Only six others have led the Church for ten years or longer. Here is an interesting perspective.
Joseph Smith passed his ten-year mark on April 6, 1840. He was 34 years old. It had been one year to the day since he escaped from the Liberty Jail. He had purchased a number of large tracts of land in the mosquito-infested swamps of Commerce, Illinois and re-named it Nauvoo. The Kirtland Temple had been abandoned and the Nauvoo Temple had not yet begun. The entire membership of the Church was 16,865.
The Twelve had led the Church for three-and-a-half years after the death of the Prophet Joseph. Brigham Young was sustained as the Prophet on December 27, 1847. When he passed his ten-year mark on December 27, 1857 there were no temples in the Church, the Saints had been in Utah for just over ten years, the survivors of the Martin and Willie Handcart Companies had arrived just 13 months earlier and crickets had devastated the crops of the Saints that year before. Brigham Young was now 56 years old. Total membership of the Church was 55,236.
Joseph F. Smith passed his ten-year mark as President of the Church on October 17, 1911. He was nearly 73 years old. He had been trying to usher in a new era of understanding and positive public sentiment towards the Church. Under his direction the Church had begun purchasing some early historical sites in New York, Missouri and Illinois. The Church now had four temples completed, all in Utah (St. George, Logan, Manti and Salt Lake). During his first ten years, President Smith helped the Church get completely out of debt. Total membership was now 407,291 in 62 stakes and 21 missions.
Heber J. Grant passed his ten-year mark on November 23, 1928. He had just turned 72 the day before. He dedicated three temples during that time (Laie Hawaii, Cardston Alberta, and Mesa Arizona), helped the Church begin to establish the welfare program and began to travel somewhat outside the realms of Utah. By that ten year mark Church membership was 655,686 in 101 stakes and 29 missions.
David O. McKay passed his ten-year mark on April 9, 1961. He was now 87 years old. He had dedicated four new temples, but three of them were outside the United States (Bern Switzerland, Hamilton New Zealand and London England). In this first ten years President McKay created the first non-English speaking stakes of the Church. His emphasis of “every member a missionary” began during this time. At this point Church membership numbered 1,823,661 in 345 stakes and 67 missions.
Spencer W. Kimball passed his ten-year mark on December 30, 1983. His health was very poor, but during that first ten years, under President Kimball’s direction, eleven temples had been dedicated, seven of those outside the United States. In his failing health he had called one additional counselor into the First Presidency, Elder Gordon Bitner Hinckley. By that ten-year mark, President Kimball was 88 years old and his young counselor, President Hinckley, was 73. Church membership had now swelled to 5,351,724 in 1,458 stakes and 177 missions. Growth in the Church, during this period, had been unprecedented.
Gordon B. Hinckley passes his ten-year mark as President of the Church on Saturday, March 12, 2005. Membership of the Church is now over 1,000,000 in Mexico alone. Worldwide membership has exceeded 12,000,000 in more than 2,650 stakes and 337 missions. During this first ten-year period, Gordon B. Hinckley has dedicated 72 temples and had been instrumental in bringing the Church out of obscurity and into the mainstream of the press and public view.