A Review of the Administration of President Joseph Fielding Smith

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    January 23, 1970–July 2, 1972

    The following list outlines some of the active and far-reaching nature of President Smith’s tenure of office as President of the Church. However, by its very nature such a list is fragmentary. Countless decisions, redirections, and different emphases of President Smith’s administration have never received public attention, yet have given and will continue to give imprint to aspects of the work of the Lord for generations to come.

    The First Presidency(click to view larger)

    Photograph taken the day President Smith’s administration began, January 23, 1970: President Lee, President Smith, President Tanner.

    1970

    January

    18 Death of President David O. McKay

    23 Joseph Fielding Smith named President of the Church, with Harold B. Lee and N. Eldon Tanner as counselors

    February

    11 Howard W. Hunter named Church Historian and Recorder, to succeed Joseph Fielding Smith

    14 Announcement of organizing of sixteen new regions in Church

    20 Myrthus W. Evans named president of Los Angeles Temple

    March

    15 First stake in Asia—Tokyo Stake

    22 First stake in Africa—Transvaal Stake

    April

    2 Changes in the Primary program for children outlined at Primary Conference

    6 Joseph Fielding Smith sustained as President of Church at solemn assembly in Tabernacle; Boyd Kenneth Packer named to Council of the Twelve, with Joseph Anderson, David B. Haight, and William H. Bennett named as Assistants to the Twelve

    19 First pre-service orientation program conducted for Latter-day Saints entering military service

    May

    30 President Smith visits Church members in Mexico City

    June

    5 6,000 pounds of relief supplies sent to Church members caught in Peru earthquake

    6 Announcement that Improvement Era, Children’s Friend, Relief Society Magazine, and Instructor, as well as the seminary system’s Impact, will be discontinued at end of 1970; three new magazines to be published: one for adults, one for youth, one for children

    10 Church leaders attend banquet climaxing efforts to raise funds for the Deliverance Temple, to be built for a black denomination in Salt Lake City; Latter-day Saint youth assist in raising money for structure

    20 Neal A. Maxwell appointed Church Commissioner of Education, reactivating that position after nearly quarter of century

    25 New family camping program announced at MIA June Conference

    July

    11 The Presiding Bishopric named as General Boy Scout Committee, with general YMMIA and Primary leaders serving on board

    18 James O. Mason named as Church Commissioner of Health Services

    26 Peter Whitmer home dedicated as tourist center

    August

    8 Announcement of Aaronic Priesthood personal achievement program, to go into effect September 1

    15 Announcement of young women’s personal achievement program, paralleling that for young men, to go into effect January 1, 1971

    22 Laurel leadership conference opened at BYU with 2,500 girls participating

    31 C. Bryant Whiting set apart as president of Arizona Temple

    September

    7 Cornerstone of Ogden Temple laid

    19 President Smith visits members in Hawaii

    26 Announcement made that R- and X-rated movies are not to be advertised in the Church’s daily newspaper, the Deseret News, after October 15, 1970

    October

    3 Members of Presiding Bishopric named as chairmen of board of trustees of Health Services Corporation. Names for new Church magazines announced: Ensign, New Era, Friend, with publication to begin in January, 1971

    6 Thirty-seven buildings dedicated at BYU

    10 Mondays set aside for family home evenings with temples and genealogical libraries, as well as local Church facilities, to be closed. Publication of President Smith’s new book, Seek Ye Earnestly. Cecil E. Hart named to preside over Idaho Falls Temple

    11 President Smith honored by 3,000 students at Ogden Institute

    31 Announcement of new training program for bishops

    December

    5 Formation of Taiwan Mission announced

    19 Announcement of expansion of Church assistance to Indian agricultural and home management program. Name changes in Church Scouting program announced: Scouts, Venturer Explorers, Explorers

    1971

    January

    5 Announcement of purchase of building site adjacent to New York City’s Lincoln Center

    16 Consolidation of counseling and admissions services for Church universities and colleges announced

    23 Meetinghouse Library Committee formed

    February

    2 Henry B. Eyring inaugurated as president of Ricks College

    12 Relief sent to victims of San Fernando Valley, California, earthquake

    27 Church Social Services Department reorganized. First Regional Representative from South America called

    March

    9 Announcement of plans for law school at BYU

    13 Fred W. Schwendiman appointed president of New Zealand Temple

    April

    5 Charles Lloyd Walch named as president of Hawaii Temple

    21 Stephen L. Brower named as president of Church College of Hawaii

    May

    4 Dallin H. Oaks named as president of BYU

    21 Cornerstone laid for Provo Temple

    31 Visitors center at Independence, Missouri, dedicated

    June

    12 Italy North Mission created

    22 Alabama-Florida, Florida South, and Georgia-South Carolina missions created

    28 New Sunday School Superintendency named: Russell M. Nelson, general superintendent [now called president]

    July

    12 Last all-Church athletic tournament (tennis) held; tournaments henceforth are to be on area and regional basis throughout the Church

    16 Relief sent to victims of Chile earthquake

    24 Fiji Mission created. First medical missionaries called

    31 Nauvoo Visitors Center opens

    August

    3 Death of Sister Jessie Evans Smith at age 68

    10 Announcement that Church will build new elementary and secondary schools in areas such as Latin America, but will probably not build any more colleges in U.S.

    28 Announcement of change of name of Deseret Sunday School Union to Sunday School of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

    27 First area general conference in Manchester, England, opens

    September

    First deaf ward in Church organized in Salt Lake City

    October

    Genesis Group organized in Park Stake to provide auxiliary activity for black members in Salt Lake City

    November

    1 Death of Richard L. Evans of the Council of the Twelve

    December

    3 Marvin J. Ashton named to the Council of the Twelve

    16 Church sells Forest Dale Golf Course back to Salt Lake City, having purchased it in 1959 for the construction of a junior college

    1972

    January

    3 Department of Internal Communications announced, with J. Thomas Fyans as managing director

    15 Church Historian’s Office reorganized: Leonard J. Arrington named as Church Historian, Earl E. Olson as Church Archivist

    18–20 Dedicatory services for Ogden Temple

    29 Announcement of prospective elders program, to replace Aaronic Priesthood—adult program

    February

    9 Dedicatory services for Provo Temple

    March

    18 Quebec Mission created

    Donald T. Schmidt called as Church librarian; title of the Church Historian’s Office changed to the Historical Department of the Church; James B. Allen and R. Davis Bitton named as assistant Church historians

    April

    6 John H. Vandenberg and Robert L. Simpson named as Assistants to Council of the Twelve; Victor L. Brown named as Presiding Bishop, with H. Burke Peterson and Vaughn J. Featherstone as counselors. Church Department of Physical Facilities announced

    8 Changes made in organization of Church welfare program

    18 President Smith receives 1972 Exemplary Manhood Award at BYU

    Announcement that Book of Mormon has been translated into Afrikaans

    May

    13 Sherman M. Crump named general secretary of Aaronic Priesthood

    26 Elder Theodore M. Burton named president of Genealogical Society. Lyric Theater in Salt Lake City being restored, to be known as Promised Valley Theater

    June

    3 First French-speaking stake, Tahiti Stake, organized

    25 Titles of Sunday School and YMMIA leaders changed from superintendent and assistant to president and counselor. President Smith addresses closing session of MIA conference

    28 Seventy new regions created; 35 new Regional Representatives called; mission districts as well as stakes now included in regions; 29 Mission Representatives called to direct missionary work under the Council of the Twelve and First Council of the Seventy

    29 John K. Edmunds appointed president of Salt Lake Temple

    July

    2 President Joseph Fielding Smith dies in Salt Lake City

    6 Funeral services for President Smith in the Tabernacle; burial in the Salt Lake City Cemetery