By January 31, 2013
Joseph Fielding Smith, Life of Joseph F. Smith. Salt Lake City: The Deseret News Press, 1938. 490 pp.
This year marks the 75th anniversary of the publication of a classic of Mormon biography, Joseph Fielding Smith?s Life of Joseph F. Smith. It is a book that is many things: part genealogy, part hagiography, part scrapbook, part apologia, part castigation of anti-Mormon sentiment of any shade, and part history of Mormonism?s transformation into a 20th century organization. Its 490 pages are replete with personal stories, the kind winnowed from a lifetime of observing a loved one and careful interviewing of those who knew JFS intimately. Conversely,
By October 13, 2012
Years ago I was combing BYU?s L. Tom Perry Special Collections for materials related to Joseph F. Smith, 6th president of the Church. I found a number of hidden treasures, including a holograph copy of a patriarchal blessing supposedly given to Joseph F. Smith more than a year and a half prior to his first Hawaiian mission, when he was thirteen years old.
By September 15, 2012
So these have been a long time coming, and I?m sure I have forgotten a number of highlights I didn?t get a chance to jot down during the presentations I attended. The 2012 Church History Symposium was held March 2 and 3, jointly hosted by the Church History Department and BYU?s Religious Studies Center and themed on the life and times of Joseph F. Smith. The RSC is planning on publishing selected speeches from the symposium sometime in early 2013, and has pledged to post video proceedings on their website (they have only M. Russell Ballard’s keynote address available currently)?but in the meantime I thought it would be good to have some discussion on the conference here at the good ol’ JI blog.
By August 16, 2012
Continued from this previous post.
As I began perusing Joseph F. Smith?s other mission journals?he served ten ?missions? during his lifetime, and kept extensive records of a number of them?I stumbled across what appeared to be an account of the Dream of Manhood, found in Joseph F.?s record of his first British mission (1860 to 1863). After Joseph F. went to bed on the night of 12 January 1862, he ?had a most glorious dream?:
By August 12, 2012
In September 2005, President Gordon B. Hinckley visited the Brigham Young University campus to dedicate the new Joseph F. Smith building, which houses the College of Family, Home, and Social Sciences. During his talk prior to the dedicatory prayer, President Hinckley retold a story that has been shared numerous times in talks, articles, and biographies of Joseph F. Smith; and has come to be known as Joseph F. Smith?s ?Dream of Manhood.?[i] According to Joseph F. Smith, he had a dream while on his first mission to the Hawaiian Islands, a dream that he later affirmed ?made me what I am….[and] helped me out in every trial and through every difficulty.?[ii]
As Joseph F. Smith recalled, his mission was not going well. ?I was almost naked and entirely friendless…. I felt as if I was so debased in my condition of poverty, lack of intelligence and knowledge, just a boy, that I hardly dared look a white man in the face.? In these conditions, he was blessed with a glorious dream that makes little sense, but apparently offered him a great deal of comfort.