Soon after I read that President Hinckley had passed,Â IÂ came acrossÂ this photo.Â It wasÂ postedÂ by someone not a member of the Church, but an admirer of the Lousiville Kentucky temple.Â Â What a fitting tribute to President Hinckley’s visionary leadership.
It’s amazing to review what was accomplished during hisÂ 12 years as President of the Church.Â A too brief overview of President Hickley’s administration includes:
- The Family: A Proclamation to the World
- an unprecedentedÂ expansion of temples, nearly tripling in number
- theÂ creation of the Pertpetual Education Fund
- aÂ drive to travel and meet the Saints of the world
- a new era in Church public relations, including when the Winter Olympics came to Utah
- hisÂ three-point formula for strengthening new converts
- the construction ofÂ the Conference CenterÂ (which IÂ suggest shouldÂ be rededicated as the Gordon B. Hinckley Conference Center; his treeÂ isÂ the pulpit, after all)
I first came to love President Hinckley as a missionary in the MTC. Growing up as a semi-inactive youth, I was fairly clueless about the Gospel but still wanted to serve aÂ mission.Â When I arrived at the MTC, I was sort of mystified by my fellow traineeÂ missionaries talking about their favorite General Authorities as ifÂ they were sport stars with their own trading cards.Â
Watching my first General Conference in the MTC, I’ll never forget how President Hinckley won me over with hisÂ mix ofÂ humor with the discussion of serious issues.Â ThatÂ October 1991 priesthood session was a perfect example:Â
Altogether too many men, leaving their wives at home in the morning and going to work, where they find attractively dressed and attractively made-up young women, regard themselves as young and handsome, and as an irresistible catch. They complain that their wives do not look the same as they did twenty years ago when they married them. To which I say, Who would, after living with you for twenty years?
I will missÂ his humor, humility, optimism, and practical counsel.Â He did not lay claim to many dramatic revelations but hisÂ teachings were real and inspired.
Gordon B. Hinckley will be remembered as a great prophet andÂ leader of a church of millions.Â But more than just being a great leader,Â Craig rightfully calls President Hinckley a mentor.Â He was a mentor for me; his leadership was much more personal.Â And he will be sorely missed.