Tag Archives: george albert smith

George Albert Smith suffered from depression

Once again referring to Elder Holland’s talk from the Saturday afternoon session of General Conference, he mentioned that George Albert Smith suffered from depression. I’m fairly well versed in Church history, but didn’t realize how sever it was until I followed some links online. Apparently while an apostle he had a 3-year battle that at times saw him rarely leave his bed. He seemed to hit rock bottom, and then he started to get a bit better, and ultimately became President of the Church.

Jana Reiss at Religion News Service has a great summary of his struggles, as well as a link to a Journal of Mormon History article that has more details.

Have you seen the Latter-day Apostles web site?

Have you seen the Latter-day Apostles web site? It is a cool site that someone has put together that shows all of the First Presidencies and Apostles that we’ve had since the Church was organized. You can pick a date in time or you can view a bit of a slide show and watch the changes happen over time.

latter-day_apostles_1899

latter-day_apostles_2013

I spent a little bit of time the other day looking at the changes. I wondered what was the greatest number of future presidents that were in the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles at the same time. This is what I’ve seen. I may have missed someone, but these are definitely going to be among the highest:

  • In March 1945 there was the President of the Church (Heber J Grant) with a future president as a counselor (David O McKay), and 5 future presidents in the quorum together (George Albert Smith, Joseph Fielding Smith, Harold B Lee, Spencer W Kimball, and Ezra Taft Benson)
  • In October 1968 there was the President of the Church (David O McKay) and 7 future presidents in the quorum together (Joseph Fielding Smith, Harold B Lee, Spencer W Kimball, Ezra Taft Benson, Howard W Hunter, Gordon B Hinckley, and Thomas S Monson)

Neat!

Stay on the Lord’s side of the fence

Stay This Side of the Fence closeup

Every summer my family goes up to a small cottage in a place called Buckhorn. It isn’t fancy, but it’s nice to get away. Buckhorn is about half an hour north of Peterborough, and Peterborough has a nice little zoo with a small train that takes you around the property.

It’s funny where we get our inspiration from, but every time I think of Peterborough I think of that train and a small sign on one of the fences.

“Stay this side of the fence”

I think of this often because of the simplicity of it, but how important it really is.

The train moves very slowly, so it seems unlikely that you wouldn’t be able to get out of the way in time. However the train is very heavy, and if you do get stuck, you could be in big trouble. This is kind of like life. If we face temptation, it isn’t because it comes charging at us unexpectedly. We know that it is coming. We can feel or hear the signs. But we probably think we have enough time to get out of the way. We can watch inappropriate movies and feel we’d turn them off if they get really bad. We justify language in music because it has a good beat. We view inappropriate things online because it is “funny”. However, too many people don’t get out of the way in time.

The George Albert Smith manual that we used last year had a good quote about this sort of thing:

“When I have been tempted sometimes to do a certain thing, I have asked myself, ‘Which side of the line am I on?’ If I determined to be on the safe side, the Lord’s side, I would do the right thing every time. So when temptation comes think prayerfully about your problem and the influence of the Lord will aid you to decide wisely. There is safety for us only on the Lord’s side of the line.”

That simple sign can truly save lives!

Stay This Side of the Fence

Nominal membership in the Church

I taught Chapter 15 from the George Albert Smith manual during our HP Group lesson time yesterday. The lesson was titled “Advancing the Work of the Lord.” As I prepared for the lesson, it reminded me a lot of the way President Hinckley used to speak (we are in good hands; this is the work of the Lord; the rock cut out of the mountain will fill the earth, etc). President Smith spoke in the same way.

The manual had several great quotes, but the one that really stuck out to me was on page 161:

…then there are those who accept nominal membership in the Church but who seem to feel themselves exempt from rendering any kind of service. But sooner or later they find themselves uneasy in their hearts, and doubtful in their thoughts, as we all do when we fail to do what we know to be our full duty. 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 then he begins to wonder what will become of Zion. …

I guess we all need to be asking ourselves if we are nominal members, or are we doing our full duty. It definitely gives me something to think about.

Principles From Prophets

I go for a 3-4 km walk every day at lunch. While I’m walking, I like to listen to podcasts, talks, etc. One that I’ve read and listened to is by President Monson. On September 15, 2009 he gave a BYU Devotional address called Principles From Prophets. I remember reading about it when it first was given, but it took me a while to finally listen to it.

During the devotional, President Monson shares stories about the prophets that have been alive while he has been alive. He shares a characteristic, favourite food, song, and some personal anecdotes about Heber J Grant, George Albert Smith, David O McKay, Joseph Fielding Smith, Harold B Lee, Spencer W Kimball, Ezra Taft Benson, Howard W Hunter, and Gordon B Hinckley. I love to hear some of the “behind-the-scenes” stuff that was shared. I wish we heard this sort of thing more often.