The second stride: LDS leader’s son introduces new biography

It has been 20 years in the making and 28 years after the original, but Edward L. Kimball has completed the sequel to the biography of his father, Spencer W. Kimball.

Edward Kimball introduced his new book in a lecture at the Marriott Library’s Gould Auditorium on Sept. 28. The book, titled Lengthen Your Stride: The Presidency of Spencer W. Kimball, was published in August by Deseret Book.

Spencer W. Kimball was the 11th president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He died in 1985 after struggling with throat cancer and open-heart and brain surgeries.

The book focuses mainly on the last 12 years of Spencer Kimball’s life while he was president of the LDS Church. The first book only covered Kimball’s life up to the time he became part of the presidency.

Edward Kimball said his father was well known for international missionary expansion, programs for American Indians and his role in the announcement that males of African descent could hold the priesthood as of 1978.

“I wrote the story of my father candidly and honestly, with warts and all,” Edward Kimball said. “My father was not only a prophet. He was a human being who made mistakes like everyone else.”

Edward Kimball said his father wasn’t perfect, but he was loving.

For example, when Edward Kimball was about 16 years old, he was taking turns with his dad driving in a Lincoln Continental from California to Utah when he fell asleep and went off the road.

As he emerged from the car, he turned to his father and said, “I guess you want to drive now, Dad?”

“That’s OK. I don’t think you will fall asleep again,” Spencer Kimball said.

Jennifer Sessions, a senior in anthropology, said the lecture made her want to read the book. U alumnus Robert Vernon said he has been looking forward to the new book ever since he heard about it.

“(Edward) Kimball has been working on the book since the first edition was published in 1977,” he said.

“Even if no one ends up reading my book, I am glad I wrote it,” Edward Kimball said.

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