Exciting news! The Mormon prophet who ended his church’s race-based temple and priesthood ban also kept a journal. In fact, he kept lots of journals over the years. And now the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has graciously made them publicly available online. Well, they are freely available to anyone willing to create a log-in account and click “I Agree” on a short user agreement. (Just can’t go anywhere in this church without covenanting up front). Seriously though, this is an exciting development for researchers and Mormonism in general. Right up there with the Joseph Smith Papers Project.

Okay, enough seriousness. Your regular Tuesday W&T blogger, Dave B., is off this week. So we’re going to handle this news the Jake C. way, via creative writing!

Now, I know most journal entries are tedious and uneventful, even coming from historical figures. Still, one can hope for some good dirt, even from a Mormon prophet. Doubtless, many have already heard about Russell M. Nelson writing a downright rapturous self-tribute for his book and asking President Kimball to sign his name to it. That, and full coverage of the journals’ release, can be found on Religion News Service. Thank you Jana Riess and Benjamin E. Park!

In a religion known for missing-pages fiascos, I hope we still find some good stuff in Spencer W. Kimball’s journals. This post is a working list of colorful entries I hope we discover. Once you’ve read these, feel free to drop your own ideas in the comments section.

What do I hope to see in President Kimball’s journals? I hope to find:

  • A trippy post-apocalyptic vision like the one in Wilford Woodruff’s journal.
  • A delightfully testy entry on any given First World problem. Something dripping with so much testiness that I sit back, shake my head, and say, “Wow! Spencer must have really hit the Postum hard that day.” [1]
  • An entry dating to late-summer 1980 where Kimball exclaims, “Heck yeah, Yoda looks like me!”
  • A follow-up entry where Spencer says, “The Church’s lawyers have advised me to contact George Lucas about receiving likeness royalties on all Yoda merchandise.”
  • A confession of regret for perhaps his biggest error in judgment, publishing The Miracle of Forgiveness. Supposedly, President Kimball did have some hindsight regret for the caustic level of moralizing in that book. But I really hope we find a truly candid admission, something like, “Okay, I admit it. That book was a real boner.”
  • Here and there, on various pages and in no particular pattern, Postum stains. Like, I want there to be enough random pages stained with Postum to justify a new Mormon Studies drinking game.
  • Some real homespun treasures. Please don’t let me make it all the way into the final volume muttering, “There’s gotta be a killer casserole recipe in here somewhere!”
  • A page with “KICK ME” written in big letters, and in tiny letters this note: “Had intended to tape this to McConkie’s back just before the Priesthood Session. Thought better of it.”
  • Hidden in a patch of uneventful entries, the following statement. “Re. Yoda likeness royalties: after further reflection I have decided it would be better to wait until Lucas is out of the country and I can get Frank Oz alone.”
  • A transcript where Doctor Russ Nelson looks down at President Kimball on the gurney and says, “I’m gonna heal the fetch outta your heart!” And Spencer replies, “Easy there, boy. Just follow procedures. They got us this far, after all.”
  • Multiple chances to hop on Twitter and say, “Hey @BenjaminEPark, I just found another Postum stain!” *drinks*
  • A final note dated May 25, 1983 reading, “YODA DIED! WTF GEORGE?!” [2]

Okay, readers, it’s your turn. What entries, goofy or serious, would you like to find in Spencer W. Kimball’s journals?


[1] On October 3, 1971, from the pulpit in General Conference, President Spencer W. Kimball, engaged in product placement by endorsing Postum. Postum was a powdered coffee substitute favored by Kimball and any number of overworked ward and stake leaders like my mom. Been awhile, but my memory is it tastes no worse than all instant coffees. But y’know, if there’s no caffeine, what’s the point? Here is a link to President Kimball’s conference address.

[2] If my use of WTF bothers you, please just translate it as, “What the fetch?!”