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J. Golden Kimball Speaks in Conference, 1926

By: Ardis E. Parshall - October 07, 2011

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.



16 Comments »

  1. Wonderful…and such a sad irony that he was killed in an auto accident, if I’m not mistaken.

    Comment by Tom O. — October 7, 2011 @ 8:21 am

  2. Oh, you’re right, Tom! I didn’t think about that. *cringe*

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — October 7, 2011 @ 8:29 am

  3. And there’s not a lesson in that, harsh as it may be, about us heeding our church leaders on obeying traffic laws and practicing good driving habits and road courtesy?

    Comment by Grant — October 7, 2011 @ 8:37 am

  4. Too funny! I wonder how many people, when they heard of Elder Kimball’s death 12 years later, remembered this talk!

    Comment by Researcher — October 7, 2011 @ 8:58 am

  5. I think he’d find it funny that he got his wish that they at least made “a good job of it”. He strikes me as a man who would have preferred a quick death over slow. Always full of action.

    Comment by Frank Pellett — October 7, 2011 @ 8:59 am

  6. The last time I was in Salt Lake I was nearly killed by a descendant of one of those lunatic drivers that Brother J. Golden complained of. And she thought I was rude for telling her she should stop before the crosswalk.

    Which reminds me of one of his responses (allegedly) when he was almost run over. Shaking his cane at them, he yelled “You sons of b******s! Don’t you have any respect for the priesthood!?”

    Comment by Mark B. — October 7, 2011 @ 11:21 am

  7. I was just curious about how to get general conference talks before the 1970s. I can’t seem to find these. Also, I know the Church used to film GC on VHS when I was a kid but can’t find those either. Where do you get these resources?

    Comment by jack ply — October 7, 2011 @ 1:36 pm

  8. Maybe the Gospel “staight and undiluted” is coming back into vogue. Elder Holland’s address was as fiery as any I’ve heard in my lifetime.

    Still, we’ve a long way to go to get to the “Golden Age” of the prophet passing notes reminding the speaker to avoid profanity…

    Comment by The Other Clark — October 7, 2011 @ 1:49 pm

  9. I’m unaware of their being online anywhere, jack ply, but they were printed, in the old Improvement Era (the pre-Ensign magazine), and in a set of volumes called Conference Reports. These are available in the Church History Library and the BYU Library, and probably at other universities in the Mormon Corridor. I realize they would be much harder to find if you don’t have access to those institutions.

    Video recordings are also available at the Church History Library. I don’t know where else they may be found.

    Anybody else know of any resources?

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — October 7, 2011 @ 1:59 pm

  10. GospeLink Online (subscription-based) appears to have the conference reports from 1898 through 1970.

    Comment by JimD — October 7, 2011 @ 5:49 pm

  11. Thanks, JimD.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — October 7, 2011 @ 5:55 pm

  12. Jim, how useful is the online Gospel Link? I have one of the really old CDs around that I can run under Parallels & XP on my Mac. However honestly I don’t access it that much – I usually use lds.org and that’s enough. Part of me wonders if GospelLink would be nice to have.

    Comment by Clark — October 7, 2011 @ 6:29 pm

  13. BTW – there used to be an audio file floating around of J. Golden Kimball (the real one, not the popular stage show). I’ve never been able to find it.

    Comment by Clark — October 7, 2011 @ 6:39 pm

  14. Clark, I’m not a die-hard fan of electronic scripture study–I mostly just use it (actually, GospeLink 2001–the non-web-based predecessor) if I want to get a little more background to quotes I’ve encountered elsewhere. But I think a subscription to the online version is only about $5/month; so it’s probably worth giving it a whirl if you’re interested.

    Comment by JimD — October 7, 2011 @ 7:54 pm

  15. This was a wonderful. Thanks for sharing it.

    I especially loved his humorous line about how he missed getting hit only because he’s thin, followed by his immediate insistence that he’s not trying to be funny. What a comedian!

    JGK must have really enjoyed speaking to/working with a congregation.

    Comment by David Y. — October 8, 2011 @ 1:18 am

  16. Clark (12), I too have the CDs, but I lost the password and now I can’t access the information — with the Infobases company gone its simply not possible to get the password restored.

    I think Gospel Link is useful, but it bothers me that the charge for this data.

    Comment by Kent Larsen — October 14, 2011 @ 9:44 am

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