of the Restoration

    Joseph Fielding Smith

    Timeline of Life Events



    19 July 1876

    Born in Salt Lake City, Utah, to Julina Lambson Smith and Joseph F. Smith (Sixth President of the Church).

    19 July 1884
    Baptism and confirmation

    Baptized and confirmed by his father, Joseph F. Smith. Receives his first personal copy of the Book of Mormon from his father.

    6 April 1893
    Attends the Salt Lake Temple dedication


    Begins working at ZCMI
    Receives his patriarchal blessing

    Receives his patriarchal blessing, which proclaims, "It shall be thy duty to sit in counsel with thy brethren and to preside among the people."

    Receives the Melchizedek Priesthood

    Receives the Melchizedek Priesthood and the temple endowment. Ordained an elder.

    26 April 1898
    Marries Louie Emily Shurtliff
    Appointed to the Salt Lake Stake YMMIA Board
    May 1899 - July 1901
    Serves a full-time mission to England
    October 1901
    Begins employment in the Church Historian’s office
    Serves as a home missionary in the Salt Lake Stake
    Publishes a family history booklet

    Booklet titled Asael Smith of Topsfield, Massachusetts, with Some Account of the Smith Family. This was his first of many publications, including 25 books and numerous articles for Church magazines and periodicals.

    Serves as a member of the YMMIA General Board
    Called to the Salt Lake Stake High Council
    8 April 1906 - March 1921
    Called as the Assistant Church Historian

    Sustained in general conference. He held this position until March 1921.

    Begins work with the Genealogical Society

    Commissioned by the U.S. Department of Commerce and Labor to collect statistics of the Church for religious census being compiled at that time.

    Appointed to serve on a general Church committee

    The committee's purpose was to prepare data for the defense of the Church against its enemies.

    30 March 1908
    Death of Louie Shurtliff Smith

    Louie Shurtliff Smith dies after suffering from a severe illness related to her third pregnancy.

    Appointed director and librarian of the Genealogical Society
    2 November 1908
    Marries Ethel Georgina Reynolds
    Appointed to the general board of religion classes

    Appointed to the general board of religion classes. Named librarian and treasurer of the Genealogical Society.

    7 April 1910
    Ordained an apostle

    He was ordained by his father, President Joseph F. Smith.

    Works for the Utah Genealogical and Historical magazine

    Becomes first associate editor and business manager of the Utah Genealogical and Historical magazine.

    Serves as the secretary of the Genealogical Society
    Appointed to the BYU board of trustees
    Appointed to the Church Board of Education
    January 1918
    Death of Hyrum Mac Smith

    Hyrum Mac Smith (an apostle and Joseph's half brother) dies of complications associated with a ruptured appendix.

    October 1918
    Records a revelation on the redemption of the dead

    Dictated by his father, Joseph F. Smith, who is President of the Church at the time. This revelation is now found in Doctrine and Covenants 138.

    Death of President Joseph F. Smith

    Joseph's father, President Joseph F. Smith, dies.

    6 January 1919 - 1935
    Appointed as a counselor in the Salt Lake Temple presidency

    He held this position until 1935.

    17 March 1921 - 1970
    Named as Church Historian

    He held this position until 1970.

    Publishes "Essentials in Church History"
    1934 - 1961
    Named president of the Genealogical Society of Utah

    He held this position until 1961.

    26 August 1937
    Death of Ethel Reynolds Smith

    Ethel Reynolds Smith dies after suffering with an illness for four years.

    12 April 1938
    Marries Jessie Ella Evans

    Marries Jessie Ella Evans in the Salt Lake Temple.

    Tours the California mission
    May - November 1939
    Tours European missions

    Fills a special assignment in Europe with Jessie, visiting England, Scotland, Holland, Belgium, France, Switzerland, Italy, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Czechoslovakia, Austria, and Germany. Directs the evacuation of all American missionaries from Europe after the outbreak of World War II.

    April 1941
    Trains new assistants to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
    Joseph's son, Lewis, is killed in WWII
    June 1945-1949
    Serves as the president of the Salt Lake Temple

    He held this position until 1949.

    Gives baccalaureate sermon at BYU.
    6 October 1950
    Set apart as Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.
    Tours the Texas-Louisiana mission.
    9 April 1951
    Sustained as President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
    Receives an honorary Doctor of Letters degree from BYU
    July - August 1955
    Tours Far East and dedicates four countries for the preaching of the gospel

    Filled a special assignment in Asia, with Jessie accompanying him. Dedicated Guam, Korea, Okinawa, and the Philippines for the preaching of the gospel. Divided the Japanese mission to form the Northern Far East and Southern Far East missions.

    July 1956
    Church News prints a tribute to Joseph Fielding Smith

    The Church News printed a tribute to President Smith on his 80th birthday: "Behind a seeming brusqueness and severity of manner is a kind, sympathetic friendliness and understanding that wins the love and admiration of all who know him."

    September 1958
    Attends the London England Temple dedication
    Visits stakes and missions in New Zealand and Australia.
    Named honorary Brigadier General of the Utah National Guard
    October 1960 - January 1961
    Visits Church leaders and missionaries in Central and South America
    May 1963
    Officiates at the cornerstone ceremony for the Oakland California Temple
    September 1963
    Dedicates historic sites in Missouri

    Dedicates the Pioneer Monument in Kansas City, Missouri, and the Liberty Jail Historic Site in Liberty, Missouri.

    29 October 1965
    Called to the First Presidency

    Called to serve as a Counselor in the First Presidency under the direction of President David O. McKay.

    Historic collection named after him

    A collection of books and materials at BYU on American Church history was named in his honor.

    18 January 1970
    Becomes the senior Apostle

    Becomes the senior Apostle and presiding leader of the Church at the death of President David O. McKay.

    23 January 1970
    Set apart as President of the Church

    Harold B. Lee and N. Eldon Tanner served as counselors.

    Speaks at the cornerstone ceremony for the Ogden Utah Temple
    Visits Hawaii

    Attends ward and stake events. Speaks at Church College of Hawaii.

    Set apart four temple presidencies

    Set apart the presidencies for the Arizona, Idaho Falls, Los Angeles, and St. George temples.

    6 April 1970
    Sustained in general conference as President of the Church
    July 1970
    Visits Mexico City

    Speaks at Benemerito de Los Americas (Church School) and two stake conferences.

    24 July 1970
    Acts as the Days of '47 parade marshall in Salt Lake City

    Greets President and Mrs. Richard M. Nixon at the event.

    October 1970
    Designates Monday night for Family Home Evening
    Speaks to thousands of youth

    Speaks to nearly 10,000 youth at Utah State University Institute of Religion and 13,000 youth in southern California.

    7 May 1971
    Gives baccalaureate sermon at Ricks College
    21 May 1971
    Speaks at the cornerstone ceremony for the Provo Utah Temple
    Dedicates the Laguna Hills, California ward chapel and the Independence, Missouri Visitors' Center
    3 August 1971
    Death of Jessi Evans Smith
    27-29 August 1971
    Presides at the Church’s first area conference

    The conference was held in Manchester, England.

    18 January 1972
    Offers the dedicatory prayer for the Ogden Utah Temple.
    9 February 1972
    Presides at the dedication of the Provo Utah Temple

    Having written the dedicatory prayer, Joseph Fielding Smith assigned President Harold B. Lee to offer it.

    25 June 1972
    Addresses the MIA in a June Conference as his last public address
    29 June 1972
    Speaks at the mission president's seminar in Salt Lake City

    At this time a new program of supervision for the missions was announced.

    2 July 1972

    Dies in Salt Lake City, Utah, 17 days before his 96th birthday.

    6 July 1972

    Buried in the Salt Lake City cemetary following funeral services in the Salt Lake Tabernacle.