The daily routine of a Mormon prophet, George Albert Smith

By Mary Jane Woodger

For the Deseret News

Published: Tuesday, Jan. 3 2012 5:00 a.m. MST

When President Smith spent time relaxing at his home on Yale Avenue, he liked to recline in a large-base rocking chair that his wife Lucy had given him. He often said, “If heaven is anywhere near to being as nice as Yale Avenue, I’ll be happy there,” which shows the great love he had for that home as he began to advance in years.

President Smith’s daughter Emily herself carried a substantial burden, and in September 1947 she suffered a heart attack, although she recovered soon thereafter.

When possible, President Smith enjoyed being outdoors and seeing the neighborhood. Once in awhile he’d walk around his yard with a cane. Greeting his neighbors, he’d show his interest in them by asking, “How are you today? How are things going?”

One winter day, President Smith met a neighbor on one of his walks who was out shoveling snow without a coat or gloves; he looked cold. President Smith gave him his overcoat without a second thought.

His ordination as prophet “did not alter the habits of kindness he had practiced all his adult life. He continued to make unsolicited, surprise calls on the sick or despondent, to speak at funerals, and to be an advocate for the underprivileged and the minorities.” Even with all his other duties, he dedicated his time to serving others by comforting those in distress, performing temple marriages and visiting widows, relatives and friends.

Mary Jane Woodger is a professor of church history and doctrine at Brigham Young University and is the author of "Against the Odds: The Life of George Albert Smith."

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