Birthday: June 26, 1817
Died At Age: 58
Sun Sign: Cancer
Also Known As: George Albert Smith
Born in: Potsdam, New York
Famous as: Political leader
Spouse/Ex-: Bathsheba, Hannah Maria Libby, Lucy Smith, Nancy Clement, Sarah Ann Libby, Susan E. West, Zilpha Stark
father: John Smith
mother: Clarissa Lyman
Died on: September 1, 1875
place of death: Salt Lake City
U.S. State: New Yorkers
Who was George A. Smith?
George A. Smith was born into a family of Church Presidents and was the nephew of Joseph Smith, Sr, founder of the Latter Day Saint movement and one of the Eight Witnesses of the 'Book of Mormon'. He was the cousin of Joseph Smith, Jr., who published the 'Book of Mormon'. From an early age, he was involved in several church activities. At sixteen, Smith went on a 2000-mile march along with members of 'Latter Day Saints', a church group. He was ordained as a priest and at the age of 21, obtained ordainment as an Apostle, which is a priesthood position of high authority in the Latter Day Saint movement. He was also a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and was later appointed as the First Counselor in the First Presidency of the Church. He represented the Mormon Church during the Utah War, giving speeches and counselling Mormons. His personal life, unlike his priesthood, was controversial as he married a number of times and had many wives who bore him twenty children.
Childhood & Early Life
George A. Smith was born in Potsdam, New York, United States, to John Smith and Clarissa Lyman. He was the nephew of Joseph Smith, Sr, founder of the Latter Day Saint movement.
In 1832, at the age of fifteen, he was baptized at a church that was founded by his cousin, Joseph Smith, Jr.
In 1834, his family settled in Kirtland, Ohio. This was where the headquarters of Joseph Smith, Jr’s church was located and it was there that he met his cousin Smith for the first time.
In 1838, his family relocated along with many other church members to Missouri, United States.
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In 1834, when he was sixteen years old he went on a 2000 mile march to Missouri and back to Ohio, along with members of 'Latter Day Saints', a church group.
On March 1, 1835, he was ordained into priesthood as a 'Seventy', a priesthood office in the Melchizedek belonging to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
On April 26, 1839, when he was 21 years old, he obtained ordainment as an Apostle, which is a priesthood position of high authority in the Latter Day Saint movement.
On April 26, 1839, he became a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, which was one of the governing bodies of the church in the Latter Day Saint movement.
After the death of his cousin, Joseph Smith, Jr. and relocation of the Latter Day Saint to Utah, he led 118 volunteers and 30 families to Iron Country, near Little Salt Lake, where they established a colony.
In 1851, the group he headed reached Centre Creek, located about 225 miles from Salt Lake City. The group established a political party in Iron Country and he was elected as its chief justice.
Later, the group named their community, ‘Parowan' and built a fort that surrounded their houses. The fort was to serve as a place to conduct meetings. It was also used as a school and watch tower.
He taught in the school of the ‘Parowan’ community and was also appointed as one of the members of the territorial legislature of Utah.
From March 1857, The Utah War or the Mormon Rebellion commenced. During this time, he represented the church leadership, gave military speeches and counselled Mormons.
On October 7, 1868, he was appointed as the First Counselor in the First Presidency, which refers to the governing body that presided over The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
From 1854 to 1871, he served as the eighth official Church Historian of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Personal Life & Legacy
Similar to many other Morman leaders of his time, he was in a plural marriage, where a man can have any number of wives.
The name of his first wife was Bathsheba. His other wives were Lucy Smith, Nancy Clement, Sarah Ann Libby, Hannah Maria Libby, Zilpha Stark and Susan E. West. He fathered twenty children from them.
He died at the age of 58 in Salt Lake City, Utah Territory, United States. He was laid to rest at the Salt Lake City Cemetery.
This leader of the Latter Day Saint movement was once believed to have said that people 'chain themselves down to the law of monogamy, and live all their days under the dominion of one wife'.