Adapted from the LDS Biographical Encyclopedia.
Hyrum Mack Smith was a member of the Council of Twelve
Apostles from 1901 until his death in 1918. He was the eldest son of Pres.
F. Smith and Edna Lambson, and was born March 21, 1872, in Salt Lake
City, Utah. In his youth he was very carefully guarded by his mother, who
was loathe to let him go out of her sight, and who never permitted him or
his younger brothers to go beyond the confines of the garden gate alone.
Long after he reached the age when most boys are now seen playing in the
streets until late at night, he was safely tucked into bed. His father,
Pres. Joseph F. Smith, would often gather round him the members of his
family and teach them to shun evil, to be honest and truthful, associate
with no bad companions, and with picture and narrative show them the results
of doing right and wrong. Thus were Hyrum and the other children made the
companions of their parents, friends unto whom they could go at all times,
and pour out the inmost secrets of their hearts in full confidence.
Hyrum grew up, developing to a marked degree the
boundless love and impartial affection which he had been accustomed to
see his father and mother mete out to their children, and his father to
his wives. Until he left the paternal roof of his parents he would be visited
by that ever loving father who would still kiss him and tuck the covers
snugly around him. Even years later, whenever father and son met, in the
home, on the street, in the office, it mattered not where, they met with
an affectionate and holy kiss. Hyrum was taught to love his home, and there
he could always be found when no duty called him away.
He attended the public schools, and later the Latter-day
Saints' College, from which he graduated in June, 1894. On the 15th of
November, 1895, he married Miss Ida Bowman, of Ogden, and on the evening
of the next day he departed on a mission to Great Britain. Upon arriving
at Liverpool he was appointed to labor in the Leeds conference, where he
engaged in regular missionary work. In October, 1896, he was called to
preside over the Newcastle conference, which position he held until he
was honorably released to return home in February, 1898.
Upon arriving home he was at once set apart as a
home missionary. He also acted as assistant teacher and as corresponding
secretary of the 24th quorum of Seventy. He was employed at Z. C. M. I.,
where he remained until Oct. 30, 1901. When the Salt Lake Stake was divided
he became a resident of Granite Stake. Here also he labored as a house
missionary and later was called to act as Stake secretary of the Sunday
schools, which office he filled to the satisfaction of the Stake authorities.
He was called by the quorum of Twelve Apostles to
become one of that body, on Oct. 24, 1901, and was ordained to that high
and holy calling by his father on the same day. Hyrum M. Smith was a young
man who strove to profit by the excellent teachings received from his parents.
He gave them and the Lord the credit for enabling him to say that he never
tasted tea, coffee, tobacco nor intoxicating drinks of any kind; that he
never took the name of God in vain, nor befouled his mouth with profanity;
that he never in his life spoke disrespectfully of his parents, but that
he honored and loved them with all his soul; that he always defended the
principles of the gospel and the servants of the Lord; that he had a testimony
for himself that God lives, and that Joseph Smith was the Prophet through
whom he restored the gospel of Jesus Christ in these latter days
As a young Apostle it fell to the lot of Elder
Smith to travel extensively in the Stakes of Zion, assisting the older
members of the quorum to organize and re-organize Stakes of Zion, dedicate
meeting houses, attend Mutual Improvement conventions, etc., and he grew
rapidly to understand the many duties pertaining to his high and holy calling
in the Priesthood. In February, 1904, he was summoned to Washington, D.
C., together with other prominent officers of the Church, to appear as
a witness in the Smoot (see Reed Smoot.)
investigation case before the Senate Committee on Privileges and Elections.
In December, 1905, he accompanied President Joseph F. Smith and his party
to Vermont and took part in the dedicatory services held Dec. 23, 1905,
when a monument was dedicated in honor of the Prophet Joseph
In 1913 he was called to preside over the European
Mission and together with his wife and four children he arrived in Liverpool,
England, Sept. 30, 1913. When World War I broke out he was in Germany on
a tour of the missions under his direction, and he experienced considerable
difficulty in obtaining passage back to England. He met with signal success
and capability every exigency of that trying period, directed the movement
of the Elders in every mission under his presidency, called them in and
modified their work according to the situation; and the work of the Lord,
under his guiding hand, went on with as little interruption as possible.
Bravely he faced the ordeal with valor and with a courage unflinching.
He instilled into the hearts of the missionaries laboring under him, from
presidents of missions to the humble traveling Elder, a love of mankind
and a burning eagerness to preach the gospel to a war-torn world. His utterances
from the pulpit and in conversation were keen disquisitions on the great
war. He had studied the causes of the war and was fearless in his denunciation
of unrighteousness as a contributing factor; but he was kind and forbearing
in his pity for mankind for the plight into which the world had been plunged.
On his mission as president, he was ably assisted
by his wife, Ida B. Smith, who worked with him untiringly. After filling
a most successful mission, Elder Smith and family returned to America Sept.
15, 1916, and he immediately resumed his former labors in the Stakes of
Zion and continued thus until he was stricken with his last sickness from
the effects of which he died in the Latter-day Saints hospital, Salt Lake
City, Jan. 23, 1918. His wife, Ida Bowman Smith, after giving birth to
a son, died in Salt Lake City Sept. 24, 1918.
The following was published in the Deseret News
at the time of Apostle Smith's demise: "A great sorrow comes to this community,
the Church as well as the State, in the death of Hyrum M. Smith, eldest
son of President Joseph F. Smith, and himself an Apostle in the Church
of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He was known and beloved throughout
the length and breadth of the intermountain country, every part of which
he has traversed as an earnest, vigorous, sincere and impressive preacher
of righteousness, the uncompromising opponent of evil, a stalwart, worthy
native son of Utah, and a patriotic citizen through and through. Few men
have lived a purer life, few have so stoutly resisted from boyhood up the
blandishments of the world that tempt from the path of rectitude, few could
go to face their account with so little to regret or wish otherwise. And
yet, to those who knew this excellent man, it would seem that few could
be so ill-spared at this time, because there are so few to take his place.
His loss will be most keenly felt, and he will be truly mourned.
To his revered father, than whom no man ever loved
his children more devotedly, this deep bereavement will be especially severe.
His mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters, his close
associates and his host of acquaintances are plunged in a sorrow the measure
of which will correspond to the degree of their intimacy with him. The
finite mind gropes in vain for a reason why one so good and useful, so
valiant and strong, one for whom life seemed to hold so much in store,
should thus be torn away in the very prime and vigor of manhood. But though
this mystery we may not explain, nor its purport comprehend, to the soul
surcharged with grief there comes relief in the assurance that the great
Father above will sanctify all sorrow to His children's good, and that
He does all things well."