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LDS President Gordon B. Hinckley dies at age 97

LDS president met call with humility, vigor

Published: Monday, Jan. 28 2008 12:00 a.m. MST

• The disbanding, in March 2002, of stake missions, with the bishop and ward taking over the missionary, activation and retention responsibilities.

• Beginning with the April 2002 general conference, the audiovisual version of conference proceedings becoming available on DVDs.

• In the October 2002 conference, the extension of the temple recommend period to two years, elimination of mission farewells (although the missionary or missionaries could speak in sacrament meetings before departure and after returning) and heightened standards of worthiness for missionaries.

• The March 2003 announcement that interviewing prospective deacons and teachers and their quorum officers could be delegated to bishopric counselors.

• Elimination of prayer meetings before sacrament meetings after July 2003.

• Beginning in January 2004, Sunday School presidents received responsibility for administering the teacher improvement program and meetinghouse libraries.

• The abolition in early 2004 of the Know Your Religion Series. Many other Church Educational System programs remained in place, however.

• The announcement in the April 2004 general conference that the Sunday School and Young Men general presidencies would be general church officers. Members of the Seventies had filled those positions since the October 1979 conference.

Also in late December 2000, the number of languages in which the Book of Mormon or parts of the Book of Mormon was published reached 100. The total ultimately grew to 105.

He also had roles in the celebration of Utah's statehood centennial in 1996 and the sesquicentennial of the arrival of the Mormon pioneers the next year.

Nine months after he was sustained, construction began on a new nine-story Deseret Morning News building. This building, on the southwest corner of Regent and 100 South, was dedicated about 1 1/2 years later in May 1997.

Another advancement came in the Deseret Morning News Crossroads service, through which computer users were able to receive texts of general conference talks as soon as they were put online. A church Web site was also established in December 1996.

Major curriculum changes for priesthood, Relief Society, young men, young women and Primary were implemented for 1998.

During his stewardship, President Hinckley called Elder Henry B. Eyring to fill the vacancy in the Twelve created by President Hunter's death. He also called Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Elder David A. Bednar and Quentin L. Cook as apostles.

President Hinckley also called two presidents of Brigham Young University — Elder Merrill J. Bateman in 1995 replacing Rex Lee, and Elder Bateman's successor, Elder Cecil O. Samuelson, in 2003. Elder Bateman was presiding bishop when he was called and Elder Samuelson a member of the Presidency of the Seventy. It marked the first time currently serving general authorities presided over the Provo school.

He also installed Kim B. Clark, former dean of the Harvard Business School and church member, as the 15th president of BYU-Idaho in 2005.

President Hinckley also presided over the biggest construction undertaking in church history. In the early 1990s, the church was building a chapel a day; 10 years later it was averaging almost two a day. There were also 18 missionary training centers, 434 seminary buildings and 313 Institutes of Religion.

One crowning achievement was the rebuilding of the Nauvoo Temple, for which reconstruction was announced in 1999 and was dedicated in June 2002.

President Hinckley was sustained as an Assistant to the Twelve April 6, 1958, and a member of the Twelve in general conference on Oct. 1, 1961. He filled the vacancy in the Twelve created when Elder Hugh B. Brown was sustained as a counselor to President David O. McKay.

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