Now, James White has written a helpful analysis of Hinckley's piece: "Gordon Hinckley Hearkens Back to Old Time Mormonism While De-Emphasizing Human Exaltation." He says:
When you go to www.lds.org today you will find a "First Presidency Message" from Gordon Hinckley, printed in the Ensign magazine, July, 2006. Since this is the current prophet writing, being published in the official church publications, and being recommended for use and discussion by home teachers, there is little ground upon which anyone can question that this is official teaching. Not Scripture, but official interpretation thereof, a clear exposition of the official position of the LDS Church. If the prophet can make this kind of statement for the First Presidency in the church's official publications and it still just be his "private opinion," there is really no logical way to determine what Mormonism actually believes or teaches any longer.
I found this message most interesting. In many ways, it is a re-affirmation of "old time Mormonism," those beliefs that some LDS seem to at least be embarrassed about today, and even to be waffling on, in some instances.