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Picturing history: President Gordon B. Hinckley sites — childhood in Utah and mission in England

Born June 23, 1910, Gordon B. Hinckley, the 15th president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, grew up in Salt Lake City. Of his childhood home, he said: “There was a big lawn, with many trees that shed millions of leaves, and there was an immense amount of work to be done constantly” (see "Presidents of the Church" manual, Ch. 15).

Young Elder Gordon B. Hinckley preaches in London's Hyde Park.
Young Elder Gordon B. Hinckley preaches in London's Hyde Park.
Provided by the Church History Library

He attended church in the Tenth Ward, a three-building complex. The middle structure dates back to the days of President Brigham Young. There, as he sat in a priesthood meeting, young Gordon said, “There came into my heart a great surge of love for and belief in the mighty Prophet of this dispensation” (see "Presidents of the Church").

After graduating from the University of Utah, Elder Hinckley served a mission in England. His first assignment was to Preston, Lancashire. While there, he expressed discouragement in a letter to his father, who responded: “‘Dear Gordon, I have your recent letter. I have only one suggestion: forget yourself and go to work.’ Earlier that morning in our scripture class my companion and I had read these words of the Lord” (found in Mark 8:35). He continues: “I went into our bedroom in the house at 15 Wadham Road, where we lived, and got on my knees and made a pledge with the Lord. I covenanted that I would try to forget myself and lose myself in His service” (see "Presidents of the Church").

In 1987, President Hinckley returned to Preston and, filled with emotion, visited sites where he had served as a young elder. (See "Looking Back: President Hinckley’s Sentimental Journey to Preston, England," by Gerry Avant, Church News, Nov. 14, 2017). While in England, Elder Hinckley also served in London where, among other places, he preached at the famous Speakers’ Corner in Hyde Park.