The President of the High Priesthood of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Prophet Gordon B. Hinckley, passed away last night.
The speed at which the news spread was phenomenal. Aided by technologies that were not yet available or wide spread when the previous prophet passed away in 1995, the news traveled quickly by word of mouth. Within an hour of his passing we had received Instant Messages, Text Messages, and Telephone calls from friends and relatives. Those whom we contacted many states away had already heard from others before two hours had passed since his death. Even friends who are lamentably no longer associated with the Church took the time to send email to pass the news along.
President Hinckley presided over so many sweeping changes to the Church’s structure and policy: Area Authority Seventies, the Perpetual Education Fund, the Small Temples, the sweeping changes to the Missionary program including stricter qualifications for missionary service and a fundamental change in the missionary system based on the Preach My Gospel manual produced under his guidance.
President Hinckley also oversaw the unprecedented expansion of the use of Technology in furthering the work of God. When he became prophet in 1995, the Internet was still in its infancy. Since then, the Church has produced many wonderful online resources, including the online scriptures and the gospel library that make the words of the ancient and modern prophets so easily available to the world. He also presided over the introduction of the revolutionary Family Search Indexing project which uses an open-source style distributed contribution model to transcribe genealogical records from images into a searchable digital index.
His leadership and foresight will bless the church for many, many years to come.
In the moments after hearing of his death, there was a profound feeling of solemn gratitude and peace. We are so thankful for him. May the Lord bless his family for generations to come.