“We are going to sing in church next week,” Sister Hardy, the Primary chorister, announced. There were murmurs of excitement and surprise among the Primary children.
I raised my hand. “Why are we singing next Sunday?” I asked. “It’s not Mother’s Day or Father’s Day. Easter was a long time ago, and it’s not Christmas yet. It’s only November.”
Sister Hardy smiled. “I know it’s not a special occasion, Eliza, but I feel we should do this.” She turned back to the group. “We’ll be singing one of your favorite songs: ‘Latter-day Prophets.’”*
That was one of our favorite songs. Enthusiastically we practiced the song, holding up pictures of each prophet as we sang his name:
Joseph Smith; then Brigham Young;
John Taylor came third, we know,
Then Wilford Woodruff, Lorenzo Snow;
Joseph F. Smith, remember the F,
Heber J. Grant and George Albert Smith;
David O. McKay was followed by
Joseph Fielding Smith,
A mighty man was Harold B. Lee,
And now we’ve named past prophets, you see.
Our prophet today is loved by all;
He’s Spencer W. Kimball.
So many prophets! I counted the pictures. Ten, eleven, twelve in all! I knew that Heber J. Grant called my grandpa on his mission to New Zealand. I knew my mother met David O. McKay when she was a little girl.
I knew that Joseph Fielding Smith called my dad on his mission to Hong Kong, but it was President Kimball that I knew best.
President Kimball had been the prophet my whole life. I loved to hear his gravelly but kind voice when he spoke in conference, and I tried to do what he taught. My family had a big garden because President Kimball told us we should plant one. I was trying to keep a journal and memorize scriptures because that’s what President Kimball had done since he was a little boy. Because President Kimball received the revelation on priesthood, my good friend, Abdul, could be sealed to his family in the temple. I really did love President Kimball. He was my very own prophet, and I was glad my Primary could sing about him in church.
But during that week, something terrible happened. On Wednesday my mom came into my room with tears in her eyes. “I have some sad news, Eliza. President Kimball died last night.”
Suddenly there were tears in my own eyes. I felt lost. My very own prophet gone? Who would lead us now?
Mother knelt by my bed. “Let’s pray and thank Heavenly Father that we were guided by such a wonderful prophet for so long. And let’s ask Him to bless and comfort sweet Sister Kimball.”
We prayed, then we hugged each other and cried a little. It made me feel better.
“I’ll miss him,” Mom said.
“Me too,” I said. Then I remembered something. “Mom, we’re singing ‘Latter-day Prophets’ in church this Sunday. Do you think we’ll still do it? Or do you think Sister Hardy will pick another song for us to sing?”
Mother shook her head. “I think Sister Hardy was inspired to pick this song. It will be a special tribute to President Kimball. I’m sure you’ll sing it very well.”
My mother was right. We did sing it on Sunday, just as it had been written. And even though President Kimball was no longer “our prophet today,” he was still “loved by all.”
As I sang I felt comforted. I knew that Heavenly Father would never leave us without a prophet to guide us and show us the way. Just as eleven prophets had come before President Kimball, many others would follow after him. Each prophet would be called of God, and each prophet would be loved by all—just like my very own prophet, Spencer W. Kimball.