Spencer W. Kimball was the twelfth President and Prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. President Kimball was known for his contributions in organizing the structure of the Church and for receiving the revelation allowing all worthy men to have the priesthood. Born Spencer Wooley Kimball on March 28, 1895, in Salt Lake City, Utah, Spencer was the son of Olive Wooley and Andrew Kimball, whose father was apostle Heber C. Kimball. When Spencer was young, the family moved to Arizona, where his father was called as a stake president in the area.As a young man, Spencer W. Kimball was called on a mission to the Central U.S., where he was called to preside over 25 Mormon missionaries. When he came home, he married Camilla Eyring on November 16, 1917. They had four children. Spencer worked in banking and insurance and was self-employed for most of his life, because he liked the flexibility it gave him to take care of Church callings and spend time with his family. Spencer W. Kimball served for years in various stake callings until 1943, when he was called into the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Kimball felt inadequate but put his faith in God, sold his business and moved the family to Salt Lake City. In October of 1943, he was sustained and ordained as an apostle.
While an apostle, Spencer W. Kimball had the responsibility to work with the Native American people. He was upset by the poverty and hardship of the people, and began working to help them overcome economic hardship. He set up the Indian Student Placement Program. In this program students seeking higher education were helped economically by members who allowed them to live with them while going to school. This system stayed in place until conditions improved enough that it was no longer needed.
Spencer W. Kimball was also a great religious scholar and wrote the book The Miracle of Forgiveness, which is used often within the Church and helps give a better understanding of the atonement and repentance. He also wrote the book Faith Precedes the Miracle.
Spencer W. Kimball suffered numerous serious medical ailments later in life, including throat cancer and heart problems. When President Harold B. Lee passed away in 1973, many thought that Spencer W. Kimball’s time as president would be short. However, he served as prophet for twelve years, and under his presidency, the Church doubled in membership, the Priesthood was granted to all worthy members, and the three-fold mission of the Church (Preach the Gospel, Perfect the Saints, and Redeem the Dead) was established. President Kimball also organized the First Quorum of the Seventy, something that had not been done since Joseph Smith was President. President Kimball also established Areas and Area Presidencies to help govern the Church, set up the three-hour Sunday block meeting schedule, and approved the increase of operating Mormon temples from fifteen to thirty-one.
On November 5, 1985, after serving faithfully and wisely as President, Spencer W. Kimball passed away in Salt Lake City.