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Picturing history: President Joseph Fielding Smith sites — marriage, temples, church history and missions

SHARE Picturing history: President Joseph Fielding Smith sites — marriage, temples, church history and missions

Although the birth home of President Joseph Fielding Smith is no longer extant, some sites and structures associated with President Smith remain. While still a young man, Joseph Fielding Smith heard President Wilford Woodruff pronounce the dedicatory prayer of the Salt Lake Temple. President Smith, who was the 10th president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, would later serve as a counselor in the presidency or president of that temple for 20 years.

Joseph Fielding Smith visited Adam-ondi-Ahman, Davies County, Missouri.

Joseph Fielding Smith visited Adam-ondi-Ahman, Davies County, Missouri.

Kenneth Mays

When about 18, he met a young woman from Ogden named Louie Shurtliff. She boarded with the Smith family while attending the University of Utah. Joseph Fielding Smith twice rode his bicycle to Ogden to visit Louie during times when she was back home with her parents (see "Joseph Fielding Smith: Gospel Scholar, Prophet of God," by Francis M. Gibbons, page 53).

After the two married, Joseph was called on mission to England. He returned in 1901. Several years later, Joseph was sent on a short mission to seek out historical and genealogical information. On that mission, he visited such sites as Topsfield, Massachusetts, and Missouri sites that included Liberty, Far West and Adam-ondi-Ahman. Joseph also accompanied his father to Sharon, Vermont, in 1905 for the unveiling of a large monument to the Prophet Joseph Smith on the centennial of his birth.

Visiting these sites evidently contributed to the building of a base of interest in the history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Joseph Fielding Smith would serve as church historian longer than anyone else before or since (1921-1970). In 1908 his wife, Louie, died leaving him a widower with young daughters. He moved into the Beehive House where they could be cared for by relatives.