Fireside to remember prophet’s older brother on his 200th birthday

By R. Scott Lloyd
Church News staff writer
Published: Saturday, Jan. 29, 2000

Hyrum Smith, faithful elder brother and companion to the Prophet Joseph Smith who suffered martyrdom with him at Carthage Jail in 1844, is being memorialized by his descendants on the occasion of the 200th anniversary of his birth Feb. 9, 1800.

The Hyrum Smith Family Association will conduct a fireside in the Assembly Hall on Temple Square in Salt Lake City Feb. 13 at 7 p.m. The public is invited.

Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve, a great-great-grandson, will be a featured speaker, as will Elder Eldred G. Smith, emeritus General Authority and a great- great-grandson.

The program will also include original music written by some of Hyrum Smith’s descendants to honor him.

In a conversation with the Church News, Elder Ballard acknowledged that he has spoken frequently in recent times about Hyrum Smith.

“I’m not going to let his name die,” he said with a chuckle.

Asked what some of the things are that Church members ought to remember about Hyrum Smith, Elder Ballard responded: “Apparently, one of the greatest attributes he had was that he was very compassionate. And he was one that was able to settle misunderstandings probably as effectively as anybody in the Church. In fact, Joseph Smith said that if Hyrum couldn’t resolve a dispute, even the angels of heaven couldn’t resolve it.

“And, of course, Joseph held Hyrum in very high esteem. When he was on the way to Carthage, he did everything he could to persuade Hyrum not to go. Hyrum’s great statement on that occasion has rung through the annals of time: ‘Joseph, I will not leave you.’ ”

Elder Ballard said Hyrum, who held the office of patriarch in the Church, filled the role of a second witness of the Restoration, adding that he took his place at the side of Joseph and that he “was an assistant president of the Church at the time.”

In a general conference talk of October 1991, Elder Ballard remarked: “Hyrum Smith, older brother, friend and mentor to the Prophet, showed absolute, unequivocal love, loyalty and allegiance to the Lord and to his younger brother Joseph. Their brotherhood may be unsurpassed. The scriptures tell us, ‘In life they were not divided, and in death they were not separated!’ (D&C 135:3.)”

Later, at October 1995 general conference, Elder Ballard observed: “Clearly, Hyrum Smith was one of the firm pillars of the Restoration. But sadly, many Church members know little about him except that he was martyred with his brother in Carthage Jail. That is significant, but he did far more. Indeed, Joseph Smith himself once suggested that his followers would do well to pattern their lives after Hyrum’s.”

And on July 4, 1999, just before dedicating a new bronze statue to Hyrum Smith in the town that was named for him, Hyrum, Utah, Elder Ballard said Hyrum’s life provides a great example of love and service, exemplified by the tender care he showed at the age of 13 to his then-7-year-old brother Joseph, who had contracted typhoid fever resulting in a badly diseased leg.

“Hyrum lived as he believed, and he believed in a gospel of service to family, to Church, and to the community. Part of his quiet service came as a peacemaker even though the violent winds of tribulation and persecution constantly raged around him. He was the first to extend a hand of friendship to a visitor, the first to attempt to moderate a dispute, the first to forgive an enemy.”

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