By Kathryn Richards
During last April”s General Conference, President Gordon B. Hinckley recounted his experiences from the previous year.
“Through the great goodness of others I have traveled far and wide across the earth in the interest of this Church,” he said. “I have had remarkable opportunities to speak to the world through the generosity of the media.”
President Hinckley could make similar comments this weekend, considering his busy itinerary throughout the past year.
Since last April”s conference, he has been to Australia, Japan, Fiji, South America and all over North America.
He has dedicated 18 temples around the world, including two in Australia, five in South America and six in the United States.
Juan Henderson, a BYU instructor of teachings of the living prophets, said that President Hinckley”s biggest accomplishment has been his work with temples.
“He”s tried to get the temples closer to the people so they can have the power of the ordinances there,” Henderson said. “I think that”s one of the greatest things he”s done.”
Among the temple dedications was that of the Boston Massachusetts Temple on Oct. 1. This marked the church”s 100th temple, fulfilling President Hinckley”s goal to have 100 operating temples by the end of the year 2000.
Robert Freeman, BYU assistant professor of church history and doctrine, also said the construction of temples has been one of President Hinckley”s central themes throughout the past year.
“Like any prophet, his main focus has been to come unto Christ. But he”s also taught us so much about the central place of the temple in our worship,” Freeman said.
During his travels to dedicate temples, Hinckley also stopped to address church members in various places.
During December, President Hinckley addressed the saints in Puerto Rico on his way to dedicate temples Recife and Porto Alegre, Brazil.
More recently, he stopped in Aruba on his way to dedicate the temple in Montevideo, Uruguay.
The dedication of the Conference Center was also a noteworthy event for President Hinckley. It was dedicated October 8 at the Sunday morning session of General Conference.
“I think that the conference center dedication of last year would be on top of the list,” Freeman said. “It”s a product of his vision. We have seen the product of the prophet”s vision from beginning to end.”
In addition to his travels, President Hinckley has won several awards.
The National Society of the American Revolution awarded him the Gold Good Citizenship Metal. According to the Deseret News, he was recognized because of his “notable services on behalf of American principles.”
President Hinckley also won an award for his book, “Standing for Something,” from the Association for Mormon Letters.
Closer to home, President Hinckley has been involved with BYU during the past year.
On Oct. 27, he attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony of the Robert W. and Amy T. Barker Gallery, at BYU”s Museum of Art.
He also attended LaVell Edwards” last football game on Nov. 18 to rename the stadium in Edwards” honor.
He dedicated the remodeled Harold B. Lee Library on Nov. 15.