George Albert Smith
I probably wouldn’t have known or been terribly interested to follow along with this year’s Teaching of the Presidents of the Church: George Albert Smith. But while I was reading the Ensign when Tyler was driving, George Albert Smith’s pictures caught my eye. The pictures made him seem so REAL, which of course he was — but the pictures made him so personable. Reading the feature article on him made me know right away that I needed to read the whole entire manual about him this year.
|He is the man pictured in the middle|
You know when people ask that party question, “If you could have a dinner party with three people who have passed away, who would they be?” I never had a really good answer for that. (Other than Jo from Little Women, but darn it! She isn’t even real!) But now I do:
George Albert Smith
Oh, I like this man. I really do. And I want to learn a lot more about him. Let me share two little stories that I read and adored:
The Power of Kindness
One hot summer day, some workers were doing repairs to the street outside President Smith’s home. As the work intensified and the sun grew hotter, the workers started using obscene and profane words. Soon one of the neighbors approached and scolded the workers for their offensive language, pointing out that George Albert Smith lived nearby. Unimpressed, the workers began to swear even more.
Meanwhile, President Smith was in his kitchen preparing a pitcher of lemonade. He brought it out on a tray with some glasses and said to the workers, “My friends, you look so hot and tired. Why don’t you come and sit under my trees here and have a cool drink?”
Humbled and grateful, the workers accepted his offer, and after their welcome break they finished their work respectfully and quietly.
Experiences such as this demonstrate George Albert Smith’s conviction that we can “meet our problems in the spirit of love and kindness toward all.” “There are those who will make mistakes,” he said. “There are those among us today that have gone astray, but they are the children of our Lord and he loves them. He has given to you and to me the right to go to them in kindness and love and with patience and with a desire to bless, seek to win them from the mistakes that they are making. It is not my privilege to judge. … But it is my privilege, if I see them doing the wrong thing, to in some way, if possible, turn them back into the pathway that leads to eternal life in the Celestial kingdom.”
“What a joy, what a comfort, what a satisfaction can be added to the lives of our neighbors and friends through kindness. How I would like to write that word in capital letters and emblazon it in the air. Kindness is the power that God has given us to unlock hard hearts and subdue stubborn souls.”
I also read some church history (compiled by an ACTIVE BYU religion professor, along with other professors, in The Journal of Mormon History — George Albert Smith’s section starts on page 113) where it talks about some of his illnesses and how he overcame them.
But the part that really stood out to me is part of his journal and correspondences with church leaders about how he had a very hard time seeing others in sorrow and depression — that he was very easily affected. His family members remembered he would really take other’s problems to heart and those problems would become such a part of him that it would wipe him out.
Oh my. He and I — we have the same blessing/curse! (It really is both ways — at least for me)
I feel like I really can relate to him quite well, and am excited to study him more!
Tags: george albert smith