J. Golden Kimball and The Four Letter Word

This is a guest post by, Scott M. Hurst.Scott M. Hurst is a BYU grad and a nomad who claims his home in Utah, California, Hawaii and wherever else in the world he happens to be. Like Golden, he’s tall and skinny. He also shares some of Golden’s colorful vocabulary and his immense love for the gospel.

Scott Hurst in the desert

J. Golden Kimball remains one of the most celebrated general authorities the LDS church has ever produced. If asked about the man most members of the church can tell you astory or two, always with a little twinkle of mischief in their eye as they reach the punch line which invariably contains a select four letter word or two. But ask someone to tell a story relating any other attribute of Golden’s, such as his remarkable long-suffering and his unflinching devotion to the church and most will draw a blank.

The fact is there was more to Golden than just cussing and lighthearted stories. He was a man who struggled deeply with his own sense of inadequacy. In a culture that not only preaches but seems to push perfection with almost deadly obsession, who among us hasn’t felt that way at least some of the time. The Nephi’s and Captain Moroni’s are fine and all, but how many among us can ever claim that we can shake the very powers of hell (oops! I mean heck!) forever?

In this way and so many others Golden was just like the rest of us: imperfect, but trying. A man of no pretensions, he wore his heart on his sleeve for all to see. His weaknesses were on prominent display and more obvious than any of ours might be, but that doesn’t mean we don’t struggle any more or less than he did. The important thing is that ultimately Golden never gave up, even when he felt like it.
I believe that is why Golden is so beloved. Not because he swore, but because he was someone we can all relate to. He knew that we were imperfect, and that we would stumble and wander from time to time. It’s simply part of being human. The important thing was that we got ourselves back on track whenever we could.

Open Fire: J. Golden Kimball Takes on the South by Scott M. Hurst, LDS Historical Fiction

Of all the colorful quotes and quips he is known for, to me the single most profound thing Golden thing ever said was this: “I may not have always walked the straight and narrow, but I’ve tried to cross it as many times as I could.”With that Golden summed it up for all of us.

And he didn’t even cuss.

If you have any questions, comments, curse words (neatly edited of course!) or J. Golden related things to share please do! I’d love to hear from you either here or at www.facebook.com/jgoldenkimball.

Look for the new book “Open Fire: J. Golden Kimball Takes on the South” on shelves June 2012.