Edward L. Kimball Lecture at Benchmark Books, January 20, 2010

By January 31, 2010

Let’s give a round of applause to my friend Brent Brizzi for taking the time and effort to transcribe the proceedings and make it available here. I have made only a few cursory edits from the version he sent me.


Curt Bench:? What we like to do is although really this is kind of unique tonight because this is a book we actually published, and usually it’s a book that someone else published.  So I’m going to be sure to thank the publisher tonight.  Be very extravagant in my praise.

I feel a great privilege to have gotten permission to do this book.  ?Lengthen Your Stride, The Presidency of Spencer W.  Kimball?.  You are thinking, well, I thought the book was already published, which of course, in 2005 Deseret Book published, Lengthen Your Stride, the Presidency of Spencer W.  Kimball.  They stole my title, or they stole Ed’s title.  Anyway, it was published in a way I’ve never seen done before, in that, first of all this is becoming more common.  There’s a CD-ROM in the back of the book, that has not only the full manuscript, which we’ll talk about, that’s published in our book here, but it has a number of other works by Spencer W.  Kimball, and some other materials that are available only on the CD-ROM.

Well not only, they were published.  But, as you have learned the publisher was not able to put everything in that book that is on the CD-ROM.  What our author Edward L.  Kimball called his “Working Draft”, and he’s going to talk about the genesis of the book, I’m not going to steal his thunder.  A couple of years ago I was able to get permission from Deseret Book, and from Ed, who graciously allowed me to publish the entire manuscript, or the Working Draft.  Because, probably a lot of you are here are like me, you don’t like to read off the computer screen, and that’s what you’d have to do with the CD-ROM, or for those who wanted to pay a bunch of money and go down to a copy shop, and have them print it off, which I did originally.  But, I can’t read that very much off of the computer screen, it drives me crazy.  I knew there would be a number of other people like me who would want an actual book, where you can smell the ink, and the binding, and hold it in your hands.  Although, this is a little bigger book that you have to hold a little differently than a paperback on a plane or, holding it up in bed, you might, you could do serious damage.

Ed Kimball comments:  It weighs five pounds.

CB:  You could do serious damage if you were holding it above your head in bed, and you fell asleep.  Not that you would fall asleep reading this book.

So, anyway Benchmark Books was the publisher of this new edition, we did 400 copies total, so, it’s a rather limited edition.  30 of those will eventually be in leather, full leather.  We’ve got some nice plans for a beautiful book.  There are about 370 of these in this blue cloth, which is really a quality book, they’re sewn bindings, it’s a good cover stock, it’s just a good quality book, that’s of course said to justify the $99.95 price that you’re all wondering about.  But it’s expensive to do, believe me.  So it’s a little more, but it’s, this book is essentially twice as big as the original 2005 publication.  So in just a minute or two here I’m going to turn the mike over to our author?

Question from the audience:  I was wondering if you would be willing to share with us any plans, had any plans for future publications?

Curt: Future publications??Actually, we were kicking this around, kind of for fun though.  We were thinking of what other full manuscripts could we do.  Brian came up with a good one, Richard L.  Evans, The Rest of the Spoken Word.  [Laughter].  I was thinking we could do one by Orrin Porter Rockwell, the Boggs Chronicles.  [Laughter]  No I don’t have any immediate plans right now Gary.  I’m giving you a frivolous answer, but it is actually something that I’m probably going to be talking to some other authors and publishers about doing some similar things.  Publishing a full manuscript but was not able to be put into a trade edition, and a lot of that is, you understand is just due to length.  Rarely does the publisher publish the full manuscript of an author, I mean they, they just can’t, an author may have 1000 pages of  manuscript and generally speaking that’s not going to translate well into a book that’s going to sell readily to the public, and so things have to be cut, and it’s not necessarily a reflection of the content, but Ed’s going to talk about that I’m sure.

I just want to make sure I cover everything.  Anyway, I’m going to turn the mike over to Ed in about 30 more seconds.  I’ve had the privilege of knowing Edward Kimball for quite a number of years, and let’s see we had you here in 2005 didn’t we?  To talk about this book.

Ed replies:  I can’t remember.

But he has been very gracious and patient with me, he’s been waiting for two years to get this thing done, and so I really appreciate his patience.  Ed of course, he’s going to talk about some of the other books that he?s had something to do with, so I’m not going to do that.  But, for many years Ed was a law professor at BYU.  I think one of his students, former students, a couple of them here tonight, here tonight.  He received a bachelor’s degree in history and a law degree from the University of Utah, and two further law degrees from the University of Pennsylvania.  He has authored a number of articles, and books, I’m going to let him tell you about some of those.  It is indeed a privilege for me to introduce Dr.  Edward L.  Kimball.

Question from audience:  Can I ask one quick question?  In the book, the highlighted blue areas

Curt; are you going to talk about that or do you want me to real quick?

Ed: You go ahead.

Questioner:  Because I didn’t see any indication of that.

Curt:  It’s in my preface, my beautifully written preface at the beginning.  Actually, this book is all about prefaces.  This book, (referring to the 2005 edition) has two prefaces where the publisher, and the author sort of agree to disagree on what was going to be in the book, and not in the book, it’s fascinating.  And then I’ve just written the introductory preface in this edition to let you know how, what the layout is and so on, but basically as you look at this book you’ll see two different colors, and for the most part, there are exceptions.  What you see in blue, is what appeared in the published version in 2005, the black is what was in the working manuscript, but not included in the published form there.

Like I say, it doesn’t always hold, all the footnotes are black for example and that’s not accurate.  That way, and that’s one of the reasons the cost is more because it’s very expensive, they have to print, they have to run it through the whole, the press twice, to get the color, and it’s an expensive process.  That way you can tell when you’re reading what was in the original book and what wasn’t, and then it flows very well because it has the entire manuscript there.  We think it turned out well, and hope you enjoy that.  We, while I may have just a couple of things to say at the very end.  I’m going to turn the mike over to Ed now, and thank you again for coming tonight.

Ed:  I think you too for your interest.  In 1969 my father published a book, ?Miracle of Forgiveness? which has been widely read, I think widely given by people who think other people ought to repent.  [Laughter]  It was a work of love on his part, part of his ministry, and it sold a tremendous number of copies.  It gratified him greatly to see the responsiveness that there was of people to his understanding of what our obligation is to live the gospel.  I was recruited by Bookcraft to compile a book of sermons from my father, this is in 1972, it’s called. What’s it called?

Audience: ?Faith Precedes the Miracle?.

Ed replies: Thank you.  I’m 80 years old, and I’m beginning to get a little soft in the top layer.  I did that, and edited those, and selected those, I felt really good about it, it was an opportunity again for my father to have his say and for me by doing that work to feel that maybe I had contributed something to him.  He was a very affectionate father, and very appreciative.

Then, talking to the manager of Deseret Book, no Bookcraft, this time, I threw out the possibility that we might publish a biography of Spencer Kimball, who was then one of the Apostles, and he said, ?a biography doesn’t sell?, and so we put that prospect on the shelf.  Later, he was proved wrong; biographies sometimes sell, but not always.  With no thought of publication, then, my nephew, Andrew Kimball Junior, and I set out to write the family history for our parents.  We thought that’s one of the things that families are urged to do in the church, we wanted to do that, so I began doing some interviewing of my parents on a tape machine.

Andrew did some interviewing. We thought we would put together our efforts and create a family oriented biography. And then Harold B. Lee died the end of 1973. Which made a tremendous change because now he, Spencer Kimball was the person to whom we all looked for leadership, and it became apparent that instead of Spencer Kimball Apostle, for which there would be some market, it was now president Kimball, President of the Church, and so we began then to think of this as a serious project to get recognition, acknowledgment for the work that he had spent his life, his adult life doing.  So we proceeded then it took us from then until 1977 to finish a draft that satisfied us of the book that’s called Spencer W.  Kimball, it’s the one that’s in the brown cover.  It was well received.  I’m assuming that those of you who are interested in the, this more recent book are already acquainted with that book.

But, I was amazed at how many people said that they felt good after reading the book because it was candid, and it gave them a sense that maybe they could make something out of themselves as well.  1977 then, we thought at the time, he is now 78 years old, he’s going to live a couple years more, and then be gone.  So what we’ll do is, we’ll put out a second, revised edition, with a last chapter.  Another few pages to sort of finish the story, but he kept living. [Laughter] On and on and from 1977, he lived on until 1985, November of 1985, he passed away.

Well, then it was time to pick up the story again, no longer to be constrained with what was yet to come, we knew the end of the story now.  There were several intervening things just to show you I wasn’t completely uninvolved.  This small book is one that I like very much.  It’s called ?A Short Man a Long Stride?, originally proposed it be ?A Little Man, a Long Stride?, but I was persuaded that somebody might think that he was little in character, and short was not subject to that kind of interpretation.  Anyway, I liked it, it happened, however, to be published the very week that he died, and in the course of time, it had relatively small circulation.

Also, my aunt Caroline Eyering Miner also published a short biography of my mother Camilla, which I like very much, partly because much of it was drawn from her personal journals, and autobiographical writing.  So that was the best parts of what she wrote, but anyway, again I was pleased to be able to be involved in something that told the story of my parents.  Andrew and I had an interesting relationship, we were family related, but he was a graduate student in English at BYU.  I was, when we started, I was professor at law of BYU as well.  It was a pleasure to work with him, because my name is first on the masthead, I get all the credit for having written the book, but, he was truly a co-author, that is, his contribution was fully equal to mine, and Andrew if you hear this, I apologize for standing in your way.  His contribution partly was the gathering of information, interviews, and reading through parts of dad’s journal.  But, he had an ability to give some color to language, I’m kind of stodgy, and its no, reading my straight prose is not much fun, but he added color that I think greatly enhanced value to the reader.  His father gets a lot of credit too because, Andrew Senior, is not easily distinguished from Andrew Junior, so my brother is appreciative of getting the notoriety.

Okay, in 1996, I retired from teaching because I wanted to write the rest of the story about Spencer Kimball.  Ever since 1977, we had been collecting, anecdotes, quotations, interviews from people.  The first book of course triggered a lot of reminiscences in people, I got stories from all over, and I’m grateful for e-mail, because it was so much easier to communicate with people by e-mail, than slow mail.  In 1995, as I say, I retired, and devoted my principal efforts over the next several years to writing the last chapter, but it kept getting longer and longer chapter, until it was hardly recognizable.

Then as the writing and revising came to a climax, in 2002, 2001, after I’d spent several years in retirement working on this pretty intensively.  Jack Welch, law professor at BYU, and I were having a conversation.  And I made a comment about the fact that BYU press had been resurrected, it had been out of operation for a number of years, and he as editor of BYU studies was involved in that BYU studies and the Smith Institute for Church History at BYU had joined forces.  In the course of this conversation he learning, or knowing about the work that I was doing suggested that maybe they could publish it.  Now that BYU press was available again as a possible outlet, and the prospect of having Deseret Book publish it was not as attractive, because I thought of them being an official spokesman of the church so to speak, that they would be uncomfortable, or unable, I don’t know which, in publishing some of the things that I thought needed to be included in the book.

BYU press, he thought would be, would not be under the same constraints, and so it was submitted to Ron Walker, professor, history professor at BYU.  He read it, and he thought it was a good book, he thought it was publishable, and so we moved in that direction, and it was thought of as a joint publication of BYU press, and BYU studies and the Smith Inst.

One of the things that I worried about was all this writing I had done and all the stuff that I had collected that was pure gold, could hardly be included in a book of normal size, for a normal price.  My concern was to try to get the product that is the story of my father’s administration into the hands of people that might be interested in it.  All my writing in respect to family has been less purely family oriented than it has been an effort on my part to pay tribute to my father by seeing that there was an adequate record of his life’s work.

So, it was obvious that the manuscript had to be cut to a publishable size.  So much as I hated the idea, I did that.  It was submitted to Deseret Book, and they thought, they rejected it.  Not in a negative sense, they just felt that it wasn’t a book that they would be comfortable publishing.  When I would talk to people about what kind of a book it was, they tried to place it in the spectrum of pro or con, favorable or unfavorable, and my notion was, it ought to be true and not worry about favor, or disfavor.  Recognize that Deseret Book was a different organization.

I used as an illustration sort of as a test case that Elder Benson had made some statements, political statements in favor of the American party that were controversial, and that for which the First Presidency had called him in, and sort of explained to him that they thought that that was divisive, and they hoped he wouldn’t do it again.  Would Deseret Book be comfortable in publishing that?  Their answer first, was no.  They thought that was beyond the scope of what they could handle.  So, we proceeded on a course of BYU press, then an alternative came up. Covenant Communications expressed an interest in it.

So, Jack Welch, sort of a spokesman, having already acquainted with him, we got so far as to drafting language for contract for publication By Covenant Communications.  Then Jack ran into Sheri Dew, manager, President I guess of Deseret Book in the airport, and they had, had a previous conversation about the subject, and Sheri said, ?we shouldn’t give up so easily?, and asked for us to wait a little bit while she submitted the manuscript to her board.

So we agreed to wait until they’d had a chance to review it.  When she came back a month or so later, she said that we think maybe we can do it, and we ought to publish the book on the administration of the Church President.  So, I was assigned an editor, and his response was important, because the premise on which we based this was that, I had to be satisfied that there was no compromise of consequence in change, if we got to a point of impasse, why we would just say goodbye, and shake hands as friends and we would go back to the previous publication possibilities that we had.

In this process, one of the things that I continued to worry about was the waste of all these golden words that I had created.  Any of you that has written very much will know how painful it is even on a short college paper to cut it down to the size where it?s supposed to be, rather than keep it at the size where you want it to be.  Driving back from Salt Lake to Provo one day during this period of negotiation, I thought, it just came into my mind that you could put the whole thing on a CD, and you could put the CD in the back of a printed book, and it would be available to anybody who was interested in some of the rest of the story.  So I was satisfied that, while it wasn’t a purely, fully satisfactory solution, it was one I could live with that my golden words would still be there and anybody who was serious as a student of the period that we’re talking about would also have access to the book notes, the interviews, and so on that didn’t have room for in the printed volume.

So we worked that over and eventually came to an outcome that was reasonably satisfactory to both of us.  The key was that if I let you ask, somebody will ask.  What about the compromises that you make in writing the book?  What juicy tidbits are there hidden in the CD, or that were rejected.  The first response that I got back from Deseret Book editor was request for 66 changes; things he thought would not be appropriate for, many of those things were typographical errors, which any editor would’ve asked for, of course.  I was grateful for that.  There was no disagreement or quarrel at all about that.  And I was appreciative, and I wrote a response, and found that I was willing to make the changes, indeed was eager to make the changes in a lot of that.

We exchanged memoranda on all the specifics and finally got to a point of impasse, where there were a few things that he said we can’t do, they couldn’t do, and things I was not yet ready to give up.  Miracle of miracles, when we, when I thought we had come to impasses, he said, I think that a lot of this could be solved if we explained our position and thereby comes, the publisher’s preface, which is an unusual if not unique thing, where the publisher says we don’t agree with all of this stuff, but we want you to have access to it.  And if you notice it says, as a true statement that no book, no biography certainly is without bias.

That is, it reflects the worldview of those, the personal idiosyncrasies of the writer.  We have to trust readers, at least serious readers to make that kind of a distinction that not everything in there is reflective of the viewpoint of the publisher.  So it’s a nice preface, and I was grateful you see because that relieved me of the concern that was there otherwise.  Anything what I said was to be taken as church authorized, when I didn’t mean for it to be.  I meant for it to be my understanding or my viewpoint not dictated by previous loyalties, not previous loyalties, not dictated by the loyalties that I had to the church institution and to my father who was gone and couldn’t protect himself if I was misstating.

But I was determined both on the basis of my professional background as a history undergraduate, and as a lawyer, law trained to be careful with what I say.  So that was object, well, some of the kinds of changes that I thought were unnecessary, but they wanted very much to, let me give you an example.  There’s an anecdote in there about an Apostle who reports back to the Quorum of the Twelve, or the First Presidency about a visit to a stake where they were dedicating the building, and he said, I got there a little early, and they were still working on the Sabbath to get the place ready.  Dad’s response was, next time, don’t go quite so early.  [Laughter]  Deseret Book didn’t mind the anecdote, they didn’t want Elder Packer’s name attached to it.  [Laughter]

Well, I didn’t think it was discreditable to Elder Packer, and his involvement was simply a vehicle to get the story told.  So I was quite happy to delete his name and just talk about an Apostle who reported back from his visit to the stake dedication.  There were a number of places like that, where the thing that seemed to be of concern to them was the identity of the person who, somebody might take it as a criticism, that he would be involved somehow in a humorous incident.  I didn’t see that as discrediting, discreditable, so we agreed on a lot more things, just because, by such simple expedience.  Or, the thing I mentioned about Pres., then Elder Benson and the American Party endorsement.  That was a real trouble to them, but they were satisfied by my adding some additional qualifications, for example:  I added a note that this was not a planned, but an extemporaneous statement.  He was called on, he was at a banquet.  He was called on to make some remarks and he made remarks that said that the American Party platform was closer to the church’s standards than any other political party.  That was awkward for the church at the time.  But, by adding a little bit like, that it was extemporaneous, and that it was, that making that kind of change was easy for me to accept, they were also willing to accept it since the published preface said we don’t agree with everything that is included, or its emphasis.

Sometimes it was as simple as changing irate to annoyed.  [Laughter]  People, hearing about all the changes that were made in the manuscript are looking for something juicy, you’re going to have to look hard for very many things like that.  There were several things that were okay in the CD, but not in the printed book, they were not so much, I’m not so sure the reasoning again, just explaining.  One, to give you an example was that there was a number of ex-communicants in the church, suggesting the rate of falling away, that was all right in the CD, and you’ll read it in black, I guess.  Black or blue, but you won’t find it in the text of the book, or the amount of property that the church had purchased in Missouri.

That again, they were willing that the general language would be given but not a precise amount of acreage.  I didn’t think, that was worth fighting over either.  There is a reference in there to marital, sexual relations that’s in the CD and not in the printed version.  So we got down to 20, 20 different items, and I gave reasons for not changing it and they often acquiesced, once I gave them a reason for it.  Though it’s not here, it reminds me of, in the first biography, the incident of the excommunication of Elder Lyman from The Quorum of the Twelve.

They thought at that time, this was a different publisher of course, at that time it was urged, not a good thing to include, but I said, that has to be included in the story of my father because it was one of the first Quorum of the Twelve meetings that he attended after he was called to the Quorum of the Twelve.  He was devastated by this experience, in his journal, evidenced his, his emotional suffering in consequence of that meeting of the twelve.  So I pushed for inclusion, and both my father and the publisher were agreeable that it was important enough, that it did need to be included in order to make the story whole.

Incidentally, in the first volume, the publisher didn’t have any difficulty because dad was there to disagree or qualify it.  So I don’t think that there was much at all that was at issue in  Publishing the 1977 book, but that he was gone a good many years when this book came to consideration.  They accepted about half of those that I felt strongly about and they persisted in nine other items.  Including the statement that the church had no policy on evolution, and the talk about seven deadly heresies that was given by Elder McConkie at BYU.  And something about interracial marriage, and the possible origins of the policy with respect to blacks and the priesthood.

Those were all things that were at potential impasse, because I wasn’t willing to give those up, and they seemed to me to be basic information that anyone, serious student ought to have.  But that was at the time when we agreed that the publisher’s preface should absolve them of responsibility for some of the things, and therefore that was left.  So we ended up with, I think, three items, where we were down to nothing.  One of those related to the Temple, and I agreed with them that it was maybe at the borderline, it was also ambiguous and therefore I agreed to relinquish that even though I would personally like to have had it included.  The other two, I think were quotations from Brigham Young with respect to natural inferiority of blacks.  I was quoting Brigham Young to cast some doubt on origins, but they simply said we draw the line there.

So what we’re left with is a citation to Brigham Young, without the direct quotation of his statement that blacks were inherently inferior.  So, now you have it, the question has been answered pretty much.  I hope some of you came with questions to ask, or comments to make, I’d be glad to hear any comments.  In conclusion, I guess I would say.  I have intended and hoped that this book, all five pounds of it would be considered a tribute to a man for whom I have always had the greatest affection, and respect, and who would I think would be greatly disappointed if this were in its effort to be direct and candid , would somehow detract from his efforts to make contribution to the Lord’s work.

Do we shift now to part two, the questions?  Do any of you have them?  Please.

Q: am I correct in understanding that only one hundred of these books have been published?

A.  four hundred, total.  How many books of this the five pound version, four hundred.

Q: How many copies of your first biography were printed?

A.  The first biography, I meant to write that down.

CB:  I remember what you told me.

EK:  How many?

CB:  Three hundred and eighty-five thousand.

EK:  He says that it’s three hundred eighty-five thousand.  I trust Curt.

A.  Did I hear right that your father just before he died, said that the Miracle of Forgiveness.  He wished that he had softened up a little bit?

EK:  It’s in the book.  This is a quotation from his former Bishop who was in his dad’s office for some sort of interview, and looking, dad showed him this array of books, translations of his book, The Miracle of Forgiveness, into foreign languages.  I don’t know what the number is but it’s an impressive shelf full.  The Bishop says that he made that statement to him, that sometimes, he wished that he had not been quite so tough, words to that effect.  I believe it, and I hope it’s true, because I feel that way too.

Q:  In Lengthen Your Stride, if I remember right, you had indicated that almost immediately upon his ascendancy to President of the Church, he started to consider blacks holding the priesthood, and the question is.  Since he started that, he must have had concerns while he was in the Quorum of the Twelve.  Did he ever relate to you any of those concerns, before he ever ascended into the presidency?

EK:  That’s a good question.  The answer is, I was surprised, as surprised as anybody.  I’d written him letters from the mission field, and otherwise.  Challenging, asking questions about why, shouldn’t we be praying for change and things like that.  His response was always very orthodox, that is didn’t give me any leeway at all.  I now take that as a sign of his loyalty, put that in quotation marks, that he was not the church leader, he was one of the workers in the church, his response to me was carry on, and so his answers to me were always orthodox but after the publication of that.  I get reports from people whom I know; a member of my ward was interviewed by dad for employment at BYU.  Dad asked him as one of the questions, I think the question in his interview.  What do you think about blacks in the priesthood?  My friend Jim, said, he didn’t write that in his journal, he was afraid to.  Not knowing what the implications were of that.  Several others have told me of questions that he raised with them, that obviously indicated a searching mind about the issue.  And so I believe, wherein as the earlier stance was a loyal stance that now the responsibility was really his, he was now the leader that the, the door was open now, he was not constrained.  Is that enough?

Q:  Yes, thank you.

Q: I’m interested in your insight into the early retirement of Eldred G.  Smith.  In the book, in the appendix, not in the printed version, you indicate that there was a conflict between the perception of the role of patriarch of the church by the Quorum of the Twelve, and what Eldred G.  Smith thought there should be.  But what I didn’t see was, I mean, it sounded like there was an impasse between the Quorum of the Twelve and the patriarch, but it really didn’t indicate what the first presidency position was.  It sounded like the first presidency obviously went with the Quorum of the Twelve but didn’t state what was his position?

EK:  That’s one of many questions that I can not give an answer, because I did not have any access to the first presidency minutes, and so I told you everything I know in writing, and wish I knew more, but don’t.  It can’t be conclusive, because as much as I would have liked to be a fly on the wall.  It’s true, also with Pres. McKay’s journals; it just wasn’t my good fortune to have access to all the sources I’d like to of.  Did the best I could.

A.  Your dad was quite a champion of the Indian people, and it seemed like when he died, the church’s involvement died to.  Did he ever talk to you about that?

EK:  Never, to me, but I’ll give you my feelings about it, was that when he became president.  It’s almost as though he were released now from the special advocacy role that he had had before.  He was given by Pres.  George Albert Smith, the specific challenge to be spokesman for the good of the Lamanites, in all the world.  He pursued that vigorously with the Indian student placement program, and Indian seminaries, and so on.  But without any explicit statement, without any explanation it appears that after he became president he sort of turned that responsibility over to others, and spread himself thinner, so to speak with the other obligations that he had with respect to the worldwide church.  I have trouble believing that he lost his zeal for them, just lost his place in the substance, in the obligation.

Q. In your manuscript.  It goes into quite a bit of detail about your father’s trip to the South Seas, and New Zealand.  When he felt inspired to tell them that they were descendents of the Lamanites, that seemed to be quite heavily edited in the published book.  Was that part of anything that you felt differently about?

EK:  Not really.  I really just, again, that was one thing I had about which I didn’t have enough basis to do more than quote him in his statements about the Lamanites including the Polynesian peoples.

Q:  They seem to take a lot of that out of the Deseret Book version.

EK:  I’m sorry, I don’t remember now, that being an issue.  So whatever is there, I think I have to take responsibility for.

Q:  We hear a lot about the revelations with blacks in the priesthood.  Were there other revelations that you are aware of?

EK:  Not any more specific than you got in there.  You have the general position of the church that you, the position of the church that the First Presidency, and Apostles are Prophets, Seers, and Revelators and that when they go about the church’s business, they’re entitled to be inspired.  I think they perceive that as their right and responsibility, but to say this is a revelation and that is simply a matter of administrative effort.  Again, the best I can do for you, but I did want to talk about the revelation on priesthood.  Some of you may not be aware of this BYU studies issue, that was published a year or so ago, and what it contains, has a long article, the text from the book you have about the origins of and the revelation on priesthood.  If you are focused on that particular part of the story, this is a very useful source.  Is that news to anybody?

CB:  I just hope we have some in stock right now.

EK:  I’m not trying to sell it, I think they charge six dollars for it, for a single issue, and what you really want is only about half of the book.  But anyway, you have basically that in the five pound book.

Q:  What’s next, an autobiography?

EK:  From me?  Oh, you flatterer.  [Laughter]  He was one of my students, still trying to butter me up.

Reply:  Let’s revisit my grades.  [Laughter]

EK:  But I’m glad to tell you.  I’m nearly through writing a biography of Andrew Kimball.  The title is Andrew Kimball, Bridge between Prophets, or something like that to suggest that Heber C. Kimball, and Spencer Kimball flank the Andrew Kimball story.  He was a Stake President for 24 years in St. Joseph’s Stake in Southeastern Arizona.  Was the most significant figure in his community, and one of the fairly small number of Stake Presidents in the church.  And of course, it was under his tutelage that this boy Spencer Kimball grew up and became the kind of person that he was.

CB:  Last one.

Q:  What do you have to say about the tense relationship between your older brother and your father?  I wonder if there was anything more you could share about that.

EK:  You want me to tell about my brother or about me?

Q:  You know, your relationship kind of, about watching that.

EK:  My oldest brother, Spencer L.  Kimball, who went by Spence to distinguish him from his father Spencer, was a missionary in Canada, when he was a young man, became a Rhodes Scholar, law professor.  Lost his faith in the gospel and in the church, and became not disaffected so much, as disinterested, uninterested I mean.  My father was eager to urge him always to return to the fold, and the phrase that resonates is.  ?Haven’t you eaten husk’s enough??  Not a kind of approach that I think was welcome, by his son.  My brother loved his parents but he couldn’t stand being treated as somehow, a wrongdoer or a failure.  My father felt that he had failed, was one of the grievous pains that he suffered, the sorrow along with all the physical difficulties that he had.  There was at one point where my brother wrote a letter saying, ?I’ve had enough, I can’t communicate with you anymore,? but he didn’t mail the letter.  Kind of a crisis point in their relationship, and he backed off of the definitive letter.  So they hobbled along in their relationship the rest of their father’s life, and I think he was, I think my father was mistaken in his approach; it certainly didn’t get any better as time went by.  Each time there was something made of the distinction that simply alienated them more.  My brother when he died prescribed that there should not be any religion at his burial?but I did it anyway.  [Laughter]  When he wasn’t looking.  [Laughter]

CB:  Let’s give Ed Kimball, a big round of applause.  [Applause]

CB:  A wonderful presentation, I want you to know, despite my own connection with this, as small as it is, this truly is a great book.  In my opinion, it’s one of the finest biographies of a prominent church leader that’s been done within memory, and one of the best ever, frankly.  Here’s the full version, the other one was good.  Somebody, we were talking about this in terms of diet and food.  I said that this was more the feast, rather than just snacking.  It really is a fine book, and I’m very grateful to Ed for not only writing it, but making it available and letting me be a little bit of a part of that.  I really at this point want to encourage you if you haven’t already purchased a copy, to do so.  We have plenty, and Ed?s going to go back to the table over there in a minute, and would be happy to sign as long as his hand is still attached to his wrist?[Applause]

Article filed under Miscellaneous


  1. Thanks, Brent.

    A very enjoyable and interesting read.

    Comment by Edje Jeter — January 31, 2010 @ 8:37 am

  2. Fascinating. Thanks for posting this, Jared. “Lengthen Your Stride” is one of my favorite all-time books.

    Comment by Clean Cut — January 31, 2010 @ 4:39 pm

  3. (still applauding Brent Brizzi)

    Comment by Clean Cut — January 31, 2010 @ 4:42 pm

  4. The process of juggling completeness and accuracy and personal voice with the requirements of a professor (or in this case a publisher) fascinates me, so I have had an interest in this book’s history for quite a while. I was not able to attend the lecture last week and have watched for some report of it in the papers.

    Finally! Early this morning, I found your report, Brent. The lecture was all I hoped it would be, and your report here is so thorough that it may be even better than being there — I couldn’t have made a virtual transcription as you have done here. Thank you!

    Now I see that Mormon Times has just put up their own account of this event, hours after yours went online. I’m glad to have that, too, but I have to laugh at how Juvenile Instructor scooped a major mainstream outlet — AGAIN! Congratulations, guys.

    Comment by Carolyn — January 31, 2010 @ 6:36 pm

  5. Brent is the man!

    Comment by Bret — January 31, 2010 @ 11:20 pm

  6. Thanks Ed and CC, and thanks Carolyn for the thought. I do have to laugh a bit myself that the JI was the only website for quite a while that was reporting on these lectures at Benchmark Books. This is the first I’ve seen of anyone else doing it.

    But that notwithstanding, I don’t think it’s best to make a competition out of it. I mean, there really isn’t a competition, we have a different type of report and a different readership. Apples to oranges, really. But I do like to be first 🙂

    Comment by Jared T — January 31, 2010 @ 11:22 pm

  7. Wow. Great report.

    Comment by Ben Pratt — February 2, 2010 @ 1:27 am

  8. Thank you for sharing that.

    Comment by Stephen M (Ethesis) — February 2, 2010 @ 7:45 am

  9. Wonderful report. Thanks for the efforts! Loved it.

    Comment by Hunter — February 2, 2010 @ 11:49 am

  10. Thanks, as always, Brent.

    Comment by Christopher — February 2, 2010 @ 11:58 am


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