Words of a prophet: President Kimball’s journals now online

Photo's of President Kimball's visas from his passport in 1960. Photo credit: Church Newsroom

On Wednesday, the Church History Library announced that all 36 volumes of the journals of late President Spencer W. Kimball have now been digitized and are available in the Church History catalog.

The journals span 80 years of President Kimball’s life, beginning in 1905 when he was 10 years old, and concluding in 1981, just four years before he passed away. President Kimball kept journaling for a time after he became the president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1973.

Due to the demands of his calling, he stopped in 1976 and the remainder of the entries were notes from the office journal kept by his personal secretary and personal commentary compiled by his son, Edward Kimball.

“President Kimball’s journals are some of the best in Latter-day Saint history,” said Kyle S. McKay, a Church Historian. “Just as Wilford Woodruff’s amazing journal chronicles nineteenth-century Latter-day Saint history, Spencer W. Kimball’s journal gives tremendous insight into the history of the Church in the twentieth century.”

Throughout his life and presidency of the Church, President Kimball was exemplary in keeping a personal journal and invited others to do the same, promising the blessings it would bring to future generations.

“We renew our appeal for the keeping of individual journals and records and compiling family histories,” said President Kimball in “Hold Fast to the Iron Rod,” an October 1978 general conference address.

“Any Latter-day Saint family that has searched genealogical and historical records has fervently wished their ancestors had kept better and more complete records. On the other hand, some families possess some spiritual treasures because ancestors have recorded the events surrounding their conversion to the gospel and other happenings of interest, including many miraculous blessings and spiritual experiences. People often use the excuse that their lives are uneventful and nobody would be interested in what they have done.

I promise you that if you will keep your journals and records they will indeed be a source of great inspiration to your families, to your children, your grandchildren, and others, on through the generations.”

The digitized images of President Kimball’s journal entries are available on the Church History catalog under call number MS 21541. Visitors must be signed in to their church account to view the images and documents due to copyright material.

Read more about the contents of the digitized journals on the Church History website.