Smith, Joseph F. (Joseph Fielding), 1838-1918

Alternative names
Dates:
Birth 1838-11-13
Death 1918-11-19
Gender:
Male
English

Biographical notes:

Utah businessman and sixth president of the Mormon Church.

From the description of Statement, 1905. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122550838

Apostle and sixth president of the Mormon Church.

From the description of Speech, 1914. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 145435970

From the description of Letter and affidavit,1889-1906. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122391579

From the description of Letters, 1881-1914. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122553422

Kenney is a Mormon author and historian.

From the guide to the Scott G. Kenney research materials, 1820-1984, (L. Tom Perry Special Collections)

President of the Church, 1901-1918.

From the guide to the MS 9577 Joseph F. Smith letters to Martha Ann Smith Harris 1855-1897 (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Church History Library)

President of the Mormon Church, 1901-1918.

From the description of Letter to Frank S. Bellings, 1905. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122630145

From the guide to the Letter to Frank S. Bellings, 1905, (L. Tom Perry Special Collections)

Sixth president of the Mormon Church (1901-1918).

From the description of Letter, 1904. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122550361

From the guide to the Joseph F. Smith letter, 1904, (L. Tom Perry Special Collections)

Son of Hyrum Smith and nephew of LDS church founder Joseph Smith Jr. Emigrated to Utah in 1848, served in the church's Hawaiian Mission in the 1850's, was exiled for polygamy, served as church president 1901-1918.

From the description of Papers, 1862-1890. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 154298445

Sixth president of the Mormon Church.

From the description of Receipt, 1878. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122638612

From the description of Dedicatory prayer of the Forest Dale Meeting House, 1905. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122550516

From the guide to the Dedicatory prayer of the Forest Dale Meeting House, 1905, (L. Tom Perry Special Collections)

President of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

From the guide to the Don C. S. Millikin and Joseph Smith letters, 1863, (L. Tom Perry Special Collections)

President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints from 1901-1918.

From the description of Letter, 1906 Nov. 10. (Brigham Young University). WorldCat record id: 51606160

Fifth president of the Mormon Church.

American West

P.O. Box 100 Cedar City, UT 84720 Purchase.

From the description of Priesthood blessing upon Lucy P. Russel, 1881. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 367476701

Joseph F. Smith was born 13 November 1838 in Far West, Missouri. He was the oldest child of Hyrum Smith and Mary Fielding. His sister, Martha Ann, was born 14 May 1841, at Nauvoo Illinois. When Joseph was five, his father was martyred at Carthage Jail in Hancock County, Illinois. Soon thereafter, the Mormon pioneers began their journey across the plains to the Salt Lake Valley. Joseph and his mother made the journey with minimal assistance, reaching the valley ahead of their company. When he was thirteen, Joseph was baptized by Heber C. Kimball. Shortly thereafter, his mother died, leaving Joseph and his brothers and sisters alone.

Joseph F. Smith served a mission to the Sandwich Islands from 1854-1857, and another to Great Britain from 1860-1863. 1 July 1866, Joseph was ordained a Counselor to the First Presidency. 8 October 1867 he was ordained a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. He served as President of the European Mission, and a counselor to three Presidents of the Church. Upon the death of President Lorenzo Snow, Joseph was ordained as Prophet, Seer and Revelator of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on 17 October 1901. As President of the Church, he dedicated the site for the Hawaii temple, and encouraged the family home evening program, and received the section which would become Doctrine and Covenants section 138. Joseph F. Smith passed away 19 November 1918.

From the description of Letters of Joseph F. Smith, 1855-1897. (Brigham Young University). WorldCat record id: 51604908

Joseph F. Smith (1838-1918) was the president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from 1901 to 1918.

Joseph F. Smith was born November 13, 1838, to Hyrum and Mary Fielding Smith. He migrated to Utah with his mother after his father was martyred. Once in Utah, he began his life service to the church. In 1865, he served in the territorial legislature. Smith served as president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from 1901 to 1918. He died November 19, 1918.

From the guide to the Joseph F. Smith letter to James E. Steele, 1902 March 3, (L. Tom Perry Special Collections)

Joseph F. Smith was the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from 1901 to 1918.

Joseph F. Smith was born November 13, 1838, to Hyrum and Mary Fielding Smith. He migrated to Utah with his mother after his father was martyred. Once in Utah, he began his life service to the church. In 1865, he served in the territorial legislature. Joseph served as President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from 1901 to 1918. He died November 19, 1918.

From the guide to the Joseph F. Smith letters, 1855-1897, (L. Tom Perry Special Collections)

Mary T. Smith (1865-1956) was a wife of Joseph F. Smith.

Mary Taylor Schwartz was born on April 30, 1865 in Holliday, Utah. The niece of President John Taylor, she married Joseph F. Smith in 1884. Together they had seven children: John, Calvin, Samuel, James, Agnes, Silias and Royal Grant. She died in Salt Lake City, Utah on December 5, 1956.

Joseph F. Smith (1838-1918) was the sixth president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Joseph F. Smith was born in Far West, Missouri on November 13, 1838. Following his father's death in 1844 he migrated west with his mother, settling in Salt Lake City, Utah by 1848. He was elected to the Utah territorial legislature in 1865 (serving until 1874), and was called to serve as an apostle in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1866. He became president of the Church in 1901, where he served until his death on November 19, 1918.

President Smith married six times. He married Levira Annette Clark Smith in 1859, Julia Lambson in 1866, Sarah Ellen Richards in 1868, Edna Lambson in 1871, Alice Ann Kimball in 1883, and Mary Taylor Schwartz in 1884. He had forty three children.

From the guide to the Joseph F. Smith letters, 1884-1918, (L. Tom Perry Special Collections)

Joseph F. Smith was the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from 1901 to 1918.

Joseph F. Smith was born November 13, 1838, to Hyrum and Mary Fielding Smith. He migrated to Utah with his mother after his father was martyred. Once in Utah, he began his life service to the church. In 1865, he served in the territorial legislature. Joseph served as President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from 1901 to 1918. He died November 19, 1918.

From the guide to the Joseph F. Smith letter, 1888, (L. Tom Perry Special Collections)

Joseph F. Smith (1838-1918) was the sixth President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He was the last President of the LDS Church to have personally known the founder of the Mormon faith, the Prophet Joseph Smith, Jr., who was also his uncle.

Smith was the son of Patriarch Hyrum Smith and his wife Mary Fielding, a British convert to the Church who married Hyrum after the death of his first wife, Jerusha Barden Smith. In addition to her two children, Mary Fielding Smith raised the five children from the union of Hyrum and Jerusha.

Smith was born in Far West, Missouri on 13 November 1838. Just a few days before he was born, his father Hyrum had been taken prisoner under the auspices of the Mormon Extermination Order. Hyrum was still in custody in Liberty Jail, Missouri when his son Joseph Fielding was born. He was named after his uncle, Joseph Smith, Jr. and his mother's brother Joseph Fielding. His mother and maternal aunt Mercy Fielding Thompson fled with their children to Quincy, Illinois early in 1839, and later they moved to Nauvoo, Illinois when the majority of the members of the Church settled there. Joseph F. Smith stated as an adult that he had memories of Nauvoo, and can recall his uncle, the prophet Joseph Smith, Jr. and events that occurred at his uncle's home; he would have been no more than five and a half when on 27 June 1844 Joseph's uncle and father were murdered in Carthage, Illinois.

Smith's family remained in Nauvoo until September 1844, at which time his mother took their family and fled the city, camping on the West side of the Mississippi river among the trees on its banks, without wagon or tent, while the city was bombarded by mobs. His mother was later able to exchange their property in Illinois for a wagon and team of oxen. Joseph and his family, along with many other Mormons, fled the American Midwest. The seven year old Smith drove the team of oxen, with his family, to the Church encampment at Winter Quarters, Nebraska. Joseph and his family remained at Winter Quarters until the spring of 1848 when Smith drove his mother's wagon across the plains to Utah.

While in Utah, Joseph's mother Mary Fielding Smith worked with her sister and brother to raise the two widow's families, as well as continuing to care for Hyrum and Jerusha's younger children. Mary Fielding Smith died in 1852, apparently of pneumonia, leaving Joseph an orphan at the age of 13. Smith reported that he was devastated by his mother's death, and relied upon the emotional support and help of Brigham Young and his step-father Heber C. Kimball among others. Even with the support of his older half brother John Smith, Joseph, then thirteen, assumed primary responsibility for his young sister, Martha Ann, and subsequently left school in 1854.

At the age of fifteen, Smith was called to go on his first LDS mission to Hawaii. He successfully learned the language of the Hawaiian people and reported great success in four years of missionary work on the islands. He completed his service and returned to Utah to find it in the midst of serious conflict with the federal government. In 1858, Smith joined the territory's militia, named the "Nauvoo Legion" after a similar unit in Illinois, and spent several months patrolling the eastern side of the Rocky Mountains. Later in his tour of duty, he served as chaplain of Colonel Heber C. Kimball's regiment, with the rank of Captain. After tensions between the church and the federal government abated, Smith assisted his relatives in their return to northern Utah from areas in southern Utah, where they had taken their families for safety. In 1860, at 22 years of age, he was sent on a mission to Great Britain. He and his cousin Samuel H. B. Smith drove mule teams over the plains to Winter Quarters to help pay their way. Joseph served for 3 years, under mission president George Q. Cannon, returning in the summer of 1863.

Smith had only been home for a short while when he was called to accompany Ezra T. Benson and Lorenzo Snow on a second mission to Hawaii, to correct the problems caused by Walter M. Gibson. He acted as principal interpreter for the apostles, and after Gibson was excommunicated, Joseph was left in charge of the mission. Joseph returned home in the winter of 1864-1865.

Upon his return home, Smith was employed in the Church historian's office for a number of years, then as a clerk in the endowment house, being in charge after the death of President Young, until it was closed. Smith served seven terms in the Utah territorial House of Representatives, as well as terms on the Salt Lake City Council and in the territorial Senate; he also served in the presidency of a state constitutional convention in 1882. Smith also served as a Church representative on boards of many Utah businesses.

In 1859, Smith married his sixteen year-old cousin Levira, daughter of Samuel Harrison Smith. Under the direction of President Brigham Young and with the consent of Levira, Smith took Julina Lambson as a plural wife in 1866. Levira, "due to interference on the part of relatives, and because of the continued absence of her husband in mission fields and in ecclesiastical duties", she obtained a divorce. Later, Smith married Sarah Ellen Richards on 1 March 1869, Edna Lambson on 5 May 1871, Alice Ann Kimball on 6 December 1883, and Mary Taylor Schwartz on 13 January 1884. From 1884-1887 Smith served yet another mission to Hawaii to evade federal anti-polygamy prosecution.

Smith was the father of forty-three children, thirteen of whom preceded him in death. His first-born son, by wife Edna Lambson, was Hyrum Mack Smith. Elder Hyrum Mack Smith served as an Apostle from 1901 until his death in 1918. His first-born son by Julina Lambson, Joseph Fielding Smith, Jr., later served as the President of the Church.

On 1 July 1866, Smith was ordained an Apostle by Brigham Young and sustained as a Counselor to the First Presidency, where he served until Young's death. However, he was not sustained as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles until the Church's October conference of 1867. On 28 February 1874, he left for his second mission to England, serving as President of the European Mission from 1874 to 1875, returning home upon the death of President George A. Smith. He was then called to preside over the Davis Stake until he left again in the spring of 1877 for his third mission to England. When news arrived of the death of president Young, he was released and sent home. The following year he served an Eastern States mission with Orson Pratt, visiting noteworthy places in the history of the church in Missouri, Ohio, New York and Illinois. During this trip they met with and interviewed David Whitmer.

After Young's death, Smith was named Second Counselor to President John Taylor in October 1880, serving from 1880 to 1887. He later served as Second Counselor to President Wilford Woodruff (1889-1898) and as Second Counselor to President Lorenzo Snow (1898-1901). Smith was sustained as first counselor to President Snow on the death of First Counselor George Q. Cannon, but, as President Snow died only four days later, never served in this position.

Smith also served as editor of the Improvement Era and Juvenile Instructor, and general superintendent of the Sunday School and Young Men's Mutual Improvement Association.

Smith felt it was important for Utah to become a state, and thereby eliminate the ongoing federal supervision of the Utah Territory. Following the official discontinuance of new plural marriages by Wilford Woodruff in 1890, and the dissolution of the Mormon People's Party in 1891, Smith championed the anti-polygamy Republican Party in Utah.

Smith was chosen by the twelve apostles and set apart as President of the Church on 17 October 1901. This was ratified by a special conference and solemn assembly of the priesthood on Sunday 10 November 1901.

In 1906, Smith was brought to trial on a charge of unlawful cohabitation with four women in addition to his lawful wife; he pleaded guilty and was fined $300, the maximum penalty then permitted under the law.

Smith's seventeen year administration made efforts toward improving the Church's damaged relationships with the federal government and related issues dealing with the Church's financial situation. The administration acquired historic sites, constructed numerous meetinghouses, and expanded the church system of educational academies and universities. He also oversaw a continued growth in Church membership. Smith died of pneumonia on 19 November 1918, and was succeeded by President Heber J. Grant. Due to the widespread influenza pandemic of 1918-1920, a graveside service, rather than a public funeral, was held. Smith was interred in the Salt Lake City cemetery on 22 November 1918.

From the guide to the Joseph F. Smith family papers, 1860-1944, (J. Willard Marriott Library, University of Utah)

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Subjects:

  • Plural marriage--Underground
  • Correspondence
  • Hawaiians--History--Sources
  • Mormon Church--Missions--Hawaii
  • Marriage--Religious aspects--Mormons
  • Polygamy--Religious aspects--Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
  • Mormon Church--Presidents
  • Marriage--Religious aspects--Mormon Church
  • Mormon families--Utah--History--Sources
  • Maori (New Zealand people)
  • Ute Indians
  • Social Life and Customs
  • Missionaries
  • Church government
  • Mormonism (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints)
  • Mormonism
  • Immaculate conception--History of doctrines
  • Arts
  • Material Types
  • Polygamy--Idaho
  • Mormon Church--Apostles--Correspondence
  • sexuality
  • Mormon church--Doctrines
  • Mormons--Sexual behavior
  • Banks and banking--History--Sources
  • Marriage--Religious aspects--Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
  • City and Town Life
  • Automobiles
  • Sawmills--History--Sources
  • Midwives--History--Sources
  • Mormon doctrine--Jesus Christ--History--Sources
  • Mormon women--History--Sources
  • Mormon Church--Presidents--History--Sources
  • Religion
  • Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
  • Mormons--Polygamy
  • Plural marriage--Family life
  • Mormon Church--Presidents--Correspondence
  • Mormons and Mormonism
  • Polygamy
  • General Authorities

Occupations:

  • Church employees
  • General Authorities
  • Missionaries
  • Authors
  • Stake presidents

Places:

  • Idaho (as recorded)
  • Laie Plantation (Hawaii) (as recorded)
  • Salt Lake City (Utah) (as recorded)
  • Utah--Skull Valley (as recorded)
  • Hawaii (as recorded)
  • Utah (as recorded)
  • Hawaii (as recorded)
  • Utah (as recorded)
  • Utah (as recorded)
  • Liverpool (England) (as recorded)
  • Salt Lake City (Utah) (as recorded)
  • Snake River (Idaho) (as recorded)
  • Big Cottonwood Canyon (Utah) (as recorded)
  • Sheffield (England) (as recorded)
  • Skull Valley (Utah) (as recorded)
  • Shoshone Falls (Idaho) (as recorded)