2000s: The First Decade — Mormon Church influence soars

When LDS President David O. McKay died in 1970, Time magazine mentioned him, calling him a cowboy who read the English classics.

Now, 40 years later, President Thomas S. Monson has been named the most influential 80-year-old in America and Joseph Smith and Brigham Young are listed among the most important 100 Americans in history

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has steadily come out of the footlights into the spotlight. And during the first decade of the new millennium, the church has been moving ahead by leaps and bounds.

With a wise, witty and media-savvy leader in Gordon B. Hinckley, the church began raising its profile early in the decade. After the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001, President Hinckley was one of the first guests Larry King interviewed on his nationally televised program. The enormously popular leader also attended a special summit at the White House to counsel President George W. Bush.

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