One of the hallmarks of President Gordon B. Hinckley's time as president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was building temples.
In 1953, President David O. McKay assigned him to pioneer a way for members who speak foreign languages to take part in temple ordinances. He solved the problem by producing a film that was translated into multiple languages and used in temples around the world, according to his biography, "Go Forward With Faith."
When he became the church president in 1995, there were 47 operating temples. He was inspired to begin constructing smaller, more serviceable temples in the fall of 1997, and there were 124 operating temples when President Hinckley died on Jan. 27, 2008, according to the Deseret News archives.
"We are determined, brethren, to take the temples to the people and afford them every opportunity for the very precious blessings that come of temple worship," President Hinckley said in a general conference talk in October 1997.
Now, nearly a decade after President Hinckley's death, one of his grandsons, David Hinckley, is quietly carrying on that temple-building legacy.
David Hinckley, son of Elder Richard G. Hinckley, who has been an emeritus General Authority Seventy since 2011, lives in the Salt Lake City area with his wife and four children. He works for Spectrum Engineers as an electrical engineer.
In recent years, David Hinckley has produced electrical plans specifically designed for four LDS temples. The first was the Indianapolis Indiana Temple in 2011, followed by the recently dedicated Sapporo Japan Temple. Since then, David Hinckley has done similar work with the Meridian Idaho and Tucson Arizona Temples, both still under construction.
In his career, David Hinckley has worked on a variety of projects of all different levels and complexities, but he said the temple projects have been especially meaningful. As a young man, David Hinckley recalls, he attended four or five temple dedications and sat in the celestial room as his grandfather said the dedicatory prayer. Those and other experiences infused in him a deep appreciation for the sacredness of temples, he said.
"It's been a very rewarding experience for me," David Hinckley said. "Not only because of my faith and a personal love of temples, but also seeing the importance of them to my grandfather and the rest of my family. That has made it an experience for which I am truly grateful."
As an electrical engineer, he works under the direction of the architect and creates a plan for the electrician that includes outside and interior lighting.
The outside lighting highlights the temple as a monument, David Hinckley said.
"We want to attract people's attention," he said.
The interior plans tell the electrician where to install the power distribution, light fixtures, speakers, video equipment, controls for lighting, fire alarm systems, phone and data networking, cameras and anything with wiring, David Hinckley said.11 comments on this story
It's important to note the electrical engineer works closely with the LDS Church's audiovisual department to coordinate plans for such things as dimming lights, opening/closing curtains and video screens, David Hinckley said.
"Temple plans are obviously different from a school or office building," he said. "We figure out what infrastructure they need. We hope the appearance adds to the patron's experience."
In the process of all this, David Hinckley hopes he is making his grandfather proud.
"I've been blessed with the opportunity to help with the building of temples and I'm not taking it for granted," he said.