Articles published in the Blue Mountain Panorama

This blog was created to preserve digitally, articles written by Janet Wilcox for the Blue Mountain Panorama. This newspaper is published in Blanding, Utah by Neil and Becky Joslin. By publishing digitally, more photographs can be added, and your comments and corrections can be quickly noted. Thanks for reading my articles in the newspaper, as well as on the Internet. If you have ideas for stories, please contact me at

Friday, June 15, 2012

New Book Captures the Colorful Missionary Life of J. Golden Kimball

The Worthy and Kim Glover family enjoy visiting with relative and author Scott M. Hurst at his first book signing in Blanding.

New Book Captures the Colorful Missionary Life of J. Golden Kimball
“If the history of the LDS Church were a quilt, then J. Golden Kimball would be one of the most colorful swatches” in it… so begins Scott M. Hurst’s book Open Fire: J. Golden Kimball Takes on the South.   Scott not only tackles one of the most legendary, and colorful of LDS Church leaders to have ever lived, but he also bravely held his book launch in Blanding, where Hurst story telling has also been legendary for many generations.

Scott is the son of Michael Hurst and Ellen and Steve Williams, and grandson of Riley and Carol Hurst.  His Blanding connections, as well as the topic of his book, pulled in a large crowd June 13 at the Blanding library, with 60 books being sold, and orders for more.   The forward was written by Blaine Yogenson, one of his father’s missionary companions.  Yorgason credits Scott for fulfilling the writing promise of his father, Michael, while celebrating the life of J. Golden Kimball in a “wonderful and entertaining way.”

Without faultering, Scott faced this first audience, and lived up to his two year-old pronouncement (told by eye-witness Winston Hurst) “I’m a Winner,” as he charmed his audience with honesty, wit, and sprinklings of J. Golden’s early history. 

The bait which hooked Scott on this Golden topic came initially from James Arrington, who decades ago did a one-man show about J. Golden’s humor.  Later James Kimball wrote a witty anecdotal book about his father, J. Golden.  Intrigued by the apocryphal nature of the man and his stories, Scott wrote to James, and eventually they became friends.  Hurst was given privy to journals written by this “raise a righteous ruckus” LDS General Authority.  At the time he was studying film making and screen writing at BYU and he hoped to make a film about J. Golden.

Undaunted by this bigger than life personality, the author began what would be 13 years of research and writing.  He first wrote a screen play but when big bucks funding was not possible for this period piece, he rewrote it as a book which focused on the little known years of J. Golden’s early life, and his missions to the South, first as a “not so young” missionary (30) and then as a Mission President.  Told in a captivating narrative style, the stories are sure to augment considerably any prior knowledge readers already have of J. Golden Kimball.  The book shows the humanity and down to earth nature of this cowboy General Authority, who once claimed he was so thin, “he didn’t cast a shadow.”

J. Golden’s shadow was actually immense and the book confirms the fact that even if he “didn’t always walk the straight and narrow, he truly did cross it a lot of times!”  When J. Golden died in 1934, the family requested permission to use the Tabernacle for the funeral, but many doubted they would need such a large facility.  It was good that permission was granted, as his funeral was second only in size to that of the Prophet Brigham Young’s 57 years earlier.  His death generated even more anecdotal stories, one of what has Saint Peter greeting him at heaven, with this declaration, “We finally got you to the Pearly Gates!”  At which point, J. Golden declared, “But you had to kill me to do it!”

The book is published by Bonneville Books and imprint of Cedar Fort, Inc of Springville, Utah and can be ordered through Amazon.  Many thanks to the Winston and Kathy Hurst family for planning and hosting a wonderful evening of entertainment, visiting, and book signing.