Grampa Bill's General Authority Pages
Gordon B. (Bitner) Hinckley

1910 - 2008
  • Born 1910 Salt Lake City
  • Baptized as a child; Aaronic Priesthood as a youth; Melchizedek Priesthood as a young man
  • Missionary to European Mission; Served mainly in England
  • Married Marjorie Pay 1937; five children
  • Third generation Stake President
  • Assistant to Quorum of the Twelve, 1958
  • Ordained an Apostle 1961 and sustained to Twelve
  • Counselor to Spencer W. Kimball, 1981-82
  • Second Counselor to Spencer W. Kimball, 1982-85
  • First Counselor to Ezra Taft Benson, 1985-94
  • First Counselor to Howard W. Hunter, 1994-95
  • Fifteenth President of the Church 1995 - 2008
  • Died 2008 Salt Lake City, Utah

    "The fifteenth President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, President Gordon B. Hinckley stood as the mouthpiece of the Lord for a period of almost thirteen years. He was sustained to this office after serving 14 years as a counselor in the First Presidency  and 20 years in the Quorum of the Twelve.

    Standing in front of the heroic-sized casting of the Prophet Joseph Smith in the lobby of the beautifully refurbished Joseph Smith Memorial Building, Gordon Bitner Hinckley was formally introduced to the public and the press on 13 March 1995 as the fifteenth President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Near the end of a warm, often witty, always winning exchange on a wide-ranging number of questions posed in this news conference, President Hinckley was asked by a reporter, “What will be your focus? What will be the theme of your administration?”

    Instinctively he answered, “Carry on. Yes. Our theme will be to carry on the great work which has been furthered by our predecessors.”

    That simple answer—crisp, clear, unpremeditated, inspiring—says much about our new prophet, seer, and revelator. “Carry on” is a familiar phrase taken from the text of a hymn written by Ruth May Fox some sixty-five years ago, a musical rallying cry filled with joy and determination. Its opening line and sometimes title? “Firm as the mountains around us”! Its bold declaration? “Stalwart and brave we stand”! Where? “On the rock our fathers planted For us in this goodly land—The rock of honor and virtue, Of faith in the living God. … Carry on, carry on, carry on!” (Hymns, 1985, no. 255.)

    So many hymns, like so many scriptures and sermons, could be cited to underscore the qualities and cast light upon the strengths of the prophets of God. But perhaps no hymn does better at catching something of the essence of President Gordon B. Hinckley than does this forthright and optimistic call to “carry on.”

    For one thing the hymn is youthful. It was written for young people and is particularly inspiring when sung by young people. And by the estimation of all who know him—or have to keep up with him—President Hinckley is the youngest 84-year-old anyone can remember. The brisk bounce in his step, the unrestrained buoyancy of his spirit, and his consuming appetite for hard work and long hours would be admired in a man half his age. President Gordon B. Hinckley looks young, acts young, and loves youth with all its potential and promise.

    “We are particularly proud of our youth,” he chose to say in that first, brief public statement. “I think we have never had a stronger generation of young men and women than we have today. … They are going forward with constructive lives, nurturing themselves both intellectually and spiritually. We have no fears or doubts concerning the future of this work” (Ensign, Apr. 1995, p. 5). He loves young people because at heart he is one of them—with never any fear of any kind “concerning the future of this work” (ibid.).

    To no less a publication than the New York Times, President Hinckley said in an interview conducted in Nauvoo, Illinois, “I see so many good people everywhere—and there’s so much of good in them. And the world is good. Wonderful things are happening in this world. This is the greatest age in the history of the earth.”

    From what source does this irrepressible optimism come to President Hinckley? It comes from that foundation of faith which inspired our forebears in this church to “carry on.” Indeed, the New York Times, in interviewing President Hinckley, received not only a lesson in LDS history, but great insight into the very meaning of faith:

    “We have every reason to be optimistic in this world,” President Hinckley insisted. “Tragedy is around, yes. Problems everywhere, yes. But look at Nauvoo. Look at what they built here in seven years and then left. But what did they do? Did they lie down and die? No! They went to work! They moved halfway across this continent and turned the soil of a desert and made it blossom as the rose. On that foundation this church has grown into a great worldwide organization affecting for good the lives of people in more than 140 nations. You can’t, you don’t, build out of pessimism or cynicism. You look with optimism, work with faith, and things happen.”

    Whether the reporter for the New York Times knew it or not, he was getting vintage President Gordon B. Hinckley— articulate, knowledgeable, courteous, confident, stirring. And always filled with faith in God and in the future.

    “Things will work out” may well be President Hinckley’s most repeated assurance to family, friends, and associates. “Keep trying,” he will say. “Be believing. Be happy. Don’t get discouraged. Things will work out.”

    First Counselor Thomas S. Monson, whose friendship with President Hinckley dates back more than forty-five years—long before either of them was a General Authority—and continues unabated, says: “President Hinckley is a prophet with keen vision, an enormous capacity for work, and abiding faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. He combines all of that with a clear, commanding mind and a very tender heart. The Church and indeed the whole world will be blessed by his special qualities of leadership.”

    Second Counselor and forty-year friend James E. Faust says of the man whom he first met when they were young  counselors serving in the presidencies of adjoining stakes: “President Hinckley is so capable, so knowledgeable and experienced about so many things, that sometimes people are in awe of him. But he is a very kind and considerate man.”

    The initial outlook was not quite so promising for Bryant S. and Ada Bitner Hinckley’s first son, born 23 June 1910 in Salt Lake City. As a child Gordon was not as healthy and robust as some. At age two he was stricken with whooping cough, the effects of which were threatening not only to the lungs but to the limbs and very life of such a young child. This malady would be followed by a serious history of asthma and allergies, all of which took their toll on the struggling lad’s health. “The boy needs more fresh air and sunlight,” the doctor told the anxious parents. So immediate plans were made to acquire a small farm in the East Millcreek area of Salt Lake City, in that day very much “in the country” from downtown Salt Lake City and quite literally “just what the doctor ordered” for young Gordon.

    On that farm through summers, weekends, and holidays Gordon grew to health and learned to work. And somehow there near the soil and close to nature his confidence in God’s good and provident hand prospered like the hundreds of fruit trees and vegetable seeds he planted, tended, and harvested.

    “After a day of good, hard labor, my younger brother Sherm and I would sleep out under the stars in the box of an old farm wagon,” President Hinckley recalls with a wistful look and smile. “On those clear, clean summer nights, we would lie on our backs in that old wagon box and look at the myriads of stars in the heavens. We could identify some of the constellations and other stars as they were illustrated in the encyclopedia which was always available in our family library. We identified some of the more visible patterns in the heavens, but our favorite was the North Star. Each night, like many generations of boys before us, we would trace the Big Dipper, down the handle and out past the cup, to find the North Star.

    “We came to know of the constancy of that star,” he recalls. “As the earth turned, the others appeared to move through the night. But the North Star held its position in line with the axis of the earth. Because of those boyhood musings, the polar star came to mean something to me. I recognized it as a constant in the midst of change. It was something that could always be counted on, something that was dependable, an anchor in what otherwise appeared to me a moving and unstable firmament.”

    The Hinckleys’ son Richard says of those boyhood days: “You could tell that even in his early years he was starting to form impressions and feelings about that quality of steadiness and of immovability and dependability. Those have always been great traits of his, and I think he has always appreciated them very much in others.”

    Part of that constancy comes from a heritage deeper and more distant than those work-filled days in East Millcreek as a boy. President Hinckley’s grandfather, Ira Nathaniel Hinckley, heard the gospel as a boy of seven only to find himself orphaned at nine. Later he made his way to Nauvoo and beyond, crossing the Plains to the Salt Lake Valley—burying his beautiful young wife along the way. Several years later Ira, remarried and established, accepted a call from Brigham Young to take charge of the Church ranch at Cove Creek, Millard County, in southern Utah. “As [this ranch] is some distance from any other settlement,” wrote President Young, “a man of sound practical judgment and experience is needed to fill the place. If you think you can take this mission you should endeavor to go a week from next Monday.
[Signed] Your brother in the gospel,
Brigham Young.”

    Says Ira’s admiring grandson, “They went where they were asked to go, and did what they were asked to do, regardless of what it cost in terms of comfort or money or life itself.” President and Sister Hinckley’s daughter Virginia adds: “To truly understand Dad it is necessary to understand his ancestry and its impact on his life and on his values. It’s woven through everything he’s ever done. It’s just the fiber of his life. It has always provided the continuity and the inspiration in his life. And he has always tried to show his gratitude.”

    It was there in the heart of Millard County that Ira erected the historic Cove Fort and presided over a fledgling stake of Zion, providing the circumstances in which his children, including President Hinckley’s father, Bryant S. Hinckley, would be raised.

    President Hinckley’s brother, now the director of the Cove Fort Mission for the Church, notes the legacy that came from such stern times in the western wilderness. Observing that the still-standing but newly refurbished fort was built of volcanic rock laid in lime mortar, with walls at the base a full four feet in thickness, Sherman Hinckley says of his brother: “He is solid. There’s nothing small about him. He’s been firm in the faith all his days. He takes after his father and his grandfather who were likewise. I’d say that in a way he’s a lot like Cove Fort. He’s rock solid.”

    And everyone who knows President Gordon B. Hinckley agrees. Rodney H. Brady, a distinguished educational, governmental, and business leader in his own right, has as president and chief executive officer of Bonneville International (the Church’s broadcasting corporation) worked under the direction of its chairman, President Gordon B. Hinckley, for ten years. “In my present position I have spent literally hundreds of hours with President Hinckley,” Brother Brady says. “In all that time I have never seen a man more fair in his considerations nor more decisive in his conclusions. When it is time for a decision to be made, he makes it—but always with a view to any previous promises made. I have never known a man of greater integrity.”

    Such observations coincide with the assessment of Stanley D. Rees, former president of the North German Mission, later president of the Swiss Temple, and longtime associate of President Hinckley. “I have known Gordon Hinckley for fifty-nine years,” says Brother Rees, smiling. “I grew up in his neighborhood, and his father, Bryant Hinckley, was my stake president. As long as I have known him, I have never seen him do anything nor say anything that would in any way be inappropriate in his present calling. I would trust him with everything I own.”

    Part of this Cove Fort, rock-solid, polar-star, firm-as-the-mountains integrity came from the things he had read and learned as well as from the family heritage he had been given. Both his father, Bryant S. Hinckley, and his mother, Ada Bitner Hinckley, were professional educators and had fine training for that day. In addition, Sister Hinckley was a musician and Brother Hinckley a skilled writer of history. President Hinckley remembers that as a boy there was in their modest family home an inviting library with a large oak table, a good lamp, several comfortable chairs, and more than a thousand books collected by his well-educated parents. President Hinckley’s son Clark notes that his father has often spoken to his children about what a quiet, inviting place it was.

    “Apparently it was a wonderful place to study,” Clark says, “and it reflected a love for good books and learning in that home. Now,” he adds with a smile, “I don’t think that as a boy Dad spent all his time reading, but there is no question  he was exposed to great literature and that it had an impact on him. He speaks often of the ‘ambiance’ which that room had, an inviting impression he carries in his mind to this day.”

    President Hinckley grew up putting that love of language and literature to good use. His early academic intentions were toward a degree in journalism, so he went to the University of Utah to prepare. “I was most fortunate,” he recalls, “in the happenstance events that formed my early university education. I went to enroll in a freshman English class, and all the sections were filled. Because there were several of us still trying to register, they had to open up a new section, and apparently there was no one to teach it but the able and gifted head of the department. I had a wonderful introduction to the English language at his hand. I loved him and all my instructors. I read Carlyle and Emerson, Milton and Longfellow, Shakespeare and all the others. And from there I went on to study Latin and Greek. I couldn’t do it now, but once I could have read you the Iliad and the Odyssey in the original Greek. I finished up my work at the university with a minor in ancient languages.”

    Inevitably, when people meet President Hinckley, they comment on his facility with language, as it gives expression to the breadth and grasp of his intellect. “President Hinckley is a master orator,” says Wendell J. Ashton, his former missionary companion and a friend of more than sixty years. “I’ll never forget Lord Thompson of Fleet saying privately to his son a few years ago, ‘This Hinckley is a great speaker. He knows how to move people.’ ”

    Even though it was the time of the Great Depression and relatively few young men were serving missions, Bishop John C. Duncan approached him and urged him to consider a mission. President Hinckley discussed it with his father, his beloved mother having just passed away three years earlier from cancer. It was a hard time for the family, financially and every other way.

    “Nevertheless I remember my father saying, ‘We will do all we can to see that your needs are met,’ ” President Hinckley recalls poignantly, “and he and my brother committed to see me through my mission. It was at that time that we discovered a little savings account my mother had left—change saved from her grocery purchases and other shopping. With that little bit of help added, it appeared I could go on my mission.”

    He left shortly thereafter for England, considering sacred those coins so meticulously saved by his mother. “I guarded them with my honor,” he says on the edge of emotion. That respect for money sacrificed for and saved, and his memory of such an era of deprivation, affect to this day his detailed, watchful oversight of the Church’s financial expenditures. It is not insignificant that the principal appointment on his office credenza is a framed, minute, ancient coin—a lepton. Half a farthing. The “widow’s mite” mentioned in Luke 21:1-4.

    Surely his mission to Great Britain was one of those polar-star, firm-as-the-mountain experiences which would affect virtually everything else President Gordon B. Hinckley would do for the rest of his life.

    Sent first to Preston in Lancashire (where Heber C. Kimball and others had pioneered the first transatlantic mission nearly one hundred years before), Elder Hinckley found some of that discouragement common to missionaries facing new circumstances in a new land. He was not well physically, and as he went to his first street meeting in that impoverished mill town in the north of England, he recalls: “I was terrified. I stepped up on that little stand and looked at that crowd of people that had gathered. They were dreadfully poor at that time in the bottom of the Depression. They looked rather menacing and mean, but I somehow stumbled through whatever I had to say.”

    Down in spirit and facing no success in missionary endeavors, Gordon wrote a letter to his father, saying: “I am wasting my time and your money. I don’t see any point in my staying here.” In due course a gentle but terse reply came from his father. That letter read: “Dear Gordon. I have your letter [of such and such a date]. I have only one suggestion. Forget yourself and go to work, With love, Your Father.”

    President Hinckley says of that moment, “I pondered his response and then the next morning in our scripture class we read that great statement of the Lord: ‘For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it’ (Mark 8:35).

    “That simple statement, that promise, touched me. I got on my knees and made a covenant with the Lord that I would try to forget myself and go to work. I count that as the day of decision in my life. Everything good that has happened to me since then I can trace back to the decision I made at that time.”

    No sooner had young Elder Hinckley thrown himself into the work in Lancashire than he received a letter calling him to London as a special assistant to Elder Joseph F. Merrill, a member of the Council of the Twelve Apostles and president of the European Mission.

    “We didn’t baptize many people in London in those days,” recalls mission companion Wendell J. Ashton, “but Elder Hinckley was a knockout in those street meetings on Hyde Park corner. I can promise you we learned to speak quickly on our feet. And Elder Hinckley was the best of the bunch. I have always thought that he gained tremendous firsthand experience there in London’s Hyde Park doing what he would so skillfully do for the rest of his life—defend the Church and speak up courageously of its truths. He was good at it then and he is good at it now.”

    Soon enough young Elder Hinckley was back in Salt Lake City, weary, underweight, and (with grand irony in light of what lay ahead in his life) with a desire “never to travel anywhere again.” To keep an appointment with the First Presidency prearranged by his mission president regarding special challenges in the European Mission, he went to the Church Administration Building to meet President Heber J. Grant and his two counselors, J. Reuben Clark Jr. and David O. McKay. “President Grant told me they had allowed fifteen minutes for me on their agenda. I began to speak and they began to ask questions, and I left the room one hour and fifteen minutes later. Several days later President McKay called me and asked that I come to work as the secretary of the newly organized Radio, Publicity, and Mission Literature Committee of the Church.”

    That began, save for a brief two-year interlude during the war, a sixty-year career of staff assignments and General Authority callings at the headquarters of the Church. “President Hinckley’s unusually rich experience in Church administration combines history and memory in a remarkable way,” says longtime associate Elder Neal A. Maxwell of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. “His knowledge of things ‘as they were’ and now ‘as they are’ have prepared him to contribute to ‘things as they will be.’ ” The Administration Building, where the young missionary made that first impressive report to the First Presidency, is the same building today in which he now presides as President of the Church over sixty years later.

    Young Gordon B. Hinckley was as helpful as he was impressive to the many leaders of the Church he assisted with staff work. All found him to be bright, responsive, and very hardworking. But perhaps no one was closer to him, nor had more of an influence upon him through those years, than President Stephen L Richards.

    When President Hinckley first began working at Church headquarters, Elder Stephen L Richards, then of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, chaired the Radio, Publicity, and Mission Literature Committee of the Church, to which Gordon was assigned as executive secretary. Later, when Elder Richards became First Counselor to President David O. McKay in the First Presidency of the Church, Gordon stayed at his side as executive secretary of the Missionary Committee, which President Richards chaired.

    “Stephen L Richards had a tremendous impact for good upon my life,” President Hinckley says fondly. “He was a strong and gentle man who was particularly kind to me.”

    Obviously the feeling was mutual, for President Richards wrote to his young assistant on 22 December 1953:

       “Dear Gordon, Please accept my heartiest good wishes for a happy Christmas time for you and your family. I cannot tell you how deeply I appreciate your association and help. I do not see how I could carry forward my assignment without the efficient service you so willingly give. I am sure the Lord will bless you for it, for you are a great contributor to his holy cause. Gratefully and devotedly your brother and friend, [signed] Stephen L Richards.”

    Throughout his career President Hinckley has shown remarkable qualities of mind and judgment which have served him thoroughly and well. “But the greatest judgment he has ever shown in his entire life,” President Boyd K. Packer, Acting  resident of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, says with a smile, “is the judgment he showed in marrying Marjorie Pay. You cannot know him unless you know her—the tender, guiding, patient influence she has been in his life and in that of their children.”

    “Marjorie was ‘the girl next door’ when we were growing up,” recalls President Hinckley’s younger sister Ramona H. Sullivan, “only in this case it was the girl across the street. And she was very pretty. The thing I remember most about Marge in those early years is how polished and impressive she was, even as a young girl, in giving readings and performances in the meetings and activities of our old First Ward. All the other kids would just sort of stand up and mumble through something, but Marjorie was downright professional. She had all of the elocution and all of the movements. I still remember those readings she gave.”

    Although they didn’t start dating seriously until after he was home from his mission, it was one of those very youthful readings Marjorie Pay gave which first caught his attention. “I saw her first in Primary,” President Hinckley says with a laugh. “She gave a reading. I don’t know what it did to me, but I never forgot it. Then she grew older into a beautiful young woman, and I had the good sense to marry her.”

    The Hinckleys were married 29 April 1937 and have had born to them three daughters and two sons—Kathleen H. Barnes, Richard Gordon, Virginia H. Pearce, Clark Bryant, and Jane H. Dudley. To this extremely close-knit family have since been added twenty-five grandchildren and thirteen great-grandchildren. “My husband has always taught by example,” Sister Hinckley says with obvious admiration. “Throughout our married life I have never heard him lecture the children. They just knew what he expected of them because they watched him.

    “For that matter,” she continues, “he has always been an example to everyone. In all the years I have known him I have never seen him say or do anything unworthy of an Apostle. Now, don’t misunderstand,” she laughs. “He is not sanctimonious by any means. He has a wonderful sense of humor. But he has never, ever done anything out of line. I think he is wonderful!”

    It’s not surprising that President Hinckley and the Hinckley children think Sister Hinckley is wonderful, too. “Mom is guileless,” says oldest daughter Kathleen. “She is absolutely pure. She is a friend to all and can’t give enough praise to people, whether that be the milkman, the mailman, the garbageman—everyone.”

    Youngest daughter Jane remembers her as their head cheerleader. “She knew everything we were doing and everything we were interested in, and now knows the same about all her grandchildren. She loved having us home after school and couldn’t wait for summer vacation to arrive. Other mothers were only too happy to see school start again in the fall, but not Mom—she would weep! She would grieve that we were leaving her.”

    With hearty laughter son Richard recalls the time he had to stay after school for some kind of grade-school disciplining. Always awaiting the children’s arrival from school each day, Sister Hinckley was immediately lonely when her son did not walk in the door with the others. The next thing anyone knew, she appeared from out of nowhere at the young penitent’s classroom, saying to a startled teacher, “You can do anything you want to this boy all day long, but after three P.M. he’s mine.”

    President Hinckley has been able to take his wife on many of his major travel assignments around the world. When he did, Sister Hinckley always brought that world back to their children. “She would write spellbinding letters,” recalls Kathy, “and then make a full report to the whole family when she got home. Sights, sounds, mementos—everything. It was a production!

    “For example, I remember the beautifully vivid description she gave of the events associated with the dedication of the Seoul Korea Temple. Such a firsthand report included a description of the national dress and costumes worn by the Korean sisters which she observed as Mom and Dad left the temple with the official party. She was reliving all of it—and helping us live it—with an enthusiastic, bright-eyed account of every aspect of the experience, particularly that of these women’s beautiful apparel and appearance. Right in the middle of that mesmerizing description, my father looked up and said, ‘What costumes?’ That is the difference between my mother and my father.”

    Throughout these years of service and travel, President Hinckley has had many opportunities to bless the Saints—literally bless them, with hands upon their heads—in countries far and near.

    In September 1972 newly ordained President Harold B. Lee asked Elder Hinckley, then a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, to accompany him on a historic trip to Europe and the Middle East. It would be the first visit to the Holy Land by a President of the Church in some two thousand years.

    “On that trip President Lee became quite ill,” President Hinckley recalls. “Late one evening Sister Lee rang our room and asked if I would give her husband a blessing. President Edwin Q. Cannon of the Swiss Mission was traveling with us on this assignment, so I asked him to join me in administering to the President. We did so, and then, with a good deal of concern about President Lee’s health, I went to bed.

    “Later in the night President Lee began to cough. It was a deep, terrible cough, and it went on for some time. Situated as we were in adjoining hotel rooms, I could hear him. He coughed and coughed and coughed. Finally all of that stopped and I went off to sleep, grateful he had been given some relief.

    “Brother Lee said nothing at all of the matter the next day, but on the following day he said to me, ‘We had to come to the land of miracles to witness a miracle within ourselves!’ He then told me how in the most violent of the coughing, he had coughed up a very large clot of blood. Just a little more than one year later, he died from what was spoken of as a pleural embolism.”

    Surely one of the most challenging moments came to the life of Gordon B. Hinckley when, in the summer of 1981, President Spencer W. Kimball called Elder Hinckley to serve as a counselor in the First Presidency. Although they were experiencing varying degrees of declining health, the First Presidency was “complete” with President Kimball, President N. Eldon Tanner, and President Marion G. Romney still serving. Nevertheless, in a moment of clear revelatory inspiration and good health, President Kimball asked Elder Hinckley to join the First Presidency as “Counselor in the First Presidency”—an additional counselor, for which there was ample precedent in Church history. “When I accepted President Kimball’s call to join them, I did not know exactly how I would function or fit in, and perhaps they did not at the time,” says President Hinckley. “But the circumstances called for additional help, and I was more than willing to give it. I did not know whether it would be for a few days or a few months.”

    As it turned out, President Gordon B. Hinckley would never again leave the First Presidency of the Church. In 1982 President Tanner passed away, with President Romney moving to First Counselor and President Hinckley being sustained as Second Counselor.

    “That was a very heavy and overwhelming responsibility,” he recalls. “It was an almost terrifying load at times. Of course, I consulted with our brethren of the Twelve.

    "I recall on one particular occasion getting on my knees before the Lord and asking for help in the midst of that very difficult situation. And there came into my mind those reassuring words, ‘Be still and know that I am God’ (D&C 101:16). I knew again that this was His work, that He would not let it fail, that all I had to do was work at it and do our very best, and that the work would move forward without let or hindrance of any kind.”

    Things will work out. Keep trying. Be believing. Be happy. Don’t get discouraged. Things will work out.

    These and other experiences like them have schooled President Hinckley for the sacred responsibility that is now his. “President Hinckley can do anything,” says friend and retired business and civic leader B. Z. “Bud” Kastler. “I compare him to General Patton, who was a great wartime traditionalist who adapted to changing military circumstances. President Hinckley is a traditional and very devout individual who will lead us into the changing circumstances of the twenty-first century.”

    Perhaps no man has ever come to the Presidency of the Church who has been so well prepared for the responsibility. Through sixty years of Church administration he has known personally, been taught by, and in one capacity or other served with every President of the Church from Heber J. Grant to Howard W. Hunter. As one of his associates says, “No man in the history of the Church has traveled so far to so many places in the world with such a single purpose in mind—to preach the gospel, to bless and lift up the Saints, and to foster the redemption of the dead.”

    Recollecting those crisp, clear nights of his youth, President Hinckley recently said to the worldwide Church: “Few of us see the Polar Star anymore. We live in urban centers, and the city lights affect our vision of the wondrous firmament above us. But, as it has been for centuries, the star is there, in its place, its constancy a guide and an anchor” (Ensign, May 1989, p. 67).

   The same might be said of President Gordon B. Hinckley as he assumes the holy office to which he has been called—prophet, seer, revelator, Presiding High Priest and President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Like the prophets before him and the certainty of the gospel of Jesus Christ which guided them, he is there in his appointed place. “Stalwart and brave he stands.” His constancy and service and faith—firm as the mountains around him—are an anchor to us all. Surely the best thing we can do to sustain him in his office is to “carry on, carry on, carry on!”

    On April 6, 2004, The Prophet's beloved wife, Sister Marjorie Pay Hinckley succumbed to factors of age and exhaustion following a collpse four months earlier while returning home from the dedication of the Accra Ghana Temple.

    President Hinckley died January 27, 2008, at approximately 7 p.m. MST, He died at the age of ninety-seven while surrounded by family in his Salt Lake City apartment. According to a church spokesman, the death was due to "causes incident to age."

    Much of this page is adapted from Jeffrey R. Holland, “President Gordon B. Hinckley: Stalwart and Brave He Stands,” Ensign, June 1995, 2-3
    Lawrence R. Flake, Prophets and Apostles of the Last Dispensation, p.141
    2005 Church Almanac, Multiple citations; see index
    Gordon Hinckley Website

Selected Discourses and Writings
Grampa Bill believes this to be the most complete link listing available of President Gordon B. Hinckley's talks and articles on the web. Please email the Grampa if you note any broken links, errors, or if you are aware of any Gordon B. Hinckley talks or articles not listed here but available on the web.

You will note that some are available only as text; some are available only in the MP3 format; while still others are avaible in both text and MP3. A few, mostly more recent talks, are also available in ASX Video.

Talks marked with an asterisk (*) are not (to my knowledge) available anywhere else on the web. As a service, they have been copied onto this web site.

No Man Proceeds Alone *
Note: This talk was the first address delivered by Elder Gordon B. Hinckley after he was called to the ranks of the General Authorities in the capacity of an Assistant to the Council of the Twelve Apostles.
General Conference, April 1958  
Seven Pillars of Wisdom BYU Devotional, 5 June 1958 MP3
The Consequences of Conversion BYU Devotional, 28 January 1959 MP3
Building An Eternal Home BYU Devotional, 4 November 1959 MP3
The Feelings of my Heart *
Note: This talk was the first address delivered by Elder Gordon B. Hinckley after he was called to the Council of the Twelve Apostles.
General Conference, October 1961  
And Be Not Faithless But Believing BYU Devotional, 3 January 1962 MP3
Caesar, Circus, or Christ BYU Devotional, 26 October 1965 MP3
Joseph the Seer BYU Devotional, 6 December 1967 MP3
The Loneliness of Leadership BYU Devotional, 4 December 1969 MP3
It's True, Isn't It? BYU Devotional, 1 January 1971 MP3
In Grateful Remembrance Ensign, March 1971  
“Except the Lord Build the House …” Ensign, June 1971  
The Sunday School as a Missionary Ensign, August 1971  
“If Ye Be Willing and Obedient” Ensign, December 1971  
What Will the Church Do for You, a Man? Ensign, July 1972  
President Harold B. Lee: An Appreciation Ensign, November 1972  
Watch the Switches in Your Life Ensign, January 1973  
The True Strength of the Church Ensign, July 1973  
“Here We Build Our Zion” Ensign, August 1973  
God Shall Give unto You Knowledge by His Holy Spirit BYU Devotional, 25 September 1973 MP3
“We Thank Thee, O God, for a Prophet” Ensign, January 1974  
Harold Bingham Lee: Humility, Benevolence, Loyalty Ensign, February 1974  
The Marriage That Endures General Conference, April 1974  
Why These Temples? Ensign, August 1974  
A City Set Upon a Hill General Conference, October 1974  
Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled BYU Devotional, 29 October 1974 MP3
The Symbol of Christ General Conference, April 1975  
Opposing Evil General Conference, October 1975  
“An Honest Man—God’s Noblest Work” General Conference, April 1976  
Things Are Getting Better BYU Devotional, 8 April 1976 MP3
Everything to Gain—Nothing to Lose General Conference, October 1976  
Forget Yourself BYU Devotional, 6 March 1977 MP3
Joseph the Seer General Conference, April 1977  
Welfare Responsibilities of the Priesthood Quorums General Conference, October 1977  
And the Greatest of These Is Love BYU Devotional, 14 February 1978 MP3
“Be Not Faithless” General Conference, April 1978  
“Behold Your Little Ones” General Conference, October 1978  
We Need Not Fear His Coming BYU Devotional, 25 March 1979 MP3
And Peter Went Out and Wept Bitterly General Conference, April 1979  
“An Angel from on High, the Long, Long Silence Broke” General Conference, October 1979  
"Praise to the Man" BYU Devotional, 4 November 1979 MP3
150-Year Drama: A Personal View of Our History Ensign, April 1980  
“What Hath God Wrought through His Servant Joseph!” General Conference, April 1980  
“Of You It Is Required to Forgive” General Conference, October 1980  
The Joseph Smith III Document and the Keys of the Kingdom General Conference, April 1981  
“Charity Never Faileth” General Conference, October 1981  
Faith: The Essence of True Religion
Note: This is the first General Conference address delivered by President Gordon B. Hinckley after he was sustained as a Counselor in the First Presidency.
General Conference, October 1981  
Four B’s for Boys General Conference, October 1981  
Temples and Temple Work Ensign, February 1982  
Five Million Members—A Milestone and Not a Summit General Conference, April 1982  
Tithing: An Opportunity to Prove Our Faithfulness General Conference, April 1982  
“Whosoever Will Save His Life” Ensign, August 1982  
What This Work Is All About General Conference, October 1982  
The Priesthood of Aaron General Conference, October 1982  
Reach Out in Love and Kindness General Conference, October 1982  
“He Is Risen, As He Said” Ensign, April 1983  
Overpowering the Goliaths in Our Lives General Conference, April 1983  
He Slumbers Not, nor Sleeps General Conference, April 1983  
“Fear Not to Do Good” General Conference, April 1983  
“Praise to the Man” Ensign, August 1983  
If I Were You, What Would I Do? BYU Devotional, 20 September 1983 MP3
God Grant Us Faith General Conference, October 1983  
Be Not Deceived General Conference, October 1983  
Except Ye Are One General Conference, October 1983  
Live Up to Your Inheritance General Conference, October 1983  
Let Us Go Forward! General Conference, October 1983  
“What Shall I Do Then with Jesus Which Is Called Christ?” Ensign, December 1983  
And the Greatest of These Is Love Ensign, March 1984  
Special Witnesses for Christ General Conference, April 1984  
The Miracle Made Possible by Faith General Conference, April 1984  
Small Acts Lead to Great Consequences General Conference, April 1984  
The Faith of the Pioneers Ensign, July 1984  
“God Hath Not Given Us the Spirit of Fear” Ensign, October 1984  
The Cornerstones of Our Faith General Conference, October 1984  
The Good and Faithful Servants General Conference, October 1984  
“If Thou Art Faithful” General Conference, October 1984  
The Sustaining of Church Officers General Conference, October 1984  
Live the Gospel General Conference, October 1984  
Strengthening Each Other Ensign, February 1985  
The Victory over Death General Conference, April 1985  
To Please Our Heavenly Father General Conference, April 1985  
God Has a Work for Us to Do General Conference, April 1985  
The Environment of Our Homes Ensign, June 1985  
Keep the Faith Ensign, September 1985  
The Widow's Mite BYU Devotional, 17 September 1985 MP3
Rejoice in This Great Era of Temple Building General Conference, October 1985  
Questions and Answers General Conference, October 1985  
Joined Together in Love and Faith General Conference, October 1985  
Ten Gifts from the Lord General Conference, October 1985  
“Let Us Move This Work Forward” General Conference, October 1985  
Feasting upon the Scriptures Ensign, December 1985  
He Is at Peace Ensign, December 1985  
The Continuing Pursuit of Truth Ensign, April 1986  
The Question of a Mission General Conference, April 1986  
Come and Partake General Conference, April 1986  
Go Forward with Faith Ensign, August 1986  
The Father, Son, and Holy Ghost General Conference, October 1986  
The War We Are Winning General Conference, October 1986  
“The Field Is White Already to Harvest” Ensign, December 1986  
The Church in the British Isles 1837-1987 BYU Devotional, 31 January 1987 MP3
Giving Ourselves to the Service of the Lord Ensign, March 1987  
The Lengthened Shadow of the Hand of God General Conference, April 1987  
Reverence and Morality General Conference, April 1987  
Taking the Gospel to Britain: A Declaration of Vision, Faith, Courage, and Truth Ensign, July 1987  
There Must Be Messengers Ensign, October 1987  
“Lord, Increase Our Faith” General Conference, October 1987  
Take Not the Name of God in Vain General Conference, October 1987  
We Have a Work to Do Ensign, February 1988 
The Empty Tomb Bore Testimony General Conference, April 1988  
The Aaronic Priesthood—a Gift from God General Conference, April 1988  
The Power of the Book of Mormon Ensign, June 1988  
“With All Thy Getting Get Understanding” Ensign, August 1988  
Our Responsibility to Our Young Women Ensign, September 1988  
Priesthood Restoration Ensign, October 1988  
The Healing Power of Christ General Conference, October 1988  
To the Bishops of the Church General Conference, October 1988  
A Unique and Wonderful University BYU Devotional, 11 October 1988 MP3
The Order and Will of God Ensign, January 1989  
“Be Not Faithless” Ensign, April 1989  
Let Love Be the Lodestar of Your Life General Conference, April 1989  
Magnify Your Calling General Conference, April 1989  
To Single Adults Ensign, June 1989  
In Search of Peace and Freedom Ensign, August 1989  
A Wonderful Summer BYU Devotional, 3 September 1989 MP3
Rise to the Stature of the Divine within You General Conference, October 1989  
An Ensign to the Nations General Conference, October 1989  
The Scourge of Illicit Drugs General Conference, October 1989  
A Word of Benediction General Conference, October 1989  
The Sacred Law of Tithing Ensign, December 1989  
“Thou Shalt Not Covet” Ensign, March 1990  
Blessed Are the Merciful General Conference, April 1990  
Rise to a Larger Vision of the Work General Conference, April 1990  
Keeping the Temple Holy General Conference, April 1990  
“Sacred Resolves” General Conference, April 1990  
A City upon a Hill Ensign, July 1990  
We Believe in Being Honest Ensign, October 1990  
Mormon Should Mean “More Good” General Conference, October 1990  
“In … Counsellors There Is Safety” General Conference, October 1990  
“This Work Will Go Forward” General Conference, October 1990  
Out of Your Experience Here BYU Devotional, 16 October 1990 MP3
The Blessings of Family Prayer Ensign, February 1991  
What God Hath Joined Together General Conference, April 1991  
The State of the Church General Conference, April 1991  
His Latter-day Kingdom Has Been Established General Conference, April 1991  
“Of You It Is Required to Forgive” Ensign, June 1991  
“We Thank Thee, O God, for a Prophet” Ensign, September 1991 
Christ Is the Light to All Mankind General Conference, October 1991  
Daughters of God General Conference, October 1991  
Our Mission of Saving General Conference, October 1991  
Our Solemn Responsibilities General Conference, October 1991  
“Do Ye Even So to Them” Ensign, December 1991  
This I Believe BYU Devotional, 1 March 1992 MP3
“Ambitious to Do Good” Ensign, March 1992  
“Believe His Prophets” General Conference, April 1992  
Our Great Mission General Conference, April 1992  
“A Chosen Generation” General Conference, April 1992  
I Believe Ensign, August 1992  
Only upon Principles of Righteousness Ensign, September 1992  
The Church Is on Course General Conference, October 1992  
Building Your Tabernacle General Conference, October 1992  
Sin Will Not Prevail General Conference, October 1992  
Trust and Accountability BYU Devotional, 13 October 1992 MP3
The Son of God Ensign, December 1992  
The Salt Lake Temple Ensign, March 1993  
This Peaceful House of God General Conference, April 1993  
Some Lessons I Learned as a Boy General Conference, April 1993  
“A Prophet’s Testimony” General Conference, April 1993  
“It’s True, Isn’t It?” Ensign, July 1993  
The Thing of Most Worth Ensign, September 1993  
Bring Up a Child in the Way He Should Go General Conference, October 1993  
My Testimony General Conference, October 1993  
Pillars of Truth Ensign, January 1994  
The Lord Is at the Helm BYU Devotional, 6 Mar 1994  
Our One Bright Hope Ensign, April 1994  
“Behold Your Little Ones” Ensign, April 1994  
God Is at the Helm General Conference, April 1994

The Greatest Miracle in Human History General Conference, April 1994  
Farewell to a Prophet Ensign, July 1994  
Nauvoo’s Holy Temple Ensign, September 1994  
Joseph, the Seer Ensign, September 1994  
Save the Children General Conference, October 1994  
Don’t Drop the Ball General Conference, October 1994  
Codes and Covenants BYU Devotional, 18 October 1994 MP3
“To Do Good Always” Ensign, December 1994  
And Peter Went Out and Wept Bitterly Ensign, March 1995  
A Century of Family History Service Ensign, March 1995  
"This is the Work of the Master"
Note: This is the first address given by President Gordon B. Hinckley following the Solemn Assembly in which he was sustained as President of the Church.
General Conference Address 1 April 1995  
A Prophet Polished and Refined Ensign, April 1995  
The Light within You General Conference, April 1995  
We Have a Work to Do General Conference, April 1995  
This Work Is Concerned with People General Conference, April 1995  
If Ye Be Willing and Obedient Ensign, July 1995  
Faith: The Essence of True Religion Ensign, October 1995  
Stay the Course—Keep the Faith General Conference, October 1995  
Stand Strong against the Wiles of the World General Conference, October 1995  
Of Missions, Temples, and Stewardship General Conference, October 1995  
To a Man Who Has Done What This Church Expects of Each of Us BYU Devotional, 17 October 1995 MP3
The Fabric of Faith and Testimony General Conference, October 1995  
As We Gather Together General Conference, October 1995  
“Be Not Afraid, Only Believe” Ensign, February 1996  
Stand True and Faithful General Conference, April 1996  
“Be Ye Clean” General Conference, April 1996  
“Remember … Thy Church, O Lord” General Conference, April 1996  
This Glorious Easter Morn General Conference, April 1996  
“True to the Faith” Ensign, June 1996  
Four Simple Things to Help Our Families and Our Nations Ensign, September 1996  
Women of the Church General Conference, October 1996  
“This Thing Was Not Done in a Corner” General Conference, October 1996  
Listen by the Power of the Spirit General Conference, October 1996  
“Reach with a Rescuing Hand” General Conference, October 1996  
Stand Up for Truth BYU Devotional, 17 October 1996 MP3
“What Hath God Wrought through His Servant Joseph!” Ensign, January 1997  
These Noble Pioneers BYU Devotional, 2 February 1997  
A Conversation with Single Adults Ensign, March 1997  
The Victory over Death Ensign, April 1997  
“True to the Faith” General Conference, April 1997  
Converts and Young Men General Conference, April 1997  
Our Testimony to the World General Conference, April 1997  
May We Be Faithful and True General Conference, April 1997  
Inspirational Thoughts Ensign, August 1997  
Latter-day Saints in Very Deed General Conference, October 1997  
Drawing Nearer to the Lord General Conference, October 1997  
Look to the Future General Conference, October 1997  
Some Thoughts on Temples, Retention of Converts, and Missionary Service General Conference, October 1997  
The BYU Experience BYU Devotional, 4 November 1997 MP3
A Season for Gratitude Ensign, December 1997  
The Father, Son, and Holy Ghost Ensign, March 1998  
Testimony General Conference, April 1998  
Living Worthy of the Girl You Will Someday Marry General Conference, April 1998  
New Temples to Provide “Crowning Blessings” of the Gospel General Conference, April 1998  
We Bear Witness of Him General Conference, April 1998  
Inspirational Thoughts Ensign, July 1998  
Feed the Spirit, Nourish the Soul Ensign, October 1998  
Walking in the Light of the Lord General Conference, October 1998  
What Are People Asking about Us? General Conference, October 1998  
To the Boys and to the Men General Conference, October 1998  
Benediction General Conference, October 1998  
Welcome to Conference General Conference, October 1998  
The Quest for Excellence BYU Devotional, 10 November 1998 MP3
Life’s Obligations Ensign, February 1999  
“He Is Not Here, but Is Risen”

General Conference, April 1999  
Find the Lambs, Feed the Sheep General Conference, April 1999  
The Shepherds of the Flock General Conference, April 1999  
Thanks to the Lord for His Blessings General Conference, April 1999  
The Work Moves Forward General Conference, April 1999  
Inspirational Thoughts Ensign, June 1999  
The Quest for Excellence Ensign, September 1999  
Why We Do Some of the Things We Do General Conference, October 1999  
Good-bye to This Wonderful Old Tabernacle General Conference, October 1999  
Welcome to Conference General Conference, October 1999  
At the Summit of the Ages General Conference, October 1999  
Keep the Chain Unbroken BYU Devotional, 30 November 1999 MP3
“Fear Not to Do Good” Ensign, January 2000  
My Testimony General Conference, April 2000  
The Stake President General Conference, April 2000  
A Time of New Beginnings General Conference, April 2000  
To All the World in Testimony General Conference, April 2000  
Inspirational Thoughts Ensign, August 2000  
A Great Family in Reverence and Worship General Conference, October 2000  
This Great Millennial Year General Conference, October 2000  
Your Greatest Challenge, Mother General Conference, October 2000  
“Great Shall Be the Peace of Thy Children” General Conference, October 2000  
“An Humble and a Contrite Heart” General Conference, October 2000  
The Wondrous and True Story of Christmas Ensign, December 2000  
A Prophet’s Counsel and Prayer for Youth Ensign, January 2001  
First Presidency Christmas Devotional: “My Redeemer Lives” Ensign, February 2001  
Latter-day Counsel: Selections from Addresses of President Ensign, March 2001  
The Work Goes On General Conference, April 2001  
The Miracle of Faith General Conference, April 2001  
How Can I Become the Woman of Whom I Dream? General Conference, April 2001  
The Perpetual Education Fund General Conference, April 2001  
Good-bye for Another Season General Conference, April 2001  
“Behold Your Little Ones” Ensign, June 2001  
Living with Our Convictions Ensign, September 2001  
"Be Not Afraid, Only Believe"    ASX Video CES Fireside, 9 September 2001 ASX
Remarks at Pioneer Day Commemoration Concert Ensign, October 2001  
The Times in Which We Live General Conference, October 2001  
Living in the Fulness of Times General Conference, October  2001  
Reaching Down to Lift Another General Conference, October 2001  
“Till We Meet Again” General Conference, October 2001  
Overpowering the Goliaths in Our Lives Ensign, January 2002  
Inspirational Thoughts Ensign, April 2002  
Personal Worthiness to Exercise the Priesthood General Conference, April 2002  
We Walk by Faith General Conference, April 2002  
The Church Goes Forward General Conference, April 2002  
We Look to Christ General Conference, April 2002  
What This Work Is All About Ensign, August 2002  
To Men of the Priesthood General Conference, October 2002  
"O That I Were an Angel" General Conference, October 2002  
Each a Better Person General Conference, October 2002  
The Marvelous Foundation of Our Faith General Conference, October 2002  
A Testimony of the Son of God Ensign, December 2002  
Family Home Evening Ensign, March 2003  
Benediction General Conference, April 2003  
The Condition of the Church General Conference, April 2003  
War and Peace General Conference, April 2003  
You Are a Child of God General Conference, April 2003  
Loyalty General Conference, April 2003  
The Marriage That Endures Ensign, July 2003  
Remarks at the Inauguration of President Cecil O. Samuelson BYU Innaguration, 9 September 2003 MP3
Inspirational Thoughts Ensign, October 2003  
An Ensign to the Nations, a Light to the World General Conference, October 2003  
To the Women of the Church General Conference, October 2003  
The Shepherds of Israel General Conference, October 2003  
The State of the Church General Conference, October 2003  
Let Us Live the Gospel More Fully General Conference, October 2003  
Four Cornerstones of Faith Ensign, February 2004  
The Dawning of a Brighter Day General Conference, April 2004  
Stay on the High Road General Conference, April 2004  
“I Was an Hungred, and Ye Gave Me Meat” General Conference, April 2004  
Concluding Remarks General Conference, April 2004  
The Church Grows Stronger General Conference, April 2004  
Inspirational Thoughts Ensign, June 2004  
In Opposition to Evil Ensign, September 2004  
The Women in Our Lives
This is the first General Conference address delivered by President Hinckley following the death of his beloved wife, Sister Marjorie Pay Hinckley. In it, he pays tribute to her.
General Conference, October 2004  
A Tragic Evil among Us General Conference, October 2004  
Condition of the Church General Conference, October 2004  
Closing Remarks General Conference, October 2004  
Commencement Address BYU Hawaii Graduation, 11 December 2004  
Pursue the Steady Course Ensign, January 2005  
The Symbol of Our Faith Ensign, April 2005  
Gambling General Conference, April 2005  
Opening Remarks General Conference, April 2005  
The Great Things Which God Has Revealed General Conference, April 2005  
Closing Remarks General Conference, April 2005  
A Testimony Vibrant and True Ensign, August 2005  
Dedication of the Joseph F. Smith Building at BYU BYU Devotional, 20 September 2005 MP3
Opening Remarks
(Also in ASX Video)
General Conference, October 2005 MP3
If Ye Are Prepared Ye Shall Not Fear General PH Meeting, October 2005  
(Also in ASX Video)
General Conference, October 2005 MP3
(Also in ASX Video)
General Conference, October 2005 MP3
Joseph Smith Jr.—Prophet of God, Mighty Servant Ensign, December 2005  
The Quorum of the First Presidency Ensign, December 2005  
Put Your Trust in God Ensign, February 2006  
Inspirational Thoughts Ensign, March 2006  
The Need for Greater Kindness General PH Meeting, April 2006  
Seek Ye the Kingdom of God
(Also in ASX Video)
General Conference, April 2006 MP3
Until Again We Meet
(Also in ASX Video)
General Conference, April 2006 MP3
In These Three I Believe Ensign, July 2006  
A Perfect Brightness of Hope: To New Members of the Church Ensign, October 2006  
We Bear Testimony to the World
(Also in ASX Video)
General Conference, October  2006 MP3
Rise Up, O Men of God General PH Meeting, October  2006  
The Faith to Move Mountains
(Also in ASX Video)
General Conference, October  2006 MP3
Closing Remarks
(Also in ASX Video)
General Conference, October  2006 MP3
In the Arms of His Love
(Also in ASX Video)
General RS Meeting, October  2006 MP3
Experiences Worth Remembering BYU Devotional, 31 October 2006 MP3
Inspirational Thoughts Ensign, February 2007  

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