A biographical overview of the life of Joseph F. Smith,
the sixth President and Prophet of the Church of Jesus Christ
Following is a brief summary of some major events in the
life of Joseph F. Smith, who served as sixth President of the Church of Jesus
Christ of Latter-day Saints
- Joseph F. Smith was born on November 13, 1838 in Far
West, Missouri to Hyrum
Smith and Mary Fielding Smith.
- His father, Hyrum, was
martyred along with the Prophet Joseph on June 27, 1844. Joseph F. was 5 years old at the time
of his father's death.
- In 1848, at the age of 9,
Joseph F. drove a team of oxen over 1000 miles across the plains to the Salt
- On May 21, 1852, he was baptized in City Creek,
being 13 years old.
- Joseph's mother died on September 21, 1852. Joseph's
formal schooling ended at about this time.
- From 1854 to 1858 (age
15-19), he served his first mission to the Sandwich Islands
- He was ordained a Seventy on March 28, 1858, and a High
Priest on October 16, 1859.
- From 1860 to 1863 (age
21-24), he served his second mission to Great
- In 1864, he served his third
mission, again serving in Hawaii.
- From 1865 to 1974, he served as
a member of the Utah Territorial legislature.
- On May 5, 1866 (age 27) he married Julina Lambson.
- On July 1, 1866 (age 27) he was ordained an
apostle by Brigham Young, and called to serve as a counselor in the First
- From 1873 to 1875 (age 35-37)
he served as president of the European Mission.
- He was again called to serve
as president of the European Mission in 1877 (age 38).
- In 1878 he served a mission
to the Eastern United States.
- In 1880, he was called as a
counselor to President John Taylor. In 1889, he was called as a counselor
to President Wilford Woodruff. In 1898, he was called as a counselor to
President Lorenzo Snow.
- He was sustained as the sixth
president of the Church on October
17, 1901. He chose as his counselors John R. Winder and Anthon
- In 1915, he encouraged all
families to hold "home evening" activities.
- Also in 1915, he dedicated
the temple site in Laie,
- In October of 1918, he
received a vision concerning the spirits of the dead. This revelation
eventually was accepted as scripture, and is now Section 138 in the
Doctrine and Covenants.
- President Smith died on November 19, 1918 in Salt
Lake City, Utah. No public
funeral was held due to the influenza epidemic which was occurring at the
- President Smith was known as
a "preacher of righteousness and youthful missionary".
- Major trials in his life
included the untimely deaths of his father and mother, being almost
smothered as an infant when an angry mob unknowingly threw a matress on top of him, and the crossing of the plains
as a young boy. Perhaps no other prophet, with the possible exception of
Joseph Smith, has been as unmercifully vilified and maligned in the press
as was President Smith. President Smith's greatest slanderer was an
excommunicated son of George Q. Cannon.
- Charles W. Nibley paid this beautiful tribute to President Smith:
"No heart ever beat truer to every principle of manhood and
righteousness and justice and mercy than his; that great heart, encased in
his magnificent frame, made him the biggest, the bravest, the tenderest, the purest, and best of all men who walked
the earth in his time." (Improvement Era. January, 1919)
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