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What’s new: ‘Mormonism’s Last Colonizer’

‘Mormonism’s Last Colonizer’

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William H. Smart's life was full of contradictions.

On one hand, he struggled with nicotine addiction and feelings of depression. He was also a polygamist after The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints banned the practice. On the other hand, he found himself after he returned from a failed mission to Turkey by becoming a successful businessman. He also later served faithfully in the Eastern States Mission, where he developed as an effective church servant and leader.

In "Mormonism's Last Colonizer: The Life and Times of William H. Smart," author William B. Smart, a former Deseret News editor, mines his ancestor's prolific journals to paint a full portrait of a conflicted man who was able to cast off his transgressions to forge a path of business and spiritual dedication.

William H. Smart, who was born in Franklin, Idaho, in 1862, started keeping journals in his 20s while on a genealogy trip to England with his father and wrote 50 volumes over 52 years.

Writings include his experiences as he established a sheep business, moved to the Heber Valley and later to the Uinta Basin — Vernal, Roosevelt and Duchesne — where he encouraged Mormons to settle. He served as president of the Wasatch Stake, as well as each of the three stakes established in the basin. He also lost his wealth because of his service to the communities he wanted to build and investments that didn't work out.

The book, which retails for $44.95 and comes with a searchable CD containing Smart's journals, was published in October 2008 by Utah State University Press.