President George Albert Smith

Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Seminary Teacher Resource Manual, (2001), 261–63


Introduction

Elder Matthew Cowley, who was a member of the Quorum of the Twelve, said:

“President George Albert Smith had a creed. To those of us who knew him, it is not necessary to read that creed because his life was the creed. …

“[He wrote:] ‘I would be a friend to the friendless and find joy in ministering to the needs of the poor.

“‘I would visit the sick and the afflicted and inspire in them a desire for faith to be healed.

“‘I would teach the truth to the understanding and blessing of all mankind.

“‘I would seek out the erring and try to win him back to a righteous and a happy life.

“‘I would not seek to force people to live up to my ideals but rather love them into doing the thing that is right. I would live with the masses and help solve their problems that their earth life may be happy.

“‘I would avoid the publicity of high positions and discourage the flattery of thoughtless friends.

“‘I would not knowingly hurt the feelings of any, not even one who may have wronged me, but would seek to do him good and make him my friend.

“‘I would overcome the tendency to selfishness and jealousy and rejoice in the success of all the children of my Heavenly Father.

“‘I would not be an enemy to any living soul.

“‘Knowing that the Redeemer of mankind has offered to the world the only plan that will fully develop us and make us really happy here and hereafter I feel it not only a duty but a blessed privilege to disseminate this truth’” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1951, 167–68).

Some Important Gospel Principles to Look For

  • We can bring honor to our family by obeying the principles of the gospel (see “President George Albert Smith,” Student Study Guide, pp. 195–96, par. 1–4).

  • People who donate their goods and time to those in need receive great blessings (see “President George Albert Smith,” Student Study Guide, pp. 196–97, par. 5–17; see also Mosiah 4:22–24).

  • God’s commandments are the instructions of a loving Father. As we obey Him we will grow closer to Him, become happier, and be better able to resist temptation (see “President George Albert Smith,” Student Study Guide, p. 197, par. 18–23).

Additional Resources

  • Church History in the Fulness of Times: Religion 341–43, pp. 535–49.

Suggestions for Teaching

“President George Albert Smith,” Student Study Guide, pp. 195–96, par. 1–4. We can bring honor to our family by obeying the principles of the gospel.

(20–25 minutes)

Invite students to share their full names. Discuss the following questions:

  • How did your parents select your name?

  • Who, if anyone, were you named after?

  • How important to you is your family name? Why?

  • What can you do to bring honor to your family name?

Read paragraphs 1–4 of “President George Albert Smith” in the student study guide (pp. 195–96). Look for who President Smith was named after, how he felt about his name, and what he did to honor his family name. Ask: What can you learn from President Smith’s example? Read paragraphs 18–25 and ask:

  • Which of these teachings do you think would help bring the greatest respect to your family’s name?

  • What other “family name” do we have? (see Mosiah 5:8; D&C 18:21–25).

  • How does honoring our earthly name help give honor to the Lord and our eternal family name?

“President George Albert Smith,” Student Study Guide, pp. 196–97, par. 5–17. People who donate their goods and time to those in need receive great blessings.

(20–25 minutes)

Invite students to tell about acts of service they have given or received. Ask:

  • How did these acts of service bless those who received them?

  • Why do you think the Lord wants us to give service regularly?

  • Read Mosiah 2:17. According to this verse, who do we also serve when we serve our fellow beings?

Have students silently read paragraphs 5–17 of “President George Albert Smith” in the student study guide (pp. 196–97). Have them tell which of the Church’s contributions to the world in 1945–51 most impresses them and why. Ask:

  • What kinds of service do you think the Church gives in the world today?

  • What service projects could your family, quorums, or Young Women classes participate in that would bless others?

  • What small acts of service could you give on a daily basis that would help lift and strengthen your friends and classmates?

Have students think of an act of service they could give during the upcoming week. Encourage them to perform the service and then write about the experience in their journal. Share the following statement by President Gordon B. Hinckley:

“I remind each of us that this is a work of sacrifice. It entails giving of ourselves. It entails giving of our substance. Our Father gave His Son, and His Son gave His life, and there is no true worship unless we give, and give, and give. I believe that” (“Messages of Inspiration from President Hinckley,” Church News, Sept. 5, 1998, 2).

Have the class sing “Because I Have Been Given Much” (Hymns, no. 219), and share your testimony of service.

“President George Albert Smith,” Student Study Guide, p. 197, par. 18–23. God’s commandments are the instructions of a loving Father. As we obey Him we will grow closer to Him, become happier, and be better able to resist temptation.

(15–20 minutes)

Draw on the board the following two diagrams:

Lord's side

Ask students: Which diagram best represents the nature of God’s commandments? Why? Have students read paragraphs 20–22 of “President George Albert Smith” in the student study guide (p. 197) and look for what President Smith taught concerning this idea. Explain that there are many decisions we can make that are neither good nor evil (such as what color to paint our house, what to have for breakfast, and so forth). But when it comes to the Lord’s commandments, there is a line between the Lord’s territory and Satan’s territory. Have students read 2 Nephi 28:21–23; Moroni 7:16–17 and discuss how these scriptures apply.

Share the following statement by Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve:

“The simple fact is this: anything that does not draw us closer to God takes us away from Him. We have no middle ground, no foggy gray area where we can sin a little without suffering spiritual decline. That is why we must repent and come to Christ daily on submissive knees so that we can prevent our bonfires of testimony from being snuffed out by sin” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1992, 48; or Ensign, Nov. 1992, 36).

Have students read paragraphs 18–19, 23 of “President George Albert Smith.” Discuss what else we can learn about the commandments from these teachings of President Smith. Ask:

  • How do the commandments show God’s love for us?

  • What blessings have come to you because you obeyed God’s commandments?

  • Why would you recommend to other people that they keep God’s commandments?

  • Read Mosiah 2:41. How does this verse apply to President Smith’s teachings?

  • If keeping the commandments brings happiness, why do you think so many people choose to disobey the Lord?

Read to students President Smith’s creed from the introduction to “President George Albert Smith” above (p. 261). Have them write a creed of their own to help them keep God’s commandments.