|Length:||1 hour, 13 minutes, 6 seconds.|
|Released:||November 14th, 1996|
In Mormon history few individuals have captured the hearts and imaginations of Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints members quite like J. Golden Kimball. This former mule skinner and cowboy who rose to become a General Authority spoke plainly and honestly, and people loved him for it. But it was his gift of wit and spontaneity, combined with his colorful language that have made his stories part of Mormon folklore today.
KUED retells some of the best J. Golden Kimball stories in a one-man show, Remembering Uncle Golden, performed by his great-grandnephew, Jim Kimball of Salt Lake City. The show is produced by Elizabeth Searles and narrated by H.E.D. Redford. Diana Jergensen served as associate producer on the project.
"I do this to keep alive the memory of a man who was not afraid to be himself," says Kimball, who has portrayed his "Uncle Golden" more than 160 times over two decades. "Many people remember him as just a swearing elder who told jokes. But in Uncle Golden, you really see his genuine, true wit."
Born in 1853, Jonathan Golden Kimball served as a General Authority for over 46 years. He was a tall, slender man who stood about 6'3". He had a shrill, high-pitched voice that always left the impression he was making a weak attempt at shouting. At one talk, he opened by asking, "Can you hear me?" When no one responded, he asked, "Can you see me?" as he made a gesture to show his thinness. He was frank, outspoken and fearless in his sermons, yet he spoke with sincerity and candor. Sometimes, however, he earned the censure of President Heber J. Grant because of his colorful language. He was known for using "damn" and "hell" over the pulpit, words that J. Golden always claimed were simply left over from his days as a cowboy and rancher. "You must understand" he would say, "these words are left overs from a much larger vocabulary."
In 1938 J. Golden Kimball died instantly in a car accident. In announcing his death, the Salt Lake Tribune wrote an editorial saying, "J. Golden Kimball's death takes from the LDS Church an extraordinary personality---one which, to a large degree, has achieved the stature of an institution. During his 85 years of life he made 'J. Golden says' a common attention-getting phrase. For when J. Golden had something to say, he said it wittily, bluntly, and with a sometimes-startling disregard for the conventions."
Over his lifetime, J. Golden Kimball witnessed the church's transformation from frontier Mormonism to global Mormonism, yet through it all he remained an authentic remnant of the rugged West. His unique personality was a mixture of unvarnished spontaneity and remarkable wit. Many have compared him to Mark Twain and Will Rogers, but Utah author Wallace Stegner was probably more accurate when he wrote, "J. Golden should never have been compared to anyone because J. Golden was an original...like all originals he defies description. He was himself, no less, no more, and nobody knew it better than he."
The program is made possible by the George S. and Dolores Dore Eccles Foundation, the Lawrence T. and Janet T. Dee Foundation, and the C. Comstock Clayton Foundation.
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