Spencer W. Kimball: A Tribute


On March 28, President Spencer W. Kimball celebrates his eighty-fourth birthday. From a longer work by Elder S. Dilworth Young, the Ensign prints this warm appreciation to our beloved President, a truly great and remarkable prophet of this last dispensation.

Mt. Graham

(Arizona boyhood)
One starts to climb Mt. Graham
From cactus covered hills
Dry from summer’s heat.
Our feet
Plod up the dried out slopes.
Then higher as we go,
The lupine and the
Blue-bell show
Their graceful heads.
And higher still
The columbine nods
Graceful stem as aspen
Quivers in the wind.
The air now cool
And fresh is fragrant
From the scent of pine
And fir—
And from the summit
One can see
From here to beyond eternity.
Far far below is stretched
The land
Reaching out on every hand
Farther by far than
One can see.
What boy can climb this
Solemn height
And not be touched by
Heaven’s light—
And know the Maker of the land
Which stretches far on every hand.
What boy can fail
To grow in heart and mind
When sheltered in the valley.
He lifts his eyes each day
And sees the mountain part the
Veil of clouds to pray.

At Ogden Temple Dedication

(January 1972)
No more his voice
Rings out with firmer tones.
His poetry is spoken
In a quiet way.
This newest psalm, created
For this House,
Is softly said
To warm our hearts today.
Not like the mighty organ
Is the sound,
But gently said,
As though a harp is played,
The sound sweeping
The strings in quiet
Melody. While we,
Straining to catch
Each nuance of the song,
Will hear the message
And remember long.

The Responsibility

(1973)
I did not ask for this!
Lord, Thou knowest that
I prayed he might be spared
Longer to lead the Church.
His strength was mighty in its power.
How can I in this hour
Hope to carry on what he has done
Find strength to drive this body
Worn and patched, repaired
And faltering, unto the heights
Where he has carried on?
Then from the heavens seem to
Come the words to comfort him:
My son, why dost thou doubt?
Hast thou not known that I can
Give thee strength unto the renewing
Of thy body, aged though it be?
Hast thou a heart which beats quite constantly?
Hast thou not voice,
Vibrant and convincing:
Thou dost not sing,
Yet I have given thee a song
To sing to all my saints.
And as thou singest so the
Saints shall hear and
Understand, and you
Will do your part to lead
My people to their promised land.

April 1974 Conference

Thy servant, Lord,
Has answered to thy call
To be thy mouthpiece
On the earth—unto its farthest part.
Give him strong heart
To bear thy burden well;
Enlarge his voice
That he may tell
Thy message to
Thy people, Lord,
And to the far-flung
Who have not yet heard.
O Lord, we know he is thy chosen seer.
As he now speaks,
Give us the ear to hear.

His Song

Lengthen your stride, my people.
Span the continents
With mighty leaps.
Quicken your pace
Until the word of God
Reaches every race
Of men upon the earth.
Raise your sights
Until from every hearth
A mighty song bursts forth
Acknowledging
Christ is the Lord on earth.

After Sixty Years

(1978)
I saw you sitting on the stand
Last Sunday night,
And saw you reach your hand
To hers
And hold it tight.
I saw
But didn’t mean to see
The quick, exchanged
Glance.
No word was said,
No spoken sound
Escaped your lips—
A quiet smile
Illumined up her face
The softened look of love,
Of confidence serene.
Somehow I felt I’d been
Within some sacred place
Had seen what only angels
See.
A small glimpse of eternity.

[illustration] Illustrated by Judith Campion