Grampa Bill's General Authority Pages
Spencer W. (Wooley) Kimball


1895 - 1985

  • Born 1895 Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Baptized as a child; Aaronic Priesthood as a youth; Melchizedek Priesthood as a young man
  • Mission to Central States, 1914-1917
  • Married Camilla Eyring 1917; four children
  • Ordained Apostle and called to Quorum of the Twelve 1943-1973
  • Acting President of Quorum of the Twelve 1970-1972
  • President of Quorum of the Twelve 1972-1973
  • Twelfth President of the Church, 1973-1985
  • Received Revelation giving Priesthood to all worthy males, 1978
  • Died 1985 Salt Lake City, Utah

    Spencer Wooley Kimball, the twelfth President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints proved a surprise and a paradox to many throughout his life. Of short stature, he proved an able athlete. Attaining the office of President late in life and with severe health problems, his was expected to be a short tenured caretaker Presidency. Instead, it lasted twelve years and made monumental achievements. This man of peace, who always sought to smooth troubled waters, instead often found himself embroiled in controversy and conflict.

    Spencer was born March 28, 1895 in Salt Lake City to Andrew Kimball, a son of Apostle Heber C. Kimball, and Andrew's wife Olive Wooley Kimball. When Spencer was three, the family moved to Thatcher, Arizona so that his father could accept a call to serve as Stake President in the area. Thus Spencer grew up in Arizona. He served a mission to the Central States and during the latter half was called to preside over twenty-five Elders, all older than himself.

    Returning home, he married Camilla Eyring, a school teacher, on November 16, 1917. They eventually had four children: Spencer L., Olive Beth, Andrew E., and Edward L. Spencer. He worked in the fields of banking and insurance, determined to remain self-employed for the flexibility it gave him to tend to Church duties.

    In 1943, after serving for years in Stake callings, he was called to the Quorum of the Twelve. He felt woefully inadequate and was depressed for days before receiving a confirmation that the calling was of God. He sold his business, moved his family to Salt Lake City, and at the October General Conference in 1943 received the sustaining vote of the Church's membership and was that same day ordained an apostle by President Heber J. Grant.

    As a General Authority, President Heber J. Grant gave him the responsibility of working with the Indian peoples. Appalled by the poverty and hardship he saw, he first presided over the distribution of welfare goods, then determined that any long term benefit must come from the twin efforts of improvements to infrastructure in the Reservations and improvement of education of the Native Americans. Elder Kimball developed the Indian Student Placement Program which allowed worthy Indian students to be placed in homes where they could receive an extended education. This program was in place many years until improving conditions lessened its need. He preached vigorously against racial prejudice.

    Much of his time was spent counseling members with various problems. His experience led him to write The Miracle of Forgiveness, which has brought hope to millions and is a classic in Church literature.

    Elder Kimball suffered a heart attack in 1948 and throat cancer a few years later. Removal of most of his vocal cords left him with a distinctive weak, raspy voice. In 1972 he underwent open-heart surgery to replace an obstructed artery and a failing valve.

    Thus when, with the death of President Harold B. Lee in 1973, Spencer W. Kimball was sustained as President of the Church, most observers expected a short, uneventful, caretaker Presidency. Another surprise! Among the achievements of President Kimball's administration were almost doubling the membership of the Church, granting the Priesthood to all worthy members, articulating for the first time the Three-fold Mission of the Church, organizing the First Quorum of the Seventy for the first time since the days of Joseph Smith, establishing operating Areas and Area Presidencies to decentralize Church government, establishing the three-hour Block Meeting Schedule, and increasing the operating temples from fifteen to thirty-one.

    If Grampa Bill may be excused for sharing a short personal experience with President Kimball, Elder Kimball at the time... Sitting outside the office of the Patriarch to the Church, Eldred G. Smith, while my parents received their Patriarchal Blessings, Gramma Letty and I were greeted by a short man who came running up the stairs of the Old Church Office Building. He introduced himself as Elder Kimball and asked if he could be of any assistance. We explained that we were waiting while the Patriarch talked to my parents. He laughed and told us we might have quite a wait as Patriarch Smith sometimes talked for hours. Assured that we were okay, he resumed his run up the stairs. Eventually, the conversations and blessings were over and Patriarch Smith accompanied my parents to the door. When we told of having met Elder Kimball, it was the Patriarch's turn to laugh. He explained that Elder Kimball was not afraid of elevators but would never enter one unless it was on his floor with the door open. He simply did not have time to wait. Yet he had time to check on two strangers to see if we needed his help.

    On November 5, 1985, at age ninety, President Kimball died in Salt Lake City, Utah. He was succeeded as Church President by Ezra Taft Benson.



Bibliography
   David Mitchell, “President Spencer W. Kimball Ordained Twelfth President of the Church,” Ensign, Feb. 1974, p.2
   Neal A. Maxwell, “Spencer, the Beloved: Leader-Servant,” Ensign, Dec. 1985, p.8
   “Milestones in the Life and Administration of President Spencer W. Kimball,” Ensign, Dec. 1985, p.10
   Encyclopedia of Mormonism, Vol.2, KIMBALL, SPENCER W.
   Lawrence R. Flake, Prophets and Apostles of the Last Dispensation, pp.113-122
   2005 Church Almanac, p.55

Selected Discourses and Writings
Grampa Bill believes this to be the most complete link listing available of President Spencer W. Kimball's talks and articles on the web. Please email the Grampa if you note any broken links, errors, or if you are aware of any Spencer W. Kimball talks or articles not listed here but available on the web.

You will note that some are available only as text; some are available only in the MP3 format; while still others are avaible in both text and MP3.

Talks marked with an asterisk (*) are not (to my knowledge) available anywhere else on the web. As a service, they have been copied onto this web site.

Bewildered and Shocked *
Note: This is the first address given by Elder Spencer W. Kimball in General Conference following being sustained as an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ.
General Conference 1 October 1943  
Devotional BYU Fireside 26 May 1949 MP3
A Style of Our Own BYU Fireside 13 February 1951 MP3
Whom Shall I Marry? BYU Fireside 4 March 1952 MP3
The Lamanite BYU Fireside 15 April 1953 MP3
Tragedy Or Destiny? BYU Fireside 6 December 1955 MP3
Prayer BYU Fireside 11 October 1961 MP3
Humility BYU Fireside 16 January 1963 MP3
Love Vs Lust BYU Fireside 5 January 1965 MP3
Lamanite Prophecies Fulfilled BYU Fireside 13 April 1965 MP3
Kings and Priests BYU Fireside 15 February 1966 MP3
The Lamanite: Their Burden, Our Burden BYU Fireside 9 February 1967 MP3
Gospel Forum: Continuing Revelation Ensign, February 1971  
Voices of the Past, of the Present, of the Future Ensign, June 1971  
Of Royal Blood Ensign, July 1971  
Peter, My Brother BYU Fireside 13 July 1971 MP3
Church Is a Cure-all for All Problems BYU Fireside 26 September 1971 MP3
Glimpses of Heaven Ensign, December 1971  
Keep the Lines of Communication Strong Ensign, July 1972  
President Marion G. Romney: A Symbol of Righteousness Ensign, November 1972  
Church Growth and Lamanite Involvement BYU Fireside 7 November 1972  
“We Thank Thee, O God, for a Prophet” Ensign, January 1973  
The Family Influence Ensign, July 1973  
Marriage Is Honorable BYU Fireside 30 September 1973 MP3
The Rewards, the Blessings, the Promises Ensign, January 1974  
A Giant of a Man Ensign, February 1974  
"Guidelines to Carry Forth the Work of God in Cleanliness"
Note: This is the first address given by President Spencer W. Kimball in General Conference following the Solemn Assembly in which he was sustained as President of the Church.
General Conference April 1974  
Planning for a Full and Abundant Life General Conference, April 1974  
What Do We Hear? General Conference, April 1974  
The Cause Is Just and Worthy General Conference, April 1974  
First Presidency Message Temples and Eternal Marriage Ensign, August 1974  
Be Ye Therefore Perfect BYU Fireside 17 September 1974 MP3
“When the World Will Be Converted” Ensign, October 1974  
God Will Not Be Mocked General Conference, October 1974  
The Davids and the Goliaths General Conference, October 1974  
Ocean Currents and Family Influences General Conference, October 1974  
Small Acts of Service Ensign, December 1974  
Home: The Place to Save Society Ensign, January 1975  
The Marriage Decision Ensign, February 1975  
“Why Call Me Lord, Lord, and Do Not the Things Which I Say?” General Conference, April 1975  
To Bear the Priesthood Worthily General Conference, April 1975  
Why Do We Continue to Tolerate Sin? General Conference, April 1975  
The Example of Abraham Ensign, June 1975  
Always a Convert Church: Some Lessons to Learn and Apply This Year Ensign, September 1975  
"Announcement of Restoration of the First Quorum of the Seventy"
Note: Almost as an aside, President Kimball announced the restoration of the First Quorum of the Seventy for the first time since the days of Nauvoo... an event of the first magnitude in Church history.
General Conference October 1975  
The Lord’s Plan for Men and Women Ensign, October 1975  
Spoken from Their Hearts General Conference, October 1975  
There Is Still Much to Do General Conference, October 1975  
The Time to Labor Is Now General Conference, October 1975  
The Privilege of Holding the Priesthood General Conference, October 1975  
The Second Century of Brigham Young University BYU Devotional, 10 October 1975  
Our Paths Have Met Again Ensign, December 1975  
Relief Society—Its Promise and Potential Ensign, March 1976  
The Blessings and Responsibilities of Womanhood Ensign, March 1976  
Family Preparedness General Conference, April 1976  
The Stone Cut without Hands General Conference, April 1976  
Seeking Eternal Riches General Conference, April 1976  
Boys Need Heroes Close By General Conference, April 1976  
The False Gods We Worship Ensign, June 1976  
How Rare a Possession—the Scriptures! Ensign, September 1976  
Marriage and Divorce BYU Devotional, 7 September 1976 MP3
Loving One Another General Conference, October 1976  
A Report and a Challenge General Conference, October 1976  
Our Own Liahona General Conference, October 1976  
A Program for Man General Conference, October 1976  
The Things of Eternity—Stand We in Jeopardy? Ensign, January 1977  
Oneness in Marriage Ensign, March 1977  
Our Great Potential General Conference, April 1977  
Revelation: The Word of the Lord to His Prophets General Conference, April 1977  
The Lord Expects His Saints to Follow the Commandments General Conference, April 1977  
Presentation of Scouting Award General Conference, April 1977  
The Gospel Vision of the Arts Ensign, July 1977  
Temples Now and in the Future BYU Devotional, 4 August 1977 MP3
Absolute Truth BYU Devotional, 6 September 1977 MP3
“It Becometh Every Man” Ensign, October 1977  
The Power of Forgiveness General Conference, October 1977  
The Foundations of Righteousness General Conference, October 1977  
Welfare Services: The Gospel in Action General Conference, October 1977  
Jesus the Christ General Conference, October 1977  
The Sabbath—A Delight Ensign, January 1978  
"Becoming the Pure in Heart"
Note: In this landmark address, President Kimball articulated, for the first time, the three-fold mission of the Church. It is considered a watershed discourse in Church history.
General Conference April 1978  
“Train Up a Child” Ensign, April 1978  
Living the Gospel in the Home General Conference, April 1978  
Strengthening the Family—the Basic Unit of the Church General Conference, April 1978  
Listen to the Prophets General Conference, April 1978  
The True Way of Life and Salvation General Conference, April 1978  
A Vision of Visiting Teaching Ensign, June 1978  
Official Declaration 2
Note: This historic document recorded the revelation allowing the priesthood be granted to all worthy male members of the Church.
Letter to all Priesthood Leaders, June 1978  
The Abundant Life Ensign, July 1978  
Absolute Truth Ensign, September 1978  
"On My Honor" BYU Devotional, 12 September 1978 MP3
Fundamental Principles to Ponder and Live General Conference, October 1978  
The Fruit of Our Welfare Services Labors General Conference, October 1978  
“Hold Fast to the Iron Rod” General Conference, October 1978  
An Eternal Hope in Christ General Conference, October 1978  
Privileges and Responsibilities of Sisters General Conference, October 1978  
Sisters, Seek Everything That Is Good Ensign, March 1979  
On My Honor Ensign, April 1979  
Fortify Your Homes Against Evil General Conference, April 1979  
Applying the Principles of Welfare Services General Conference, April 1979  
Preparing for Service in the Church General Conference, April 1979  
Let Us Move Forward and Upward General Conference, April 1979  
“The Uttermost Parts of the Earth” Ensign, July 1979  
Jesus: The Perfect Leader Ensign, August 1979  
Integrity: The Spirit of BYU BYU Devotional, 4 September 1979  
The Importance of Celestial Marriage Ensign, October 1979  
“Give Me This Mountain” General Conference, October 1979  
The Role of Righteous Women General Conference, October 1979  
Our Sisters in the Church General Conference, October 1979  
“We Need a Listening Ear” General Conference, October 1979  
Give the Lord Your Loyalty Ensign, March 1980  
Remarks and Dedication of the Fayette, New York, Buildings General Conference, April 1980  
A Deep Commitment to the Principles of Welfare Service General Conference, April 1980  
Introduction to the Proclamation General Conference, April 1980  
“No Unhallowed Hand Can Stop the Work” General Conference, April 1980  
“Let Us Not Weary in Well Doing” General Conference, April 1980  
“We Feel an Urgency” Ensign, August 1980  
Acquiring Spiritual Literacy BYU Devotional, 9 September 1980  
Families Can Be Eternal General Conference, October 1980  
The Law of Tithing General Conference, October 1980  
“Learn—Then Teach” General Conference, October 1980  
“Do Not Weary by the Way” General Conference, October 1980  
President Kimball Speaks Out on Morality General Conference, October 1980  
Jesus of Nazareth Ensign, December 1980  
Ministering to the Needs of Members General Conference, October 1980  
President Kimball Speaks Out on Personal Journals Ensign, December 1980  
President Kimball Speaks Out on Profanity Ensign, February 1981  
“He Did It with All His Heart, and Prospered” Ensign, March 1981  
Rendering Service to Others General Conference, April 1981  
A Report of My Stewardship General Conference, April 1981  
Follow the Fundamentals General Conference, April 1981  
We Are on the Lord’s Errand General Conference, April 1981  
“Pray Always” Ensign, October 1981  
“Therefore I Was Taught” Ensign, January 1982  
God Will Forgive Ensign, March 1982  
Remember the Mission of the Church General Conference, April 1982  
The Lord Is at the Helm General Conference, April 1982  
The Gospel of Repentance Ensign, October 1982  
"The Lord Expects Righteousness"
Note: This is the last address given by President Spencer W. Kimball in General Conference prior to his death. He lived another three years, but health precluded him ever again visiting with and personally addressing the Saints in General Conference.
General Conference October 1982  
“And the Lord Called His People Zion” Ensign, August 1984  


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