A friend sent me a post from Reddit yesterday by u/Texastruthseeker about the Church’s recent release of Spencer W. Kimball’s journals, available now online. I was curious enough by the content of the post that I went to the Church’s website to take a look. Here’s the post from Reddit:
President Nelson ghostwrote the foreword to his autobiography (attributed to Spencer W. Kimball)
Some big news today with the church releasing digitized versions of Spencer W. Kimball’s personal journals. https://history.churchofjesuschrist.org/blog/spencer-w-kimball-journals-now-accessible?lang=eng
I’ve been jumping around looking for anything interesting. Toward the end of his life the details are very brief each day but I was intrigued by the entries from 2/7/1979 and 2/27/1979:
Kimball: (Russell) “Nelson brought ‘a suggested foreword he has written for me that he would like approval to use in a compliation (sic) he has prepare on his life’s story. He has written a very interesting account of his activities, some which included experiences with me, and I assured him I would read it and give him approval to use it.’ [[a fulsome foreword for a man to write about himself!!]]”
I had to look up fulsome. Definition: complimentary or flattering to an excessive degree.
So what’s in the foreword Nelson wrote about himself on behalf of President Kimball?
You can read it here on starting on page 4: https://archive.org/details/from-heart-to-heart-an-autobiography-russell-m.-nelson/page/n3/mode/2up
Copied in part here. Copy and paste didn’t work perfectly from this file type so I had to be selective in what to include and there may be some slight errors (bold emphasis is mine)
By President Spencer W. Kimball
This book, the engaging record of the life and experiences of Russell Marion Nelson, is a fulfillment of a great dream. In these pages he has set forth a chronicle of his noble parentage and crystallized the many experiences of himself and his adorable family. This work will bring joy and peace and happiness to its readers.
The first time I saw the Nelson family was at a stake conference meeting in 1964. Eight daughters were singing a song, accompanied by their mother, Dantzel. I was amazed and pleased, and I thought, “What a perfect family! What beautiful parents! And what delightful children to grow up in one household.” I have known them from that time forward, and now there are nine daughters and one son. Brother Nelson has always been a family man first, and now all his family unite to bring him honor.
I owe much to him as a doctor. It was in 1971 in England that I first spoke to him of my heart problems. When we returned to the United States, investigation showed that I had problems with a deteriorating valve in my heart and an obstruction in an artery. I felt my life slipping away, and I wondered if perhaps the time had come for a younger man to enter the Quorum of the Twelve and do the work I could no longer do. But at the inspired insistence of President Harold B. Lee, I was prompted to press on. Therefore, my life was placed in the hands of this young doctor, in whom we noted a sweet Spirituality. Because of his skill as a surgeon—one who trusts in the power of the priesthood and relies on the Spirit of the Lord—my life was spared, even though the risks were very great for a man of my seventy-seven years.
We became close as I recovered from the open-heart surgery that he performed perfectly. Whenever I became discouraged, there was always his sweet, understanding spirit to buoy me up.
Then President Lee died in December 1973. We never thought it could happen, for he was younger than I and seemingly in good health; therefore, we were all taken by surprise. Brother Nelson, of his own accord, came to my side immediately in case he should be needed. I appreciated his thoughtfulness very much…
It pleases me very much to note that he has done a superb work in assembling the information to bring this book into existence…It seems to me that it has been done beautifully and without flaw. Long will his children and their posterity honor this great man, and long will they remember that he followed the precepts of his Lord through his prophets…
Salt Lake City, Utah March 1979
I will let each of you draw your own conclusions.
While I was online in President Kimball’s journals, I took some time to read through a few years worth of entries. In doing so, I was struck by how generally uneventful the entries were. It seemed like President Kimball spent most days at luncheons and dinners and going to funerals or the hospital to see a family member or member of the Quorum. Or attending a gala or award ceremony… or at the Gym, getting a massage…
I understand that the President of the Church fulfills an executive leadership role and that his schedule will involve some of the above mentioned types of events. And I recognize that a man of his age would be busy in hospitals for himself and visiting others. But, what surprised me was that in the many years of personal journals I read, the president of the Church did not mention the Lord, the atonement, faith, hope, charity, the Book of Mormon, blessings of healings, revelations, visions, dreams, prophecy, the scriptures, or hardly anything of a spiritual nature whatsoever. Not from what I could see.