Matthew Bowman in a Washington Post Op Ed mentions the Kimbal/Yoda myth and compares the two figures.

Dec 21, 2015
News (traditional)
Matthew Bowman

Matthew Bowman, "Everybody loves Star Wars. But here’s why Mormons especially love Star Wars," The Washington Post, December 21, 2015, accessed February 27, 2023

The Washington Post
Spencer W. Kimball, Matthew Bowman
Reading Public

When”The Empire Strikes Back,” the second film of the “Star Wars” saga, opened in Salt Lake City in May 1980, many Mormons left the theater convinced that they had seen a familiar face. By the time “Return of the Jedi” hit Utah’s rental shelves in the mid-1980s, the rumor was hard to escape in Mormon country: The Jedi Master Yoda was based on Spencer W. Kimball, who served as president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, commonly known as the Mormon Church, from 1974 to 1985.

The reasons ranged from the trivial to the telling. Like Yoda, Kimball was short, with large ears, thin white hair, and a slightly squashed, wrinkly face. Both had a knack for gnomic, oracular axioms. Kimball was famous for urging Mormons not simply to believe in their faith, but to “do it,” and even to “do it now,” advice Yoda inverted into “Do, or do not.”

Mormons believe that the president of their church is the only person on Earth with the entirety of the priesthood authority Jesus Christ granted to the apostle Peter; Yoda was the last Jedi in the galaxy.

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