Overcoming Challenges


Adapted from Edward L. Kimball and Andrew E. Kimball Jr., Spencer W. Kimball (1977), 263–64, 306–312; Francis M. Gibbons, Spencer W. Kimball: Resolute Disciple, Prophet of God (1995), 179–81, 211–15; and Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Spencer W. Kimball (2006), xxv–xxvi, 157.

Overcoming Challenges

Spencer W. Kimball(click to view larger) Events in the life of Spencer W. Kimball(click to view larger)

Illustrations by Sal Velluto and Eugenio Mattozzi

Throughout his life, President Spencer W. Kimball faced many health challenges.

Doctor: You may have cancer in your throat. I recommend we operate.

Elder Kimball: My sister died of cancer. I’d better have the operation.

The surgeries that worried him the most were on his throat.

Elder Kimball: How can I continue to serve as an Apostle of the Lord if I lose my voice?

Once, as he was being wheeled out of an operating room, the attendant, angry at something, cursed, taking the Lord’s name in vain.

Elder Kimball: Please don’t say that. He is the person I love most in this world.

Attendant: I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have said it.

After Elder Kimball had surgery on his vocal chords, he traveled with fellow Apostle Elder Harold B. Lee.

Elder Lee: I’d like to invite Elder Kimball to bear his testimony.

Elder Kimball: I’m too embarrassed to keep speaking. I rasp and make terrible noises. Maybe in our next meeting I shouldn’t speak.

Elder Lee: Spencer, your testimony needs to be heard. You better get your voice back.

Elder Kimball did all he could to regain his voice. He followed his doctor’s orders, received priesthood blessings, and took voice lessons.

Elder Kimball: Camilla, I realize I cannot quit for anything, though the temptation is terrific when I stumble and stammer and halt.

The true test came when Elder Kimball returned to his home—the Gila Valley in Arizona.

Elder Kimball: Forgive my voice. While in the East, I fell among cutthroats.

Woman: His voice is different, but he still has the same sense of humor!

President Spencer W. Kimball never stopped preaching. In fact, his soft, deep, mellow voice became something people loved about him.