The Life of Joseph Fielding Smith
By Joseph Fielding Smith, Jr. and John J Stewart
Deseret Book, 404 pp., $4.95

“I know absolutely that Jesus Christ is the Only Begotten Son of God, the Redeemer of the world, the Savior of men insofar as they will repent of their sins and accept the gospel. Through his death he redeemed all men and took upon him that sacrifice which would relieve us of our sins that we may not answer for them if we will accept him and be true and faithful to his teachings. … My desire is to prove true and faithful to the end.”

This is the testimony of President Joseph Fielding Smith—teacher of righteousness and doctrine, theologian, apostle, prophet, seer, and revelator.

In The Life of Joseph Fielding Smith, Joseph Fielding Smith, Jr., and John J Stewart capture the spirit and testimony of our late President, who for 62 years served as a General Authority. At the age of 33 he was called to be an apostle, and he served in the Council of the Twelve for 60 years, including 19 years as president of that body. From January 1970 to July 1972 he served as President of the Church.

In this book, the authors give an account of the ministry of Joseph Fielding Smith as historian, defender of the faith, General Authority, husband and father, missionary, and scholar. In the closing chapter is quoted a portion of a letter written to the Smith family by President Harold B. Lee, who penned the following tribute to the great prophet-leader with whom he served:

“His passing to me was as near a translation from life unto death as I think we will see in our lifetime experience. He died as he lived and has demonstrated to all of us how one can be so honored and so privileged when he has lived so close to the Lord as has your noble patriarch and father, Joseph Fielding Smith.”

LDS Genealogist’s Handbook
By George H. Fudge and Frank Smith
Bookcraft, 200 pp., $3.95

On September 6, 1842, the Prophet Joseph Smith said:

“… Let us, therefore, as a church and a people, and as Latter-day Saints, offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness; and let us present in his holy temple, when it is finished, a book containing the records of our dead, which shall be worthy of all acceptation.” (D&C 128:24.)

The Prophet further declared that an ordinance is worthy of all acceptation when it is (1) administered in the name of the Lord by those having authority, (2) administered correctly and faithfully, and (3) properly recorded. (See D&C 128:9.)

What does this mean for us? It means genealogical research must be carefully undertaken if an accurate record is to be kept and if duplication of temple ordinances is to be avoided.

A pedigree chart can be a fearsome-looking piece of work when viewed in its entirety. People often feel incapable of addressing themselves to such a formidable complexity. However, like any other endeavor, the art of genealogical research can be mastered simply by approaching it a little at a time.

George H. Fudge and Frank Smith not only make genealogy less fearsome; they also trace the development of the Church’s genealogical program. They discuss everything from name-processing procedures to family organizations, from a general overview of the Genealogical Society services to specific ways to make a personal research survey and chart a pedigree.

Marriage and Common Sense
By Mark E. Petersen
Bookcraft, 105 pp., $2.95

“Marriage was made to succeed.” But what makes a marriage a success? In Marriage and Common Sense Elder Petersen gives the answer: love, common sense, and spirituality.

Of prime importance to marital happiness is selecting a mate. “First and foremost we will have in mind someone we can take to the temple, there to receive the only kind of marriage to which the Lord gives eternal significance, and we must be sure of good character, faith and stability in our prospective partner.

“Here prayer and common sense will be important guides. We cannot depend on the heart alone. Emotionalism and infatuation are like kites without tails or ships without rudders. That is why some love is blind. But who wants to go into marriage blind?”

Elder Petersen gives his advice on—

Religion and marriage: “… having religion in the home is not enough. It should be the same religion.”

Happiness: “Attitude is all-important. It need not be a Pollyanna type of thing; in fact, it must not be, for all is not rosy in life. But it is the truest kind of realism to admit that for every result there is a cause, that kindness begets kindness, and hate begets hate. Cooperation develops cooperation, and rebellion breeds more rebellion.”

The effect of income: “For a happy marriage, a young couple should look carefully to types of employment and income.” “Money is as great a factor in marital success or failure as any other one thing.”

Early marriages: “Most divorces come from marriages involving the youngest people. … Immaturity is the main cause. Many youngsters are too stubborn, too self-centered and too limited in their understanding of what a marriage really involves to give them much chance for success.”

Woman and the Priesthood
By Rodney Turner
Deseret Book, 333 pp., $4.95

“The basic laws by which the blessings of heaven are obtained apply with equal force to both sexes. …

“Man and woman find salvation together. They must close the circle of eternal progression if they are to regain the presence of God.”

With this basic premise, to make men and women partners in their progression toward “the pure love of Christ,” and thus to prune from their natures all negative aspects that keep them from it, the author points out that “the pure love of Christ vitalizes, blesses, forgives, sustains, and edifies. It lifts and bears the burdens of others. … When Adam began ‘to eat his bread by the sweat of his brow … Eve, also, his wife did labor with him.’ His burden became her burden. Such is the way of love. And if it has its way all the way, it will, in time, perfect everyone and everything it touches.”

“It is the unique responsibility of men to act as God’s agents or legal administrators in representing him on earth. … It is this authority which a woman cannot ‘hold.’ Her ‘priesthood’ callings are not elder, bishop, seventy or apostle—but wife, mother, teacher and comforter. These are at least as important and demanding as any of those exercised by men. In honoring these callings, she becomes a true ‘helpmeet’ of ‘Adam’ in his labors in the field.”

President John Taylor said, “Do they [women] hold the priesthood? Yes, in connection with their husbands and they are one with their husbands, but the husband is the head.”

The tone of the book is to exalt the stature of woman.

The author quotes President J. Reuben Clark as saying that “wives and mothers possess ‘a function as divinely called, as eternally important in its place as the Priesthood itself.’”

Above, Joseph Fielding Smith at age 19. Above, right, group at Robert Smith home in Massachusetts, first ancestral Smith homesite in America. Right, Elder Jospeh Fielding Smith, Elder Rudger Clawson and President Heber J. Grant at Sacred Grove, 1923.