Journal text selected by Dennis B. Horne
Much of Spencer W. Kimball’s Apostolic ministry was devoted to working with and counseling members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that had committed “moral” sins. This mostly meant adultery (or fornication) but especially what today would be called LGBT immorality (or homosexual sin—the initials were not known in his time). Often this behavior resulted in marital problems.
Not many years after his entry into the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, President David O. McKay assigned both Elder Kimball and Elder Mark E. Petersen to act as a two-man committee to work with homosexuals in the Church (which they largely did independently of each other). The over-all purpose was to lead them to repentance. The below accounts, taken straight from the journals, convey Elder Kimball’s massive prolonged efforts to fulfill that assignment. The Church was much smaller then (1940s to 70s), and they could do a great deal of work in this connection, from their offices, usually in conjunction/cooperation with local leaders (bishops and stake presidents). Elder Kimball even gives an estimate of how many homosexual individuals he worked with. The below items are by no means all that there are recorded in the journals, for such a collection of portions of entries would run much longer than this one, but they are among the most informative. I have included a sampling of non-“morals”-type problems to give a wider flavor for what Elder Kimball dealt with (such as mental illness)—but the items below do provide a strong overview of his labors in this field.
It almost feels like driving down the freeway and seeing an accident on the side of the road and slowing down to take a closer look—these are real people with real moral and marriage problems that Elder Kimball was trying to help them resolve. While Elder Kimball was occasionally optimistic his efforts would pay off, much of the time he (and we) never got to know the end of the story—whether people had truly repented or not (what he often called “making adjustments”). How he rejoiced when the people he worked with sincerely repented!
Some readers might figuratively see themselves or someone they know in the circumstances of one of these past recounted episodes. Perhaps someone in a similar position will find their own way to repentance and salvation. Perhaps some bishops and stake presidents will find some wisdom or inspiration in these difficult experiences that can be of help to them.
Some others, such as gay activists, may just get upset at it all since in their minds there is nothing wrong with such behavior/acts. As will be seen below, Elder Kimball dealt with many a mad member who thought they needed no repentance or “adjustments.” Those were the hardest on him. “I have come to realize how powerful and subtle is that evil one who makes them think that ‘black is white’ and helps them to rationalize away all their errors and call them virtues when they are base vices,” he mused. Such is often the case today with members involved in homosexual sin. As the March 9, 1967 entry indicates, the entire First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve were deeply concerned with this growing issue and what to do about it—and that is now well over a half-century ago. I have also included as editorial notes two highly relevant items from associates (who would themselves later become presidents of the Church) that worked closely with Elder Kimball.
Some liberal dissidents of that day and this take issue with Elder Kimball’s book The Miracle of Forgiveness, thinking Elder Kimball to have been too hard and harsh on those who indulge in sin and won’t repent. For this reason I have included many diary entries documenting his writing the book and the highly influential results of its publication—including what certain of his Apostolic associates thought of it. Also what President Dallin H. Oaks thought of it.
One agnostic critic wrote this humorless bit about what he hoped might be found in the Kimball diaries: “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, . . .” (It seems those in the great and spacious building just can’t stop pointing and mocking and ridiculing.) Anyway, far from regret, the abundant journal evidence indicates that Elder Kimball took great pride and joy in how his book was helping so many to change their lives and come unto Christ through faith unto repentance. But an agnostic critic doesn’t care about sincere repentance, only about ridiculing those who do and getting a laugh out of it. Elder Kimball also dealt with those types.
(I am aware of a paragraph in Edward Kimball’s Lengthen Your Stride biography of his father that includes the thought that “Spencer seemed to later wish he had adopted a gentler tone.” [working draft, 8;1]. And below there are a couple of items suggesting he knew he had “laid it on the line pretty strongly”—but those few items are counteracted by far more expressions of being pleased his work was helping so very many members to repent and obtain God’s forgiveness.)
Below are thirty-five pages of extended narration or summary or quick note of Elder Kimball’s experiences striving with near-damned or dirty or troubled souls, trying with all his might to lift and help save them. Much of it is not easy reading (especially the most heinous sins), but some is redemptive. I have included some mentions of those who lost their church membership, but after sincerely repenting, gained back their full blessings (priesthood and/or temple) and rejoiced, the burden lifted, the joy and happiness restored. This is how the atonement of Jesus Christ can take a repentant person from potential Telestial damnation to exaltation in the Celestial Kingdom of God.
For those wishing to delve deeper and read the actual diary entries, I have included the date of the journal entry. President Kimball’s journal is simply not polished writing but is excellent as both a first and final draft. Please forgive any typos. A church email account is needed to access the material on the Church Archives website (the call number is MS 21541:
November 12, 1943: It was a terrible experience that came to me today. I think I can never forget the scene. We were called to a special meeting of the Council of the Twelve Apostles. Earlier in the day when I asked Bro. Lee if it was a report meeting he solemnly told me that it was not and that I should get my feet firmly on the ground anticipating it. The next two hours were filled with wonder and fear. Conferences had been adjusted and special appointments of the brethren cancelled that they might all be present. Some of them were not in the city. . . . The slow deliberate and saddened approach of some of the brethren as they came to the Temple presaged something ominous was ahead of us. As soon as we were all seated the meeting was called to order and announcement was made by Pres. George Albert Smith who was almost overcome, that there was a very serious charge against one of our brethren. He then directed that the charge be read. Our hearts stood still as we heard that Richard R. Lyman, for 26 years a member of the Council of the Twelve, was accused of immorality. His written confession was read and he being present did not deny the accusation nor the confession. He told also of the situations. He had little to say. He was as pale as could be. He minimized his act and seemed to feel that it should be overlooked but showed no repentance and no expressed sorrow for his sin. He tried to link his sin with polygamy but the evidence gave no corroboration to the story. It was a terrible ordeal. To see great strong men such as the members of this quorum all in tears, some sobbing, all shocked, stunned by the impact was an unforgettable sight. No tears from him but plenty from the rest of us and what a heart-rending experience. After considerable discussion a motion was made, seconded and we voted unanimously to excommunicate him from the Church. When he retired he said goodbye and shook hands with each of us and left the Temple, his Quorum, his Church. Still stunned almost beyond recovery, the members seemed to be yet unable to believe the terrible truth.
November 18, 1943: Today was our regular weekly meeting and since no meeting was held the previous Thursday there was much to do. I enjoyed the meetings very much though there was still much sadness over the action of last week excommunicating Richard R. Lyman.
18th supplemental. It was still a sad day for the Authorities of the Church, as this was the first regular weekly meetings with the Richard R. Lyman seat empty. Considerable was said regarding the unfortunate situation, during the various meetings.
October 27, 1943: My first visitor was Elder [name removed]. . . . Among other things he told me of spiritual manifestations of one of the members out there and asked me about them. I assured him that the story sounded like evil ministrations.
July 5, 1944: Had many callers some of them with distressing problems of sin and family difficulties and divorce, etc.
January 27, 1948: I had an interview with Sister Hodgson concerning the work with delinquent girls, this being a new assignment of Elder Peterson and myself.
January 30, 1948: I had a special appointment with President McKay at 8:00 o’clock concerning our new work with delinquent girls coming into the city.
February 2, 1948: There were many appointments through the day. It was a difficult day, with some deep sorrows and heavenly moments. Immediately after noon I went to the Veterans’ Hospital to see the young man, whom I had visited twice before. I was shocked when I came to his cell. All the furniture was removed from his room and he lay on a mattress, smoking, cursing and raving. He did not look anything like himself. His feet appeared to be cut but the attendant said he had been burning his feet with his cigarette. He talked incessantly without reason, more like an intoxicated person than like one insane. I was told by the attendant he had been given medication and that he would probably be adjudged insane today and taken to a Colorado institution. He was disheveled, his eyes were bleary. I was so shocked that I could not get him out of my mind for hours. Upon the other visits he had been so handsome and clean and docile—it hardly appeared that there was anything wrong with him and for this abrupt change—only three days, it was almost unbelievable.
February 17, 1948: Sister Hodgson came in early to discuss the Delinquent Girls’ Program.
March 12, 1948: About 4:00 o’clock my cousin, Heber “Chase” Kimball came in, bringing a Mrs. Eva Wininger. He has, long ago, been excommunicated for so-called plural marriage relationships and teachings. We visited pleasantly for a while and then he attacked me for having republished the Life of Heber C. Kimball without having eliminated the footnote, which said “That the official cane of Heber C. Kimball was in the hands of Lon Kimball at Kanosh” and he rather demanded that we change this. I explained this to him that inasmuch as two cousins are claiming to have the cane, we had no evidence as to which was right; that I had published this part of the book as the original author had left it and without any change. He was very insistent and rather ugly about the matter, but I told him positively that we were not interested in making any changes or adjustments. His only evidence was memories of other people and his own deductions and so-called inspirations. Mrs. Wininger told me at great length her experiences as she was committed to the mental hospital at Provo, Utah long years ago. They both scoffed at the idea that there ever had been justification for her incarceration, but I spent three long hours with them and came to the conclusion that no error had been made and from their actions and their statements I felt sure that they were both ‘off-balance.’ He finally brought up the plural marriage angle again, as he has so many times in the past, and I bore my testimony to him with a great deal of power and warned him that even if he were sincere he was misled and deceived and he was getting along in years and he should come to his senses and endeavor to straighten himself out in his thinking; that I knew the program was correct and that the Authorities were the “Anointed of the Lord” and that there was no question in the matter. He stood in rage but made no reply. When they finally left I offered my hand and told him I still loved him as a cousin, but he refused to shake hands with me; though his companion insisted he still went out without shaking hands.
March 15, 1948: It was a very busy day with several very distressing problems. A woman is being abandoned by her husband; apparently he is in sin; they were separated a year ago and I was able to hold them together, hoping for a permanent reconciliation, but it looks hopeless now. A young man had married a year ago, under my hands [officiating], and had now admitted that he had been immoral years before going into the Temple. Another broken home, it seemed, but after a long visit with both parties, it looks like a permanent and total reconciliation has been effected. It was a day of problems….
January 9, 1953: Spent the day at the office as usual with many problems and interviews. Another man who was befuddled, frustrated. Home life not too good, afraid of life, unhappy in his work, unsuccessful in it, depressed. I tried to help him and I believe he went out in better spirits. Another young man came in jittery, frightened, frustrated, appearing to be almost unbalanced. Wild eyed he finally told me his story. He had returned from his successful mission; had become careless and partly inactive; had taken up smoking (he had smoked in earlier youth); had begun to run around with girls not up to his supposed standard; had finally committed fornication with a young girl, the mother of three little babies, the first and third being the children of a legal husband now gone and the second from another young man without marriage; they had both found themselves with Gonorrhea and had nearly lost their minds when the Doctor told them it was not curable; they had pooled their little resources and began to live together as husband and wife and so let it be known. Then conscience had asserted itself. He had run away trying to escape from his sin, his problems, and himself; had offered himself, he said, to the mental asylum. He was about ready for one. I calmed him down and gained his confidence and finally he opened his heart and confessed the rest, that they were not married (his first statement was that she was his wife). I assured him that he could be eventually forgiven and go forward with a constructive life if there were total repentance. He left with a light in his eye and a smile and with hope beaming in his countenance. I had urged that he bring in the woman and I would get a Bishop to marry them at once. He called back a little later to say that marriage was impossible since she was not divorced from her husband. They came in later in the day and seemed so grateful and ready to do whatever I suggested. He had sold his clothes for food on one of his gypsy wanderings and looked like a tramp but this morning a woman came up to him at a bus stop and gave him a good suit of clothes which fit him perfectly—it was the property of her son recently dead, she said. I gave him $10 to tide him over a day or two while he got a job. This made three young men within a week who were ready to commit suicide. What are we coming to! [This some story is repeated in even greater detail in the diary some 2 weeks later.]
January 26, 1953: Perhaps someday my grandchildren and descendants may be interested to know something of my work. Today was an interesting and full day, perhaps typical. After spending about 3 hours at my Dictaphone and the desk at my home I took my Dictaphone recordings and went to the office where I closed the door and knelt down for a short prayer asking the Lord to make me equal to whatever problems should come in the day. (We had already had our usual family prayer at home.) I began to open my mail when the phone began to ring and the people began to come even though I had only one formally appointed interview. First there came a returned missionary sent by the [stake] Presidency for an interview for a Temple Recommend. His problem was masturbation. In all other respects he was clean but this habit had fastened itself upon him like an octopus. He earnestly desired to do right. I talked to him long and earnestly and believe I built up his determination and strength and gave him a blessing and sent him away happy. He will keep in touch with me until he has gained total mastery. [At this point, Elder Kimball retells the story, in greater detail, of the January 9, 1953 above individual; names redacted.]
January 31, 1953: Left home . . . taking Elder George Q. Morris. We . . . then reached Richmond Utah at 10 a.m. . . . There came to me from Pocatello Brother and Sister H. She had committed adultery with Brother N. and it was a serious case and I spent an hour or more with them.
September 18, 1953: It was a usual day with its many interviews and problems, and in the evening we took Camilla’s parents and went to the Dixon-Tempest wedding reception. I was disgusted, as usual, with the number of women with strapless gowns and bare upper bodies and with the frothy formality that is attending many of our wedding receptions these days. I was a bit glad when the ordeal was over.
September 21, 1953: This was a hectic day with several serious problems of family difficulties. One young man had been awakened by his 4 little children climbing over him and asking: “Where is mommy?” His wife had left him during the night. Another man was almost completely overcome when his wife told him, in my room [office], that she definitely was going to get a divorce. He nearly worshipped her. Another sister told me that her husband, to whom she had been sealed in the Temple, was spending his vacation alone in a distant city where a girl lived to whom he had been writing. And so the day was a miserable, hectic one.
September 14, 1954: I had an interview with an anonymous person with whom I had visited hours on Monday. He was a handsome, tall fine looking boy, 24 years of age, and stated he was Catholic and was interested in a Latter-day Saint girl who had been married in the temple and divorced but not unsealed. I hope I made an impression upon him and bore my testimony to him. He was very respectful and listened intently for the hours.
September 19, 1954: At my desk at the office I had a long interview with [redacted], a returned missionary of some years who is attending [college] and whose faith seemingly has been shattered and who is much disturbed over the Negro question, over revelation and over all the other matters which affect those who begin in their apostasy. I talked to him earnestly and did my utmost to help him to get back to correct thinking. He worships the scientists and would accept nothing he could not prove. I felt depressed all day, feeling that I had done him little good and disturbed greatly for his future.
February 5, 1957: I reconvened the meeting, excused the sisters and talked to the men about the things they needed to hear. Many of the young men have been indiscreet in times past in their early lives. Some of them failed to clean up their [sin] messes before coming, hence carry a guilt complex, disturbing and limiting their missions. They were greatly interested and in the interviews which followed, many expressed gratitude for having cleared in their minds the seriousness of certain practices and the way to clear them getting forgiveness and release and peace. I am sure it did much good for them.
April 27, 1957: Today I had three long and difficult cases come to the home. A girl, a young man, and a married man, all with serious sex cases.
May 2, 1957: There were only 5 of the Twelve at the 9 am meeting. . . . A restoration case [was] brought up—one that only I knew about. It looked like the repentant young man was going to lose this opportunity to have his blessings restored. His case was not such an ugly case as we have had. I tried to defend him and the case and supply information in his favor which the brethren did not know. I struggled and could not speak [because of recent throat surgery]. I whispered a few short items to Brother Lee who sat by me and he kindly relayed them. Finally the matter was approved and this young man who has suffered long and repented much, will now be restored to his blessings or rather have them restored to him.
June 8, 1957: About noon I had a call from Mrs. Ethel Thurmon in southern California asking if I could help her husband William Eugene who was at the Milner hotel. Camilla called him for me and made an appointment at my office at 2:30. I waited at the office downtown for near an hour and he did not come so I went to the hotel to find him. He came to the door to admit me to his room, bleary eyed, naked except for a half buttoned shirt, his hair ruffled, his face red and unsteady on his feet. He was overwhelmed to see me and much abashed. He embraced me and wept and pointed to the dresser covered with empty and partly filled bottles of 7up. And a half empty bottle of liquor. He was ashamed. He babbled on as a drunk would: how glad he was to see me, how he appreciated my coming, that I was the first one who showed that much interest in him; that I was saving his soul and on and on. He recalled (I was astounded) numerous details of my life, especially in the mission field in St. Louis where I met him as a little boy. He had read biographical sketches of me for he knew my life and works almost better than I did. He wept over the death, some months ago, of his sister Marie (Mrs. Marvin Moody) who was a sweet, faithful woman and who had proved faithful through long years of rearing her twelve or more children and recently died of multiple sclerosis. He was drunk, and had been off and on for some time, he told me. I filled the bath tub full of cold water and induced him to take a cold bath. I got him some tomato juice to sober him and he recovered somewhat and babbled on and on. He received a telegraphed money order so I walked with him down to Western Union to get his money $20 which his wife had borrowed on her car. He had called her once and attempted 2 or 3 times to tell her that I was with him and helping him. I dissuaded him twice since money was an item with them. He wabbled down the street. I am sure many people who knew me were surprised at my company. The W.U. girls were asked by him if they were Mormons and he told them proudly who I was in loud drunken terms and language. The girls were as embarrassed as I. We staggered back up the street with his arm over my shoulder part of the time and him babbling loudly most of the way. We went to . . . the Alcohol Anonymous group and I made arrangements for him to stay there and receive their help. While I did this he was telling the men in the room that I was his friend and I was an Apostle of the Mormon Church etc. We staggered back to the hotel on West Temple and I packed his suit cases and took them to the door, then went down to the desk to check out for him.. As I went back up the steps and secured his bags, he came down and disappeared. How he could stagger out of the world so quickly, I shall never know. I looked high and low for him, up all the alleys, in the corner and was unable to find him. He had been so cooperative up to the last minute that I could hardly believe he would run away. (I learned later that he had just ‘gone crazy,’ I guess, for a drink, and couldn’t help it). I drove over to A.A. . . . and left his suit cases there and parked and began an exhaustive search for him. My sciatica rheumatism was nearly killing me and every step was torture. I felt I must find him and get him located. Time was precious as I had to leave on the 7:50 train for Los Angeles. I went along 2nd South and stepped in every pool hall, café, and tavern down the line and couldn’t find him. Went back to the hotel and they said he had not returned. I went down the alleys again then through two picture shows and could find no trace of him. It was near train time and I was exhausted and in pain and defeated temporarily. I rushed home and got my things and joined Bro. Stapley in his car and went to the train. I was so very miserable I limped to my roomette, locked myself in and went to bed early.
June 12, 1957: I had Barbara and Judy come down and took them to lunch at the Lion House then took them to the office and talked long and earnestly to them trying to alert and fortify them against evil and weakness and Gentile [non-member] courtships and out-of-church marriage. They were serious and listened intently.
November 9, 1957: We spent last night on the 10th floor of the Drake-Wilshire Hotel overlooking some of the fabulous San Francisco [area]. . . . We met at 2 pm and walked to the area indicated on the city map as “The Legitimate Theatres”—we had good seats purchased even as late as 10 a.m. . . . The curtain was raised at the time appointed and six professional actors and actresses took us on a journey that left us red in face and filthy in mind and foul in carnal degradation. We went innocently, having been told it was good. Our journey took us down, down, down from the realms of clean and righteous heights to the foul and corrupt underworld of filth and ugliness. Yesterday we drove into the higher altitudes where the air was fresh and invigorating. Today we were in the lowlands where the refuse of cities accumulated and was offensive to decency. Yesterday, at high elevation, we reveled in the loftiness of Mt. Shasta as it reached toward heaven; today we grovel on the earth, earthy with our minds directed to the low depth of hell. Yesterday we gasped at the loveliness of the mountain shrouded in fleecy clouds, veiling it in modesty; today we traveled through the swamps of immodesty and degradation. Yesterday we gloried in the rarity of the white snow and pure atmosphere of Shasta; today we waded through the corrupt sewer of modern witticism and bathed in the defiled rotting cesspool of approved stage artistry in this coast city. WHAT ARE WE COMING TO? How much more corrupt was Sodom? How much more degenerate Gomorrah? Haven’t we come a long distance. Since Cain killed Abel sin and crime have been in the world. Practically from the beginning has there been cursing and immorality and infidelity, but were they then approved, glorified, enthroned? Yesterday we rather expected to hear the various names of our Deities used loosely in cursing in lumber camps, and in the underworld. Today we pay $5.85 a seat to hear our Creator’s name used in connection with vile thoughts and corrupt practices. Yesterday we knew of the saloons and brothels and honorable people by-passed them. Today we scramble for tickets in sell-out theaters to sit with community contemporaries and listen to them laugh at vulgarity—applaud obscenity and regard chastity as old fashioned and marital fidelity as narrow-mindedness. The virtuous are laughed to scorn and motherhood is debased—family life ridiculed and revelry, gambling, drinking enthroned and elevated on thrones for acceptance and worship. We saw the play, “Tunnels of Love.” We found to our disgust that the tunnel was a sumphole filled with deadly vermin and the love was spelled “lust.” Most people applauded the play and the actors. A few of us were ashamed, embarrassed. As we went out in the aisle one said to his companion, “How did you like it?” “Very good” she said. Evil has always been present but has it ever been accepted, lauded and loved and applauded as today. It was mentioned that a notorious and famous actress [probably Ingrid Bergman] was recently awarded a medal by France for her outstanding courage. She had had courage to live her own life they said—she had had temerity (courage?) to ignore all rules of decency and abandon husband and child and enter into illicit relationships with a foreigner and give birth to his illegally sired child. She received little censure from the people. We know there have been illegitimate babies like her through the ages and adulterous women like her by the thousands; but has there ever been, since Adam, the general acceptance. A poll by newspapers of the rank and file of the readers revealed that housewives, ministers, teachers, community leaders had no contempt for such infidelity, but pity if such would spoil a career. Millions flocked to her pictures. When, oh when shall we, the people, have the courage to remain tight-lipped at vulgarity, stone-faced at obscene jokes, shocked at cursing and outraged by infidelity, and able to blush once more at suggestions of indecency. We had gone to several theaters in New York this summer and in every one there were parts disgusting and vulgar, but it remained for this “Tunnel of love” to take us into the filth of suggestive sex and irreverent life from the beginning to the end. The entire trek was through a dark tunnel from entrance to exit every foul foot of which was stinking.
January 14, 1958: Down at the office—a hectic day with severe marital and morals cases.
1. A traveling salesman who had stepped out on his wife and they had been separated but now were back together and he was active in the Church but they are still having trouble. Both have been untrue to each other in the past but seem to feel there is no connection to their present unhappiness and lack of faith in each other.
2. She is 38 and is 5 ½ months pregnant and has charged a man in the same stake with the sin. He has a family and denies it vigorously and there is no proof—his word against hers that he is the man. Some evidence that she may be in trouble from some other source and trying to pin it on to this brother whom she loves, admittedly. The Stake Presidency hardly know how to handle it.
3. She is in her thirties. Came in my office with a fever suffering from peritonitis and lost knowing not what to do. She has suffered a double abortion losing twins the last two or three days and is still hemorrhaging and afraid to call a Doctor. She is afraid that revealing her condition will keep her 19 year old daughter from filling her stake mission and lose her 1 year old child to her and bring sorrow to the man and his family. She wept all the long time of the interview. She had been a faithful member along the years till she fell at this temptation. He is an insurance manager with a respectable family and well to do, she says. He gave her money for the little one-year-old who is his son, she says. His 19 year old son contemplates a mission. He and his wife are reasonably active in the church. He is a fine looking man and was most attractive to this woman, his secretary who was working these several years to escape from the deep sorrow of the loss of a child many years ago, also to provide for her family since her husband, now divorced, was extravagant and profligate. She loves the libertine greatly, she says, and would not reveal his name nor her own until she saw there was no other way. She has lost her reputation in her ward and neighborhood and family having lied to them when they accused her, having seen on numerous occasions, night and day, the car of the libertine parked at her home. They had checked the license. They knew who he was. She denied everything but now with pregnancy, abortion, double, and blood poisoning the result of his manipulations in the abortion, is panicky. I sent her down to the woman’s room to lie down a few minutes then we walked over to his office and found it locked. I called many times in the next hours but could not locate him. I took her to the Doctor who was very kind to her and found her in bad condition. He could not get a hospital bed. Finally I reached him about 9 pm and he and his wife came to my home. She did most of the talking and admitted she had talked to the sick girl this morning who reputedly said all was o.k. with her, admitted that her husband had taken her home sometimes but suggested a trap was being sprung for her husband. He sat mute saying almost nothing. He never denied it. After a half hour they went home. He called me at 4 am and said they had been awake all night and his wife decided, he said he also was saying that he was not responsible. I told him we would have to leave it till I returned two weeks later since I was then dressing to catch the train for Texas. That was a terrible day—a hectic one. Why oh why?
May 1, 1958: This was a hectic day. From [after] the temple meeting at 2 pm till 9:30 I was engaged in disturbing and sickening [interview] experiences. A young woman disturbed mentally and needing much help; then a husband and wife with a long talk of 9 years of sin and drinking and immorality, and financial troubles and now finally a break. Some repentance and I have hopes for them now but it is a most distressing situation. I hardly knew that such things as this existed except in the underworld. I was so worn down I could not work at my desk but tried to get my mind out of the filthy world they had described by looking at TV.
May 8, 1959: Today I had a very difficult case. Quite a young woman (38) came in to clear her conscience. Her bishop was with her. She had been the mother of a child that she had given away, and the father was a married man who had been in high places and was still a High Councilor in one of the stakes. It was a shattering thing.
May 9, 1959: The married man referred to in yesterday’s journal asked for an appointment and came to see about his transgression. He has been very faithful all these years and felt that he might have been forgiven. I called his Stake President to my home and we three discussed the matter at some length. The conclusion was that he should be released from his High Council position immediately and that we would await developments before making further determinations.
May 10, 1959: After the afternoon meeting there were a number of interviews, and there the Seminary instructor revealed to me a rather shocking situation in the morals of our youth there.
May 21, 1959: Today I had a surprise visit from a man whom I had been working with for a year and a half trying to get him to repent from his adultery and abortion attempt and he had ignored Brother Petersen and myself, sent in his resignation to the Church, sent us a letter from his attorneys indicating we would have to deal with them and not him, and many other things which had indicated a very bad attitude. We had been very kind and had waited and waited, and now that a year and a half had passed we felt that we must move forward so we had called the matter to the attention of the stake presidency, who had sent to him a summons, to answer the charges. He now came in and we spent a very long afternoon. His head was finally bowed and his knees bended and he revealed to me a story of transgression which I was already aware of, but had received the information from other sources. There were many tears and pleadings and I shall continue to work with him to see if total adjustments can finally be made.
May 22, 1959: In returning to the office, about 3:00, I found another confession awaiting me. A doctor with long years of adulterous practices, he had been a bishop [yet was] still not very repentant, but wishing to adjust, if possible. He was willing to confess his sins but it was more of an admission because his wife had revealed the transgressions to the bishop and stake president and they were about to bring [disciplinary] action against both of the transgressing parties.
May 27, 1959: Eugene Thurman came in in destitute circumstances. I found him a job at the University of Utah, which I learned later he did not accept, and disappeared.
May 29, 1959: I had a very difficult case involving a Provo man and a Chicago woman was before me. I worked very hard on it with the man and hope I made some progress. It was a very heavy busy day.
June 5, 1959: Met there President John K. Edmunds of the Stake, with one of his lady members who was guilty of adultery, and with whom we spent the time until my plane left. . . .
June 13, 1959: And for the Second Counselor [in the new stake presidency] chose Lue Smith. We discussed very frankly with Brother Smith the fact that in his several large grocery stores he was selling beer and wine, and keeping the stores open on the Sabbath, as did all other stores in the area. He voluntarily proffered to discontinue sale of the beer and wine, etc. This will, undoubtedly, be a great financial sacrifice on his part. We did not require him to do it, but we did make it clear that we would not wish to use him in the high place if he were engaged in this traffic.
June 20, 1959: We returned at 8:30 and the distressed man of the morning returned, and his wife also, and spent the evening until 1:30 in the morning. I was trying to help him to find his way to repentance so that eventually he might possibly receive his family back.
July 3, 1959: A brother came in to see me in the morning and spent about two hours with me. His wife had filed for divorce because of continued conflict arising out of his immorality. . . .
July 7, 1959: I went to the office early with some very difficult moral cases.
July 30, 1959: I worked at the typewriter for many hours. . . . More hours at the typewriter—I am preparing an extensive treatise on Repentance.
August 3, 1959: After our morning oblations, our breakfast and some study and writing (I am writing a study of Peter) (and a treatise on Repentance). . . .
August 9, 1959: Had an early morning meeting with one of our most difficult marital and morals cases. There was a good deal of weeping and some hysteria, and it was a very difficult situation, lasting for two or three hours, and we were unable to resolve it up to now.
Undated story: We were in the temple. I had just concluded the temple marriage ceremony for her handsome nephew and his sweet bride. She followed me out of the room, grasped my hand with both of hers and asked: “Elder Kimball, do you remember me?” Her eyes were searching and her ears were reaching to see if I could remember her.
I was abashed. For the life of me, I could not make the connection. I was much embarrassed as I have been numerous times in such situations. Truthfully, I admitted, “I’m sorry, I do not remember.”
Instead of disappointment, I saw relief in her face. “Oh, I am so grateful that you do not remember me nor that night in our home when you called me to repentance, when you labored with me, pleaded with me, warned me, begged me to repent of my adultery. I’m glad you do not remember that prayer when my husband and I knelt with you at 3:00 am. in the morning after an all-night battle. I’m glad you do not remember my transgressions because now after nineteen years of sincere repentance that since you do not remember me nor my sins perhaps my Lord will remember my sins no more.” I saw her troubled face become calm and tranquil as she pressed my hand again and said, “Thank you. Goodbye.”
September 16, 1959: We had a long session with Sister [redacted] and her bishop and she exhibited more of a rebellious nature than ever during the long months we have been working on the case. In the afternoon we had another session with [redacted] and his wife and their bishop and their stake president, and we tentatively closed the case, and inactivated Brother [redacted] and told him, in the presence of his bishop and stake president he was to have no activity in the Church for the time being and until we released him. He seemed very grateful that there was no excommunication proceedings. He asked for a prayer and we let him offer a prayer and we all knelt. After they had gone they returned and Sr. [redacted] asked for a blessing at my hands.
October 8, 1959: Had an interview with Harold Bowman at 7:30, with Chief of Police [Cleon] Skousen relative to a special assignment with [homosexual] transgressors as given to us by the President [McKay].
January 3, 1960: In the evening went to the first of the series of 13 special youth programs in which I am to participate. President McKay was the speaker on this first night; the tabernacle was filled with youth and it was an excellent start for a campaign to help our youth to see their responsibilities and protect their lives and their morals.
January 23, 1960: Brother [name removed] and their three daughters came to see me, their eldest daughter is beginning to feel the spirit of independence and throwing off all restraints. I had a fine visit with her and believe that I may have helped her. Brother [name redacted], a prospective missionary came for an interview and I postponed his mission for a month, since he has had some emotional problems and is hardly ready to go.
January 28, 1960: We then went to the Junior M.I.A. dance and the Golden Green Ball for the Juniors, ranging from 12 to 14 [years old] or a little more. They were well behaved and the floor show was nicely done, but I was greatly disturbed that this many little children [young teens] should be out at night and there were about a dozen of them with dates. I must do all I can to slow down the social life of our children.
February 1, 1960: I spent this last hour with Vernon, trying to dissuade him from marrying a non-member woman in February. He had been the Stake President at one time and I have tried earnestly to get him to postpone his marriage until she will have had time to have learned the gospel and accept it without pressures.
February 27, 1960: I had had one more interview with a middle aged couple who had some serious morals problems and we went to the bishop’s home and I turned the problem over to him.
April 27, 1960: There were many interviews today, some of them very distressing ones—broken lives.
June 15, 1960: We had a meeting at 2:00 for the General Authorities. President Smith had read to them the new statement on a tightening up of interviews for young missionaries; a matter that had been before us in the Council of the Twelve and the Presidency meeting two different weeks and in which I made a very desperate effort to try to keep some latitude in our interviews and not let the door be shut too tightly upon repentant young men and women.
July 25, 1960: I . . . took the girls down to the big parade, the Pioneer Day celebration. The parade was quite an extravagantly good one, except we seem now to be taking for granted that all the young women shall be immodestly dressed in parades. Those in bands with their extremely short dresses, exposing practically all of their legs, and those who ride on the floats, including the queens, with either strapless or strap gowns. It seemed to be becoming the order of the day instead of the exception.
August 16, 1960: I had a couple who had recently committed sin and were anxious now to go to the temple and be married. I urged them to be married civilly and when they had proven themselves to be worthy they could be sealed in the temple at a later date. . . . I interviewed several missionaries, some of whom had been in transgression and I had to deny to some the privilege of going on their missions. I had several difficult situations, morals problems, and some very pleasant interviews.
August 17 1960: I performed the ceremony this morning for [names removed]. . . . The parents and several of his brothers were there. He is the eighth of nine in the family to be married in the holy temple, with the last one a younger boy. This was a happy family and an exemplary family, and they were very proud of their eight to be in the temple. . . .
I had a long visit with the adulterer who has taken so much time in the last year and a half. He is doing much better but now wants a temple recommend, which I feel he is not ready for.
November 24, 1960: Again at Melbourne I had the bitterest experience of my life when I had to press action against three young men [missionaries] and sever them from the Church. The difficult and harrowing experience of the numerous night and day hours as the ugly situation was uncovered, together with the organization of a new stake from the mission, was a terrific responsibility and I was much perplexed. Knowing what must be done, in spite of its terror, and being fortified by a call to President Moyle in Salt Lake City [rest of paragraph is redacted; several missionaries in New Zealand and Australia had fornicated with local member girls; all later repented].
December 4, 1960: I find I can stand a terrific amount of physical effort, but when morals problems come for me to solve, it takes out of me much.
July 24, 1961: Today is Pioneer day. . . . I was working on my book on repentance.
August 22, 1961: Today the man, father of four children, came to confess immorality with the woman in another family where there was a husband and children. I have been working for months with these two families and felt sure that this was or would be the result. I seemingly could make no impression upon the two individuals, but today the man is repentant and on his knees and willing to do anything to clear it up.
Sister [name redacted] came in. I have been close to this family through their trouble. When her husband [words redacted] and she had remained faithful to him all the years of his imprisonment, and his former employers had been good to him and given him employment when he came out of prison. But now he has turned sour, abandoned his family, gone off with an adulterous woman, according to all reports, and left his family penniless and Sister [redacted] without any good means of earning a living for her children. I gave to her the $100 which was handed me on April 6, 1961 as a gift to the Savior. She was overwhelmed. There were many other interviews through the day, some pleasant, some very distasteful.
June 11, 1963: I had an interview with Harol I. Bowman regarding special [homosexual] cases at 9:00 and one with Miss Carter at 9:30.
September 19, 1963: Considerable business was transacted and Brother Stapley and I secured approval from the Presidency and the Twelve for the restoration of three brethren who had been excommunicated. One was a young man, excommunicated in [redacted, probably New Zealand or Australia] while I was there and I attended his excommunication. He will be now very happy to be baptized.
September 24, 1963: At 2:00, [name redacted] and a woman whose first name was [redacted] openly admitted that they were living openly together and he said he did not agree that this was wrong. He did not accept the Church’s policy on morality—that he was the Holy Ghost himself, and the Lord had told him many things and he had visited with the Almighty. But, he felt that the authority was in the Church and that she must be baptized by authority. She was more sensible and said she realized that these things were wrong. But she had been an alcoholic and she was trying hard to overcome. She had felt that life was hardly worth living. She had given up her children to her more righteous husband. She is now married to a third husband with whom she does not live and he has a family and neither has any divorce. This calls to mind the ever-increasing number of strange ideologies and ideas [floating around]. . . . I had a visit with Brother [redacted], looking toward a possible restoration of his blessings. He has had a long and sordid career of a number of serious morals problems and seems very sincere. I will present his case before the brethren next Thursday. Late in the evening came [name redacted] who had been excommunicated in the mission field and I had a good long talk with him and he has a fine attitude and I proposed to present his name to the Thursday Temple meeting for rebaptism. Last week, I presented [redacted] and he was approved to be baptized.
October 13, 1963: We had a special meeting with Brother [redacted] and Brother [redacted] and their wives. These two men had been excommunicated for insubordination and had later been reinstated but they are still rebellions. They indicated they would sustain the leaders if the leaders did what they thought should be done. They had many complaints of the bishop who they said was dictatorial and demanding and did not carry forward the program according to best practices.
November 9, 1963: We spent hours with a couple, the young man 36 years old, five years in the Bishopric, 5 years as a High Councilor, 2 years as a seminary teacher, and now a successful businessman with a wife and five children whom he admitted he loved and appreciated, but about a year ago, he met a young woman, twenty-four and a returned missionary. Apparently, an infatuation has taken them over body and soul. The stake president has been working with them but they will not desist seeing each other and so we talked to them long and earnestly and with little result. I talked to the man and then I talked to the girl and then I talked to them together and then I talked to them with their stake president and they finally stated that they would desist in seeing each other, but that he would have to have three or four days to make the transition and as we left the room, he whispered to her, “I still love you.” We felt we had made little progress. They left finally with a solemn injunction that they must not ignore what we had told them. I bore my testimony strongly to them that they were listening to an apostle (two apostles) of the Lord and that they would ignore us at their peril. The young man seemed to be possessed though he was calm and deliberate in all that he said. The girl appeared to be under domination of a master spirt and without power to jerk herself loose. It appeared that they had a pact that neither would break. Sunday morning, I called his two brothers, one in the stake presidency and one a bishop, to ask them to do all they could to dissuade this man from destroying himself, this girl and the family. This was most distressing and I think I have never fought so hard for two or three solid hours as I fought these hours to persuade these people of the folly of their ways. They both told me they had not committed adultery but there have been some intimacies.
Brother Monson and I each interviewed a young man, each of whom had committed sin; each wanting to go on a mission. The one I interviewed responded well. It has been some time and he seems most repentant and I felt that probably after some months, he might be able to go. . . .
I now had an interview with another couple where the woman was still married to a husband from whom she was estranged and a divorcee who was showing her attention. I have made little headway here, it seems, for the woman said little but soon angrily walked out of the office. The man explained that the woman was just hanging onto the Church by her eyelids nearly, and that I had given her offense when I performed the marriage ceremony for herself and her now estranged husband because of wearing a dark suit in the marriage room and that I had said something that gave her offense. I have no idea of what it could be as I have been very careful in all these matters but I will check further to see if I can clear it up for her. . . . I was very weary. I went to bed immediately. The strain of so many morals and marital cases and problems injected in between all other strains of the reorganization through a hard scheduled two days left me a bit weary.
January 3, 1964: I went to the funeral of Richard R. Lyman at noon, who was about 83 years of age. Brother Brown spoke and three of us of the Twelve were present, but I was the only one present who was in the Quorum when we excommunicated Richard R. Lyman for adultery back in November, 1943. I took the initiative in helping Brother Lyman to secure permission from the brethren and from the prophet to be rebaptized. I kept hoping through the years that he would make another serious attempt to receive his blessings back but apparently it did not seem important enough to him, or he didn’t have the energy or the courage or something. At any rate, he died as a lay member of the Church without Priesthood, without endowments, without sealings and it was sad indeed.
January 4, 1964: I think I have not for years had so many cases of immorality come to me as in the past few days—broken homes because of infidelity of husbands and wives. I have struggled for hours and hours for the past few days trying to get people to see their situation and to repent. I have come to realize how powerful and subtle is that evil one who makes them think that ‘black is white’ and helps them to rationalize away all their errors and call them virtues when they are base vices. Most of the morning was spent thusly.
February 16, 1964: Here I met [name redacted] and her husband who have had some problems they wished to discuss with me, particularly the possibility of bringing her father, [name redacted] back unto his blessings by proxy which will be a difficult thing since he had three or four women in the so-called polygamy, and he was excommunicated long years ago, and he died without any signs of repentance so far as we could see.
February 19, 1964: Then at 5:30, came a meeting with several stake presidents to consider the possibility of housing the numerous girls who come in from the outside to Salt Lake City for employment, many of whom we lose when they get away from their home restraints. The meeting was very satisfactory.
February 26, 1964: A young man I met in the mission field came in—most despondent and near suicide. He had many problems—sex, smoking, drinking and I fear dope. I have put him in the hands of Brother Bowman and hope that we can save him.
March 11, 1964: This was a really hectic day with divorce problems and broken homes and immorality and perversion among girls and perversion among men. It was really a hectic day from early morning until 8:30 at night at my home. We sincerely hope we have helped some of them in their problems.
April 6, 1964: After the meeting, I went back to the office and met the [redacted] and here in the presence of his wife and his former mission president and others of his friends, I restored all the blessings to [redacted] who was excommunicated while in the mission field about two years ago. This was a very pleasant experience and a delightful occasion and the spirit was manifest. The young man was so overjoyed that he threw his arms around my neck and wept and would hardly terminate the embrace. His wife was weeping and all the other people were weeping and grateful and happy.
July 22, 1964: One of the police officers came from Utah County to tell me about a case of incest where one of our members has been using his three daughters for many years.
July 25, 1964: (Additional) The age of the three daughters mentioned above was 23, 21 and 17. The father was put into the insane asylum.
July 16, 1964: I had visitors from Arizona—a father and son and the friend of the son. The two boys are deviates and could not be persuaded by their father or their stake president that it was so wrong. I spent all morning with them from 8 until 12. They left with a good feeling and a determination, so far as I could tell, to desist and to live worthily and to overcome their problems.
October 11, 1964: At noon, I interviewed a man for a position and found he had been immoral a month before. He brought his wife in and I found that they had been having marital problems for a long time.
December 5, 1964: In the meantime, I spent about three hours with three different young missionaries and finally permitted number one to go on his mission upon his protestations of repentance and my deep feeling that he was repentant and that he was safe. Number two brought his girlfriend in from BYU and we had a long talk and I was convinced of a very sincere repentance here and finally felt it was the wise thing to let him go into the mission field. Number three, I could not feel that he should go into the mission field. He and the young lady who came with him had been immoral only a week ago. There was no sureness that there might be pregnancy. I urged them to marry even now and before that it was definitely ascertained. I felt very little repentance here and some belligerency and some rebellion. This matter is still pending and will not be totally solved today.
December 27, 1964: I had three interviews—one for a young returned missionary who has had a very difficult problem in adjusting since returning; another for a man who has twice been excommunicated for adultery and now after seven years, is very anxious to return to the fold; and a third, a beautiful attractive woman who has been in adultery and who is quite strongly pressing for a temple recommend. I sustained the stake president and told her she was lucky to be still in the Church and it would be better if she would wait quietly.
December 29, 1964: And then, there were other interviews for the balance of the day and it was a long, exhausting day. One of the interviews was a former bishop who was excommunicated for incest, asking for return to the Church.
May 1, 1965: During the next two and a half hours, I was very busy with some most difficult problems. A young woman, probably 26 or 27, came in to confess repeated adultery over a year and a half with a young man about her own age. They had been dating companions before their marriages and now they had continued their sin which had begun before their marriages. Neither spouse and no one else knew of their perfidy. She did not want to reveal his name. He did not want her to confess but under some persuasion, she called him and asked him to come down. I did not know who he was until he revealed it himself. He seemed very repentant as she had been. I talked with them long and earnestly and sent them back to tell their spouses. Later in the evening, I visited with both of their spouses. The young man’s wife was very receptive and forgiving and responsive but the young woman’s husband was a bit non-committal. I saw them again on Sunday afternoon and all had a good attitude and were very repentant and I turned the matter back to the bishop and the stake president who will carry forward in the matter. . . . I visited with another couple who were on the verge of divorce. The woman was adamant and she could not stand the conflicts longer. And then, I visited with another woman whose husband has left her with another woman as the cause and this woman also has a daughter who has left her husband.
May 1, 1965: I authorized the [stake] Presidency to see to the trial of Sharon Kinne against whom there is incontrovertible evidence of many crimes. She is reported to have killed her husband and then shot the woman who was the wife of her lover and then in Mexico where she fled while on bond, she shot two other men, one of whom died and the other was seriously injured.
May 7, 1965: I had some distressing interviews with a pervert and other people who had serious problems. . . .
May 14, 1965: It has been a difficult day. I do knot know whether my depression is the result of the day’s problems with moral and marital problems and disappointments or whether they have any connection. I do not know if my depression tonight is the result of the day with its disappointments and partial failures or if my failures to measure up, and my impatience is the result of the chest pains. They are not severe but worrisome. I left the desk and watched TV for a while but there seemed to be no relief. I must find a way to get out of the tense sequences and get more relaxation. How can I?
May 26, 1965: This was a hectic day with numerous problems and difficulties—morals cases and marital problems. Two young men in Europe needed to be excommunicated today because of immorality.
May 30, 1965: I . . . then had an interview. This was with a young man with his wife of a year and a half. She knew of his whole sexual problem of the past. They were married in the temple about a year and a half ago and received their recommends in spite of the fact that he had a red tag on his record. I shall check this with his bishop and stake president. He claims to be quite totally recovered. When I visited him first he denied vehemently any such condition or situation. A year or so later, he came in of his own accord and admitted it. I placed him in the hands of Dr. Charles Taylor at BYU and he now says that he visited with the Doctor as long as he was in Provo. I did not feel that he was totally frank with me yet. He hedged as I asked for the name of the bishop and stake president who gave him the recommend contrary to the instructions. I will check into the matter.
June 20, 1965: At one o’clock, I performed the special ordination of restoring the blessings to former Bishop [name redacted] who was excommunicated several years ago for adulterous relatons but who has sorely repented and I have had serval visits with him and was instrumental in getting him re-baptized and now restoration was taken care of in the stake presidency office in the high council room of the Holladay Stake. . . .
July 6, 1965: I met a couple from Arizona—a mother and a son—he is nineteen and quite deeply entrenched in homosexual life. We worked for three constant hours with all the vigor and power and inspiration we had, trying to dissuade this young man from his activities.
July 7, 1965: I went to the office to meet the mother and son again and we spent nearly two hours again—straining and stretching and praying and serving and warning and finally ending without any real assurance that we had penetrated his immature mind and heart.
July 10, 1965: We had an interview this morning with the Stake President and his accuser. The accuser stated before him that he had seen him in the act of immorality with two different people at different times. The stake president denied it and assured us that this was all a plot to discredit him and destroy him. It was a long interview lasting all morning. We finally dismissed both the accuser and the president and caught the plane back home, arriving late afternoon.
July 13, 1965: I arose early and scattered my papers all over one end of the living room and began to work on my book, “The Miracle of Repentance.”
July 19, 1965: From early morning until late at night I was at a table with my book and a typewriter. . . .
July 20, 1965: Today was much as other days. I was up very early and worked on my book all through the day with several interruptions. . . . I made considerable progress on the book today. It seems an endless task.
July 28, 1965: I had my little portable typewriter which has gone around the world with me and my “Miracle of Forgiveness” book material and spent the day studying and working on it.
August 19, 1965: There were morals problems that came in and it was 7:00 when I got through the day. After supper, I took a little nap, had a long distance call again tonight from another boy who was guilty of immorality in the homosexual line. The boy from Las Vegas, the one we had the other night, was from Oregon. They are coming to their senses now when they find that they cannot enroll in the Brigham Young University until and unless they totally clean up their vile practices.
September 12, 1965: Then we went to the show, The Sound of Music. It was most interesting and delightful and clean.
September 20, 1965: Today was an unusual day. We had found a number of homosexual boys in the BYU last year and the school put a tag on their registration packet so when they came to register the last day or two and found they could not register until they cleared up their evil situations, they came one after another all day and into the late evening with tears and apologies and remorse and sorrow now. Some were very mild, others were quite confirmed in their evil. I am sure I helped them a great deal as I spent the whole day in talking repentance to them. Some of them will be permitted to register under strict probation; others who are more deeply involved will not be permitted to register. I think this will have a very wholesome affect upon the people at the BYU. I am sure that it will scatter far and wide and the young people will come to realize that their evils will not be tolerated on this campus.
November 18, 1965: The phone and Brother Richards at the Mission Home stated that there were three missionaries that had some problems. . . . I visited with one boy who was tall and slender, very egotistical and cocky. He wanted to pass off as being insignificant and unimportant his two visits across the border of Mexico to the Red Light District, and a lot of heavy petting and other allied ills. He had had his endowments. He had lied to his bishop and stake president when asked about his chastity. I had him leave and pray and think, while I handled boy number two who had been guilty of many evil things. He was much more repentant, but I had to consider a long time and do some praying before I know whether I could send him in the mission field. Number three was a young lady from Salt Lake who had just slipped out and gone riding with a boyfriend, without telling anyone where she was going. . . . The person number 4 was an Indian girl, who admitted serious moral infractions and she was backing out on her mission. It was quite important that I interview these people even though it was late, as tomorrow morning the missionaries go to the Temple. I found out that the two boys, one and two, had their endowments before coming to the Mission Home, so I forbade them to go to the Temple.
November 19, 1965: It was a very busy day. I had interviews with three missionaries that had serious problems. I had had interviews with them the night before over at the Mission Home. Three of them were very serious cases. One of them was simple and was soon taken care of. I was expremely tired as I got home. Today, I had a visit with the Indian girl, of last night’s experience, and she was determined to go home and give up her mission. I interviewed both the boys, because they were extremely repentant, I felt impressed to let them go on their missinos. They were very grateful.
November 21, 1965: I had interviews with three young men who had some preoblems in pervesion. All were very repentant. One of them was not a member of the Church and has been asking for baptism. I have been working with him for months. I believe now that he is repentant enough to be baptiszed.
December 15, 1965: Then a visit from a young man who is in deep sins, and is struggling for strength to overcome.
December 16, 1965: I had two very long and difficult interviews with two different young men who were deep in sin but are beginning now to catch the vision of eternity and the need for early repentance.
December 21, 1965: We came home at 9:30 and a young man was here to get help. He had had morals problems with his girlfriend and now he had given up his job and the girl’s parents had kicked him out and he was in pretty desperate straits and now wanted to go on a mission. I think he wanted an escape. I told him that if he would get him a job and go back to work and earn his money for his mission, and stabilized himself, and repented of his sins, possibly a mission might still be available to him, when he had proved himself.
December 22, 1965: At 10:30 came a young man deep in sin who had resisted my helping him. He had ignored two of my letters. I finally called him at the Genealogical Society where he was employed and he was very curt and almost insulting. He said he had nothing to talk to me about. I told him positively that he had a great deal we had to talk about and that he had better be coming, and so this morning, I had the interview. He began in a long explanation, stating that I was not qualified to handle his case or to understand it or to help him, and that it was his problem and that he did not wish to be pressed or hurried or pressured. I told him as long as he is a returned missionary and held the priesthood and was a member of the Church that we did have jurisdiction and that we did not intend to let him continue on with his sin; unless he was willing to cooperate, he would need to be immediately excommunicated from the Church. He finally began to yield and was willing to cooperate to some degree.
December 27, 1965: We spent the day in our room. They had provided me with a very long, large table which I spread my things out on and was working on my book, the first time for four or five months.
January 8, 1966: At 10:00, Brother [name redacted], formerly of Sugar City, with his father, [name redacted], came to my home. [Redacted] had been excommunicated in New Zealand while I was there in the fall of 1960. He was baptized a couple of years ago and today it was my privilege to restore all of his blessings. The boy has been very faithful and has been much sobered and has added some years. I am sure he was ready for his restoration. His father sobbed as I granted to him the blessings of his priesthood and endowments and all the privileges of the Church.
January 14, 1966 [Portland]: I was met by former President Ray Kirkham who took me to the meetinghouse where I met one young man who drove me around to see three others, all four of whom were perverts, deeply entrenched in homosexuality. There are four, trained, educated young men—three of them returned missionaries; two of them with their masters’ degrees, teaching in the colleges, and I talked to each one about thirty minutes doing my utmost with all the power I possessed and could garner from my Heavenly Father to whom I was praying almost constantly to see if I could convince them against their apparent will to change their lives and return to sanity and to truth and righteousness. They are deeply embedded in their new theories which they have convinced themselves are proper. They have accepted this as a way of life. They almost shamelessly admit their sexual associations. They claim they see no sin in the matter, but that it is merely a new way of life. When I went to catch my plane to Seattle, I was weary. I had worked so hard and put so much of myself into it trying to persuade them in the very few moments they gave me. I hope and pray that some of my efforts may have been meritorious and that some of the seeds I have tried to plant might have found good soil.
January 15, 1966: I had an hour’s interview with a very prominent business man whose wife was guilty of infidelity and had gone off in adultery with another member of the Church who is subsequently disfellowshipped by the stake president in another stake and the woman had not been handled in this stake. He was very critical of the President of the other stake for having only disfellowshipped the man instead of excommunicating him, and was practically demanding that the man be excommunicated, feeling that he had (this husband) been injured and damaged. I quoted many scriptures on how he should forgive and leave judgment to the Lord and to his leaders, and how that no society could exist if all people were the judges and determined what penalties should be, that both in the Church and in the laws of the land we have elected or appointed or called judges, and in the Church we had the bishops and stake presidents who gave judgment in the matter of transgressions. Without this system, everything would be chaotic. I am not sure that he was listening until I said, “Yes, maybe the male adulterer should have been excommunicated and perhaps the female adulteress should also be excommunicated.” He began to sit up and take notice and soon smiled and put out his hand and said goodbye.
January 18, 1966: There were interviews throughout the noon hour and until two. One man with his wife came and he had been guilty of incest and had been excommunicated two and one half years ago. He is begging to get back into the Church. A young couple came in, his wife having been six times an adulteress. They were trying to reconcile and get back to proper living, and such the day was . . . and other interviews, one of which was the parents of one of the boys that I had met at Portland on Friday. They re broken hearted and eager to do anything in the world to help hteir son to regain his sanity.
February 11, 1966: We had . . . several interviews including a very difficult one where a man and his wife were in marital difficulties and the woman had already filed for divorce and there was bitterness.
March 4, 1966: I had an appointment at 10:00 which lasted until about 2:00. A marital case—a very difficult marital case.
April 1966 (Note) We were distressed at the necessity of disfellowshipping [name redacted] our Hopi brother, who has been such a discordant element in the Salt Lake area. He has organized his Lamanite United dances and has defied the Church organizations and taken the Indians away. It is reported also that he has made threats of black magic for some of the members who would not go along with him. Of this, we have no very good proof yet but there has been a discordant element and he was rebellious. It has hurt us to need to do this for an Indian, but they must learn discipline as well as the whites.
April 23, 1966: I had an appointment . . . with a young man by the name of Reynolds who is not a member of the Church but seems to be playing havoc with some of the girls. He is attractive and personable and he is destroying the faith of some of our students. He seems to be a disciple of the Tanners who have written a large book of anti-Mormon propaganda. I do not know if we helped him or not; we hope we may have helped to save the girl, who sat in on the interview. Brother Yost, Institute Director, also sat with me in the interview. I felt what we said to the young man should have cleared his thinking, but he seems to be pretty well set [in his mind].
April 24, 1966: I had interviews with two young men for missions, each had committed [fornication] himself so had to be interviewed by a General Authority; both were repentant and since there has been a considerable lapse of time, I felt perhaps they might go on their missions.
April 29, 1966: I interviewed some of the leading men there and some of the couples. I was inspired by them, their devotion, their sweet lives, their love of the Church and each other. The transformation the Gospel and the Church makes is wonderful. Only a few of the men say they never were immoral but with glistening eyes and happy pride, they look us in the eye and say they have never been indiscrete since their baptism. What a glorious program that will so change man’s life!
June 3, 1966: The other day, I had a visit from a Lt. Colonel and his wife—very sophisticated, fine looking people. He told me that years ago he came to me with a serious morals problem and that from that day forward, fully repented but did not see how he could tell his wife of his infidelity, and that he had dragged it on now for several years, but when he heard my talk in General Conference on the destructiveness of wedges, he went to his wife, told her of his infidelities; she forgave him and that they had experienced great happiness since that time. She was with him and verified the fact that she had forgiven him and that they were very happy and all was well.
July 7, 1966: With tables all over the room and my book chapters scattered on them, I spent the day trying to bring these chapters toward completion.
July 10, 1966: Had an interview at my home with [name redacted] and his wife. [redacted] was recently disfellowshipped because of immorality and he was a bit haughty and belligerent for a while but is now very humble and docile. And he was in tears and tremendously humble. He came to my home at his own request and asked for a blessing.
July 16, 1966: I worked very hard through the day and made some progress on my book.
July 23, 1966: I spent much of the day at the desk, catching up on correspondence and working on my book, and made considerable headway.
July 27, 1966: Late in the evening, I restored the blessings for [name redacted] who was excommunicated in Australia some years ago. He is a fine boy and has made wonderful progress and has a fine attitude and is anticipating an early marriage.
August 1, 1966: I worked on the book. . . . Spent the day working on the book.
August 2, 1966: Spent the day at the table with the typewriter, the Dictaphone and the chapters of the book.
August 3, 1966: All the balance of the time from six in the morning until ten at night I was at the tables and the typewriter looking after mail and writing on the book.
August 6, 1966: Today was much like the other days since last Monday. I get up generally about six o’clock and go into the little office room and work at the book until about eight or eight thirty when we would have our breakfast. Generally we would take a walk. The last few days we have walked down to the post office to take another chapter or two for copying and to get the mail, then we return to the home and I work most of the day on the chapters of the book. . . .
The week has been a pleasant and profitable one. The book is coming along well. I have now all of the twenty-five chapters written, but of course they will need to be reduced, edited, polished and there are months ahead of us yet.
Undated missionary problems [no date]: Elder Kimball reported for the information of the brethren some problems that had been encountered during the past week pertaining to the missionaries. He said that about twenty missionaries had given them great concern, that one boy was excommunicated for immorality and sent home.
August 13, 1966: I had a visit with Brother [name redacted] who was excommunicated many years ago and he and his wife have a fine sweet spirit, and I think I shall recommend that he have his restoration of his blessings.
September 8, 1966 [orange paper strip]: Elder Robarge told me of a dream he had had. He saw a book with his name written on the page, then he saw a hand in which was an eraser and the voice was saying “I can easily erase your name.” It scared him and there came to him speedily the realization that it was not the Lord’s hand but his own hand which would do the erasing. He had had the hepatitis and some other problems and had been embittered even at the Lord for his misfortunes.
September 17, 1966: I had interviews . . . with a young man who had been excommunicated for sin in the mission field. He is very anxious now to return. His name is [redacted] and I believe that he is about ready to receive his blessings back. He is a fine young man.
September 20, 1966: I then had a couple from the Phoenix area whose seventeen year old son, under their direction and pressure, was now spurning a sixteen year old girl who is to have a baby in the next two or three weeks, he being the father. I counseled with them to have the boy marry the girl. They insisted that he did not love her and that he hadn’t gotten into school yet and his life would be interrupted. I reminded them that there was a girl who not only was having her school interrupted and who didn’t love him but who had a child without a name and a girl with a baby and she had no name to protect. They were somewhat enraged against their stake president who had taken a firm stand. I counseled them strongly. The father seemed to understand. The mother went out bitter and weeping and castigating me.
October 12, 1966: In the afternoon, I restored the priesthood and temple blessings to [name redacted] of [redacted] Nevada who was excommunicated in Australia on his mission. The whole family was present—the father and mother, [redacted] and his twin brother and their wives. It was a time of rejoicing. I had several young men from the mission home who had problems and I worked until late in the evening with them.
October 13, 1966: There were many interviews and difficult problems—two young men whom I have been working with two days who had been unworthy to go on their missions had developed a great repentance and I finally permitted them to go on their way.
October 15, 1968: I had an interview with one missionary who returned in August who confessed immorality. He involved 20 other boys that he could name immediately who were dating and flirting in the mission field—this made me ill.
October 19, 1966: I had several young men from the mission home who needed special attention who had had serious morals problems just before coming into the mission home. I got some of the other brethren to help me with them and I distributed them around. It was 7:00 when I got rid of my final problems and sent the boys back to the mission home—their problems to be considered further tomorrow.
October 20, 1966: We had about 15 missionary problem cases and I spread them around among the members of the [Missionary] Committee. Some of them were very serious. One boy from Driggs, Idaho, I permitted to go into the mission field after I was satisfied that everything considered, it was best for him and all. Another boy from Idaho I held up for about a month at least for situations to settle and to test his repentance and to see my feelings at that time. He was happy that he had revealed his problems and was willing to go back home and face the situation.
October 31, 1966: I had an interview with a returning missionary from Scotland who had had many problems before his mission and who confessed them to me when I saw him in Scotland. HE seems to bhave made a great change in his life and I believe he is repentant and fortified.
February 8, 1967: It was a usual Wednesday with many meetings and many interviews. One interview was a sad one with a man who has been excommunicated about 10 years for apostasy and he is begging now for reinstatement, but I found him to be still unrepentant and unchanged. He still says he will accept President McKay as a Prophet of the Lord and will accept any revelations and instruction that come from him providing that they agree with his own thinking. His poor old father was in tears, in the realization that his son was not yet ready for restoration.
March 4, 1967: I had a long interview with [name redacted] and his wife. [name redacted] was excommunicated in the Andean Mission [redacted] for transgression. He is very anxious to come back into the Church now.
March 9, 1967: Ten of the Twelve of us were present at the 10:30 meeting. President McKay came in in his wheel chair, as usual. President Brown and President Tanner accompanied him. During this meeting, a long discussion was held concerning the practice of homosexuality which seems to be increasing in our midst and in the Church and in the world.
March 18, 1967: I had a long visit with [name redacted] with whom I had had an interview two or three years ago regarding his marital and morals problems. He is begging for reinstatement.
March 19, 1967: In the morning session, when we spoke about parents properly training their children, I noted on the second row a sister who was weeping. After the meeting, she came up to tell me that her son had just been excommunicated from the Church in Japan and had just returned home and her heart was broken.
April 9, 1967: With Brother Stapley helping me, I restored the blessings to Sister [name redacted]. Sister [redacted] was the wife of the man who went by the name of [redacted]. He may have had some Indian blood but he was not the Indian that he had claimed. He had perpetrated a real fraud upon the Church in being baptized and so he had to be excommunicated and he had been grossly immoral. Sister [redacted] had been an apostate along with him and was finally excommunicated along with him. Her daughter [redacted] was present with her.
May 14, 1967: I also restored the blessings for [name redacted] who was excommunicated about five years ago in the California Mission for immorality. He is now in the military, has married civilly and brought his wife with him. They had a good spirit and I felt good about restoring the blessings. They were deeply grateful.
May 16, 1967: I had an interview at my home with a bishop and one of his ward members who was involved in homosexuality, but who is beginning to repent.
May 17, 1967: I talked to the missionaries this morning. . . . I had four or five of them who came to confess serious sins. I distributed them among the brethren. I took two of them myself. They were very distressing, sad cases. One young married couple came to ask if they should bring charges against the young woman’s father who had molested her from the time she was a little child until she was fourteen when she rebelled against him and he apparently continues with his evil deeds.
January 2, 1968: Then, I had a series of very difficult interviews. A young couple with four children had been inactive and bitter for eighteen months. I talked to them frankly, told them some stories of people who had saved themselves from such situations by realizing their own responsibility, and told them stories of those who had kicked themselves completely out of the Church and into a world of continual unhappiness. Finally, the husband said, “Let’s go, Mother, we have our answer. We know what we must do.”
January 3, 1968: I went to the office at 9:30 for a 10:00 appointment with a young woman who has a history of homosexuality. Several years ago, President McKay appointed Brother Petersen and myself to work with these kinds of cases and see what we could do toward saving the people and clearing up the problems.
January 10, 1968: At 9:30, [name redacted] and his wife of three years came in. They had decided to be divorced; they said they did not love each other. However, there seems to have been no sin, no infidelity. When they left my office, I felt that they might forego the divorce and change their lives and make their marriage happy.
January 18, 1968: I had one very sad case today of a little girl, 18, who seems to have no affection or interest in her little illegitimate child of seven months and she seems very hard and cold and determined to go on her way. She has run away from home several times and is associating with a low element. . . . I pled with her and argued with her and worked with her for about two hours with her parents. I thought I made a little dent.
April 29, 1968: I spent the day at home working on correspondence reports and the book, The Miracle of Forgiveness.
January 23, 1969: In the [temple] meeting, as we were discussing the evils which we have to cope with and the much immorality in our country but especially in the European and Scandinavian countries, Brother Lee mentioned to the brethren that I had a manuscript which Brother Stapley had read and which he had already read about half of and that it was excellent, and treated the whole program of immorality and transgression and warning against the sins, and indicating how people could be relieved of their sins. He said it was factual and heavily documented and adequate and covered the field beautifully. He continued on and on to my embarrassment, but I was delighted to know that after nine years of struggling with the subject, principally in my vacation times, that perhaps my effort might prove valuable to the world and the Church and to the people. Brother Stapley confirmed all that Brother Lee had said for he had also read it. We hope it will be in print before the April Conference. This was highly gratifying.
October 2, 1969: This evening, I went down to Bookcraft Inc. and autographed two hundred additional books, The Miracle of Forgiveness, having autographed three hundred the night before at home. It was quite a satisfaction to see the great pile of books, I believe, ten thousand piled up in the warehouse of Bookcraft Company and realize it was my book and on which I have been working about ten years through the vacations.
December 5, 1969: Finally reached home about 3:30 in time for an interview with a woman who 45 years ago had been untrue to her marriage vows on one occasion and she has been most repentant and very much in distress ever since, though she has been living the commandments quite fully. Some months ago, she told her son and he asked for this appointment. He had been in the book store and saw my newly published book, The Miracle of Forgiveness, and had purchased it on the title only, thinking it might bring peace to his mother. She had read the book, practically through, and then asked for an appointment. She is very sincere and very repentant and she left my home feeling a great sense of peace.
Last night, I had a man 65 years of age who came, bringing his book that was nearly worn out. He was nearly through it for the third time. He had committed adultery 23 years ago—about six different times and it has been weighing on his conscience. Recently, his wife died and he has been unable to sleep or adjust with himself since then. He went away much comforted as I explained to hm it was necessary for him to finish his repentance and read some of the promises that the Lord has made to those who did fully repent.
I had an interview with the wife of a homosexual boy and she told me of his many friends which he seemed to prefer to his wife, some of them being in the Tabernacle Choir. I shall need to work on them immediately.
A few days ago, I restored the blessings for a man who had been out of the Church for seven years because of adultery. I restored his blessings according to an authorization from the Presidency. After the ordinance was completed, he asked for five minutes alone. After his people had left, he pointed to my new book, The Miracle of Forgiveness, and said, “That’s what brought me in. You called me a culprit and a sinner and transgressor and that brought me to my senses and I began to really repent and prepare myself for this restoration—that book did it!”, he said.
And so, I am very grateful if it is bringing forgiveness to many people and peace to their souls. . . .
A few days ago, I received a letter from a young man in the military who had come to see me some many weeks ago and had come in response to having read my new book.
Today, I received a letter from him in which he expressed great thanks and appreciation and said he had never been so happy and at peace and free in his life since our first visit.
December 7, 1969: They [the stake presidency] asked me to autograph some of the books, The Hidden Wedge, which they had purchased for members of their family and last night the President had asked me to autograph 33 of my new book, The Miracle of Forgiveness, which they are giving to their stake and ward leaders at Christmastime.
December 8, 1969: I had an interview with a young man returning from his mission who had been accused of some irregularities. But, apparently, the accusation was false. I had an interview also with [name redacted] about his excommunication. He is doing well, looking toward a restoration.
December 12, 1969: At 3:30, Brother Petersen and I had an interview with Brother and Sister Rulon Hinckley, looking toward their working with us in the homosexual problems, and at 4:00, we had a meeting with James Paramore to represent us in this specialized work at Provo.
December 16, 1969: I had many interviews, one of which was a young boy 18 who came in with his father last Friday and admitted homosexual experiences with other boys. He had come in like a fugitive and frightened criminal and went out with confidence and tonight when he came, he was a different boy—his eyes were shining and he had confidence in himself and he knew that he could clear up the matter. When we prayed, his prayer showed that he was used to praying and that he was a good boy and here was the dividend. I felt very happy indeed at the apparent recovery or beginning of recovery for this boy.
January 8, 1970: I had an interview with an old man who had been grossly immoral for numerous years yet active in the Church; a young woman also had a problem; several others had had problems. This was a very hectic day. Most of these problem cases arise out of reading my book, The Miracle of Forgiveness which lays it on the line pretty strongly.
Elder Thomas S. Monson shared this incident in his autobiography:
President Spencer W. Kimball has always been a prolific worker. He spent several summers working on a book which he later entitled The Miracle of Forgiveness. As one reads the book, particularly the first portion, one wonders if anyone will make it to the Celestial Kingdom. However, in reading the final portion, it is apparent that, with effort, all can qualify.
One day, soon after the publication of the book, Elder Kimball came to my office and said, “Tom, I don’t know if I should have printed that book or not. I have people coming in to confess mistakes which they made long years ago. Could you help me talk to some of them?”
I said, “Yes, Brother Kimball, I will.”
He said, “Fine. I’ll send several people in to see you.”
I asked “What would you like me to tell them?”
He answered, “Forgive them, Brother; forgive them.”
(Thomas S. Monson, On the Lord’s Errand [Salt Lake City: privately printed, 1985], 342.)
January 18, 1970: I spoke to two of the student wards over at the Institute Building and the chapel and the recreation hall were filled with bright looking young people. The bishop reported that some anonymous corporation in the city had given to him 180 copies of my book, The Miracle of Forgiveness to give to all the members of his ward—that they were delighted and were interested and it was suggested that I discuss the subject of the book. . . . I spoke for about 30 minutes—possibly 35 on the contents of the book, selecting special items and emphasizing especially the coed living on the campus and the morality of the times, the matter of homosexuality—that it was curable and forgivable. I discussed fornication and told of its evil, and repeated quotes from the brethren that it was better to die fighting for one’s virtue than to lose it. I quoted several scriptures along this line.
I spoke of the cowardice of boys who fathered a child and then left the girl to carry all the blame and the embarrassment and the pain and the problems while he himself went free. I talked very strongly on this matter. I emphasized the fact that while sin was most destructive that repentance could bring forgiveness and that the Church and the Lord would forgive.
I had a perfect audience and there were many who came up after the meeting to thank me for my frankness in ‘laying it on the line.’
February 15, 1970: After the [stake] meetings were over, one of the leading brethren and his wife held me up—the brother had been flirting with a young woman who worked where he did and they had been kissing and embracing, but he said no sex, but he was thinking a good deal of her and studying the scriptures with her and seemed to have in his mind the terminating of his marriage with his sweet wife and children, and had nearly lost himself. I felt at first that he was resisting what I said but after near an hour, he began to melt and said he would do whatever I said. He wept and threw his arms around my neck—wept copious tears and promised that he would terminate this illicit affair and return to his wife and children with all his heart, might, mind and strength. He will write me in three or four days what he has done and how he has adjusted to the demands made upon him. Had I known this before the conference, I would have released him and am determined yet to have him released if he does not immediately make tremendous progress in his repentance and transformation.
February 24, 1970: Bishop Wilson Anderson of BYU phoned concerning two girls who are deviates. . . . Today, Wednesday, I had many interviews—with Brother [redacted; probably Evans] who will be helping us with deviates; . . .
March 5, 1970: Yesterday, Brother Petersen and I gave a blessing and a setting apart to Brother M. O. Evans who is working with us in the homosexual program. Brother Petersen was mouth [voice] in giving the blessing. We feel happy about the attitude of Brother Evans in assuming this rather unpleasant responsibility.
April 30, 1970: Today I had a visit from Dr. Cook, regarding certain homosexuals that both of us know—two or three homosexual boys came in and I worked with them. President Denny called regarding a very serious case of immorality—of molestation, etc.
Editorial note: When President Russell M. Nelson served as a stake president, he had this experience with Elder Kimball, as related by himself in his autobiography:
Frequently during my seven years as stake president I sought his counsel whenever there was a matter that was particularly troubling to me. I remember well one problem that I had concerning a couple whose marriage was being brought to an end because of the husband’s homosexuality. The husband was so deranged that he was almost maniacal. Seeking advice from me, the wife began by saying, “You are in danger by virtue of my being here, for if he finds out that I am revealing the nature of his problem by coming to you for help, he will kill you.”
I really had not had any experience with this kind of difficulty before, so I thought that counsel from Elder Kimball might be helpful to me in handling the problem. As I presented the matter to him, his concern was not immediately for the problem itself, but for my own welfare. He said: “President Nelson, if you would like me to handle this case, I’d be glad to, because I‘m an old man and my life is largely spent and of little value. But your life is ahead of you and is a very valuable life. We can’t take any chances with you.” [Talk about being prophetic.]
Tears came to my eyes, for he sincerely and genuinely wanted to take the risks that were involved with this problem. I assured him that I was not there for that purpose, but that I earnestly solicited his guidance as to what might be done to save this couple’s marriage. Needless to say, the threats were not borne out, and the husband and wife went their separate ways without the calamities that had been predicted. I mention this example only to show the selflessness and the deep character of this man who was willing to put my welfare ahead of his. (Russel M. Nelson, From Heart to Heart [Salt Lake City; Quality Press, 1979], 161-62.)
May 22, 1970: I had interviews with [redacted], [redacted], and [redacted] and [redacted] and [redacted], and [redacted] and [redacted] and one other lady—and nearly all of them were involved in problems. . . . I also had an interview with [redacted]. She was an unusual person—very unhappy, never smiled in the three quarters of an hour that she talked to me. I had little chance to say anything. She claimed that she could read people's minds and apparently, she feels superior to her husband and to everyone else. It was a very unsatisfactory interview.
June 4, 1970: I had several interviews after the temple meeting—several of which were very ugly indeed. One couple who had been married nine years, three children ago, and I believe I saw more hatred, animosity, bitterness in that hour and a half between two people who supposedly had given themselves totally to each other and had pledged in sacred places in a sacred way to be loyal and true to each other and cherish each other.
June 7, 1970: I went to the office for an interview with a father and two sons. One of his sons and another son had been involved for some years back in homosexual practice. The one son and the father had been involved in some very close approaches to it. The one son was free from sin and a delightful, stalwart young man so far as I could tell.
June 9, 1970: I restored the priesthood and temple blessings to [name redacted], a young man who was excommunicated in the mission field for transgression; he was almost overjoyed.
July 30, 1970: One couple who had read my book, “The Miracle of Forgiveness”, had driven all the way from Los Angeles to tell me their sordid story. Both had been married before, both had been in sin and then sinned together, but they seemed genuinely repentant and I sent them back to their Bishop to complete their confession. Two different homosexual boys came in, both of them have made much progress and I feel very hopeful for them.
September 16, 1970: Today, I had a call from George Bickerstaff and Marvin Wallin concerning the book, The Miracle of Forgiveness. Four editions have been printed, one for 10,000; three for 6,000 each or a total of 28,000 copies. They are now considering a fifth edition. We talked about paper backed editions that would probably cost $1.75 or $2.00. They resisted a little though they were very gracious. Marv was going to talk to the leadership committee to see if it was their intent to use the book for a text in some year in the future. He was also going to get prices on a ten thousand or fifteen thousand edition, paper; they feel very optimistic about the continued sale of the book and think it may go on for years. They said it was one of the two best books they have published. I agreed to a fifth edition on the present basis of the $5.00 book and then we will take another look at it when the 6th edition comes out. [Note: the other book was probably Bruce R. McConkie’s Mormon Doctrine.]
November 8, 1970: Today is the funeral for Sister Emma Rae McKay, widow of the late President David O. McKay. . . . There came to me thought of the contrast inasmuch as in the same paper announcing the death of Sister McKay and her sweetheart, David, with her one husband, was the picture of Ingrid Bergman with a long public life of license and immorality and many husbands. The contrast is quite extreme; one living the laws of the kingdom and the other breaking them. I well remember the announcement in the papers long years ago of the pregnancy of this girl and an illegitimate child sired by an Italian. This came out in the papers while we were in Los Angeles and seemingly, even at that time, the people generally had begun to be very permissive and they did not seem to condemn the act of the woman.
January 28, 1971: I then had an interview in my office with . . . my income tax man, [name removed], concerning the 1969 income tax return. Since I had had a special income in 1969 from my book, The Miracle of Forgiveness, and I had taken some deductions for expenses in the creation of the book, and it was necessary that I justify these. I think we were able to satisfy the agent.
April 16, 1971: One of my problem boys who had so completely overcome his perversion [homosexual] problems that we sent him on a mission, came in to see me today. He had slipped twice in the mission field and just last week, had yielded again to perversion problems. I was heart sick. I still believe that he will conquer. There was a young woman from out of state who had had the problem before baptism into the Church. I believe we were able to help her that she will be in total command of her life from now on. Two other young women came together and they needed a great deal of help and I believe they are on their way to recovery.
April 17, 1971: I had two homosexual boys come to have help—they were both satisfactory interviews and then I delegated one to Brother Evans to work with, and the other to Brother Bowman to work with.
April 20, 1971: There were several homosexual boys came in for help—one at a time, and two of them came together.
April 21, 1971: Two bishops came in this morning with [ward member] homosexual problems and then I visited with [name removed] who had had some emotional problems years ago.
February 5, 1971: A number of critical and important interviews I had. There seems to be no end of them, in fact, they seem to be increasing whereas I used to need to dig out some of the difficult cases, now, they come in voluntarily—almost more than I can handle.
February 6, 1971: One young man came all the way from Ricks College to confess to me his sins. I was greatly relieved when his principal sin was masturbation and he had not yielded to that since his baptism over a year ago. It is interesting how some people take their sins so seriously and others so lightly. I had just read a letter from a man in the east who has been a member of the Church for a year and he said he had done everything in the book—he says, “you name the sin and I have done it, a great many times over a great many years.” He was very much surprised when his bishop excommunicated him, the one so deeply involved in sin and the other so lightly.
July 1, 1971: Later in the morning I had an interview with Marvin Wallin and Brother George his helper and discussed further printing of the book The Miracle of Forgiveness which up to now has had about 40,000 plus books printed and most of them sold. The demand seems to continue unabated. It seems to be something the people have wanted and needed.
July 4, 1971: I had an interview also with one of the problem boys and his Bishop who came in with him. It was a very satisfactory interview and I believe much good will come from it. I believe we will save this boy.
July 26, 1971: For the past ten years in vacations of two weeks a year I had produced the Miracle of Forgiveness which had turned out to be a good seller and though I had not written it for that purpose it is now in its 7th printing and about 40,000 copies. I wrote it to change lives of people who needed to change. It has done that. I have given many copies away to people in distress and in morals [problems] or family life and numerous letters have come and statements to me that they owe their transformed lives to this book.
January 21, 1972: I remained from the office till 2 p.m., my first appointment. First I talked to a young man who had been determined to become a woman and his wife and two children have left him. Apparently this was a shock and he remembered what I had told them three months ago and had nine days ago determined that he had been in serious error and now wished to change his thoughts and come back to real manhood. He is grieving about the loss of his family.
[This story continued on another day some weeks later]: Waiting for me as I came back from the Temple was a young man who had been married who had two children and who had been divorced and who had developed in his own mind a feeling and an assurance that a mistake had been made when he was created and that he was made male instead of female and he has developed over the months and years a very great determination to be changed into a female, even to the point of surgery. Even the first of this week he was masquerading in his apartment as a female and had rented the apartment as a female and his landlord knew nothing different. He had purchased some very fancy clothes from ZCMI and wore girls clothes and make up, had his whiskers plucked, let his hair grow long and made every pretense to be a girl. I worked with him for a year or two with little avail for he seemed to slip further into his fantasy. He had had two or three good jobs and lost them when it ws found out that he was abnormal. He lost some apartments when the landlord found that he was masquerading, had no employment and was trying to eke out an existence on unemployment insurance. I have been talking very frankly to him and plainly and strongly. I called him at his apartment but did not know that he was masquerading in this fashion. He said he could not come to see me because if he left the apartment dressed as a man, his landlord would kick him out and if he came to the office dressed as a woman, there would be problems. He finally asked for a blessing from President Lee, so after the Temple meeting on Thursday, President Lee had us come in his office and he gave him a remarkable blessing of promises and admonitions which I believe made quite an impression on the boy. I took him to my own room and Brother Victor Brown, Jr., and Dr. [Russell M.] Nelson and Ned Winder and the first two accompanied us to my room where we talked very, very strongly to the boy and told him this had to be the end—that he had offended the Lord, and it would be an offense to Brother Lee if he went back to any degree of his fantasy, and that we did not want him to go back to his apartment and these other brethren would assist and take him to a [stake president in Arizona that would board him while he repented and changed].
February 6, 1972: I had an interview with Brother [name redacted] from Napa Stake who had been excommunicated and since his attitudes were excellent and his wife’s, and they seemed very repentant and it had been a long time; I restored to him his temple privileges and total priesthood and they went away very happy, indeed. I had an interview with Sister [name redacted] who had been excommunicated and had been rebaptized. She was praying for her blessings. I did not feel quite so favorable in this case as I had felt that her repentance was not totally complete and that she was still not doing all that she could to bring her non-member husband into the Church and herself to give herself to the Church service. Another local couple I interviewed and felt quite good about their repentance and so reported to the committee.
September 19, 1972: I had some interviews today with people that had many problems long ago and were so anxious to get rid of them. My books continue to sell. The Miracle of Forgiveness. It was the greatest shock of my life. I never had any idea when I turned over the manuscript to the publisher that it would sell more than a few thousand copies at the most and probably only hundreds, but to my amazement we are now in the fourth year in October and in the twelfth edition and tens and tens of thousands have gone and I have received royalties that amaze me and so I am giving much of the royalties to the Missionary Committee of the Church, designed especially for the Indian program.
November 17, 1972: I went to a meeting at 8:15 at my office and officially turned over to the Social Services Department the homosexual program which I have been handling for many years. Brother Petersen and I were asked by President McKay some possibly 15 years ago to relieve him of this responsibility since he was being crowded. During this period I have spent many hundreds of hours with at least 1200 or 1500 cases and have struggled with all my power to recover these unfortunate men and women who had come into this obnoxious practice. I believe honestly that I have succeeded in helping many many people. We have lost some who did not cooperate and were belligerent and went to the large cities to hide, but I feel there are many happy people today because of the work that Brother Petersen and I have done through the years. We have worked independent of each other. Today I wrote a letter to the First Presidency advising them that I had officially turned it over to the Social Services Department under Elder Robert L. Simpson.
January 24, 1973: Today I received another of the numerous letters of thank you for my book, and this was handed to me as I spoke to the missionaries on Wednesday morning. “Brother Kimball – I wanted to thank you for your book, The Miracle of Forgiveness. If I hadn’t read your book I may not have been able to go on this mission. I would feel very ungrateful if I didn’t thank you. Love, Elder [name removed].”
I noted in a list of translation items from the Translation Department that the Miracle of Forgiveness is assigned and in process of being translated into Danish, Norwegian, Swedish and Finnish.
January 30, 1973: I went to the Deseret Book Company and autographed about 250 books, most of them “Faith Precedes the Miracle,” and a good many “The Miracle of Forgiveness,” both of which are selling very readily, and I am using much of the royalties to assist missionary work in the world where missionaries are unable to furnish their monthly needs.
February 25, 1973: At one o’clock a couple came to see me, the husband of which couple was deeply involved in homosexuality years ago when he came to see me. Today they came to express their thanks. He has been clean and reformed and changed and has a happy family life with his wife and eight children. It is a great satisfaction when people come and say that they were transformed because of our influence.
April 15, 1973: My book, “The Miracle of Forgiveness,” still has wide currency. It is now in its 14th printing.. Everywhere I go people come to have me autograph the books they have bought. I hear it quoted on every hand; I am greatly flattered. One woman wrote last week, “I have never enjoyed anything more than Brother Kimball’s new book.” [The rest of this page is filled with positive comments from members’ letters about the book.]
April 19, 1973: We sat by President and Sister Dallin Oaks and they told me that they were reading my book, “The Miracle of Forgiveness,” in their home evenings and that each member of the family had his own copy. He said that they had gone over several chapters and found nothing they could not discuss with their children and that the book gave them springboard.
April 20, 1973: [Name removed] wrote regarding his family and added: “A prominent man in our ward also mentioned that your first book, “The Miracle of Forgiveness,” had done more to mature him than anything he had read or studied and he is in his late fifties.”
One of the young men wrote, “ I read your book, ‘The Miracle of Forgiveness,” and this accompanied by several spiritual presentations concerning the need of repentance made me feel that I should expose and conquer my problems.”
May 9, 1973: I sat by President Lee and we discussed somewhat the many morals problems that we faced. Yesterday when I had an interview with him where one stake president had received something over $4,000 in checks from his bishop; where one prominent man was disfellowshipped from the Church and should have been excommunicated; where one man, a stake president, had apparently taken some $40,000 from temple and hospital funds; where one mission president had come to confess immorality in the homosexual field. . . .
I had a very long interview with a bishop who revealed to me many things that were almost terrifying in their seriousness, a branch of young people in which there were several who indiscriminately lived together, men and women, both in adultery and homosexuality, of a girl who came to the BYU and had admitted sex with at least sixty men, the names of which she had, only part of which she had the full name. He mentioned 60 to 70 problems in this one small branch with six potential suicides, seven or eight abortions, young girls, and these involved three suicides.
May 17, 1973: The [First] Presidency came in at ten. They reviewed for us the [name redacted] interview, and we all voted to disfellowship Brother [redacted] for incorrect doctrine teaching while a mission president and for other things.
May 18, 1973: At one o’clock I had a visit from [names redacted] from Logan. It was a very unsatisfactory interview. I felt they were listening only to their selfish desires rather than to have any counsel from me.
May 29, 1973: I invited [name redacted], an old friend, to come and eat lunch with me. He has had some problems. He left his wife and married a girl he had known many years ago. I have been rather close to him and I had advised him against it. I believe now he is very sorry that things worked out as they did.
June 8, 1973: [Name redacted] came to see me. He had had problems and had visited me before. Now he is in control of himself and is doing well and I gave him some encouragement.
June 10, 1973: Yesterday I had a visit from a stake president, indicating that he had been indiscreet and flirting with a woman other than his wife. I am greatly concerned about this matter and am watching it.
June 29, 1973: I had a visit with Bishop [name redacted] with whom I have had dealings for many years. His family had had some serious problems. His father and mother were divorced, his father was excommunicated, he was associated with a woman who killed two of the sons and is still in prison. This young man is a very fine young man and an excellent bishop and has been bishop for seven years. He came in for counsel.
July 23, 1973: Had a young couple in. Early twenties. One child. Two separations in three years. Having marital troubles. I laid down the law to them. They wanted to know what marriage counselor they could go to. I told them to get smart and settle their own difficulties—that it was all selfishness and pride. That they would have to do it anyway so why didn’t they go and settle their own difficulties. Why pay a fee to a counselor to tell them. I told them to go home and forget self and serve the other unselfishly and start to give instead of expecting to get. I told them to go back to their courting and serve each other and express love for each other frequently, and live the commandments. They reached for each others’ hand and held hands. Nice kids, they were. They were all smiles and I could see written on their faces a determination to go back and do their homework.
I had a 45 year old man in from Springville who had just been divorced by his wife and was very low. She had gotten a hundred thousand dollars in the settlement in lands and other THINGS. He had about the same in a motel and other THINGS. He was most unhappy and bitter and hating with all his might. He had lavished on his 18 year old son and 20 year old daughter so much that they had long ago ceased to say thanks at all for that which they had come to think was their due. He had lost their confidence long ago when he gave THINGS to them and not himself to them. He admitted he had been very busy making the 20,000,000. He had been on a mission in California under Brother Oscar McConkie and had said when he was released, “Ok. Now I have given two years to the Lord and now I will give these years to (myself). And he did. He paid tithing for a year or two but for 15 years no tithing. He served in positions but he needed the time for his fortune he was accumulating. He had no time for his children, he admitted, and perhaps he had neglected his wife, but then she was too demanding anyway. Her people were too possessive and she had gone to them in her interests and time—he was too busy making money for her and himself. Now what should he do? Why he had come to my office and to me, I do not know. I was frank and bold. I gave him a very simple answer when he asked what he should do now. He asserted with some positiveness he would never marry again—he was sick of marriage and women, and all that it meant in sacrifice and losses. He had lost confidence in his wife and hence in all women. What should he do? He was young and vigorous and physical yet. How could he satisfy his physical demands and urges? Was adultery so wrong? Man had to have his satisfactions and fulfillment for his urges and passions and desires. What could he do? My answer was short and simple in the telling but not so easy in the doing. I told him: “You return to the Lord. Remember: ‘even from the day of your fathers ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept them. Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the Lord of hosts. . .’ (Mal. 3:7). Malachi continued: ‘…But ye said, Wherein shall we return? Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings.’ (Mal. 3:8-9). He had already admitted that he had been a robber when I asked him straight: “Have you been paying your tithing?” I am guessing that he must have robbed the Lord of some $80,000 or maybe $100,000. For that kind of a robbery in normal business life he would serve a long penitentiary confinement, but here he was wondering why he was suffering the loss of a wife, a daughter, a son, half his wealth, much of his pride, and perhaps most of all his spirit—the true spirit. When I asked him about his prayers he evaded the question somehow and looked a little sheepish when I asked him how devout were his prayers, how often, how sincere, how anything. Well, when he left my room he was smiling a little and talking sense and admitting failures and, I thought, determined to go back and do his homework. He did not seem to take any offense at my bold approach. (I enter this in my journal as an example of numerous interviews I have from time to time.)
He had admitted that he would take nothing with him for which he had striven so hard for, such long hours for, such a price in human relationships for. He admitted that his grave would be only about 7 feet long and 3 feet wide and there would be therein no motels, no farms, no hoarded silver, no stocks, no bonds, no wealth of any kind for which he had given his life for some twenty years. His hundreds of thousands would go to others; possibly his children who would quarrel about and spend it almost without gratitude.
July 23, 1973: In Seattle I had some interviews, one with ex-bishop [name removed] and his wife. This man had been recently excommunicated for adulterous relations. He and his wife are having a very difficult time. He apparently is very thoughtless of his wife and has talked pretty strongly to her, and she is not willing to remain with him unless the marriage relationship can be improved. I feel that he was largely at fault. I talked very straight to him about his ever getting back into the Church. He has been notoriously evil for a long time, running back even before his marriage.
I had an interview with Bishop Calhoon regarding [name removed] who is divorced from her husband and then went into evil doing.
September 7, 1973: Had an interview with a father and mother and son. The son was called to the Sweden Mission but had revealed in the LTM at Rexburg that he had been grossly sinful, even after his interview by the bishop and stake president and after his temple endowment. I had a difficult time to console the parents who were broken hearted, and I suggested that the two young people get married, even though they felt she was not pregnant, and urged him to go on to school and use his scholarship, and he could come back to talk to me if he chose about it when school was out next year, although I made no promises that he could go on his mission.
September 11, 1973: There were many interviews through the day, one with [name redacted] and Brother and Sister [name redacted], and Brother and Sister [name redacted], then President [name redacted] came in with one of his members who was deep in homosexuality, a 40 year old man who said he had been involved throughout his life. He had now involved a young man whom I had met in [redacted] on his mission and had defiled that young man. He gave me a list of several others; the president of the stake came in with him. I returned the matter to the president’s care and they will have court [disciplinary] action.
September 12, 1973: In the afternoon one of the boys who had been involved with the homosexual man of yesterday came in. I found on careful interrogation that he himself had been most passive and had permitted himself to be victimized by the older man. He seemed greatly relieved when he left my office.
March 1, 1974: Russell Nelson, my beloved doctor who gave me the open heart surgery, came in to see me and to check my pulse and my blood pressure and to check with me.
[Name redacted] came to see me. He is a boy who came to me about a year ago in Burley, Idaho, for an interview for a mission. At that time I felt he was not ready to go on a mission and held him up for nearly a year. He came in today to thank me for holding him up so that he could make the mental and spiritual adjustments which he had made. He feels ready now to go.
March 22, 1974: At 1:15 Brother [name redacted], former bishop of the [redacted], came in to ask my forgiveness concerning a matter which had resulted in his disfellowshipment. I assured him of my love for him and extended a hand of fellowship and encouraged him to do all possible to bring himself to the position where he can be returned to full fellowship.