At the young age of 33, George Albert Smith was called as a member of the Council of Twelve.
In The Presidents of the Church, Biographical Essays, Merlo J. Pusey records Elder Smith's reaction to the new calling: "He felt unprepared and unworthy to assume the heavy responsibilities the apostleship would entail. . . [but] was consoled by the thought that his extraordinary moral strength would go a long way toward balancing his limited experience and other deficiencies."At 14, George Albert Smith was given a patriarchal blessing in which he was told he would become a "mighty prophet." Because of this, he set out early in life to accomplish the goals of gaining and sharing a testimony, wrote Emerson R. West in Profiles of the Presidents, and "never to depart from them."
As a young man, George was known by friends and associates as a "comedian strumming a guitar and singing funny songs. . . ," wrote Pusey.
"Beneath his levity, however, he felt a deep sense of commitment to God. He had been much impressed with his grandfather's admonition George Albert Smith, for whom he was namedT that there was a sharp and well-defined line between the devil's territory and the Lord's, and if he kept on the Lord's side of the line, he would be in no danger."
While traveling with a surveying party that laid out the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad at Green River, Utah, the young man suffered damage to his eyesight, as a result of excessive heat and sunglare. Nevertheless, he never ceased to be involved with progress and people.
"He was a friend of youth," wrote Emerson, "for to him they were the men of tomorrow."
In 1934, at the national convention of the Boy Scouts of America, he received the Silver Buffalo, the highest award in Scouting in the United States. The award included the citation that President Smith had been "indefatigable in serving the cause of Scouting," and enthusiastic for its program.
President David O. McKay said of him: "He lived as nearly as it is humanly possible for a man to live a Christlike life." (In Profiles of the Presidents.)
Articles on this page may be used in conjunction with the gospel doctrine course of study.
Information compiled by Kellene Ricks and Elayne Wells.
Sources: Profiles of the Presidents, by Emerson R. West; The Presidents of the Church, by Preston Nibley; Essentials in Church History, by Joseph Fielding Smith; and The Presidents of the Church, Biographical Essays.