Brigham Smoot

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Brigham Roland Smoot (June 15, 1869 – December 16, 1946) was a Mormon missionary and an executive of the Utah-Idaho Sugar Company. Smoot was one of the two first missionaries of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) to preach in Tonga.[1]

Early life and family[edit]

Smoot was born in 1869 in Salt Lake City, Utah Territory, to Abraham O. Smoot and Anne K. Mauritsen (also spelled in some sources as Anne Kirstine Mauritzen, and Anne Kristina Morrison), his fifth of six plural wives. Brigham's older brother Reed Smoot went on to be a businessman and an apostle in the LDS Church before being elected by the state legislature as United States Senator from Utah in 1904.

His family moved to the frontier town of Provo, Utah, when his father was called by Brigham Young to establish a church stake there. Brigham Smoot graduated from Brigham Young Academy in Provo, a school for which his father had been the major financial backer. It later developed into a college and university.

Missionary in Samoa and Tonga[edit]

In 1889, Brigham Smoot was sent at the age of 20 on a mission for the LDS Church to Samoa. Smoot sailed there and was assigned as a companion to Edward J. Wood.

The LDS Church recounts events of Smoot's second day in Samoa. Smoot joined Wood and the other missionaries for a bath in the ocean. While wading in the ocean, Smoot slipped into a deep hole in the reef. After several minutes, Wood and the other missionaries pulled Smoot from the hole, "perfectly lifeless and dead," with "blood flowing from his eyes, nose and mouth."[2] After failing to revive him, the missionaries changed Smoot into dry clothing. Wood gave Smoot a priesthood blessing; as Wood did so, he "felt life come back into Elder Smoot's body."[2][3] After being revived, Smoot told the missionaries that he had had an out-of-body experience, and that he had observed the missionaries dragging his body out of the hole. Smoot says during this out-of-body experience he touched Wood on the shoulder and had told him that the only way to restore his life was to use the priesthood blessing.[2]

In July 1891, Smoot and Alva J. Butler were sent to Tonga to undertake missionary work. On July 16, 1891, the two young men met with King George Tupou I, who granted them permission to preach Mormonism in Tonga. Smoot was the president of the Tongan Mission of the LDS Church from July 1891 to October 1892. He returned to Utah in December 1892.


Smoot graduated with a degree in chemical engineering from Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Beginning in 1901, he worked for the Utah-Idaho Sugar Company, which processed sugar cane. He rose to the position of general superintendent. He had married and was the father of a daughter and a son.[4]

After he retired in 1937, he moved to Pasadena, California. He lived there until his death in 1946.[4]


  1. ^ Shumway, Eric B. (August 1991), "Tongan Saints: A Legacy of Faith", Liahona 
  2. ^ a b c Tagg, Melvin S. (1959), The Life of Edward James Wood, Church Patriot (MS Thesis), Brigham Young University, OCLC 8488027 
  3. ^ Todd, Jay M. (September 1988), "Edward J. Wood: 'Faith Personified'", Ensign: 50 
  4. ^ a b "Brigham Smoot Dies On Coast", Deseret News, 1946-12-16 

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