Tributes and Messages of Condolence

Immediately following news of the death of President Joseph Fielding Smith, many telegrams and letters began arriving at Church headquarters. Printed below are excerpts from some of these messages.

Mrs. Nixon and I were deeply saddened to learn of the death of Joseph Fielding Smith, and on behalf of all Americans, we send our sincere sympathy to the members of the Church and to President Smith’s family.

For over seventy years—from his first days as a missionary, then as a leading religious scholar, and finally as the tenth President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints—Joseph Fielding Smith gave enormously to others, helping them to find greater fulfillment in their relationship to God. As son of another President of the Church and grand-nephew of its first president, he received a rich heritage from the past; perhaps his greatest accomplishment was the way he carried forward and enriched the legacy for the future.

I had the privilege of enjoying the friendship of Joseph Fielding Smith in the closing years of his life. This was a profound experience for me, and I know that men and women everywhere have lost a devoted and inspirational leader.

To you and others who will now guide the Church, Mrs. Nixon and I send our prayers and warmest best wishes. Sincerely, Richard M. Nixon, Western White House, San Clemente, California

I wish to express my sincere condolences at the death of President Joseph Fielding Smith. I know we shall all miss the devotion and integrity he has brought to the … Latter-day Saints. His contribution deserves the continued congratulations of us all.—Senator George McGovern

Our deepest sympathy with the Church on the great loss of the passing of President Joseph Fielding Smith. May the members of the Church find solace in the memory of the deep devotion and contributions of their leader.—Yeheskel Carmel, Consul General of Israel, Los Angeles

My deepest sympathy goes out to all of you in the passing of your great leader and president, Joseph Fielding Smith. I know that the loss of his leadership of many years in the Church will be profoundly felt. My late husband, J. C. Penney, greatly valued his acquaintance and held him in the highest esteem. Please convey my heartfelt condolence to his family.—Mrs. J. C. Penney

The officers and directors of United States Steel join with me in conveying our sorrow of the death of President Joseph Fielding Smith. We share with you and our many employees in Utah the loss of a friend, counselor, and great spiritual leader.—Edwin Gott, Chairman, Board of Directors, United States Steel Corporation

The membership of the Boy Scouts of America extends the hand of sympathetic understanding to the membership of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on the passing of Joseph Fielding Smith. He was a man of vision, integrity, wisdom, and greatness; and an ardent supporter of Scouting for all boys.—Boy Scouts of America, New Brunswick, New Jersey

Please accept my profound sympathy for the General Authorities and the world membership of the Church at the loss of President Joseph Fielding Smith. I knew him as a unique and beautiful paradox of gentleness and strength, humility and dignity, disciple and sage, servant and president. May the Spirit of the Lord be with the Twelve as they gather to discern the “Mantle of Joseph” and where the Lord places it.—The Rev. Girard Leo Tierney, Director of Religious Education, Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany, New York

The death of Joseph Fielding Smith touches the lives of people in all parts of the world. I join my prayers to theirs rejoicing in the strength of his life and the guidance he gave to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.—Otis Charles, Bishop, Episcopal Diocese of Utah

On behalf of the congregation of the First Baptist Church of Salt Lake City and the General Council of the American Baptist Churches in the United States, I wish to express our condolences on the occasion of your deep and profound loss.—Ellis M. Kek, Pastor, First Baptist Church, Salt Lake City