Born March 28, 1895 in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Died November 5, 1985 in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Spencer W. Kimball was baptized a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at the age of eight. He served a mission in the central United States from 1914-16. At age 48, he was ordained an Apostle by President Heber J. Grant. His missionary leadership involved supervising the work with the American Indians and in South America. In 1972, at age 72, he was sustained as president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and eighteen months later was sustained as President of the Church, where he served until his death at the age of 90 in 1985.
Preparation and Calling
Spencer W. Kimball had endured many personal challenges, including the removal of most of his vocal chords. His ministry was always given to assignments requiring both action and understanding, so it is not surprising that these two qualities were among his strengths.
Interaction with God
Little is known regarding Spencer W. Kimball’s personal relationship with Deity, but we do know that he plead fervently with the Lord regarding a number of soulfelt issues, ranging from his own feelings of inadequacy to the civil rights movement in the United States and the social conditions of the Native American Indians. Significant actions grew out of the answers he received, though he claimed no open visions or visitations from heavenly beings.
Civil rights were a big issue in the United States when Spencer W. Kimball became God’s prophet. He already had significant experience dealing with Native American Indians and helping to improve their social experience, and had great empathy for African Americans who were rising from years and years of repression. In addition, Church membership was growing at an unprecedented pace, increasing the challenges of administering the Church uniformly and effeciently throughout the world.
President Spencer W. Kimball was known for two hallmark statements: “Lengthen your stride,” and “Do it!” He challenged members of the Church to hasten their pace in doing the work of the Lord and improving their own lives, and he brought about the types of adminstrative changes that enabled all in the Church to move forward. Three of the most important were: (1) extending the priesthood to all worthy male members of age, which meant that every family with a worthy father could have the priesthood in their home, (2) the reconstitution of the Quorums of the Seventy, which established the organizational structure for administering a growing worldwide Church, and (3) the publication of a new edition of the scriptures with additional study aids, which provided the tools needed for every person to have an increased knowledge of the word of God.