"We stand on the summit of the ages, awed by a great and solemn sense of history. . . . I pray that every one of us may sense the awesome wonder of it all. . . ." President Gordon B. Hinckley, October 1999 general conference.
A new priesthood position, Area Authority Seventy, was created in April 1995 to assist area presidencies in administering area affairs.
The Proclamation on the Family, read Sept. 23, 1995, by President Gordon B. Hinckley during General Relief Society Meeting, declared that "marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator's plan for the eternal destiny of His children."
For the first time in Church history, the number of members living outside the United States exceeded the number of members living within. Member and Statistical Records Division of the Church estimated that the change in membership demographics took place Feb. 28, 1996.
Plans were announced in October 1997 general conference to accelerate construction of temples by building scaled-downed versions. Within six months, sites for 24 temples were announced. Before end of year 2000, more than 100 temples were expected to dedicated.
Indicative of sustained Church growth, 13 new missions were created in July 1998. Also, five new areas were organized in August 1998.
Creation of the FamilySearch Internet web site May 24, 1999, proved to be a great boon to family history research. The free Web site allowed home access via the Internet to some of the most significant materials in the Church's Family History Library. In less than one year, 3 billion hits were recorded. FamilySearch receives as many as 8 million hits daily from an average of 130,000 visitors.
The 100 millionth copy of the Book of Mormon was printed and distributed sometime between late February and early March in the year 2000. During the 1990s, an average of about 5 million books were published and distributed each year. The book was also printed in its 100th language, although seven of the languages are no longer in print. Currently, selections of the Book of Mormon are available in 40 languages, while full-copy versions are available in 53 languages.