Elder Bruce R. McConkie, who was a member of the Quorum of the Twelve, said:
“I believe that Spencer W. Kimball was foreordained to be the president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; to be the prophet, seer, and revelator to the Lord’s people; and to be the mouthpiece of God on earth for the time and season that lies ahead.
“I know he was called and chosen and ordained to this ministry by the spirit of prophecy and revelation and was present when the Spirit of the Lord testified to each member of the Council of the Twelve that it was the mind and will of him whose witnesses we are, and on whose errand we serve, that President Kimball should now step forward and lead his people.
“It was as though the Lord by his own voice said: ‘My servant President Harold B. Lee was true and faithful in all things that I appointed him to do; his ministry among you is completed; and I have called him to other and greater labors in my eternal vineyard. And I, the Lord, now call my servant President Spencer W. Kimball to lead my people and to continue the work of preparing them for that great day when I shall come to reign personally upon the earth. And I now say of him as I said of my servant Joseph Smith: “… thou shalt give heed unto all his words and commandments which he shall give unto you as he receiveth them, walking in all holiness before me” [D&C 21:4].’” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1974, 100; or Ensign, May 1974, 71).
Some Important Gospel Principles to Look For
The Lord inspires prophets to be examples and give messages to the Saints for their day (see
“President Spencer W. Kimball,” Student Study Guide, pp. 208–10, par. 1–25; see also D&C 5:10).
President Spencer W. Kimball urged the Saints to be more committed in living the gospel and proclaiming it to the world (see
“President Spencer W. Kimball,” Student Study Guide, pp. 208, 210, par. 1–2, 15, 21–24; see also Helaman 5:17–19; D&C 90:4–5).
The Lord revealed to President Spencer W. Kimball that the time had come that all worthy male Church members, regardless of race or color, could receive the priesthood (see
“President Spencer W. Kimball,” Student Study Guide, pp. 208–9, par. 3–6; see also Official Declaration 2).
The sacrifices of the Saints are insignificant compared to the blessings the Lord gives to the faithful (see
“President Spencer W. Kimball,” Student Study Guide, pp. 209–10, par. 7–9, 18; see also 2 Corinthians 4:14–17; Omni 1:26).
During President Spencer W. Kimball’s administration, the Church published new English-language editions of the scriptures. New editions in other languages followed. A thorough study of the scriptures can increase our spiritual power and bring us closer to God (see
“President Spencer W. Kimball,” Student Study Guide, pp. 209–10, par. 10–11, 16; see also John 5:39; Helaman 3:29–30).
Saints who love their fellowmen become tools in the Lord’s hands to serve and bless others (see
“President Spencer W. Kimball,” Student Study Guide, pp. 209–10, par. 12–14, 19–20; see also Matthew 25:31–40; Mosiah 18:8–9).
Church History in the Fulness of Times: Religion 341–43, pp. 579–600.
Suggestions for Teaching
“President Spencer W. Kimball,” Student Study Guide, pp. 208–10, par. 1–25. The Lord inspires prophets to be examples and give messages to the Saints for their day.
Display several different types of shoes (you could use some of those worn by your students). Ask:
Which pair of shoes best represents your life?
Which pair would you want to represent your life?
Hold up an old, worn-out pair of shoes and ask if any of your students would like that pair to represent their life. Why or why not?
Write on the board the following statement by President Spencer W. Kimball: “My life is like my shoes—to be worn out in service” (in Gordon B. Hinckley, “He Is at Peace,” Ensign, Dec. 1985, 41). Ask:
Why do you think President Kimball chose an old pair of shoes to represent his life?
How can we become more like President Kimball?
Explain that President Kimball, like all of the Lord’s prophets, gave inspired messages that the Saints needed at that time. He not only gave the messages but was a living example of them. Give students the following matching exercise:
Paragraphs 15, 18
Invite students to read the paragraphs indicated from “President Spencer W. Kimball” in the student study guide (pp. 208–10) and match the events from President Kimball’s life with his teachings. Have them share their findings. (Answers: 1–A; 2–C; 3–B; 4–D.) Ask:
Why is it important to live what one teaches? (Discuss students’ answers.)
What kind of an example did President Kimball set for the Church?
Why do you think the Saints in his day wanted to follow his teachings?
Read paragraphs 22–25 of “President Spencer W. Kimball.” Invite students to write on a piece of paper two reasons we should follow the teachings of living prophets.
“President Spencer W. Kimball,” Student Study Guide, pp. 208, 210, par. 1–2, 15, 21–24. President Spencer W. Kimball urged the Saints to be more committed in living the gospel and proclaiming it to the world.
Have a student read the following statement by President Spencer W. Kimball about his boyhood:
“As I was out alone, milking the cows, or putting up the hay, I had time to think. I mulled it over in my mind and made this decision: ‘I, Spencer Kimball, will never taste any form of liquor. I, Spencer Kimball, will never touch tobacco. I will never drink coffee, nor will I ever touch tea—not because I can explain why I shouldn’t, except that the Lord said not to.’ …
“… I made up my mind then, as a little boy: ‘I will never touch those things.’ And so, having made up my mind, it was easy to follow it, and I did not yield. There were many temptations that came along, but I did not even analyze it; I did not stop and measure it and say, ‘Well, shall I or shall I not?’ I always said to myself: ‘But I made up my mind I would not. Therefore, I do not.’” (in Conference Report, Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden Area Conference 1974, 86).
Discuss the following questions:
How did making decisions in advance help President Kimball?
How might it help us resist temptation?
Have students read paragraphs 1–2 of “President Spencer W. Kimball” in the student study guide (p. 208). Have them look for sayings used by President Kimball, and write them on the board. Ask:
How do you think President Kimball’s youthful decision relates to the sayings he used as prophet?
What do you think President Kimball wanted Church members to do when he said, “We must lengthen our stride”?
What do these sayings mean to you?
How can they strengthen our commitment to the gospel?
Read paragraphs 15, 21–24 of “President Spencer W. Kimball,” and have students select which of these teachings most impresses them. Invite them to write a paragraph on how they can “lengthen their stride.”
“President Spencer W. Kimball,” Student Study Guide, pp. 209–10, par. 7–9, 18. The sacrifices of the Saints are insignificant compared to the blessings the Lord gives to the faithful.
Draw on the board a picture of a huge pile of money. Show students a picture of a temple and ask:
What does the temple offer that is more valuable than any amount of money?
Why do you think some people are willing to give up a great amount of money to receive temple ordinances?
Draw on the board the following chart (do not include the answers in the second and third columns). Have students read the paragraphs indicated from “President Spencer W. Kimball” in the student study guide (pp. 209–10). For each paragraph, have them identify the sacrifice and the resulting blessings. Write the answers on the chart as students find them.
Read 2 Corinthians 4:14–17 and testify that God’s blessings far exceed any sacrifice we make in this life.