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

Other awards and recognitions included an honorary doctorate from Brigham Young University, where he served as chairman of the executive committee of the board of trustees. He received nine other honorary doctorates, seven from other Utah colleges or universities, one from BYU-Idaho and one from BYU-Hawaii.

President Hinckley joined at least three other Utahns who have received the nation's highest civilian award, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, when he was honored with it in June of 2004.

In May 1986, he received an honorary doctorate of humanities from Utah State University. That same month, he was awarded an honorary doctorate of laws at Westminster College. He also received an honorary doctorate from Southern Utah University in 1994 and Weber State University in 1999.

He also was president and board member of Deseret News Publishing Co.; and an officer or director of Beneficial Life Insurance Co., Bonneville International Corp., Radio World-Wide New York Inc., KSL Inc., KIRO Inc. of Seattle, Deseret Management Corp., Utah Power and Light Co. and Zions First National Bank.

After several years as a board member, he was named president and chairman of the Deseret News Publishing Co.'s executive committee in June 1971. He was released in early spring 1977 when President N. Eldon Tanner, then first counselor in the First Presidency, became concerned about President Hinckley's workload.

At the time of his appointment, the paper faced declines in circulation and profitability, but when he was released the paper was financially stronger than ever in its history.

Also while on the Deseret News board, he helped organize the annual Mark E. Petersen Awards Banquet to honor staff members for writing, service and other accomplishments.

President Hinckley wrote and edited a number of books as well as numerous church magazine articles, study manuals, pamphlets and scripts.

A biography, "Gordon B. Hinckley: Go Forward in Faith," was released in November 1996. Another biography, "Gordon B. Hinckley — Shoulder for the Lord," was released three months earlier. "Standing for Something" was released in early 2000. "Stand A Little Taller" was released in October 2001. Another book, "Way to Be," was released in August 2002.

Many church members will always recall Pesident Hinckley's accent on reading the Book of Mormon before the end of 2005. The First Presidency Message in the August 2005 Liahona and Ensign extended an invitation to all members to read the Book of Mormon by the end of the year.

"Those who read the Book of Mormon will be blessed with an added measure of the Spirit of the Lord, a greater resolve to obey His commandments, and a stronger testimony of the living reality of the Son of God," the First Presidency stated.

At a Sugar House Sons of Utah Pioneers banquet in 1986, he noted the urgency of building more temples. "There is so much more that needs to be done," he said. "It sometimes scares you to think of the responsibility of getting it done. We have not scratched the surface. The church is now a very small minority. It has to grow. It will."

In April 1998, he was the keynote speaker for the Western Region I conference of the National Association of Colored People in Salt Lake City. This historic first punctuated President Hinckley's efforts of building friendship and cooperation.

Reflecting on his life, President Hinckley once said in a 1961 memo to Elder Mark E. Petersen just after he had been sustained to the Quorum of the Twelve: "I know of no other young man in the church who has been so blessed. I had a great father and a highly gifted mother, and I have had the association of wonderful men since I went on a mission in 1933 when I first met President McKay, who called me to his office and talked with me about a paper I had written while in the Mission Home.

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