SALT LAKE CITY – Recalling his first-ever address as president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 10 years ago, Gordon B. Hinckley opened the 175th conference of the church Saturday by calling on members to “stand a little taller, lift our eyes and stretch our minds to a greater millennial mission.”
The words were the same Hinckley used a decade ago, just weeks after he and his counselors, President Thomas Monson and James E. Faust, were elevated to lead the church March 12, 1995.
“You must be the judge of how far we have come in realizing the fulfillment of that invitation given 10 years ago,” he told 21,000 faithful who filled the church’s Conference Center in downtown Salt Lake City.
Hinckley opened the afternoon conference session by expressing his condolences to the world’s Catholics over the death of Pope John Paul II, calling him a courageous man of faith, vision and intellect.
“The pope’s voice remained firm in defense of freedom, family, and Christianity,” Hinckley said, reading from a prepared statement. “On matters of principle and morality, he was uncompromising. On his compassion for the world’s poor, he has been unwavering.”
The afternoon session was also marked by the promotion of 12 men and three women to leadership positions within the church.
On Hinckley’s watch, the LDS Church reports that it has grown by 3 million members, eclipsing a total of 12 million members in more than 160 countries.