Friend to Friend: President Joseph Fielding Smith

President Joseph Fielding Smith

On July 19 people all over the Church will have special thoughts and prayers for Joseph Fielding Smith, who will be ninety-five on that day.

As well-known events of his life are recalled, one young man will undoubtedly remember the cold, windy day when, with a group of Primary boys, he was invited to have a picture taken with Joseph Fielding Smith, who was then president of the Council of the Twelve. This picture was to be posed in front of a pine tree on Temple Square in Salt Lake City.

The boys and their leader met at the Bureau of Information building. As they left to walk over to the tree for the picture, President Smith turned to one of the boys who had on only a light sport jacket and said, “Son, it is cold out here. You’d better put on your coat.”

The boy looked up at the gentle man beside him and said, “I don’t have a coat.”

President Smith unbuttoned his heavy overcoat and encircled it around the shivering boy. He smiled invitingly as he said, “Get inside my coat with me then, son. We can walk together.”

This kind man is now the tenth president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. As he walks with and among his people today, boys and girls throughout the Church join in wishing him a very happy birthday!

A few years ago President Smith had a cabin in Mill Creek Canyon, where he often went to relax and to meditate. One day he wrote some little verses to express his feeling for some of God’s creations, and he drew an illustration to accompany each one. At this birthday time we are grateful that he has given us permission to share these verses and illustrations with his friends.

This is little Chopper Squirrel
Up in the mountains high.
He begs us for some grains of corn,
With thanks he says good-bye.
This is little Tommy Bat
Who flies around at night.
He eats the bugs and ’skeeters too,
Which is a thing quite right.
This is little Bamby Deer
Who comes to the cabin homes.
She licks the salt we feed to her,
And on the mountain roams.
This, our little feathered friend
Who sings for us all day.
When come the winter and the cold,
He wisely flies away.

[illustrations] Illustrated by Joseph Fielding Smith