Sunday, June 14, 2015

Heber C. Kimball on God's cheerfulness

President Heber C. Kimball (1801-1868) was a member of the first Quorum of Twelve Apostles ordained in this dispensation in 1835. He served as first counselor to Brigham Young from 1847 until his death in 1868 at age 67. He was the grandfather of Spencer W. Kimball, who became an apostle in 1943 and served as president of the Church from 1973-1985. His great-great-grandson, Quentin L. Cook, currently serves as an apostle.
"Often when I have been in the presence of brother Brigham, we would feel such a buoyant spirit that when we began to talk we could not express our feelings, and so, 'Hallelujah,' says Brigham, 'Glory to God,' says I. I feel it and say it.
"Some of the brethren kind of turn their noses on one side at me when I make such expressions, but they would not do it if they knew God. Such ones do not even know brothers Brigham and Heber; if they did they would not turn a wry face at us. I am perfectly satisfied that my Father and my God is a cheerful, pleasant, lively, and good-natured Being. Why? Because I am cheerful, pleasant, lively, and good-natured when I have His Spirit. That is one reason why I know; and another is—the Lord said, through Joseph Smith, 'I delight in a glad heart and a cheerful countenance.' That arises from the perfection of His attributes; He is a jovial, lively person, and a beautiful man."
- Heber C. Kimball, discourse in the Salt Lake Tabernacle, February 8, 1857; see JD 4:222
Click here to read the full talk
Heber C. Kimball is one of the truly remarkable men of Church history—one I admire deeply. Though he had minimal education in his youth and worked as a potter, he had profound spiritual insights and a deep commitment to the Gospel. Joseph Smith once said that only two of the original Twelve never rebelled against him—Brigham and Heber. And Brigham would later say, "Heber is my prophet; I love to hear him prophesy."

I have always loved this quote. After expressing how he often feels the joy of the Gospel very deeply, Heber gives us this wonderful deductive insight into the nature of God, based on his own experiences of feeling God's spirit.

And then, after referring to the Lord's statement that we man should have "a glad heart and a cheerful countenance" (D&C 59:15), he closes with this beautiful description of God: "He is a jovial, lively person, and a beautiful man." Heber knew, and understood.

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