Gordon Bitner Hinckley (June 23, 1910 – January 27, 2008) was an American religious leader and author who served as the 15th President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) from March 1995 until his death in January 2008 at age 97. Considered a prophet, seer, and revelator by church members, Hinckley was the oldest person to preside over the church in its history.
Hinckley’s presidency was noted for the building of temples, with more than half of existing temples being built under his leadership. He also oversaw the reconstruction of the Nauvoo Illinois Temple and the building of the 21,000 seat Conference Center. During his tenure, “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” was issued and the Perpetual Education Fund was established. At the time of his death, approximately one-third of the church’s membership had joined the church under Hinckley’s leadership.
Hinckley was awarded ten honorary doctorate degrees, and in 2004 the Presidential Medal of Freedom by George W. Bush. He also received the Boy Scouts of America‘s highest award, the Silver Buffalo, and served as chairman of the Church Boards of Trustees/Education. Hinckley died of natural causes on January 27, 2008. His wife, Marjorie Pay, died in 2004. He was succeeded as church president by Thomas S. Monson, who had served as his first counselor in the First Presidency, and, more importantly, was the President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles; according to LDS doctrine and practice, Monson was Hinckley’s anticipated successor.
Hinckley was born on June 23, 1910, in Salt Lake City, Utah, to prominent LDS writer and educator Bryant S. Hinckley and his wife Ada Bitner Hinckley (1880–1930). He grew up on a residential farm in East Millcreek. His home library contained approximately 1,000 volumes of literature, philosophy and history. He graduated from LDS High School in 1928, then attended the University of Utah, where he majored in English literature and minored in Latin and ancient Greek, graduating with a B.A. in 1932.  Hinckley became a missionary for the LDS Church, an unusual occurrence for Depression-era Latter-day Saints. He served in the London-based BritishMission from 1933 to 1935. He later wrote the words for LDS hymn no. 135, “My Redeemer Lives”.
Hinckley returned to the United States in 1935 after completing a short tour of the European continent, including preaching in both Berlin and Paris. He was given an assignment by his mission president, Joseph F. Merrill, to meet with the church’s First Presidency and request that better materials be made available to missionaries for proselytizing. As a result of this meeting, Hinckley received employment as executive secretary of the church’s Radio, Publicity and Missionary Literature Committee (he had received schooling as a journalist in college). Hinckley’s responsibilities included developing the church’s fledgling radio broadcasts and making use of the era’s new communication technologies.
One of the projects Hinckley oversaw in the late 1930s was development of the church’s exhibit for the Golden Gate International Exposition.
In 1935 Hinckley also worked as a seminary teacher for the LDS Church. He however decided to focus solely on the work with the Radio, Publicity and missionary literature committee.
Starting in 1937, he served on the Sunday School General Board. After the Second World War, during which he left full-time LDS Church employ to work for a time with the Rio Grande Western Railroad, Hinckley served as executive secretary to the church’s Missionary Committee. He also served as the church’s liaison to Deseret Book, working with Deseret Book’s liaison to the church, Thomas S. Monson. At various times, especially in the late 1940s, Hinckley was also a reporter for the Church News, a publication of the Deseret News.
In the early 1950s, Hinckley was part of a committee that considered how to present the temple ordinances at the Swiss Temple. The concern was how this could be done when a need existed to provide them in at least 10 languages; the concern was eventually solved through the use of a film version of the endowment. Hinckley’s background in journalism and public relations prepared him well to preside over the church during a time when it has received increasing media coverage. He had learned to use new technology to spread the word of God, developed positive relationships with people of other faiths, and studied and written works of Church history. These experiences would serve as a foundation for the service he would give for the rest of his life. 
In 1957, Hinckley was named to the board of directors of KSL. Shortly after he was named to the executive committee of the board.