Being a Leader

Adapted from Edward L. Kimball and Andrew E. Kimball Jr., Spencer W. Kimball (1977), 55–56, 61 and Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Spencer W. Kimball (2006), xviii–xix, 125.

Being a Leader

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

Illustrations by Sal Velluto and Eugenio Mattozzi

As a young boy, Spencer watched other boys his age steal watermelons from neighbors’ fields or slash the melons open to rot and then run away.

Boy: I dare you to do it, Spencer.

Spencer: That’s not my idea of fun. It’s just plain mean. Why, if you asked any farmer in Thatcher, he’d give you all the melon your belly could hold. I won’t join in.

When Spencer was a deacon, his duties included gathering fast offerings, which at the time were often fruit, flour, and vegetables. His father lent him the horse and buggy, and Spencer took the responsibility very seriously.

Spencer: The other boy hasn’t shown up. Well, the job still has to be done. I’ll just have to do it alone.

Spencer went on to become the secretary and then president of his deacons quorum.

A few years later, Spencer was stopped by the superintendent as he left Sunday School.

Superintendent: Spencer, I want you to teach a Sunday School class.

Spencer: Me? But I’m only 14.

Superintendent: Lean on the Lord, and you’ll do fine.

In high school, Spencer was voted class president. One day Spencer and some friends borrowed an old buggy for a field trip to the mountains. The rough road was too much for it.

Friend: What’s wrong?

Spencer: A spring broke.

The next day in class, Spencer spoke up.

Spencer: That spring has to be paid for, even if I have to do it myself.

Friend: If you’re pitching in, Spencer, so will I.

Friend: I guess I will too.

The Lord was able to use Spencer W. Kimball as a leader and an example because he was honest, obedient, and filled with integrity.

The qualities he developed in his youth helped him become a great prophet.