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“The more clearly we see eternity, the more obvious it becomes that the Lord’s work in which we are engaged is one vast and grand work with striking similarities on each side of the veil.”
—Spencer W. Kimball
This article it taken from Bodyguard to the Prophet by Larry Mullins
I’m sure it must seem to the average Church member that the President is always traveling abroad. For President Kimball, the truth was that most of the time, he was working out of his office at the Church Administration Building on 47 east South Temple. And, perhaps not too surprisingly, when working out of his own office, there was generally a rhythm or routine to his life. My average day would start somewhere around five o’clock in the morning. I would then be at the President’s residence at five forty-five to relieve the security man who had been on duty during the night. He would pass on any information experienced during his shift, then he would return to the office to log out for the day.
Generally, the President would come to his front door when he was ready, and I would meet him at the door. This was usually sometime between six and six thirty. At the door, I would take his briefcase and help him to the car. After a quick check with dispatch to let them know we were underway, off we would go to the office. We always traveled by different routes; the first rule in protection is never use the same route twice in a row. Never give someone a chance to know your schedule. Never get into a schedule; it makes it way too easy for your enemy.
On my first day with the President, I was still a little unsure about the role he would be playing. After all, he was the Lord’s prophet, so I asked him what route I should take. He looked at me, smiled, and said, “Larry, my protection and security is your stewardship. Anything you need to know about protecting me, the Lord will tell you, not me. you just need to listen to the Spirit, then do what it tells you to do. Do that well, and everything will be just fine.” Up to that point in time I thought of myself as a fairly good listener where the Holy ghost was concerned. But from that moment on, I developed a new sensitivity that I didn’t even know I had in me. Now, all these many years later, I can say the Spirit never let me down. At those times when I wasn’t quite sure what to do, the right course of action just seemed to pop into my mind, and we would get through successfully and smoothly. In addition, I learned more about the principle of stewardship in a few short words from the prophet than I could have in any other way.
When we reached the Church Administration Building area, I would drive into the underground parking lot, pull into President Kimball’s space next to the rear door, and then let dispatch know we had arrived. I would then exit the driver side and move to help him out, take his briefcase, and together we would walk down the hall to the elevator. We rode up to the first floor and around the corner to his office. once there, I would spend some time checking his office, and then I would place his briefcase on the floor next to his chair, and check to see if there was anything else he wanted me to do. Usually that would be a “no.” He would sit down and begin working through the pile on his desk. I would go next door into D. Arthur’s office and get my orders for the day. even President Kim- ball didn’t know his schedule as well as Arthur. He was charged with the itinerary, and both President Kimball and I depended on D. Arthur to know what we were going to be doing and when we were going to be doing it. once I had the day’s schedule in my mind, I would go to my desk and get busy on the things I needed to have prepared.
The President’s office was in the corner. Next to his office was D. Arthur’s office and my desk was in the hall just outside. Like I said before, no one could get to the President’s office without first passing my desk and D. Arthur’s office. This system insured that there would be no surprise visitors. What if both D. Arthur and I were away? It didn’t happen! If the President was in his office, I was at my desk. (The security guy didn’t wander.)
On those occasions when I was sent on an errand, I arranged to have another member of the team take over my desk. Protection is not about being casual. While at my desk there were a great many things I needed to be getting accomplished. I had to get the security coverage firmed up for the day and week, I also made sure the men were keeping up their training, and I had to keep our intelligence files up to date by making daily calls to all of our information sources, and then making sure the information was passed on to all the members of our team.
On most days, the President tended to work in his office until around lunchtime. If he planned on going anywhere, I needed to have things pre-arranged such as extra men, extra cars, equipment, and so forth. As long as his excursions were already on the schedule, there would be no problem. But, just as things go in all of our lives, unexpected things come up, and where President Kim- ball’s safety was concerned, we did not have the luxury of saying “oh well.” Planned or unplanned, it didn’t matter, everything still had to be carefully covered. Sometimes the planning had to come together fast, but it still had to be flawless. Something as small as an unplanned haircut had to end up fully planned and carefully engineered.
Even a planned event could cause a problem. For example, almost every day we would load up and drive to the Deseret gym so the President could get his daily massage from “Nick.” As long as the trip to the gym was right on schedule, we had no problem. But on those days when an appointment went longer than their allotted time, we were thrown into a bit of re-vamping. And since President Kimball was not one to cut people off just because they had run out of time, this revamping happened quite often. At the end of his work day (the time he spent in the office), he would gather up the
things he was taking home to work on and call me into his office. I would gather up his briefcase, which always weighed a ton, and help him to the car. This was usually around five-thirty or six-thirty.
The trip home might take two or more hours, because we almost always stopped at both major hospitals in Salt Lake City to give blessings to people who were sick or having operations. When we finally reached the President’s residence, I would carry his briefcase into the house, say hello to Sister Kimball, see if he needed anything else, and then leave. I would return to the car and wait for the night guy to relieve me. I would then drive back to the office, check with the security control room to see if there was anything in my box, and then head home. on a good day I might be home by seven, but more often it would be closer to midnight. My family got used to seeing me go to bed fairly early because they knew I would be up at five to start it all over again.
Now, that was the description of what I have called an aver- age day. According to my wife, there never was such a thing as an average day. And while I began this chapter by calling it a routine, in truth, it would be hard to really see it as routine. Let’s take, for example, the trips to the hospital. They were never on the schedule.