“Thou shalt become a mighty prophet … [and] Apostle in the Church and kingdom of God upon the earth, for none of thy father’s family shall have more power with God than thou shalt have, for none shall exceed thee. …” (Improvement Era 54:404–5.)
This blessing was given to fourteen-year-old George Albert Smith, whose father, John Henry, and grandfather, George A., were both apostles and members of the First Presidency.
The fulfillment of the blessing began in 1903 when at age thirty-three George Albert became an apostle, the only time in Church history when a father and son have been members of the Council of the Twelve at the same time. The fulfillment was completed in 1945 when he became eighth President of the Church. He served as president for six years, until April 4, 1951, when he died on his eighty-first birthday.
George Albert Smith was known for his great love of his fellowmen. “His real name was Love,” said J. Reuben Clark, Jr., his first counselor in the First Presidency.
President Clark continued, “Evil slunk away from him at all times. It could not abide the presence of his righteous living. … I think no man that we have ever had in the Church had a greater love for humanity than President George Albert Smith.” (Church News, April 10, 1941, p. 10.)
President Spencer W. Kimball said at his funeral, “It seemed to me that every act, every thought of our President would indicate that with all of his heart and soul he loved the Lord and he loved his fellow men. Is there a mortal being who could have loved them more?” (Improvement Era 54:404.)
President David O. McKay, who followed President Smith as Church president, said he “lived as nearly as it is humanly possible for a man to live a Christ-like life.” (Ibid., p. 10.)
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