George A. Smith was the nephew of Joseph Smith, Sr., the founder of the Latter Day Saint movement and one of the Eight Witnesses of the Book of Mormon, and was born into a family of Church Presidents. He was Joseph Smith, Jr.’s cousin, who published the Book of Mormon. He was involved in numerous Christian activities since he was a child. Smith embarked on a 2000-mile march with members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints when he was sixteen years old. He was ordained as a priest and at the age of 21, gained ordainment as an Apostle, which is a priesthood position of considerable power in the Latter Day Saint movement. He was also a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and later served in the First Presidency of the Church as the First Counselor. During the Utah War, he gave talks and counseled Mormons as a representative of the Mormon Church. In contrast to his priesthood, his personal life was contentious, since he married several times and had twenty children with each of his wives.
Childhood and Adolescence
George A. Smith was born to John Smith and Clarissa Lyman in Potsdam, New York, in the United States. He was the nephew of Joseph Smith, Sr., the founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He was baptized at the age of fifteen in 1832 in a congregation formed by his cousin, Joseph Smith, Jr.
His family moved to Kirtland, Ohio, around 1834. This was the location of Joseph Smith, Jr.’s church headquarters, and it was there that he first met his cousin Smith. His family, along with many other church members, moved to Missouri, United States, in 1838.
Career of George A. Smith
When he was sixteen years old, he joined members of the ‘Latter Day Saints,’ a church group, on a 2000-mile march from Ohio to Missouri and back. He was ordained as a ‘Seventy,’ a priestly office in the Melchizedek pertaining to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, on March 1, 1835.
When he was 21 years old, he received ordainment as an Apostle, which is a high-ranking priesthood position in the Latter Day Saint movement. He joined the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, one of the ruling bodies of the church in the Latter Day Saint movement, on April 26, 1839.
After his relative Joseph Smith, Jr. died and the Latter Day Saints were relocated to Utah, he led a group of 118 volunteers and 30 families to Iron Country, near Little Salt Lake, where they formed a colony.
In 1851, he led a group of people to Centre Creek, roughly 225 miles from Salt Lake City. In Iron Country, the gang formed a political party, and he was elected as its chief justice.
The village was later dubbed ‘Parowan,’ and a fort was built around their homes. The fort was supposed to be used for gatherings. It served as a school as well as a watchtower. He worked as a teacher in the ‘Parowan’ community’s school and was also elected to the Utah territorial assembly. The Utah War, often known as the Mormon Rebellion, began in March 1857. He represented the church leadership, gave military talks, and counseled Mormons during this time.
He was called to the First Presidency on October 7, 1868, as the First Counselor. The First Presidency is the ruling body of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He was the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ ninth official Church Historian from 1854 to 1871.
Personal History and Legacy
He was in a multiple marriage, like many other Morman leaders of his period, where a man might have any number of wives. Bathsheba was his first wife’s name. Lucy Smith, Nancy Clement, Sarah Ann Libby, Hannah Maria Libby, Zilpha Stark, and Susan E. West were his other wives. From them, he fathered twenty children.
He died in Salt Lake City, Utah Territory, United States, at the age of 58. The Salt Lake City Cemetery was where he was laid to rest.
Estimated Net Worth
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People ‘bind themselves down to the law of monogamy, and live all their days under the tyranny of one wife,’ according to this leader of the Latter Day Saint organization.