Spencer W. Kimball (1895–1985)

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“Spencer W. Kimball (1895–1985)” Liahona, Apr. 2010, 11

Great Lives Remembered

President Spencer W. Kimball (1895–1985)

Growing up in rural Arizona, Spencer W. Kimball learned to work hard at an early age. Grandson of the Apostle Heber C. Kimball (1801–68) and son of a stake president, Spencer also developed a strong testimony and deep devotion to the gospel.

When he was a boy, it was often Spencer’s duty to ride atop the hay wagon, tramping down the hay as his older brothers pitched the hay up. It was hot, dusty, scratchy work, but he did it—except when the church bell rang to signal the beginning of Primary, which at that time was held during the week. He had a perfect attendance record and was not going to miss. His brothers had other ideas and began pitching the hay onto the wagon even faster. When they noticed the hay was piling up, Spencer was halfway to Primary.

Spencer W. Kimball went on to serve as a missionary, a bishop, and a stake president before his call to the apostleship in 1943. His work ethic was legendary, despite a number of serious illnesses that included a heart attack and throat cancer. He urged Church members to lengthen their stride, and his personal motto was simply “Do it.” Because of his health, some thought Spencer W. Kimball’s administration as President of the Church might be brief. But he presided over the Church for 12 years, during which time the number of operating temples doubled, the number of missionaries increased 50 percent, and the priesthood was extended to all worthy male members.

His unwavering devotion to the gospel and his strong work ethic carried Spencer W. Kimball from humble beginnings in rural Arizona to the leading councils of the Church. His administration as President of the Church was marked by significant growth in temple building and missionary work. Left: With his wife, Camilla (1894–1987).