8th President of the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
(May 21, 1945 – April 4, 1951)

President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (June 21, 1943 – May 21, 1945)
Member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (October 8, 1903 – May 21, 1945)

General Conference Addresses

  • October 1907 General Conference
    • Children
      • “One child, born under proper conditions and reared under suitable circumstances, is worth more than all the cattle and sheep upon a thousand hills, aye, than all the treasures of the world.”
      • “I raise my voice among the sons and daughters of Zion, and warn you that if you dry up the springs of life and abuse the power that God has blessed you with, there will come a time of chastening to you, that all the tears you may shed will never remove. Remember the first great commandment; fulfill that obligation.”
      • “If you have no children of your own, if you realize the admonition of the Savior, then some of you who desire this blessing should reach out your arms and adopt some of these homeless children. And, though they may not prove in all respects all that you could wish, the intent of your heart will be rewarded by the Father who knows your desire to do good.”
  • April 1907 General Conference
    • Faithfulness
      • “Speaking of the apparently rapid way that time passes, I am reminded that none of us are here in this life very long. We believe that we are harvesting the fruits of our pre-existent lives, and earning here the reward we expect to reap when we go hence. The Lord has indicated to us that by faith we can please Him, and that by keeping His commandments we can draw near unto Him. We are told that faith is a gift of God, and that in return for obedience our faith is increased. Thereby we grow in strength, and we feel the presence of the Holy Spirit more abundantly.”
      • “We are told that the glory of God is intelligence, and we all admire intelligent men and women, therefore it should be our desire to lay the foundation for increased mental power and not do anything to weaken it.”
      • “Sec. 89 of the Doctrine and Covenants is not only a Word of Wisdom to the members of this Church but it is a law for the temporal salvation of all of our Father’s children in the world, and it behooves the Latter-day Saints to declare the truth of this law to all men. We observe that compliance with the laws of health produces mental and physical strength, and we discover that through disobedience thereto, mental and physical deterioration follows.”
      • “If I am honorable and keep the commandments of the Lord, I believe that my children will inherit similar strength of character. On the other hand, if I plant in them appetites and desires for those things which the Lord has forbidden, whereby they transgress His laws, forfeit the companionship of His Holy Spirit, and go outside the pale of the Church, when I go to the other side and find that by my unfaithfulness and determination to be a law unto myself, I have placed a stumbling block in the way of my children, so that they are deprived of exaltation in the presence of the Father, all the excuses I have made in this life will be of no avail.”
      • “Let us not be a community of excuse-makers.”
      • “We cannot with impunity look slightingly upon the Word of Wisdom. It was given as counsel and advice, not by commandment or constraint, but as a word of wisdom, from our Father, for the temporal salvation of our bodies and the preparation of our souls for eternal life. He thought it of enough importance to give it unto us, and to warn us and if He who knows all things thought it necessary to give advice and counsel upon these temporal matters, how carefully we, who know not what the morrow has in store for us, should observe that divine counsel. I feel that the Latter-day Saints have in the Word of Wisdom a law that will exalt them and lift them above those who fail to keep it.”
  • October 1906 General Conference
    • The State of Zion
      • “How many of us, learning the will of the Father, are doing it? How many of us day by day are laying a foundation and building a structure that shall conform to the dignity of the stature of our Master? “Yea, man is the tabernacle of God, even temples; and whatsoever temple is defiled, God shall destroy that temple.” He has given us intelligence and wisdom above our fellowmen. A knowledge of pre-existence has been given to the Latter-day Saints; a knowledge that we are here because we kept our first estate, and that we have been given the opportunity of gaining eternal life in the presence of our heavenly Father, by keeping our second estate. We will not be judged as our brothers and sisters of the world are judged, but according to the greater opportunities placed in our keeping. We will be among those who have received the word of the Lord, who have heard His sayings, and if we do them it will be to us eternal life, but if we fail condemnation will result.”
      • “The Church of Christ is not usually assailed from without by those who are moral in their lives. One of the best evidences to me of the lack of morality in men and women is that the adversary is able to put into their hearts a disposition to tear down the work of our heavenly Father.”
      • “I have no fear for those not of our faith who are living up to the light that God has blessed them with, because according to the law received so will we be judged and held accountable; but the Latter-day Saints who knowing the will of our Father have not done it, those who hear the teachings of the Lord from time to time and turn their backs upon them, I fear they will not reach the goal unless they turn and repent with all their hearts.”
      • “Now, while we live and labor let us magnify our calling. Let no man be found recreant to his opportunities. Let us not turn our backs upon the blessings of the Lord, but day by day go faithfully on blessing our father’s children. We have no hard feelings toward any of our fellowmen; we have no occasion to. If they misunderstand us, misquote us, and persecute us, we should remember they are in the hands of the Lord, who has said, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay,” and who further has said, “I will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is expected to forgive all men.” So when we partake of the sacrament of the Lord’s supper, as we do from time to time, let us purge from our hearts all feeling of unkindness toward one another and toward our brothers and sisters who are not of our faith. Let us labor day by day that our Father may bless us. If we have His Holy Spirit, the peopie with whom we come in contact will feel it, because it will permeate the atmosphere in which we live, and they will partake of it and drink it in, even though they may not desire so to do. Let us magnify the Lord by keeping His commandments. Let us popularize His work by laboring to build it up and extend it among the children of men. Let us magnify one another by speaking good only, and by strengthening the hands of those who are weak, and assisting those who are less patient than ourselves.”
      • “If we live up to the teachings of the Church, if we will keep all the commandments of our Father, men and women can say nothing else of us, because we will be the best people that live upon the earth. I believe we are that already, but there is room for improvement. Let us make this improvement; let us honor the Lord, honor the principles and opportunities He has granted us, and be a blessing to his children wheresoever they may be.”
  • April 1906 General Conference
    • Construction of the Monument at Joseph Smith, Jr’s Birthplace
      • “The people of that country said to Brother Wells, “You will not be able to get it into position because of storms and snow; the roads will be so slippery that you cannot haul it.” Brother Wells said to them (evidencing the faith of his lineage) “We will get there, the Lord will open the way.” So the storms held off until the monument was in place, the cottage roofed, and the doors and windows roughed in, then it began to snow. The people of that country refer to this two months of pleasant weather, at a time when ordinarily they have snow, as Wells’ weather, in compliment to the man who had faith in our Heavenly Father in carrying out the purpose undertaken.”
      • “We proceeded by other conveyances from there to Kirtland, the old home of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Coming in sight of the town the first thing that greeted our vision was the beautiful temple of Kirtland, and as we beheld it we felt that there was one sacred building that had passed from the hands of the Latter-day Saints. I hope the day will come, if it be the will of our Father, that it will again be possessed by the Church that built it.”
  • October 1905 General Conference
    • Forgiveness
      • “We are called a peculiar people because, perchance, we thoroughly believe and obey the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Our peculiarity lies very largely in the fact that we believe the Old and New Testaments actually contain the word of the Lord, as far as they have been translated correctly. We also firmly believe the Book of Mormon, which the world knows comparitively little of; and add to that unwavering belief in the Doctrine and Covenants and Pearl of Great Price. We regard the teachings contained therein as revelations of our Father in heaven to His children who dwell upon this earth. It is not! alone because we have faith in the books referred to that we are considered a peculiar people, but also because we confidently believe that our Father in Heaven has spoken in this day and age. In fact, we know that thore is communication with the heavens. Our brethren and sisters of the world, generally, do not acknowledge that.”
      • “The Lord has given us great information, has revealed His mind and will unto us, has taught us things that the world know not of, and, in accordance with the information we have received, He holds us responsible and expects us to live a higher life, a more ideal life than those who do not as fully comprehend the Gospel as we do. The spirit of forgiveness is something that the Latter-day Saints might with profit exhibit more fully among themselves.”
      • “If our lives were such that, when we differ with our neighbor, if, instead of setting ourselves up as judges one against another, we could honestly and conscientiously appeal to our Father in Heaven and say, “Lord, judge between me and my brother; thou knowest my heart; Thou knowest I have no feeling of anger against him; help us to see alike, and give us wisdom that we may deal righteously with each other,” how few differences there would be, and what joy and blessings would come to us! But, little difficulties arise from time to time which disturb the equilibrium of our daily lives, and we continue to be unhappy because we cherish an improper influence, and have not charity.”
      • “A man who is living in accordance with the Gospel of Jesus Christ is never in doubt about its success; but the man who neglects his duty, who fails to keep his covenants, loses the Spirit of the Lord, and he then begins to wonder what will become of Zion. Whenever you, my fellow laborers, feel there is something wrong with the Church, go into your secret places and kneel down before the Lord, examine your heart, and you will find every time that there is something in your own life that occasions doubt; the tempter is working on your mind, causing you to feel that perhaps Zion will not be victorious. Whenever you are doing your full duty, you will know, as you know that you live, that it is our Father’s work, and that He will bring it off triumphant.”
  • April 1905 General Conference
    • Providence from God
      • “The spirit which Inhabits the body is not the product of man, and when that spirit leaves the body we believe that it goes back to the source from whence it came.”
      • “But there was another purpose. It required in the providence of our Father a pure and spotless person to find the way of the resurrection. Jesus Christ was a man without sin. By reason of His purity, His uprightness and His virtue, He was able to unlock the doors of the prison, to overcome -death and the grave, and pioneer the way for His fellow creatures unto that heaven where we expect to go.”
      • “Many have admitted that He was a great and good man, but they have desired to rob Him of the divinity of His birth. Fortunately, however, for the Latter-day Saints, we have received a witness that these things are true; and in addition to that, we have received the testimony that He came to this western hemisphere, as recorded in the Book of Mormon, and ministered unto the Nephites upon this continent. He did not come this time as a little child, but He came in the clouds of heaven; and His coming was proclaimed by a voice that penetrated to the very center of every person that dwelt in the land. He came this time as a man from heaven, and they saw Him come. They knew that He was the Christ, for His coming had been predicted by their prophets. He gave to them the same organization that existed in the Church at Jerusalem. He taught them that they must be baptized, as He had been, by those having authority to officiate in that ordinance. This was not the word of an ordinary man; it was the word of the Son of God, who had ascended to His Father, and who had come back again, that the children of men might have another testimony added to the number that had already been given to them.”
      • “You are not dependent alone upon history, nor upon the teachings of any man, to know that this is the work of the Lord, because you have had it burned into your souls by the gift of the Holy Ghost.”
      • “We should look into our own lives and discover if we are prepared for that great future life, if we were called hence tomorrow whether we would be prepared to give an account for our earthly deeds; whether we can feel that we would receive from our Heavenly Father the welcome plaudit of “Well done, good and faithful servant.””
  • October 1904 General Conference
    • No Need to be Ashamed
      • “I say, is it for these things that anyone should be ashamed of Utah? No place upon our Father’s footstool will you go today where you will find more patriotic, home-loving, God-fearing people in proportion to the inhabitants than you will find among the valleys of these everlasting hills.”
      • “I rejoice, my brethren and sisters, to be numbered with you. Our Father has given us a great mission among the children of men. And while our brothers and sisters of other faiths are doing, in most cases, what they believe to be right and proper, the Creator has given us a special calling, and He has admonished us to perform that duty with kindness, love and charity.”
      • “No matter how gifted we may be, or how choice our language, it is the Spirit of our Father that reaches the heart and brings conviction of the divinity of this work.”
      • “Our mission in the world is to save souls, to bless them, and to place them in a condition that they may go back into the presence of our Father, crowned with glory, immortality and eternal life. If they do not understand it in this world, we have the witness from our Father that they will understand it in the life to come. Let us day by day so minister in the flesh that men seeing our good works, may glorify our Father which is in heaven, that when our life shall go out it may be said of us that the world is better for our having lived in it.”
  • April 1904 General Conference
    • Divinity of the Work
      • “When our Father in heaven speaks to the world, no matter how feeble or weak the servant may be who carries the message, that word will be vindicated, even if it involves the destruction of many souls.”
      • “The responsibility for the conduct of this work does not devolve alone upon President Joseph F. Smith, nor upon his counselors, nor upon the quorum of the Apostles; but it devolves also upon every man and woman who has been baptized by the servants of God and become a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Every man who has received the Priesthood must set his house in order, and so conduct his life that men, seeing his good works, may glorify our Father which is in heaven.”
      • “Grateful should we be that our Father in heaven has given us a testimony of the divinity of this work; and it should be our life’s labor to so conduct ourselves that we will not bring reproach upon it. Those who are beginning to pass the meridian of life, those gray-haired men and women who sit before me today, who have borne the burden in the heat of the day, who came into this country when it was a howling wilderness, have received from our Heavenly Father a testimony that burns in their hearts, and they know, as they know that they live, that the Gospel is true. And this same blessing has been given to their children when those children have sought it.”
      • “Now, as to our friends who are not of our faith, we should follow the admonition: pray for those who persecute you, and despitefully use you. Remember that you have a testimony of this work, which they have not. Some day, when we all present ourselves,as we expect to do, before the bar of God to answer for the deeds done in the body, then will our brothers and sisters of the world, who now think we are deluded and mistaken, find that our lives have been spent for the salvation of their souls, that our ministry has had in it only love and kindness for our fellow men, and that we would have given unto them a blessing had they been willing to receive it.”

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