NORWICH – Mormon President Gordon B. Hinckley was a kind, energetic leader who in 12 years helped to spread the religion’s message through mainstream media and expand its presence globally, say members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Norwich.
Hinckley, 97, died of natural causes Sunday at his apartment in Salt Lake City, Utah.
“He was a great leader and an example for all of us,” said Vicki Raphael, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Norwich. “Everybody just adored him for the person he was.”
Peter Mennis, the church’s Norwich Branch President, said Hinckley, even at 97, was pro-active, outgoing and tireless; three traits that defined his dozen years as the church’s President and Prophet.
“He was just an awesome man,” said Mennis.
Hinckley is credited for leading the church through a global expansion that’s seen its membership grow to 13 million in 171 countries. As a result, he was well-known for keeping a rigorous work and travel schedule right up until his death, Mennis said.
“At 97, in a day he was busier than you or I,” he said.
He was also renowned for his efforts to bring the Mormon religion further into the public light worldwide, which made him a popular figure in the media.
“While he was President and Prophet, the church had a lot of exposure,” said Mennis, who pointed to campaign started under Hinckley called “Truth Restored,” aimed at explaining the church’s basic beliefs and dispeling myths surrounding them. “He was very successful in finding a way to help people understand the church.”..