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David E. Sorensen, an LDS general authority assigned by the late President Gordon B. Hinckley with overseeing a massive expansion of Mormon temple building, died Aug. 26 at his home in San Juan Capistrano, Calif. He was 81.

Sorensen, who made his living as a businessman first with a health services company in California and then as vice chairman of Nevada Community Bank in Las Vegas, was tapped in 1992 to join the LDS hierarchy as a member of the Second Quorum of Seventy. Three years later, he stepped up to the First Quorum of Seventy, where he was asked to take over the church's temple department.

At the time, the LDS Church had 49 temples worldwide, but Hinckley wanted to build them "closer to more of the people of the world ," Sorensen said in a speech. To that end, the church president introduced the idea of smaller — or mini — versions of the sacred structures and hoped to reach 100 temples by 2000. Sorensen's department "met the goal and dedicated another 20 temples before David was released in 2005," his obituary says.

"He ha[d] the head of a businessman, the heart of a cowboy," Sorensen's wife, Verla, says in the obituary, "and the soul of a disciple of Jesus Christ."

Peggy Fletcher Stack