Mary Fielding Smith


“In 1839 Mary Fielding Smith, wife of Hyrum Smith, wrote a letter to her brother Joseph Fielding, and we have it in the record. It frames with clarity the reciprocal nature of our relationships with one another and with God in the ways we are taught in the scriptures.

“ ‘Dear Brother:

“ ‘… You have, I suppose, heard of the imprisonment of my dear husband, with his brother Joseph, Elder Rigdon, and others, who were kept from us nearly six months; and I suppose no one felt the painful effects of their confinement more than myself. I was left in a way that called for the exercise of all the courage and grace I possessed. My husband was taken from me by an armed force, at a time when I needed, in a particular manner, the kindest care and attention of such a friend, instead of which, the care of a large family was suddenly and unexpectedly left upon myself, and, in a few days after, my dear little Joseph F. was added to the number. Shortly after his birth I took a severe cold, which brought on chills and fever; this, together with the anxiety of mind I had to endure, threatened to bring me to the gates of death. I was at least four months entirely unable to take any care either of myself or child; but the Lord was merciful in so ordering things that my dear sister could be with me. Her child was five months old when mine was born; so she had strength given her to nurse them both.

“ ‘You will also have heard of our being driven, as a people, from the State, [Missouri] and from our homes; this happened during my sickness, and I had to be removed more than two hundred miles, chiefly on my bed. I suffered much on my journey; but in three or four weeks after we arrived in Illinois, I began to amend, and my health is now as good as ever. … We are now living in Commerce, on the bank of the great Mississippi river. The situation is very pleasant; you would be much pleased to see it. How long we may be permitted to enjoy it I know not; but the Lord knows what is best for us. I feel but little concerned about where I am, if I can keep my mind staid upon God; for, you know in this there is perfect peace. I believe the Lord is overruling all things for our good. I suppose our enemies look upon us with astonishment and disappointment.’ ”

Aileen H. Clyde, Second Counselor, Relief Society General Presidency
Confirmed in Faith,” October 1996 General Conference


“Mary Fielding Smith, the widow of Patriarch Hyrum Smith…said to a man at the tithing office, across the street where the Hotel Utah now stands, who chided her for paying tithing: ‘You ought to be ashamed of yourself. Would you deny me a blessing? If I did not pay my tithing, I should expect the Lord to withhold his blessings from me. I pay my tithing, not only because it is a law of God, but because I expect a blessing by doing it. By keeping this and other laws, I expect to prosper, and to be able to provide for my family.’ ”

Spencer W. Kimball, President of the Church
The Law of Tithing,” October 1980 General Conference



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