Gordon B. Hinckley

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Gordon B. Hinckley, prophet and president, at age 78

Gordon Bitner Hinckley was the fifteenth prophet and president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, commonly known as the Mormon Church. He held that position from March 12, 1995 until January 27, 2008 when he died. He had served in a full-time capacity for the Church since 1958. During his tenure as president of the Church, Hinckley traveled the world extensively and met with many journalists, government officials, civic leaders, and heads of state. At 97 years old, he was the oldest person ever to preside over the Church. For more information, see Beloved Church President Gordon B. Hinckley dies at 97.


Gordon B. Hinckley was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, on June 23, 1910, to Bryant S. and Ada Bitner Hinckley. He attended the University of Utah where he received a journalism degree. Afterward he served a mission to Great Britain. When he returned from his mission, Gordon B. Hinckley accepted a job with the Church's public relations department. In 1937, he married Marjorie Pay. They were the parents of five children. They were married for 67 years before her death in 2004. He died in his home at 7 PM on January 27, 2008, of causes incident to age.

Some years after his death, scientists began to study the aging of President Gordon B. Hinckley's voice. Because President Hinckely did not smoke or drink, researchers were able to study recordings of his speeches and account for breathing, swallowing, and other changes without factoring in these irritants. (Read about the results of the study.)

Church Service

Gordon B. Hinckley served as a General Authority in the Church of Jesus Christ since 1958. He became the prophet after the death of Howard W. Hunter in 1995. During his formal introduction as the Church's new president a reporter asked "'What will be your focus? What will be the theme of your administration?' Instinctively the prophet answered, 'Carry on. Yes. Our theme will be to carry on the great work which has been furthered by our predecessors.'" [1]

That is exactly what he did; during his presidency Gordon B. Hinckley made some impressive strides in furthering the work of his predecessors:

  • Church membership grew from 9 million to over 13 million members as of 2007.[2]
  • As of 2006, the number of Latter-day Saint temples worldwide grew from 27 to 122, with 13 more announced or under construction. The reason is simple, President Hinckley said, "The sacred and important work that goes on in temples must be accelerated, and for this to happen, it is necessary that temples be taken closer to the people rather than having the people travel so far to temples. … These temples are there to be used, and those who use them will reap a blessing of harmony in their lives. They will draw nearer unto the Lord, and He will draw nearer unto them." [3] There are now temples on every continent except Antarctica.
  • In 1995, The Family: A Proclamation to the World, which states the Church's beliefs and stand on the importance of and role of families, was announced and read.
  • Then in 2001, Gordon B. Hinckley, announced the Perpetual Education Fund, "a large endowment that provides loans to students in developing nations. It is funded entirely by donations, with the assumption that students will pay back into the fund when they are able." [4]
  • The Church's humanitarian efforts grew. In 1994, President Gordon B. Hinckley stated, "Some 98 million dollars in cash and in-kind assistance have been distributed in the past year."[5] The White House recognized Gordon B. Hinckley's humanitarian efforts, and the Church's, when he received the Medal of Freedom in 2004. "The White House said that, as president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints since 1995, Hinckley has 'inspired millions and has led efforts to improve humanitarian aid, disaster relief, and education funding across the globe.'" [6]
  • The prophet President Gordon B. Hinckley traveled extensively, visiting members and meeting with dignitaries in many countries on all of the continents except Antarctica.
  • The prophet, Gordon B. Hinckley, advocated values which have made the United States great, values that are slipping away, such as: marriage between a man and woman, no abortion, no pre-marital sex and complete fidelity within marriage, no drugs, alcohol, or tobacco use, the importance of families, and other values. When asked if the best way to correct the slipping values was to ban certain things, the prophet replied, " The way to correct that is to teach. Joseph Smith the founder of this Church said ‘I teach the people correct principles and they govern themselves’. That’s the essence of the thing. Teach the principle and learn and let people govern themselves." [7]
  • Under the direction of President Gordon B. Hinckley the missionary program changed its focus to member missionary work, encouraging members to share the gospel message with their friends and neighbors. The prophet Gordon B. Hinckley taught members, “Let us be more neighborly. Let us be kind. Let us be gracious to those in our midst who are not of our faith. Let us be helpful and generous and good. Let us be Latter-day Saints in the full and complete meaning of that word.” [8]

To see a video of late President Gordon B. Hinckley testifying of the restoration of the gospel in the Sacred Grove, click here.

Books by and about President Hinckley

  • Be Thou an Example
  • Discourses of President Gordon B. Hinckley, Volume 1:1995-1999
  • Discourses of President Gordon B. Hinckley, Volume 2:2000-2004
  • Faith: The Essence of True Religion
  • One Bright Shining Hope
  • Stand a Little Taller: Counsel and Inspiration for Each Day of the Year
  • Standing for Something: 10 Neglected Virtues That Will Heal Our Hearts and Homes
  • Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley
  • Truth Restored
  • Way to Be! 9 Ways to Be Happy and Make Something of Your Life
  • Go Forward with Faith: The Biography of President Gordon B. Hinckley by Sheri L. Dew

Quotes from President Gordon B. Hinckley

  • "The time has come for us to stand a little taller, to lift our eyes and stretch our minds to a greater comprehension and understanding of the grand millennial mission of this The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This is a season to be strong. It is a time to move forward without hesitation, knowing well the meaning, the breadth, and the importance of our mission. It is a time to do what is right regardless of the consequences that might follow. It is a time to be found keeping the commandments. It is a season to reach out with kindness and love to those in distress and to those who are wandering in darkness and pain. It is a time to be considerate and good, decent and courteous toward one another in all of our relationships. In other words, to become more Christlike."
("This Is the Work of the Master," Ensign, May 1995
  • “This church does not belong to its President. Its head is the Lord Jesus Christ, whose name each of us has taken upon ourselves. We are all in this great endeavor together. We are here to assist our Father in His work and His glory.... Your obligation is as serious in your sphere of responsibility as is my obligation in my sphere. No calling in this church is small or of little consequence.”
“This Is the Work of the Master,” Ensign, May 1995
  • "I urge our people everywhere, with all of the persuasiveness of which I am capable, to live worthy to hold a temple recommend, to secure one and regard it as a precious asset, and to make a greater effort to go to the house of the Lord and partake of the spirit and the blessings to be had therein. I am satisfied that every man or woman who goes to the temple in a spirit of sincerity and faith leaves the house of the Lord a better man or woman. There is need for constant improvement in all of our lives. There is need occasionally to leave the noise and the tumult of the world and step within the walls of a sacred house of God, there to feel His spirit in an environment of holiness and peace."
"Of Missions, Temples, and Stewardship," Ensign, Nov. 1995
  • "Be grateful. Be smart. Be clean. Be true. Be humble. Be prayerful."
“A Prophet’s Counsel and Prayer for Youth,” New Era, Jan. 2001
  • "Let us all try to stand a little taller, rise a little higher, be a little better. Make the extra effort. You will be happier."
“The Quest for Excellence,” Ensign, Sept. 1999
  • "With the growth of the Church, we likely could never build a hall large enough to accommodate all who would wish to assemble in one place. Nor would accelerating travel costs make possible their coming. The gifts of science have provided a more convenient way. We are confident that as the work of the Lord expands, he will inspire men to develop the means whereby the membership of the Church, wherever they may be, can be counseled in an intimate and personal way by his chosen prophet. Communication is the sinew that binds the Church as one great family. Between those facilities which are now available and those which are on the horizon, we shall be able to converse one with another according to the needs and circumstances of the time."
October 1981 General Conference

(NOTE: The "Anyone who imagines that bliss is normal ..." quote formerly listed here was used by President Hinckley in a devotional at BYU in 1973"[1] Although this quote is often attributed to President Hinckley, he was quoting Jenkin Lloyd Jones, a columnist for the Deseret News. See "Big Rock Candy Mountains," Deseret News, 12 June 1973, A4)

See also Mormon Should Mean "More Good", a conference talk by President Hinckley

Stories from the Life of Gordon B. Hinckley

See also Gordon B. Hinckley Stories.

Videos about Gordon B. Hinckley

An Emotional Final Testimony

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  1. Jeffrey R. Holland, “President Gordon B. Hinckley: Stalwart and Brave He Stands,” Ensign, June 1995, 2–3
  2. Newsroom, "One Million Missionaries, Thirteen Million Members," June 25, 2007.
  3. Gordon B. Hinckley, “Rejoice in This Great Era of Temple Building,” Ensign, Nov. 1985, 53
  4. Gordon B. Hinckley: Wikipedia
  5. Gordon B. Hinckley, “I Was an Hungered, and Ye Gave Me Meat,” Ensign, May 2004, 58.
  6. Gehrke, Robert. Hinckley to receive Medal of Freedom at the White House June 23, 2004. Salt Lake Tribune.
  7. Ransom, David, COMPASS INTERVIEW WITH PRESIDENT GORDON B. HINCKLEY Aired: November 09, 1997 Australian Broadcasting Corporation
  8. Gordon B. Hinckley, “Inspirational Thoughts,” Ensign, June 2004, 3.

External Links

Presidents of the Mormon Church
Joseph Smith | Brigham Young | John Taylor | Wilford Woodruff | Lorenzo Snow | Joseph F. Smith | Heber J. Grant | George Albert Smith | David O. McKay | Joseph Fielding Smith | Harold B. Lee | Spencer W. Kimball | Ezra Taft Benson | Howard W. Hunter | Gordon B. Hinckley | Thomas S. Monson | Russell M. Nelson