While we’re discussing a new General Conference and looking forward to its following Ensign, I’m still catching up on my old conference talks … October conference of 1926, for instance.
J. Golden Kimball gave a wonderful address during that long-ago fall. “We never know how much good we do when we speak in the name of the Lord,” he said. “I claim that every man fills his niche when he is called of God and set apart and ordained to an office. He may not fill it in the way someone else fills it, but if he is a man of courage he will fill it in his own way, under the influence of the Holy Spirit.”
Certainly few men have filled their niches in their own way as J. Golden Kimball did. He spoke that day about the danger signals that the Lord sends, warning us to stay on the paths of safety. And he introduced that topic with an illustration that is pure J. Golden –
In our great city with its wonderful streets, I can’t but think of the danger that menaces the people. We see your red lights, we see your green lights, and the officers of this city are doing everything in their power to protect the people; but the people do not pay any attention to the signals – some of them do not.
There is nothing else annoys m e so much as for a man to run on to me with one of those great, powerful machines, and just before hitting me, honk his horn. My legs go right from under me. I can’t even hit a trot, and the feeling I have is that he is saying: “Get out of the way, we are coming.”
I got that the other night on First North Street here. I can only see one way at a time, and then I am not quite clear, but I had to see four ways that night. Here came two machines around that corner, with these cars all parked right up to the corner, and they tried to beat each other through and caught me in the center. The only thing that saved my life was my being thin.
I am not trying to be funny, I am trying to be serious.
Now all these danger signals with your yellow marks – I have stood there and watched the lights, listened to the bell, and yet last year, if I remember right, the automobiles killed over twenty thousand people in the United States, one-half, perhaps, as many as were killed in the World War, referring, of course, to the American soldiers.
Now I don’t want to get killed. What I am worried about is that they might not make a good job of it. I would hate to be maimed and crippled for life through the carelessness of men and women.
Now I want to set up signals that are a hundred thousand times more important than dodging automobiles …
There’s a talk the congregation wouldn’t sleep through! He went on with his most serious message. “Shall we be brave, courageous men, standing upon the secure heights of virtue and righteousness where God’s sun shines, and preach the truth and cry repentance unto this people?” and concluded with his testimony: “I know this work is true. I have tested it out; I have found God. I am a man of weaknesses; I am a man full of faults; but God knows I have given Him the best effort there was in me. I know God lives, that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, the Redeemer of the world.”
Golden. Pure J. Golden.