Apostle of the Twelve. In 1981, Hinckley was called as a fourth member of the First Presidency, which is an optional calling fulfilled only during times of necessity. At this time, the prophet, Spencer W. Kimball and his elderly counselors were undergoing health problems and President Hinckley took over much of their responsibilities. He was informally referred to in the press as "acting President of the Church." He then served as third, second, and first counselor to the prophet. After Kimball passed, Ezra Taft Benson assumed role as prophet, however he too developed serious health problems. During much of Benson’s time as prophet, Hinckley again began to take over many of the prophet’s duties. After Howard W. Hunter passed on, Hinckley became the official prophet of the Mormon Church.
Hinckley’s Accomplishments as Prophet
Gordon B Hinckley serves as the oldest president in Church history. He has been very active in heightening the awareness of Mormonism in the world, appearing on television programs like Larry King Live. He has bettered the image of the Mormon Church worldwide. Hinckley is also responsible for the document, “The Family: A Proclamation to the World.” This statement emphasizes the importance of the family here on earth and outlines the sacred duties and responsibilities of mothers and fathers within the home.
Hinckley has been described as the most-traveled Church leader, past or present. He has visited saints throughout the world, dedicating temple and sharing the gospel. In 2006, Brigham Young University began constructing a new building, named in his honor, named the “Gordon B. Hinckley Alumni and Visitors Center.”
Hinckley has had extensive experience in public relations working for the church. He has made Mormons more recognized throughout the world. He has met with foreign diplomats and leaders, helping to bridge the gap between Mormons and the rest of the world. His list of awards and recognitions is long. In 2004, President George W. bush awarded Hinckley with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He has received numerous awards from various universities, clubs, and charities. He has been honored by the National Conference (formerly the Conference of Christians and Jews) for his contributions in promoting tolerance and understanding in the world. His contributions to the Mormon Church are tremendous. He has done much to develop and promote the Church of Jesus Christ on the earth throughout his lifetime. He has inspired many members of the church to do the same. He has made Mormons more well-known and recognized world-wide.