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PRESIDENT HINCKLEY OBSERVES HIS 81ST BIRTHDAY AT DEDICATION

President Gordon B. Hinckley spent his 81st birthday here June 23 participating in four dedicatory sessions in the Alberta Temple.

Speaking during the sixth session Sunday morning, President Hinckley smiled as he mentioned his birthday."Today's my birthday," he said. "The rivets are popping and the solder's wearing thin, but I'm here."

President Hinckley then, with much emotion, recounted his years of Church service and blessings received, beginning with his call as a young missionary in England in the 1930s. He recalled the nations he has visited as a General Authority and the special events in which he has participated, including the dedication or rededication of 39 of the 44 existing temples, and then bore strong but tender testimony of the divinity of the work.

"I don't know why I've been favored to be here," he mused. "I don't understand it and can't comprehend it, but I feel grateful. And I know this is the work of God."

During a dinner hosted the evening before by the dedication committee for visiting Church authorities, priesthood leaders from the temple district and spouses, President Thomas S. Monson, after speaking briefly to the group, called attention to President Hinckley's birthday. He then led a spirited rendition of "Happy Birthday." President Hinckley was given a cake, and he and his wife, Marjorie, were treated to a carriage ride through Cardston as soon as the dinner concluded and the sun set. Many residents ran from their homes to wave greetings to the Hinckleys as the horse-drawn team trotted by.

President Hinckley received the attention graciously, quipping at the dinner that the evening had been a "piece of cake."