Happy Birthday President Kimball

by Kathleen Lubeck

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    On a cool, cloudy 28th of March in 1895, a nine-pound baby boy was born in Salt Lake City. The 6th of 11 children, he grew up on a small Arizona farm where he remembers haying, plowing, harvesting, and hauling grain. He painted the buggy and wagons many times, soaped and oiled harnesses, pruned the orchards, and marketed fruit for the family. When he was 11, his mother died. He remembers running to the backyard to be alone, where he sobbed and sobbed. And life went on. He was president of his deacons quorum, and when he reached high school, he was milking 23 cows, morning and night, for the family farm. The star forward on the school basketball team, he was class president and graduated with honors from Gila Academy. Little did he suspect at the time that he would one day serve as one of the Twelve Apostles—and eventually as the President of the Church.

    To celebrate President Kimball’s birthday, some young men and women of the Philadelphia Pennsylvania Stake met together to send him some birthday wishes—and to show their love and appreciation for a great leader, whom they consider to be their friend. What would they give President Kimball if they could give him anything in the world for his birthday? This is what they said:

    “I would give him a present that says I will support him always, that I will do whatever he says, that I will be a good missionary and serve the Church as best I can.” (Paul Wennerholm, 14, Broomall Second Ward)

    “I’d want to give him something that I had made and that I had put my feelings into—like the quilt I just finished. I put a lot of work into it and would like to give him that.” (Kim Newcomb, 16, Pottstown Ward)

    “Even though it might not seem like much, I’d give him my journal with my testimony in it, because he’s placed so much importance on journals. I want him to see how much I support him and love him.” (Julia Brown, 14, Broomall First Ward)

    “If I could give him something, I would like to give him a seminary Bible marked with all the cross-references and scriptures we’ve studied in the past two years.” (Chuck Geltz, 16, Valley Forge Ward)

    “I would make a list of all the things he and my Heavenly Father have asked us to do, and I would check them off as I did them. Then I would hand him the list with them all checked off, and I’d promise to continue to do them.” (Elisha Advani, 16, Jarrettown Second Ward)

    “I’d give him the promise that I will always be a good example around my friends and always do the right thing.” (Julie Wennerholm, 16, Broomall Second Ward)

    “I think the best thing I could give him is to be the best person I can possibly be. I would tell him my testimony of the personal progress program and write down the goals that I have achieved over the past few years in the Young Women program. I’d write down my testimony and how much I love him and the gospel.” (JeLayne Hall, 17, Valley Forge Ward)

    “I’d give him the promise that I will try to live the teachings of the Church the very best I can. I think that’s all I could give him that he would really appreciate.” (David John, 14, Broomall Second Ward)

    “I’d like to give him my testimony and a commitment to meet him in the celestial kingdom.” (Jeff Berky, Jarrettown Second Ward)

    Photo by Eldon Linschoten