Joseph F. Smith, Sixth President of the Church
Joseph F. Smith was born November 13, 1838, in Far West, Missouri. In 1844, his father, Hyrum Smith, was martyred along with his uncle, the Prophet Joseph Smith. Young Joseph F. Smith helped his mother, Mary Fielding Smith, migrate to Utah in 1848 and establish a house in Salt Lake City. After she died in 1852, he began a life of service to the Church. In addition to his many religious duties, he served in Utah’s territorial legislature from 1865 to 1874.
He became President of the Church on October 17, 1901. While ushering the Church into the 20th century, Joseph F. Smith brought Latter-day Saints to a better appreciation of early Church history. He worked to improve the public image of the Church by developing important Church historical sites in New York, Missouri, and Illinois, building a visitors’ bureau, and expanding Church missionary and educational systems. He clarified important doctrines, served numerous missions, and directed the construction of a new headquarters complex for an expanding Church. After 17 years as Church President, Joseph F. Smith died on November 19, 1918, in Salt Lake City.