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Dr. Kenneth A. Carlson



Norman Vincent Peale wrote this forward for Dr. Carlson’s book, Living To Beat Hell, which was published posthumously:

Dr. Kenneth A. Carlson, one of the greatest American preachers, thrilled large congregations by his sermons. He was also extraordinarily popular as a speaker at all types of secular gatherings and on radio and TV. Kenny Carlson, my longtime friend, had the rare gift of speaking winsomely and helpfully to people’s needs. He was able to lift a person from discouragement to hope and send him on his way with courage and joy. 

Cathedral of the West
  • Was broadcast weekly on the radio for 30 consecutive years
  • Born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada on Christmas Eve (an identical twin)
  • Graduated from the University of Southern California, received Master of Divinity
  • Degree from Garrett Theological Seminary, was presented a Doctorate Degree from the University of the Pacific
  • Studied to be a concert pianist but was involved in an auto accident which altered
  • his career
  • Was Minister of Youth under Dr. Roy L. Smith (his father in the gospel) at First Methodist Church, Los Angeles (1933-37).  He traveled 8,000 miles as a ‘hobo’ making a survey of transient youth problems in the interest of securing information for juvenile authorities
  • Was a special lecturer for the Southern Pacific Railway throughout the mid-western
  • states while in Seminary and served as Minister of the First Methodist Church, Lake Forest, Illinois (1937-40)
  • Began full-time preaching ministry at Central Methodist Church, Glendale (1940). 
  • Selected in 1944 as Glendale’s Outstanding Young Man of the Year 
  • Minister of First Methodist Church, El Centro (1945-48).  While there, he was radio Minister for Mutual and ABC Network Stations in the Imperial Valley. His show titled, “Kenny Carlson’s Fireside Philosophies” merited the largest listening audience in that area.
  • Appointed to First Methodist Church, Santa Monica (1948-60).  Built new Sanctuary, Chapel, Educational and Office Facilities.  Membership soared from 1100 to 3600.
  • Appointed to First United Methodist Church, Glendale (1960-77). Built new Sanctuary, known as “The Cathedral of the West” and membership grew to nearly 5000.
  • Honored by the Los Angeles Police Department for distinguished service in combating juvenile delinquency in the metropolitan area.
  • Received four Freedom Foundation’s George Washington Gold Medal Awards.
  • Served as Chaplain for the Grand Lodge, Free Masons for California and Hawaii.   
  • Was a member of the International Platform Speakers’ Association in recognition of excellence of speaking performance.
  • Was presented the Third Annual Masonic Americanism Award in “admiration and appreciation for outstanding service to his country, the communities, and his helping hand to all mankind throughout the world”.
  • Served as a volunteer Chaplain with the Glendale Police Department for six years.
  • Appeared in a television commercial for Glendale Federal Savings and Loan Association in his role as Police Chaplain.
  • Author of numerous articles appearing in various publications
  • The Los Angeles Times said, “He is a living legend among connoisseurs of the art of profound preaching.” 

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