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Jonathan Golden Kimball was born June 9, 1853, in Salt Lake City, Utah, a son of Heber C. Kimball and Christeen Golden. He served in the Southern States Mission, both as a missionary and president. He was ordained a Seventy on July 21, 1886, and sustained as one of the First Seven Presidents on April 5, 1892. He died in an automobile accident on September 2, 1938, near Reno, Nevada. He was 85 years old.
Some regard J. Golden Kimball as a type of folk hero. His plain-spoken manner and self-deprecating style endeared him to many who heard him speak. He was sometimes known to use course humor and even mildly swear in his discourse. When radio broadcasts began, some people were concerned about his choice of language. (When once asked if he was afraid that his language would get him kicked out of the Church, Kimball is reported to have replied, "I can't be cut off the Church; I repent too damn fast!")
He was a man with a sense of humor, although he rarely laughed at his own comments. There are many short little stories that give us insight into who he was. He followed the path led by the Spirit, although at times it seemed to be at odds with the rules.
Quotes and Stories
Three men entered the seventies office at Salt Lake City. "Brother Kimball," said the spokesman, "we have come for some books."
"But," responded Brother Kimball, then general secretary of the seventies, "we do not sell books on Sunday."
"We are a long way from home," urged one of the men, "and would very much like to place our order. Can't you possibly take care of us?"
"Sorry," replied the secretary, "would like to accommodate you. I can see your fix, but we have an iron-clad rule; you can see it would not be right for our office to do business on Sunday.-How big is your order?"
(Claude Richards, J. Golden Kimball: The Story of a Unique Personality, p.100)
"If I had a million dollars, I'd be the most sought-after man in the Church. But I haven't got it-damn it."
(Claude Richards, J. Golden Kimball: The Story of a Unique Personality, p.97)