Monday, May 28, 2012

It's my family

Last week I went to a funeral. 
Her name was Hortense Smith she was the wife to my great uncle Eldred G. Smith and truly an amazing woman. 
It was a beautiful service full of many wonderful stories and memories of her. 

I went with my mom. We walked in took our seats, looked up at the stand, and were not so surprised to see Elder Ballard sitting there, he is a Smith. But sitting next to Elder Ballard was President Monson. We were very pleased to see him, but not completely surprised he was there as well. 

So who are these people that they would warrant the attendance of a Prophet of God at their funeral services, you ask?

They are my family.

Did you know I have a rich Mormon heritage? 

I don't often talk about it. 
I am very proud of it, but for some reason I feel like if I tell people that my great grandfather was the Prophet Joseph Fielding Smith I am boasting or bragging. 

Especially if someone talks about their Mormon ancestors I will never bring up mine for fear of looking like a one-upper. (It's hard to top the fact that I am a direct decedent of Hyrum Smith, the brother of Joseph Smith. Unless of course if you are a direct decedent of Joseph, in which case we would be cousins.) 

But why? Why should I not share? Why am I afraid to tell people?

To be honest, there are a lot of us cousins out there, Smith isn't really a unique name. 

And to be fare most people already know the stories and backgrounds of my mormon ancestors. 
But maybe I could make them seem a little more real, more human. 
When I hear stories of my great grandfathers they have, what I believe are more special names than "Prophet" or "Elder" I know them as:
Grandaddy (Joseph Fielding Smith) and
Grandpapa (Joseph F. Smith)
This is a picture of my mother as a little girl with Grandaddy (Joseph Fielding) and Grandma Jessie. 

But then it starts getting confusing because I am actually a direct decedent of Hyrum Smith, twice.  

Hyrum (through his second wife Mary Fielding) begat Joseph F., who begat Joseph Fielding, who begat Mit, who begat Ruthie, who begat me.

Hyrum (through his first wife Jerusha) begat John, who begat Hyrum F., who begat Hyrum G., who begat Donna, who begat Ruthie, who begat me.
(That's a whole lot of Hyrums)

Did you know the Hyrum was called by the Joseph to be the Patriarch to the Church? And that calling actually was passed down from father to son since Joseph Smith Sr.? 

That calling still exists today with my great uncle Eldred G. Smith. 
He has traveled the globe giving many, many people their patriarchal blessings, including myself. I received my patriarchal blessing from him on September 11, 2001. 
True Story.
But now being 103 years-old (seriously) he is understandably not actively serving as Patriarch to the Church, his calling currently holds with it the "emeritus" standing. 
And with the growth of the church and the calling of "Patriarch" extended on a stake level there will never be a Patriarch to the Church again, there is no need.

Eldred also has in his possession the clothing that Joseph and Hyrum were martyred in. 
He and Hortense, over the years, have traveled all over giving firesides and showing the clothing along with other artifacts that were owned by the Joseph Smith Sr. Family. Including Hyrum Smith's sunglasses from 1844. 
Cool, yeah?

I feel honored knowing the blood of prophets run through my veins. 
Makes me feel as though I have a legacy to live up to. That I am capable of great things. 
But shouldn't we all feel that way? Whether we are descended from kings or beggars, prophets or thieves, we are all children of God...our potential is limitless.

Other family members you may have heard of:
-Mary Fielding Smith
-Bruce R. McConkie
-M. Russell Ballard
-Dallin H. Oaks (through marriage)


  1. Woah. Very cool. Very, very, very cool. I wouldn't worry as much about people thinking your bragging as much as people wanting favors. Haha. Like "Can I tag along at a family reunion?" kind of favors. =)

  2. This is amazing! I've known you for so long, and have a vague whispery memory of Smith being a part of your life. I don't know my heritiage (I say that kindof shamefully) but I think I would know if it were prominent like this!

  3. I am going to send this to my kids so they appreciate it too! Wish I could have been there with you guys!

  4. It really is a heritage to live up well,the divine heritage of being a child of God! Thank you for the reminder. I'm tickled the photo of the prophet turned out as well as it did! Felt a little sheepish pointing a phone in the air during the Prophet's talk. Thank you April, beautiful post!

  5. Great post! I feel the same way you do... I don't typically share that information as well, but you make a food point. I'm glad you guys got to attend the funeral! I've always been sad that I missed Amelia mcconkies due to work.

  6. Although I don't have a line in the Smith family my ancestors lived in Nauvoo & worked on the temple etc. so they probably met &knew the Smith family & other prominent church people. This is such a great site & I'm impressed by your humility & sense of pride that moves you to feel you have something to live up to. Thank you very much for sharing! As a member I have been moved to read as much as I can about church history & doctrine so I can refute all the negative things that are out there about the prophet & his family. I'm in the middle of studying the 7 volumes of church history & I have to say that Joseph's kindness, love, concern & anxiety for everyone but himself really shines through. I love that man & am so grateful for his determination to finish what the Lord had planned for him. Seeing this site really helps to bring a personal touch of these great men. Thanks again for publishing these for us! Sincerely, Bro. Meacham