Grampa Bill's General Authority Pages
/ George Albert Smith


1870 - 1951

  • Born 1870 Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Baptized as a child; Aaronic Priesthood as a youth; Melchizedek Priesthood as a young man
  • Ordained a Seventy 1892
  • Married Lucy Emily Woodruff 1892; three children
  • Mission to Southern States 1892-1894
  • Ordained an Apostle 1903
  • President of European Mission 1919-1921
  • President of the Twelve 1943-1945
  • Eighth President of the Church 1945-1951
  • Died 1951 Salt Lake City, Utah

   The son and grandson of Apostles, George Albert Smith came from an illustrious family. His maternal gradfather was the founder and mayor of Ogden, Utah. He was born April 4, 1870 in Salt Lake City, Utah to Elder John Henry Smith and Sarah Farr Smith. His Grandfather, for whom he was named, was also George Albert Smith, or more commonly, George A. Smith. As might be expected, he was raised in the Church and was baptized at the age of eight in Salt Lake's City Creek. (about the size of the drainage ditch in Grampa Bill's back yard) He attended the public schools, then called the common schools, of Salt Lake County. As a youth, he served in the several offices of the Aaronic Priesthood until in 1892, his father ordained him a Seventy.

    On May 25, 1892, George Albert Smith married Lucy Emily Woodruff, the daughter of Wilford Woodruff, Jr., and Emily Jane Smith in the Manti Temple. They had three children: Emily (Mrs. Robert M. Stewart), Edith (Mrs. George O. Elliott), and George Albert, Jr. In June 1892, a week after his marriage, he was called to the Southern States Mission under President J. Golden Kimball. Elder Smith was soon appointed mission secretary. His wife joined him, and they served in the mission office until June 1894.

    George Albert Smith attended Brigham Young University and later the University of Deseret (now the University of Utah). He worked for Zion's Cooperative Mercantile Institute in the factory and later as a salesman. This permitted his traveling by wagon through all of Utah and becoming familiar with its people and their problems. He served in a variety of local Church positions before being called as Superintendent (now the General President) of the Mutual Improvement Association.

    George Albert Smith was ordained an apostle at thirty-three years of age on October 8, 1903, by President Joseph F. Smith. He was called to preside over the European Mission from 1919 to 1921. Returning home from that assignment, he was called to a domestic assignment as Superintendent of the Young Mens Mutual Improvement Association (Y.M.M.I.A.). In 1934 the National Council of the Boy Scouts of America recognized his contributions to the scouting movement and the youth of America by awarding him its prestigeous Silver Buffalo.

    Perhaps as a result of his illustrious heritage, Elder Smith was an avid Family Historian and sucessfully traced his lineage back many generations. He was named National Vice President of the Sons of the American Revolution in 1922.

    With the death of President Rudger Clawson, in 1943, George Albert Smith was sustained as President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. He served in that calling but two years. On May 21, 1945, he was sustained and set apart as President of the Church.

    He served as President of the Church until his death April 4, 1951 in the city of his birth, Salt Lake City, Utah.


Bibliography
   LDS Biographical Encyclopedia, Andrew Jenson, Vol. 3, p.776
   Encyclopedia of Mormonism, Vol.3, SMITH, GEORGE ALBERT
   Prophets and Apostles of the Last Dispensation, Lawrence R. Flake. p. 75
   2005 Church Almanac, p. 54

Selected Discourses
May We So Conduct Our Lives
Note: Although George Albert Smith had been sustained as an Apostle and a member of the Twelve in the Semi-annual General Conference held in October of 1903, it was not until the concluding session of the Seventy-fourth Annual General Conference held in April of the following year that he delivered this, his first General Conference address.
General Conference 6 April 1904
Mission Report
Note: Elder George Albert Smith presided over the British and then the European Missions from 1919 until mid 1921. This is his first address to the Saints, given as the concluding talk in the first session of the 92nd Annual General Conference after his return from the mission field. Note that World War I had just concluded as he began his mission.
General Conference 6 October 1921
Endowed With Divine Authority
Note: With the death of President Heber J. Grant, Elder George Albert Smith was sustained as the President of the Church by the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and set apart to that office by George F. Richards, President of the Twelve on 21 May 1945. The 116th Semi-annual General Conference of the Church, held 5-7 October of that year, began with a Solemn Assembly in which the Church, in Conference assembled, sustained President Smith and the other authorities of the Church. This is President Smith's first address to the Priesthood following that Solemn Assembly.
General Conference 6 October 1945
A Missionary Experience and its Consequences
Note: This is the last address delivered to the Saints by President George Albert Smith prior to his death. The occasion was the 120th Annual General Conference of the Church.
General Conference 9 April 1950

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