12th prophet kept whirlwind pace of work

When President Spencer W. Kimball succeeded President Harold B. Lee Dec. 30, 1973, there were 3.3 million members of the Church in 630 stakes and 108 missions. There were 4,580 wards and 1,127 branches within stake boundaries.

At the time of President Kimball's death in November 1985, estimates placed Church membership at 5.85 million. The number of stakes had more than doubled, to 1,570, and the number of wards had surpassed 10,000. Included in the stakes were 2,697 branches, with another 2,043 branches operating within 188 missions worldwide.The number of temples also doubled. In 1973, when President Kimball became president, the Church had 15 temples. In 1985, that number had increased to 36, with 11 more planned or being built.

President Kimball, the 12th prophet of this dispensation, was renowned for his whirlwind pace of work and travel until age and infirmity curtailed his activity. His twin mottos were "lengthen your stride" and "do it."

He overcame many serious afflictions, including a near-drowning, facial paralysis, typhoid fever, smallpox, throat cancer, open-heart surgery and three brain operations.

President Kimball may well be best remembered for the June 9, 1978, revelation that allowed all worthy males, without regard for race or color, to be ordained to the priesthood.

Also during his administration, the First Quorum of the Seventy was organized with Assistants to the Twelve and members of the First Council of Seventy called to the quorum. He instituted the three-hour consolidated meeting program and oversaw a comprehensive scriptures project that culminated with publication of new editions of the King James Bible and the triple combination.

While president of the Church, President Kimball traveled far and wide, crisscrossing the globe many times. Among the places he visited were England, Scotland, Poland, German Democratic Republic, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Austria, Switzerland, France, Federal Republic of Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, Greece, Egypt, Israel, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, American Samoa, Western Samoa, New Zealand, Fiji, Tonga, Australia, Tahiti, Canada, Mexico, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Panama, Peru, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Paraguay, Uruguay, Venezuela and South Africa.

He wrote six books, including The Miracle of Forgiveness and Faith Precedes the Miracle.


Articles on this page may be used in conjunction with the gospel doctrine course of study.

Information compiled by Gerry Avant

Sources: Church News, Jan. 5, 1974; Nov. 10, 1985; Spencer W. Kimball, by Edward L. Kimball and Andrew E. Kimball Jr.