|Gordon B. Hinckley was the fifteenth president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which is sometimes known as the Mormon Church. He became president of the Church when Howard W. Hunter, his predecessor, died in 1995, and led the Church until 2008. When he was officially confirmed and introduced as President of the Church, a reporter asked “’What will be your focus? What will be the theme of your administration?’ Instinctively the prophet answered, ‘Carry on. Yes. Our theme will be to carry on the great work which has been furthered by our predecessors.’”1 This is not to say that President Gordon Hinckley has been a passive leader riding on the accomplishments of the past. To carry on, to stride forward is to do far more than coast. The Church has expanded in many ways under President Hinckley’s leadership, some of which we will cover quickly here.|
A proclamation and a testimony have also been made under President Hinckley’s leadership. These documents have acted to clarify and strengthen Mormon doctrine, and also bear strong testimony of core beliefs.
Gordon B. Hinckley has a particular focus on the family and advocates the following : marriage between a man and woman, no abortion, no sex outside of marriage, no drugs, no alcohol, and no use of tobacco among others. Mormons do not believe in moral relativism, but this does not believe that Mormons believe in restricting free thought or making rule upon rule. When asked if the best way to correct slipping values was to ban certain things, the prophet replied, “The way to correct that is to teach. Joseph Smith, the founder of this Church said ‘I teach the people correct principles and they govern themselves’. That’s the essence of the thing. Teach the principle and learn and let people govern themselves.”6 The Mormon missionary program is famous throughout the world for its enthusiastic young men and women who are willing to dedicate two years or eighteen months of their lives to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Under Gordon B. Hinckley, the focus has changed to member missionary work as well. Members are encouraged to share the gospel with their friends and neighbors and treat all, regardless of faith or creed, with gentleness, friendship, and respect. Gordon B. Hinckley taught, “Let us be more neighborly. Let us be kind. Let us be gracious to those in our midst who are not of our faith. Let us be helpful and generous and good. Let us be Latter-day Saints in the full and complete meaning of that word”7
(1) Jeffrey R. Holland, “President Gordon B. Hinckley: Stalwart and Brave He Stands,” Ensign, June 1995, 2–3 (2) Gordon B. Hinckley, “Rejoice in This Great Era of Temple Building,” Ensign, Nov. 1985, 53 (3) Wikipedia Foundation, Inc. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gordon_B._Hinckley (4) Gordon B. Hinckley, “I Was an Hungred, and Ye Gave Me Meat,” Ensign, May 2004, 58 (5) Gehrke, Robert. Hinckley to receive Medal of Freedom at the White House June 23, 2004. Salt Lake Tribune. http://www.medaloffreedom.com/GordonHinckley.htm (6) Ransom, David, COMPASS INTERVIEW WITH PRESIDENT GORDON B. HINCKLEY Aired: November 09, 1997 Australian Broadcasting Corporation http://lds-mormon.com/hinckley.shtml (7) Gordon B. Hinckley, “Inspirational Thoughts,” Ensign, June 2004, 3