Anyway, as I DID nothing today (literally. Like I slept. That's it.) I have nothing to write but wanted to share another article about President Hinckley. (he at least deserves more blog coverage than Heath Ledger, right?)
This is from the New York Times. I like it because, well, sometimes it's nice to see him acknowledged for all the good things he did from a NON-churchy source (plus reading "Mr. Hinckley" kinda makes me giggle) .
Also it has some funny quotes. I *heart* our Prophet. I will miss him so much.
Gordon B. Hinckley, Mormon Leader, Is Dead at 97 Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company
Gordon B. Hinckley, the president and prophet of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who led Mormonism through a period of global expansion, died Sunday at his home in Salt Lake City. He was 97.
The church, which announced his death on its Web site, said a successor to Mr. Hinckley was not expected to be chosen until after his funeral.
Mr. Hinckley spent 46 years in the church’s top leadership ranks, 12 of those as its 15th president. He was the oldest president in the church’s history.
In a faith that is relatively young, founded in 1830, Mr. Hinckley’s impact was formative. He traveled to 60 countries and dedicated 95 of the church’s 124 temples, some on sites that he himself had surveyed and selected. Wherever he went, he drew large crowds of church members waving white handkerchiefs, a sign of affection that began in Chile and spread.
With his buoyant personality and affinity for public relations, Mr. Hinckley made Mormonism more familiar to the public and more accepted in the Christian fold. He gave news conferences and was the first church president to sit for interviews on “60 Minutes” and “Larry King Live.” When the Winter Olympics went to Salt Lake City in 2002, the church’s home base, he guided the church outreach campaign.
To emphasize its commonality with other churches, he changed the church’s logo, making the words “Jesus Christ” in the church’s name much larger than “Latter-day Saints.” He arranged to make the church’s huge library of genealogical records publicly available on the Internet.
“He’s been the face of the church, not only for church members, but more than any other president, to the world at large,” said Richard Lyman Bushman, professor of history emeritus at Columbia University, a member and scholar of the church. “He exposed himself to all these interviews and seemed to enjoy it. That has won the admiration of church members. We have been a little bit isolated and clannish, and it’s wonderful to see our church presented to the world.”
During his tenure, Mr. Hinckley faced tough questions about whether the church had muzzled critical scholars and about the role of Mormons in the Mountain Meadows massacre in 1857, when a wagon train of emigrants crossing the Utah territory was attacked. Under Mr. Hinckley, a church magazine published an article about the event and a memorial was constructed at the massacre site.
He would often disarm interrogators with peppery humor, once welcoming a reporter for The New Yorker magazine to his office with the greeting, “All writers should be put in a box and thrown in the sea.”
In President Hinckley’s term, the church grew to count more than 12 million members worldwide — more than the largest Lutheran denomination. It is now believed to be the fourth-largest church in the United States. (But the Mormon church has acknowledged reports that a significant percentage of new converts, especially overseas, do not remain active members.)
Mormon presidents serve in office until their death, but Mr. Hinckley stood out for his enduring vigor. When his wife of 67 years, Marjorie Pay Hinckley, died in 2004, he told Larry King: “The best thing you can do is just keep busy, keep working hard, so you’re not dwelling on it all the time. Work is the best antidote for sorrow.”
President Bush awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2004.
Gordon B. Hinckley was born on June 23, 1910, in Salt Lake City, a descendant of a governor of the Plymouth Colony. His grandfather joined the Mormons as a teenager in Nauvoo, Ill., where they had taken refuge in 1839 after being run out of Missouri. But four years later in Nauvoo, anti-Mormon mobs killed the church’s founder, Joseph Smith, and chased his followers out of the state. Mr. Hinckley said his grandfather was among those who made the trek by covered wagon and handcart across the Great Plains to Utah.
Mr. Hinckley returned 158 years later to Nauvoo as the 14th successor to Joseph Smith to dedicate the rebuilt temple, which had long ago been destroyed by a fire and tornado. “This is the greatest season in the history of the church,” he said in a news conference, “and it will only get better.”
He grew up in Salt Lake City, where his father ran the LDS Business College and invested in real estate. His mother was a former English teacher who kept a large library at home. He graduated from the University of Utah with an interest in writing, intending to become a journalist. But at 23, he accepted the call from the church to become a missionary in England, where he preached from a portable stand in Hyde Park in London.
After two years, Mr. Hinckley returned to Salt Lake City and informed headquarters that missionaries needed better materials to explain the church’s teachings to prospective converts. He was soon assigned to direct the church’s publicity efforts, which he did for the next 20 years. For seven years after that, he managed the church’s missionary program.
As the church was growing overseas in the 1950s, Mr. Hinckley came up with the idea of producing a film to be shown in temples as a part of the instructions in the ritual. The film, which teaches about salvation and redemption, was easily translated into many languages and is still part of temple ritual.
In 1961, Mr. Hinckley was brought into the upper echelon of church leadership. For 20 years he served as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, the church’s second-highest governing body. Then he ascended to the First Presidency, an office that consists of a church president and his two advisers. The presidents he served, Ezra Taft Benson and then Howard W. Hunter, were in failing health for much of the time. Mr. Hinckley had effectively been leading the church well before he was ordained as president on March 12, 1995.
To Latter-day Saints, the church president is not merely a temporal figure but also an inspired prophet who interprets church teachings for the present day. In his first year in office, Mr. Hinckley issued a proclamation on the family. Besides reaffirming Mormon belief that families live on together after death, it condemned domestic abuse. It also said that gender was a characteristic determined even before birth, and that procreation was reserved only for a man and a woman as husband and wife.
Under Mr. Hinckley, the church endorsed a constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman and financed political campaigns to support legislation that would bar same-sex marriage in California and Hawaii.
In his worldwide travels, Mr. Hinckley became attentive to the needs of church members in developing countries. He established a “Perpetual Education Fund” to pay for needy church members to attend college. And he designed a smaller version of a temple that could be built more quickly, for less money — giving many more church members access to the sacraments at the core of Mormon spirituality.
“That was hands-on, sitting at his desk drawing the floor plan,” said Boyd K. Packer, the acting president of the Quorum of the Twelve. “They are being built everywhere in the world.”
In Salt Lake City, he oversaw the renovation of the historic Mormon Tabernacle, where the famed choir sings, as well as the construction of a new 21,000-seat assembly hall four times the size of the tabernacle to seat the faithful who attend the church’s semiannual general conferences.
Mr. Hinckley is survived by his children, Kathleen Barnes Walker, Virginia Pearce, Jane Dudley, Richard Hinckley and Clark Hinckley; 25 grandchildren and 38 great-grandchildren.