He received a law degree from the University of Utah. in 1948. While at the university, he was active in Delta Phi, the returned missionaries' social fraternity. He later was an adviser to this group.
He never practiced law, but worked for the church's seminary and institute system until becoming a general authority.
As a general authority, he served for a number of years as military relations representative of the church.
His service in the Navy is credited with his introduction to his wife-to-be, Maxine Christensen, who was living in Hawaii with her parents at the time. Their four-year courtship led to marriage in the Hawaii Temple on Aug. 27, 1949. They were the parents of four daughters and a son.
After returning from the service, Elder Hanks continued his schooling and entered the teaching profession, becoming a principal and teacher of the seminary at West High. He was also an instructor at the Institute of Religion at the University of Utah.
He held these positions at the time of his call to the First Council of the Seventy. He remained as an institute teacher until 1970.
"I grew up participating in all kinds of sports, partly because of the example of my brother, who was an outstanding athlete, and partly because it was born in us, I guess," Elder Hanks said in a 1984 Church News interview. He was a member of the 19th Ward basketball team that won the all-Church championship in 1947.
Elder Hanks also earned his Master M-Man award and during June conferences of the MIA performed a number of special services for the MIA general boards.
For a number of years at the Mission Home, Elder Hanks taught classes in the Book of Mormon and conducted a "difficult" questions class.
He was a popular fireside speaker at the time of his call as a general authority and was noted for his attention-holding style of speech and for his rapport with audiences, especially young people.
Elder Hanks was active in numerous civic programs and was especially active in Scouting. He formerly served on Scouting's National Executive Board and International Committee and also was a member of the National Advisory Board. In 1988, he received the Silver Buffalo, the highest honor of the Boy Scouts of America, for nationwide service to youth.
He also was chairman of the Deseret Gym board and in February 1995 spoke at the gym's 85th anniversary open house.
Elder Hanks and his wife also founded the Hanks Foundation, a Salt Lake humanitarian group.
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