New Videos about Joseph Fielding Smith Available Online

Contributed By By Ryan Morgenegg, Church News staff writer

  • 26 March 2014

President Joseph Fielding Smith married three times. His first wife, Louie Emily Shurtliff, died in 1908; his second wife, Ethel Georgina Reynolds, died in 1938. His third wife, Jessie Evans Smith, shown in photo, died a year before President Smith passed away in 1972.  Photo courtesy of Church History Department.

Article Highlights

  • A series of short videos has been released to offer a glimpse into the life of Joseph Fielding Smith.
  • The short videos can be an effective enhancement for Relief Society and priesthood lessons or for use in family home evening.

The Church History Department has created a series of short videos on the life of President Joseph Fielding Smith; the videos are available online at “These videos give members insight into the life of a prophet few of us have ever met,” said Kevin Nielson, product manager for

The short videos can be an effective enhancement for Relief Society and priesthood lessons or for use in family home evening.

In total, 10 videos have been released to offer a glimpse into the life of Joseph Fielding Smith. One video, “A Beloved Father,” shares tender insights from Ethel Georgina Reynolds Smith, Joseph Fielding Smith’s wife. She wrote the following description of a gentle and paternal side of President Smith: “You ask me to tell you of the man I know. I have often thought when he is gone people will say, ‘He is a very good man, sincere, orthodox.’ They will speak of him as the public knows him; but the man they have in mind is very different from the man I know. The man I know is a kind, loving husband and father whose greatest ambition in life is to make his family happy, entirely forgetful of self in his efforts to do this.”

Other videos highlight inspired teachings from Joseph Fielding Smith, such as his counsel on nurturing children. No other gospel precept resonated more with Joseph Fielding Smith than the sanctity of the home and family. He taught, “We plead with fathers and mothers to teach personal purity by precept and example and to counsel with their children in all such things.”

 A brief description of each of the videos follows:

First Presidency in 1970. Left to right: Harold B. Lee, Joseph Fielding Smith, and N. Eldon Tanner. Photo courtesy of Church History Department.

• “Sanctity of the Family” is a video about the teachings of Joseph Fielding Smith. President Smith made it a priority to strengthen the home and family. He set apart Monday nights for family home evening.

• “The Example of a Righteous Father” talks about the hours Joseph Fielding Smith spent with his father, Joseph F. Smith, an apostle and prophet. He received answers, direction, and counsel that helped develop his testimony of the gospel from his father.

• “The Worldwide Church” presents President Smith’s visit to Manchester, England, for the first area conference. Members and visitors came from all over Europe to hear the Lord’s representative on the earth.

• “A Beloved Father” shows the paternal side of President Smith through the words of his wife Ethel Georgina Reynolds Smith. She speaks of his great love, tenderness, and compassion as a husband and father.

Joseph Fielding Smith at age 24. Photo courtesy of Church History Department.

• “A Voice of Warning” details his messages, talks, and writings about the Second Coming of Jesus Christ and the importance of preparing to greet Him when He comes.

• “Learning Service in Family Duties” is a historical reenactment of his life as a boy. It shows him accompanying his mother, who was a midwife, often in the middle of the night, to deliver babies. Young Joseph would stay in the carriage while his mother attended to her duties.

• “The Church Historian” provides stories of the time Joseph Fielding Smith was hired to work in the Church Historian’s Office to 1906, when he was called as the official Church Historian, and to 1910, when he was called to the apostleship.

• “A Love of the Scriptures” shows his lifelong love and pursuit to read the word of God. By the time he was 10 years old he had read the Book of Mormon twice. He was known as a great gospel scholar.

• “Testimony of Joseph Fielding Smith” delivers the prophet’s testimony of the Church in his own words. He describes the leadership of the Church being divinely inspired, with the Savior Jesus Christ at the head. Men and women are instruments in the Lord’s hands.

• “A Call to the Apostleship” tells the story of his call to become an Apostle of the Lord. It describes how his father, Joseph F. Smith, struggled to call his own son because he didn’t want to appear to be showing favoritism.

For more information about Joseph Fielding Smith, visit and view an online exhibit and complete timeline of his life. For answers to questions, please call 801-240-2272.