Of President Spencer W. Kimball, his father said,
“. . . he is always happy. He is a clean and obedient boy and always minds what I ask him to do. I have dedicated him to the Lord and to His service. He will become a mighty man in the Church.” (Teachings of the Presidents: Spencer W. Kimball, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2006 xiv)
Born March 28,1895 in Salt Lake City, Utah, Spencer W. Kimball came into this world already chosen by the Lord (Abraham 3:22-23,) for all the prophets of God were chosen long before the earth began. Interestingly, President Kimball was the grandson of Heber C. Kimball, who was called and ordained as an apostle under Joseph Smith, Jr. So maybe, when his father dedicated him unto the Lord, he may have had an inkling of the days to come.
Three scant years after he was born, his mother died and his father remarried. By this time they had moved south and were living in Thatcher, Arizona. Of Thatcher, President Kimball recalled,
“It was an arid country, yet it was fruitful under the hands of determined laborers.” (Teachings of the Presidents: Spencer W. Kimball, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2006 xvii)
I’ve toured the home President Kimball grew up in and it is indeed in a small town surrounded by a harsh desert. And yet he said, “it was fruitful under the hands of determined laborers.” This was a theme for President Kimball’s entire life. There wasn’t a task he saw that he could not complete. There was no job too big or difficult. Determination could very well be one of the defining characteristics of this sweet, gentle man, called of God to lead and guide His church.
Not only did Young Spencer learn every aspect of farm life, but he learned to sing and lead music and he became proficient enough to play piano with a small orchestra. He helped his father every day after school, and learned to take dictation and type as well. Later in life he overcame a heart ailment as well as the loss of 1 1/2 vocal chords. The words of this prophet, whispered in a damaged voiced, pierced more hearts and souls than could ever be imagined.
“Years later as an Apostle in his 70s, he had occasional days when he felt physically exhausted. Of one such day he wrote: “I started out very miserable and found myself wondering if I could get through the day, but . . . I seemed to become intoxicated with my work and forgot myself and it was a good day.” (Teachings of the Presidents: Spencer W. Kimball, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2006 xix)
These qualities were learned in his youth, taught to him both by his parents and life. In the next post, we will cover the years leading up to the date he was called as the next prophet to lead The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.