Spencer W. Kimball

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LDS Prophet Spencer W. Kimball

Spencer Woolley Kimball (March 28, 1895 – November 5, 1985) was the twelfth President and Prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. A humble man that expressed appreciation and love generously. His 12-year presidency would see dramatic growth in the Church. Spencer articulated a threefold mission for the Church: to proclaim the gospel, to redeem the dead, and to perfect the Saints.[1] His capacity for hard work as a general authority was legendary and he had great compassion for those struggling physically, socially, and spiritually. Under his leadership, access to the temple and the priesthood was extended, regardless of race. Spencer sought and obtained revelation that Church members of black ancestry could be full participants in all aspects of the Church.

Early Years

Born in Salt Lake City, Utah to father Andrew Kimball and mother Olive Woolley Kimball. His father was serving as president of the Indian Territory Mission. At age three, the family moved to Thatcher, Arizona where Andrew Kimball resided over the St. Joseph stake as president. As a child, Spencer suffered from typhoid fever, smallpox and facial paralysis which was the beginning of many illnesses in his life. Four of his sisters died in childhood, and his mother died when he was eleven. At age fourteen he taught Sunday school. He was always selected as class president in high school. After graduating high school, Spencer served as a missionary in the Central States Mission for two years until 1916. November 1917, Spencer married a school teacher Camilla Eyring. She bore him four children: Spencer L., Olive Beth, Andrew E., and Edward L. He received an induction notice for army service in World War I. Delay in organizing the army contingent from his area resulted in his being deferred. He worked for a bank and established an insurance and realty agency. His father passed away in 1924. Spencer was selected as statewide leader of the Arizona Rotary Club in 1936. In 1938, the St. Joseph Stake was divided and he was called as president of the new Mount Graham Stake.

The Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

On July 8, 1943, the First Presidency notified President Kimball of his call to fill a vacancy in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. After much discussion, he sold his business, moved his family to Salt Lake City and was ordained an apostle by President Heber J. Grant. For thirty years he led in his responsibilities. Spencer was given the task to help the native Indian population. He helped establish the Church's Indian Student Placement Services. LDS families with access to good schools took Indian children from the reservations into their homes for the school year on a voluntary basis. In over two decades, the program would reach nearly 5000 children a year. As he traveled about the Church he gave hundreds of twelve-year-old boys a dollar each to begin a mission saving fund. Spencer traveled the world visiting all the missions of Europe. Also, spent four years where he began missionary work for the Church in South America. Spencer suffered a heart attack in 1948 and throat cancer a few years later. In 1972, he had successful open-heart surgery that replaced an obstructed artery and a failing valve. On December 26, 1973, Spencer W. Kimball succeeded Harold B. Lee as Church President at age 78.

12th President

His presidency would see explosive Church growth; from 630 stakes to about 1,500; from organizations in 50 countries to 96; membership from 3.3 million to nearly 6 million and the total number of full-time missionaries increased 50%. Plus the number of temples increased from 15 to 31 and eleven more under construction when he died. Many of President Kimball's accomplishments came from the effort to cope with rapid expansion. He organized the First Quorum of the Seventy and he held numerous regional conferences and solemn assemblies that included men from Europe, Asia, and South America. To meet leadership needs, additional General Authorities were called for limited terms of approximately five years and others were given emeritus status. The fastest growth of the Church occurred in Latin America and Asia, but the Church also began organized activity in Communist-dominated countries and in sub-Saharan Africa.

President Kimball became involved in a number of contentious public issues. A center established in Jerusalem caused protest by orthodox Jews. First Presidency statements addressed the issues of homosexuality, abortion, and pornography, marking serious concern about the permissiveness of American society. Controversy arose over the role of Church historical writings as discovered that significant historical documents were by forger Mark Hofmann. The First Presidency endorsed equal rights for women but opposed the Equal Rights Amendment as improper.

President Kimball made an announcement that he received a revelation in 1978, ending more than a century of limitation on admission of Church members of black African ancestry to priesthood office and temple ordinances. The revelation was added to the Doctrine and Covenants as Official Declaration—2. President Kimball died in Salt Lake City on November 5, 1985.


  • “We must lengthen our stride and must do it now.”
  • “God does notice us, and He watches over us. But it is usually through another person that he meets our needs.”
  • “Well, don't just pray to marry the one you love; Instead, pray to love the one you marry.”


  • Faith Precedes the Miracle
  • The Miracle of Forgiveness
  • Tragedy or Destiny

External links


  1. Spencer W Kimball Light Planet