Mesquite and Sage: Spencer W. Kimball’s Early Years

During his forty-two-year ministry, Spencer W. Kimball spoke of his beginnings in many of his talks and sometimes in letters or published articles. When taken together, his statements provide something of an autobiography, a task that the indefatigable diarist never quite managed. While they do not provide a full and probing view of his youth, they give a glimpse into his early life and times. They also give us some insights into his preaching. While he was sometimes content simply to tell of a shaping event or describe a youthful scene, his sermons should “get people to doing things,” and as a result his reminiscences were often designed, if only implicitly, to “deliver a message and teach a lesson.” But the warm and sober character of his memories also owed a great deal to President Kimball’s own personality and to his early, cradling Mormon village. Here was a classic case of a dutiful son relishing and reflecting the values of his upbringing. He was, after all, very much a product of Thatcher, that frontier, firm-valued Mormon village planted amidst the desert lands of Arizona.

Published in BYU Studies Quarterly 25:4
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