I guess the atmosphere that I've tried to create here is that I'm a friend first and a boss second, and probably an entertainer third. -Michael Scott, The Office

Dear Q&A,

There is a quote that has been floating around, supposedly from Spencer W. Kimball, about missionary work. It is:

"If only you could see the vision as I have. I wish I had your bodies to do
this work. I would run from house to house telling everyone the gospel, and
after I lost the strength to run I would begin to walk, and after I
collasped from walking, I would begin to crawl, and after my knees were so
bloody that I could not use them I would use my arms to drag myself, and
once my muscle in my body was gone I would begin to yell...oh, only if you
could see the vision that I have."

I've looked extensively but can't find a citation. Do you know where one might be?

- optiplex

A: Dear reader,

In my research, all I could find was this thread, which was inconclusive. I'm inclined to think it is a real quote, but without an actual, verifiable, official citation we should never pass these sorts of things around. If it's not on LDS.org, that's a pretty good sign not to pass it on. Here's the church policy:

We encourage members of the Church to never teach or pass on such statements without verifying that they are from approved Church sources, such as official statements, communications, and publications. Any notes made when General Authorities, Area Authority Seventies, or other general Church officers speak at regional and stake conferences or other meetings should not be distributed without the consent of the speaker. Personal notes are for individual use only.
Waldorf and Sauron
A: Dear optiplex,

Note: I wrote this at the same time as Waldorf and Sauron were writing their response, found what they did, and reached a similar conclusion (they figured probably true but useless and shouldn't be distributed while I figured probably false and useless and shouldn't be distributed). I guess I wrote it up in a little more depth, so if anyone's really bored read on.

I googled "'If only you could see the vision as I have' kimball" and only got 19 independent results. One was from a site related to the Vancouver Mission, where a sister missionary apparently quoted it without attribution, or at least without attribution that made it to the site. Another was a mormonapologetics.org forum thread asking your very question, except wondering whether it was attributable to President Benson. One guy commented that his mission president said it a lot. Someone else said "Had the reference once...sorry." Another said he heard it in his mission too and believes "it comes from a Mission Presidents' Training Seminar held at the MTC in Provo while Pres. Kimball was alive." This user has since been banned. The last poster as of my writing (who has also since been banned from the site) said he's heard the audio and it was President Kimball. So even among random strangers on the internet this group has low credibility. The rest of the Google results appear to be profiles on social networking sites. None of this gives the quote any credibility.

So basically, no one knows - this appears to be a standard fake GA quote, passed through the internets without citation, that survives because it's much more graphic and melodramatic than anything we could normally expect a GA to say. The quote also seems to conflict with the actual doctrine that it is not requisite that we run faster than we have strength. The missionary system is accordingly designed to get the most work possible out of missionaries, and not more - missionaries are required to sleep, take care of themselves, etc. even though this costs potential working time, and this all reflects an attitude not consistent with the quote. Like I said: to all appearances this is a standard, shoddily faked interweb GA quote.

~Ƥ. Ɗ. Kirĸe

P.S. If any of our readers has the citation, by all means make us look silly by sending it in.