Hinckley's life spanned the 20th century, a time marked by LDS global outreach and technological advances. Hie saw his church evolve from a tiny sect in the Intermountain West to a respected religious movement with more than 13 million members worldwide. He embraced each new communication device, from radio to satellite to YouTube, as a chance to spread the Mormon word.
He began his career in the 1930s as a missionary defending the faith on a soapbox in London's Hyde Park and lived to see the country's first viable Mormon candidate for president.
Through it all, Hinckley worked tirelessly to gain acceptance for his church on the world's stage. "We are not a weird people," Hinckley told Mike Wallace in a 1995 "60 Minutes" interview. With the shrewdness of a politician, Hinckley downplayed the more controversial aspects of LDS history.
He welcomed the world to Utah for the 2002 Olympic Winter Games, promising everyone they could get a drink here and accepted one of America's highest honors -- the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Sunday, January 27, 2008
GORDON B. HINCKLEY, 97
Leader of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Died Sunday. According to the Salt Lake Tribune:
Became the church's 15th president in March 1995, when he was 84 years old.