John Henry Smith

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For other people named John Henry Smith, see John Henry Smith (disambiguation).
John Henry Smith
John Henry Smith.jpg
Second Counselor in the First Presidency
April 7, 1911 (1911-04-07) – October 13, 1911 (1911-10-13)
Called by Joseph F. Smith
Predecessor Anthon H. Lund
Successor Charles W. Penrose
Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
October 27, 1880 (1880-10-27) – April 7, 1911 (1911-04-07)
Called by John Taylor
Predecessor Francis M. Lyman
Successor George Teasdale
End reason Called as Second Counselor in the First Presidency
LDS Church Apostle
October 27, 1880 (1880-10-27) – October 13, 1911 (1911-10-13)
Called by John Taylor
Reason Reorganization of First Presidency[1]
at end of term
Charles W. Penrose added to First Presidency; James E. Talmage ordained
Personal details
Born John Henry Smith
(1848-09-18)September 18, 1848
Carbunca, Iowa, United States
Died October 13, 1911(1911-10-13) (aged 63)
Salt Lake City, Utah, United States
Cause of death Pulmonary hemorrhage
Resting place Salt Lake City Cemetery
40°46′37″N 111°51′29″W / 40.777°N 111.858°W / 40.777; -111.858 (Salt Lake City Cemetery)
Spouse Sarah Farr
Josephine G. Smith
Children 19
Parents George A. Smith
Sarah Ann Libby.
Signature of John Henry Smith

John Henry Smith (September 18, 1848 – October 13, 1911) was a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). He was a prominent politician in Utah and played an important role in the process whereby Utah made the transition from a territory to a state of the United States.

Church service[edit]

In 1874 and 1875 Smith served as a missionary in Europe. He spent most of this mission in England, particularly in and around the city of Birmingham.

From 1875 to 1880 he was the bishop of the Salt Lake 17th Ward, which included the Salt Lake Temple within its boundaries.

In October 1880, LDS Church president John Taylor called Smith to be a member of the Quorum of the Twelve. On October 27 of that year, he was ordained an apostle by Wilford Woodruff, who at that time was President of the Twelve. Smith served in that capacity until the death of First Presidency member John R. Winder in 1910; he was then asked by Church President Joseph F. Smith to take Winder's place as a member of the First Presidency. John Henry Smith served in this capacity until his death the next year.

Political contributions[edit]

In 1882 Smith was elected a member of the Utah Territorial Legislature.

John Henry Smith was also a prominent Republican in Utah politics. Smith was unanimously elected by the 107 delegates to be the Chair of the Utah Constitutional Convention that was held between 4 March and 8 May 1895. The result of the Convention was a draft Constitution for the proposed State of Utah, which was accepted by the United States Congress in 1896 when Utah officially became a State of the United States.

Marriage and family[edit]

Born in Carbunca, Iowa, Smith was the son of Latter-day Saint Apostle and member of the First Presidency George A. Smith and Sarah Ann Libby.

Smith practiced plural marriage, and was the father of 19 children. One was George Albert Smith, who also became an LDS Apostle and served as the 8th President of the Church. His first wife, Sarah Farr, was the daughter of Lorin Farr, who was mayor of Ogden.

His second wife, Josephine Grosbeck Smith, spent 1888 until 1896 in exile in Manassa, Colorado, to avoid being used as a witness to convict Smith of unlawful cohabitation.[2]

John Henry Smith and George Albert Smith are the only father and son pair to have been members of the Quorum of the Twelve at the same time, having served in the Quorum together between 1903 and 1910. John Henry Smith was also the father of Nicholas G. Smith.


Smith died of a pulmonary hemorrhage at Salt Lake City[3] and was buried at Salt Lake City Cemetery.


  1. ^ Smith and Francis M. Lyman were ordained apostles on the same date. After their ordinations, there were still only 11 members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.
  2. ^ article on polygamy exiles in Manassa
  3. ^ State of Utah Death Certificate


The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints titles
Preceded by
Anthon H. Lund
Second Counselor in the First Presidency
April 7, 1911 – October 13, 1911
Succeeded by
Charles W. Penrose
Preceded by
Francis M. Lyman
Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
October 27, 1880–April 7, 1910
Succeeded by
George Teasdale