Carole Mikita ReportingPresident Gordon B. Hinckley and his counselors are marking their tenth anniversary together in the presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and in a rare group interview, they talked with television reporters this morning.
The three men, who have known each other and worked together in some capacity for decades, talked of the challenges of church growth, the religious divide, downtown redevelopment, and how they operate in unity and peace.
Ten years ago on day one of their presidency they met the media. Today, with 3-million more church members, 72 more temples and than 600-million dollars in humanitarian aid given, Presidents Hinckley, Monson and Faust say they are ready for more.
Reporter: “So many people simply want to know, how are you?”
President Gordon B. Hinckley: "Still going, enjoying life, I feel pretty well. I really do. I wobble a little, but better to have this end in trouble that this end (points to his head and smiles)."
Their biggest challenge is international church growth and training new leaders. President Hinckley mentions as high points: the conference center, 51-million copies of the Book of Mormon distributed in ten years, and the Perpetual Education Fund.
President Hinckley: "We can now educate some 18,000 young people, lifting them out of the depths of poverty."
About religious division in our community they say antagonism disappears when faiths share common goals.
Pres. Thomas S. Monson: "When you work together and you serve together you understand each other, and all the animosity that people think exists, evaporates."
President Faust, a former state legislator, believes now that there is more diversity on Utah's Capitol Hill and in Congress, could there be a Latter-day Saint president?
Pres. James E. Faust, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: "Everybody was quick to say, ‘Oh a Catholic will never be elected president of the United States.’ That day came and I expect that day will come for a Mormon."
In redeveloping downtown Salt Lake, President Hinckley says the church has enlisted the best in the nation to design it.
President Hinckley: “And we think out of that effort will come something of tremendous significance to this city.”
The interview ended as it began, in inimitable Hinckley fashion...
President Hinckley: “As for what we’re to be remembered by in the future, I don’t know, I don’t care. We just do our very best today and leave the rest for whatever happens.”
President Hinckley will celebrate his 95th birthday at the end of June. He says there will be a party in the Conference Center July 22nd; and, once again, everyone is invited.