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 Salt Lake City, Utah Territory to Abraham O. Smoot and Anne K. Mauritsen. Brigham's older brother Reed Smoot went on to be a United States Senator from Utah. Brigham Smoot graduated from Brigham Young Academy in Provo, Utah, a school for which his father had been the major financial backer.

Missionary in Samoa and Tonga[edit]

In 1889, Brigham Smoot was sent on a mission for the LDS Church to Samoa. Smoot was assigned to be companions with Edward J. Wood. A dramatic story is told within the LDS Church about 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, and Wood gave Smoot a priesthood blessing; as Wood did so, he "felt life come back into Elder Smoot's body".[2][3] After reviving, 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.[2]

In July 1891, Smoot and Alva J. Butler were sent to Tonga to begin missionary work there. On July 16, 1891, Smoot and Butler 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 was educated in chemical engineering at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Beginning in 1901, he was employed by the Utah-Idaho Sugar Company, where he rose to the position of general superintendent. He retired in 1937 and moved to Pasadena, California, where he died in 1946. He was the father of a daughter and a son.[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. ^ "Brigham Smoot Dies On Coast", Deseret News, 1946-12-16