Eldred G. Smith

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Eldred G. Smith
Eldred G. Smith.jpg
Smith in 1957 (age 50)
Patriarch Emeritus /
Emeritus General Authority
October 6, 1979 (1979-10-06)  April 4, 2013 (2013-04-04)
Called by Spencer W. Kimball
Patriarch to the Church
April 10, 1947 (1947-04-10)  October 6, 1979 (1979-10-06)
Called by George Albert Smith
End reasonGranted general authority emeritus status
Personal details
BornEldred Gee Smith
(1907-01-09)January 9, 1907
Lehi, Utah, United States
DiedApril 4, 2013(2013-04-04) (aged 106)
Salt Lake City, Utah, United States
Resting place Salt Lake City Cemetery
40°46′38″N111°51′29″W / 40.7772°N 111.858°W / 40.7772; -111.858 (Salt Lake City Cemetery)
Alma mater University of Utah
Spouse(s)Jeanne Ness (until her death)
Hortense Child (1977–2012)
Children5

Eldred Gee Smith (January 9, 1907 – April 4, 2013) was the patriarch emeritus of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) and held the calling of Patriarch to the Church from 1947 to 1979, the last to hold the office. He was the oldest and longest-serving general authority of the church at his death, although he had not been active in that capacity for many years.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints nontrinitarian Christian restorationist church

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, often informally known as the LDS Church or Mormon Church, is a nontrinitarian, Christian restorationist church that is considered by its members to be the restoration of the original church founded by Jesus Christ. The church is headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah in the United States, and has established congregations and built temples worldwide. According to the church, it has over 16 million members and 65,000 full-time volunteer missionaries. In 2012, the National Council of Churches ranked the church as the fourth-largest Christian denomination in the United States, with over 6.5 million members there as of January 2018. It is the largest denomination in the Latter Day Saint movement founded by Joseph Smith during the early 19th century period of religious revival known as the Second Great Awakening.

In the Latter Day Saint movement, the Presiding Patriarch is a church-wide leadership office within the priesthood. Among the duties of the Presiding Patriarch are to preside in council meetings, ordain other patriarchs, and administer patriarchal blessings.

In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a general authority is a member of the highest levels of leadership in the church who has administrative and ecclesiastical authority over the church. A general authority's jurisdiction is church-wide, in contrast to the responsibilities of a local authority or an area authority, which relate to a particular area, unit, or department of the church. As a group, the general authorities are often referred to as "the Brethren". As of October 2017, there are 109 general authorities.

Contents

Early life and education

Smith's father was Hyrum G. Smith, the Presiding Patriarch of the LDS Church from 1912 to 1932. The younger Smith graduated from LDS High School in Salt Lake City and later the University of Utah. He was trained and worked as an engineer, registered several patents, and enjoyed building and repairing clocks. [1] From 1926 to 1929, he served as a LDS Church missionary in the Swiss-German Mission. Smith later served in several church positions, including high councilor and bishop of the 20th North Ward in Salt Lake City. From 1944 to 1946, Smith lived in Oak Ridge, Tennessee while working on the Manhattan Project and served as president of the church's branch in Oak Ridge. [2]

Hyrum G. Smith American Mormon leader

Hyrum Gibbs Smith was Presiding Patriarch of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from 1912 until his death.

LDS High School was a secondary school located in Salt Lake City, Utah operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The school was closely associated with Latter-day Saints' University, the last vestiges of which are now LDS Business College. Both trace their beginnings to the Salt Lake Stake Academy, which started in 1886. The LDS High School name was adopted in 1927.

Salt Lake City State capital city in Utah, United States

Salt Lake City is the capital and most populous municipality of the U.S. state of Utah. With an estimated population of 190,884 in 2014, the city is the core of the Salt Lake City metropolitan area, which has a population of 1,153,340. Salt Lake City is further situated within a larger metropolis known as the Salt Lake City–Ogden–Provo Combined Statistical Area, a corridor of contiguous urban and suburban development stretched along a 120-mile (190 km) segment of the Wasatch Front, comprising a population of 2,423,912. It is one of only two major urban areas in the Great Basin. It is also the seat of Salt Lake County, the most populous county in Utah.

LDS Church service

At the time of Smith's birth, a new Presiding Patriarch was usually chosen based on the principle of patrilineal succession. The 25-year-old was unmarried and without a college degree when his father died in 1932, however. Believing that he was not ready, church president Heber J. Grant left the position vacant, [3] and later appointed Eldred Smith's cousin, Joseph Fielding Smith, [4] to be Presiding Patriarch in 1942. Joseph Fielding Smith's request to be released was granted by church president George Albert Smith in 1946. [5] [6]

Lineal succession was a doctrine of the Latter Day Saint movement, whereby certain key church positions are held by right of lineal inheritance. Though lineal succession is now largely abandoned, the offices connected with the practice were those of the President of the Church and the Presiding Patriarch.

President of the Church (LDS Church) HIghest office in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the President of the Church is the highest office of the church. It was the office held by Joseph Smith, the church's founder. The President of the LDS Church is the church's leader and the head of the First Presidency, the church's highest governing body. Latter-day Saints consider the president of the church to be a "prophet, seer, and revelator" and refer to him as "the Prophet," a title that was originally given to Smith. When the name of the president is used by adherents, it is usually prefaced by the title "President". Russell M. Nelson has been the president since January 14, 2018.

Heber J. Grant President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Heber Jeddy Grant was an American religious leader who served as the seventh president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Grant worked as a bookkeeper and a cashier, then was called to be an LDS apostle on October 16, 1882, at age 25. After the death of Joseph F. Smith in late 1918, Grant served as LDS church president until his death.

Eldred Smith was selected as the next Presiding Patriarch in 1947, marking the return of the office to the line of eldest sons descending from Hyrum Smith. [7] By then he had married, started a family, and worked at several professions including cleaning and painting the ceiling of the Salt Lake Tabernacle. Smith later said of his first days as patriarch: "There is no way to prepare for it, no instructions, no counsel. When I was first ordained, I went into my office, closed the door and didn’t come out for two weeks. Then a young man came to the door asking for a blessing and so I gave it to him." During his tenure as Presiding Patriarch, Smith's primary duty was to travel to areas of the world where there were no patriarchs in order to bestow patriarchal blessings upon worthy Latter-day Saints. For example, he gave 139 blessings in 16 days in Australia in 1966. [3]

Salt Lake Tabernacle Building in Salt Lake City, Utah

The Salt Lake Tabernacle, also known as the Mormon Tabernacle, is located on Temple Square in Salt Lake City, in the U.S. state of Utah. The Tabernacle was built from 1864 to 1867 to house meetings for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and was the location of the church's semi-annual general conference for 132 years. However, because of the growth in the number of conference attendees, general conference was moved to the new and larger LDS Conference Center in 2000. In the October 1999 General Conference, church president Gordon B. Hinckley gave a talk honoring the Tabernacle and introducing the new Conference Center. Now a historic building on Temple Square, the Salt Lake Tabernacle is still used for overflow crowds during general conference.

In the Latter Day Saint movement, patriarch is an office of the priesthood. It is considered to be either an office of the patriarchal priesthood or the Melchizedek priesthood.

In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a patriarchal blessing is a blessing or ordinance given by a patriarch (evangelist) to a church member. Patriarchal blessings are modeled after the blessing given by Jacob to each of his sons prior to his death. It is taught that they are gifts of knowledge and strength of one's coming challenges and blessings.

He regularly spoke in the church's general conferences, but was only rarely assigned to visit local stakes of the church.

General Conference (LDS Church) biannual conference in Salt Lake City

General Conference is a gathering of members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, held biannually every April and October at the Conference Center in Salt Lake City, Utah. During each conference, members of the church gather in a series of two-hour sessions to listen to sermons from church leaders. It consists of four general sessions. Since April 2018 the priesthood session is only held during the April conference, and a General Women's Session held during October's conference.

A stake is an administrative unit composed of multiple congregations in certain denominations of the Latter Day Saint movement. The name "stake" derives from the Book of Isaiah: "enlarge the place of thy tent; stretch forth the curtains of thine habitation; spare not, lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy stakes". A stake is sometimes referred to as a stake of Zion.

In 1979 Smith was released from active duties and designated patriarch emeritus. The published reason for the change as noted in the church's Ensign Magazine was: "Because of the large increase in the number of stake patriarchs and the availability of patriarchal service throughout the world, we now designate Elder Eldred G. Smith as a Patriarch Emeritus, which means that he is honorably relieved of all duties and responsibilities pertaining to the office of Patriarch to the Church." [8] As evident in the video archive of the conference and as noted in other sources, the exact wording in the conference itself was that Smith was "honorably relieved—not released—of all duties and responsibilities..." [7] [9] After his release Smith often spoke at firesides, where he displayed artifacts from Joseph and Hyrum Smith's lives. [3]

A fireside is a supplementary, evening meeting in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Joseph Smith American religious leader and the founder of the Latter Day Saint movement

Joseph Smith Jr. was an American religious leader and founder of Mormonism and the Latter Day Saint movement. When he was 24, Smith published the Book of Mormon. By the time of his death, 14 years later, he had attracted tens of thousands of followers and founded a religion that continues to the present.

Hyrum Smith American Mormon leader

Hyrum Smith was an American religious leader in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, the original church of the Latter Day Saint movement. He was the older brother of the movement's founder, Joseph Smith, and was killed with his brother at Carthage Jail where they were being held awaiting trial.

Smith was considered an emeritus general authority of the church after his release. He remained an ordained patriarch and was still permitted to give patriarchal blessings. [3] Throughout his life, he gave almost 20,000 patriarchal blessings. However, he was no longer sustained by the church as a "prophet, seer, and revelator" as he was from 1947 to 1979. [9] He was sustained simply as "patriarch emeritus" in the October 1979 and April 1980 General Conferences, and mentioned only with several other men as "emeritus General Authorities" during the sustaining in the October 1980 conference. [9] [10] [11] Following the October 1980 sustainings (the transcript of which notes "a call of 'no' from several in the congregation" in opposition to the sustaining of Spencer W. Kimball as church president), the practice of sustaining the church's highest officers at every conference was temporarily abandoned, replaced instead with specific mention of only those offices that had changed since the last conference. This pattern was largely followed until the April 1985 conference, at which the sustainings returned to the previous form of presenting the President of the Church, First Presidency, and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles for sustaining whether or not a change in membership had occurred. At this point, Smith was not mentioned specifically, but included with "All other members of the First Quorum of the Seventy and the emeritus Brethren as at present constituted." [12] His death does not appear to have been mentioned during the April 2013 General Conference, which took place just days later, [13] but was mentioned in the church's May 2013 Ensign and Liahona Magazines, using the name "Elder Eldred G. Smith, who served as Patriarch to the Church from 1947 to 1979." [14] [15]

On 9 January 2007, Smith celebrated his 100th birthday. He was the second general authority in the history of the church to reach the age of 100, the first being Joseph Anderson, who died in 1992 at the age of 102.

The LDS Church has not stated directly whether it will appoint a new Presiding Patriarch, but after Smith's death an official magazine of the church, Liahona, described him as "the last person to hold the position." [15] Similarly, an official "Church News" article published shortly after Smith's death described him as the "Final Church Patriarch," as well as "the seventh and final Patriarch to the Church" [16] (phrasing which is also notable since Smith was generally considered the eighth man to officially hold the office). [7] He was survived by, among others, his eldest son, Eldred Gary Smith, who would possibly have inherited the patriarchal office had it not been discontinued, and who co-wrote a scholarly history of the office of presiding patriarch. [1] [7]

Personal

Smith was born in Lehi, Utah. He and his wife, Jeanne Ness, were the parents of five children. After his wife's death, Smith married the widow Hortense Hogan Child in 1977.

Smith died at his home in Salt Lake City, Utah, at 106. He was the oldest and longest-serving general authority, although not active as such for many years, [3] and the oldest living man in Utah prior to his death. [17]

See also

Notes

  1. 1 2 "Eldred Smith Obituary". Legacy.com. Deseret News. Retrieved 15 May 2017.
  2. Hartshorn, Leon R. (1972), Outstanding Stories by General Authorities, Vol. 2, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, p. 223, ISBN   978-0-87747-369-5
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 Stack, Peggy Fletcher (2013-04-05). "Longest-serving Mormon general authority dies at 106". Salt Lake Tribune . Retrieved April 5, 2013.
  4. Not to be confused with Joseph Fielding Smith, LDS apostle and later president of the LDS Church.
  5. "Patriarch to the Church: Released from Duties", Improvement Era 49 (Nov. 1946), 685, 708.
  6. After Joseph Fielding Smith's death, it was discovered that the patriarch had been involved in a homosexual affair with a 21-year-old U.S. Navy sailor, who was also a Latter-day Saint, and that this involvement prompted his request to be released: D. Michael Quinn, Same-Sex Dynamics among Nineteenth-Century Americans: A Mormon Example (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2001 ISBN   978-0-252-06958-1) p. 370.
  7. 1 2 3 4 Bates, Irene M.; Smith, E. Gary (1996). Lost legacy: The Mormon office of presiding patriarch (1 ed.). Champaign, IL: University of Illinois Press. ISBN   0252021630.
  8. Tanner, N. Eldon (November 1979), "The Sustaining of Church Officers", Ensign : 18
  9. 1 2 3 "The Sustaining of Church Officers". ChurchofJesusChrist.org. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Retrieved 15 May 2017.
  10. "The Sustaining of Church Officers". ChurchofJesusChrist.org. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Retrieved 15 May 2017.
  11. "The Sustaining of Church Officers". ChurchofJesusChrist.org. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Retrieved 15 May 2017.
  12. "The Sustaining of Church Officers". ChurchofJesusChrist.org. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Retrieved 15 May 2017.
  13. "April 2013 General Conference". ChurchofJesusChrist.org. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Retrieved 15 May 2017.
  14. Weaver, Sarah Jane. "Elder Eldred G. Smith Dies at Age 106". ChurchofJesusChrist.org. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Retrieved 15 May 2017.
  15. 1 2 Sarah Jean Weaver, "Elder Eldred G. Smith Dies at Age 106", Liahona , May 2013.
  16. Avant, Gerry. "President Monson Honors Final Church Patriarch at Funeral". ChurchofJesusChrist.org. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Retrieved 15 May 2017.
  17. Stagg, Jennifer (January 9, 2013), Oldest living Utah man celebrates 106 years, KSL

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References

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints titles
New title Patriarch Emeritus
October 6, 1979April 4, 2013
Position abolished
Preceded by
Joseph Fielding Smith
Presiding Patriarch
April 10, 1947October 6, 1979