The Words of a Prophet
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“The Words of a Prophet,” Ensign, Dec. 1985, 26

In Memoriam: Spencer W. Kimball, 1895–1985

The Words of a Prophet

For decades, the stirring counsel of President Spencer W. Kimball has motivated members of the Church. The following quotations are some of the many memorable instructions given by him.

“My Friend, My Savior”

“To the testimonies of these mighty men and Apostles of old—our brethren in the ministry of the same Master—I add my own testimony. I know that Jesus Christ is the Son the living God and that he was crucified for the sins of the world.

“He is my friend, my Savior, my Lord, my God.” (Ensign, Nov. 1978, p. 73.)

“You Will Meet Goliaths …”

“You will meet Goliaths who threaten you. Whether your Goliath is … the temptation to steal or destroy or the temptation to rob or the desire to curse and swear; if your Goliath is the desire to wantonly destroy or the temptation to lust and to sin, or the urge to avoid activity, whatever is your Goliath, he can be slain.” (Ensign, Nov. 1974, p. 82.)

On Pornography

“Teach your children to avoid smut as the plague it is. As citizens, join in the fight against obscenity in your communities. Do not be lulled into inaction by the pornographic profiteers who say that to remove obscenity is to deny people the rights of free choice. Do not let them masquerade licentiousness as liberty.

“Precious souls are at stake—souls that are near and dear to each of us.

“Sins spawned by pornography unfortunately perpetuate other serious transgressions.” (Ensign, Nov. 1976, p. 6.)

On Our Mortal Condition

“Being human, we would expel from our lives physical pain and mental anguish and assure ourselves of continual ease and comfort, but if we were to close the doors upon sorrow and distress, we might be excluding our greatest friends and benefactors. Suffering can make saints of people as they learn patience, long-suffering, and self-mastery.” (Tragedy or Destiny? Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1977, pp. 2–3.)

Every Person Can Keep a Journal

“Every person should keep a journal and every person can keep a journal. It should be an enlightening one and should bring great blessings and happiness to the families. If there is anyone here who isn’t doing so, will you repent today and change—change your life?” (Ensign, May 1979, p. 84.)

A Year’s Supply

“Some have become casual about keeping up their year’s supply of commodities. …

“Should evil times come, many might wish they had filled all their fruit bottles and cultivated a garden in their backyards and planted a few fruit trees and berry bushes and provided for their own commodity needs.”

“The Lord planned that we would be independent of every creature, but we note even many farmers buy their milk from dairies and home owners buy their garden vegetables from the store. And should the trucks fail to fill the shelves of the stores, many would go hungry.” (Ensign, Nov. 1974, p. 6.)

A Cleanup Campaign

“We ask you to clean up your homes and your farms. ‘Man is the keeper of the land, and not its possessor.’

“Broken fences should be mended or removed. Unused barns should be repaired, roofed, painted, or removed. Sheds and corrals should be repaired and painted, or removed. Weedy ditch banks should be cleared. Abandoned homes could probably be razed. We look forward to the day when, in all of our communities, urban and rural, there would be a universal, continued movement to clean and repair and paint barns and sheds, build sidewalks, clean ditch banks, and make our properties a thing of beauty to behold.” (Ensign, Nov. 1974, p. 4.)

Grow All the Food You Can

“Grow all the food that you possibly can on your own property, if water is available; berry bushes, grapevines, and fruit trees are most desirable. Plant them if your climate is right for their growth. Grow vegetables and eat those grown in your own yard. Even those residing in apartments or condominiums can generally grow a little food in pots and planters.” (Ensign, May 1978, p. 4.)

Scripture Study

“I find that when I get casual in my relationships with divinity and when it seems that no divine ear is listening and no divine voice is speaking, that I am far, far away. If I immerse myself in the scriptures the distance narrows and the spirituality returns. I find myself loving more intensely those whom I must love with all my heart and mind and strength, and loving them more, I find it easier to abide their counsel.” (Address to Seminary and Institute Teachers, BYU, 11 July 1966.)


“It is through repentance that the Lord Jesus Christ can work his healing miracle, infusing us with strength when we are weak, health when we are sick, hope when we are downhearted, love when we feel empty, understanding when we search for truth.” (Ensign, Mar. 1980, p. 4.)

The Full Story Has Never Been Told

“We are proud of the artistic heritage that the Church has brought to us from its earliest beginnings, but the full story of Mormonism has never yet been written nor painted nor sculpted nor spoken. It remains for inspired hearts and talented fingers yet to reveal themselves. They must be faithful, inspired, active Church members to give life and feeling and true perspective to a subject so worthy.” (Ensign, July 1977, p. 5.)

Sustaining Leaders

“I have all my life sustained my leaders, prayed for their welfare. And I have in these past years felt a great power coming to me from similar prayers of the Saints, raised to heaven on my behalf.” (Ensign, Mar. 1980, p. 4.)

On the Lamanites

“The Lord has a comprehensive plan, and I have a firm conviction that the blueprint he worked out many millennia ago will be carried out through the programs of the Church. Even now the Church is bringing to bear its resources to educate the Lamanites, to improve their living conditions and their health, to bring them to a knowledge of the gospel of their Redeemer. I have asked for increased effort in the missionary work among the Lamanites, and I have been most gratified by the response.” (Ensign, Dec. 1975, p. 7.)

Faith Born in the Home

“Security is not born of inexhaustible wealth but of unquenchable faith. And generally that kind of faith is born and nurtured in the home and in childhood.” (Ensign, July 1973, p. 17.)

Education for Eternity

“We wish you to pursue and to achieve that education … which will fit you for eternity as well as for full service in mortality. In addition to those basic and vital skills which go with homemaking, there are other skills which can be appropriately cultivated and which will increase your effectiveness in the home, in the Church, and in the community.

“Again, you must be wise in the choices you make, but we do not desire the women of the Church to be uninformed and ineffective. You will be better mothers and wives, both in this life and in eternity, if you sharpen the skills you have been given and use the talents with which God has blessed you.

“There is no greater and more glorious set of promises given to women than those which come through the gospel and the Church of Jesus Christ.” (Ensign, Nov. 1979, p. 103.)

The Role of Parents

“There are two ways of spreading light—to be the candle or be the mirror that reflects it. Parents can be both. A child will carry into his own life much that he sees in his family home life. If he sees his parents going to the temple frequently, he will begin to plan a temple life. If he is taught to pray for the missionaries, his mind and heart will be pointed toward the missionary program, and he will plan from his earliest youth to save and prepare for a mission call.

“Home life, teaching, parental guidance, father in leadership—these are the panacea for the ailments of the world, a cure for spiritual and emotional diseases, a remedy for problems.” (Ensign, Apr. 1978, p. 5.)


“Certainly if fathers are to be respected, they must merit respect—if they are to be loved, they must be consistent, lovable, understanding, and kind, and they must honor their priesthood.” (Ensign, Jan. 1975, p. 5.)

If Our Women Are Distinct and Different

“Much of the major growth that is coming to the Church in the last days will come because many of the good women of the world (in whom there is often such an inner sense of spirituality) will be drawn to the Church in large numbers. This will happen to the degree that the women of the Church reflect righteousness and articulateness in their lives and to the degree that the women of the Church are seen as distinct and different—in happy ways—from the women of the world. …

“Thus it will be that female exemplars of the Church will be a significant force in both the numerical and the spiritual growth of the Church in the last days.” (Ensign, Nov. 1979, pp. 103–4.)

A Marriage Can Be One of Peace

“A marriage may not always be even or incidentless, but it can be one of great peace. A couple may have poverty, illness, disappointment, failures, and even death in the family, but even these will not rob them of their peace. The marriage can be successful so long as selfishness does not enter in. Troubles and problems will draw parents together into unbreakable unions if there is total unselfishness there.” (Marriage and Divorce, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1976, p. 17.)

Love Needs Constant Feeding

“Love is like a flower, and, like the body, it needs constant feeding. The mortal body would soon be emaciated and die if there were not frequent feedings. The tender flower would wither and die without food and water. And so love, also, cannot be expected to last forever unless it is continually fed with portions of love, the manifestation of esteem and admiration, the expressions of gratitude, and the consideration of unselfishness.” (Marriage and Divorce, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1976, pp. 22–23.)

On Temple Work

“Most members of the Church are aware of our intense interest in the missionary work in the Church and the appeals we have made in many lands for the rededication to preaching the gospel and preparing missionaries to carry the good news of the restoration to the people everywhere. I feel the same sense of urgency about temple work for the dead as I do about missionary work for the living, since they are basically one and the same. I have told my brethren of the General Authorities that this work for the dead is constantly on my mind.” (Ensign, May 1978, p. 4.)

A Nation Praying

“The spectacle of a nation praying is more awe-inspiring, more powerful, than the explosion of an atomic bomb.” (Ensign, July 1973, p. 41.)

Pray for Missionary Work

“I’m hoping that, beginning now, the prayers of the Saints will be greatly increased from what they have been in the past, that we will never think of praying except we pray for the Lord to establish his program and make it possible that we can carry the gospel to his people as he has commanded. It is my deep interest and great prayer to you that this will be accomplished.” (Ensign, Nov. 1978, p. 46.)

Missionary Work

“The scriptures are replete with commands and promises and calls and rewards for teaching the gospel. I use the word command deliberately for it seems to be an insistent directive from which we, singly and collectively, cannot escape. …

“It seems to me that the Lord chose his words when he said ‘every nation,’ ‘every land,’ ‘uttermost bounds of the earth,’ ‘every tongue,’ ‘every people,’ ‘every soul,’ ‘all the world,’ ‘many lands.’

“Surely there is significance in these words!” (Ensign, Oct. 1974, pp. 4–5.)

“Pray for the Critics of the Church”

“We can also tell that we are making progress by the attention we get from the adversary. Do not falter nor be distressed when others misrepresent us, sometimes deliberately and sometimes in ignorance. This has been the lot of the Lord’s people from the beginning, and it will be no different in our time.

“Brothers and sisters, pray for the critics of the Church; love your enemies. Keep the faith and stay on the straight and narrow path. Use wisdom and judgment in what you say and do, so that we do not give cause to others to hold the Church or its people in disrepute. Do not be surprised or dismayed if trials and challenges come upon us. This work, which Satan seeks in vain to tear down, is that which God has placed on earth to lift mankind up!” (Ensign, May 1980, p. 6.)

Finding Ourselves

“When we are engaged in the service of our fellowmen, not only do our deeds assist them, but we put our own problems in a fresher perspective. When we concern ourselves more with others, there is less time to be concerned with ourselves. In the midst of the miracle of serving, there is the promise of Jesus, that by losing ourselves, we find ourselves. (See Matt. 10:39.)

“Not only do we find ourselves in terms of acknowledging guidance in our lives, but the more we serve our fellowmen in appropriate ways, the more substance there is to our souls. We become significant individuals as we serve others. We become more substantive as we serve others—indeed, it is easier to ‘find’ ourselves because there is so much more of us to find!” (Ensign, Dec. 1974, p. 2.)

“Is Anything Too Hard for the Lord?”

“Somehow, brethren, I feel that when we have done all in our power that the Lord will find a way to open doors. That is my faith.

“‘Is any thing too hard for the Lord? …’

“I believe the Lord can do anything he sets his mind to.

“But I can see no good reason why the Lord would open doors that we are not prepared to enter.” (Ensign, Oct. 1974, p. 7.)

“Lengthen Our Stride”

“So much depends upon our willingness to make up our minds, collectively and individually, that present levels of performance are not acceptable, either to ourselves or to the Lord. In saying that, I am not calling for flashy, temporary differences in our performance levels, but a quiet resolve … to do a better job, to lengthen our stride.” (Regional Representative’s Seminar, 3 Oct. 1974.)

“When I think of the concept of ‘lengthening our stride,’ I, of course, apply it to myself as well as urging it upon the Church. The ‘lengthening of our stride’ suggests urgency instead of hesitancy, ‘now,’ instead of tomorrow; it suggests not only an acceleration, but efficiency. It suggests, too, that the whole body of the Church move forward in unison with a quickened pace and pulse, doing our duty with all our heart, instead of halfheartedly. It means, therefore, mobilizing and stretching all our muscles and drawing on all our resources. It suggests also that we stride with pride and with a sense of anticipation as we meet the challenges facing the kingdom. Out of all this will come a momentum that will be sobering and exhilarating at the same time.” (MIA June Conference, 29 June 1975.)

“The Lord Made It Very Clear …”

“We had the glorious experience of having the Lord indicate clearly that the time had come when all worthy men and women everywhere can be fellow-heirs and partakers of the full blessings of the gospel. I want you to know, as a special witness of the Savior, how close I have felt to him and to our Heavenly Father as I have made numerous visits to the upper rooms in the temple, going on some days several times by myself. The Lord made it very clear to me what was to be done. We do not expect the people of the world to understand such things, for they will always be quick to assign their own reasons or to discount the divine process of revelation.” (New Era, April 1980, p. 36.)

With Our Hands to the Plow

“We shall serve you, our people, and love you and do our utmost to guide you to your righteous, glorious destiny, with our hearts overflowing with love and appreciation for you.

“With our hands to the plow, looking forward; with our eyes to the light, looking upward; we enter into our ‘Father’s business’ with fear and trembling and love. We know our Heavenly Father lives. We know his glorified Son Jesus Christ lives. And we know his work is divine.” (Ensign, May 1974, p. 47.)

President Kimball reached out to the Saints through sermons, books, and articles.

Known for his stirring, poetic sermons, President Kimball spoke to the Saints in general conferences for over four decades.