Eldred G. Smith, the former Patriarch of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints, has died aged 106.
Here’s what you need to know…
1. He Held the Title of “General Authority”
He was the leader and Patriarch Emeritus of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1947-79, he held the title longer than anyone in the history of the Mormon church.
2. He was the Oldest Man in Utah
Smith of his longevity:
I tell ‘em exercise is a waste of energy. I use my energy to accomplish something, that gives me all the energy I need. So, I’ve always been active with my hands
3. His Lineage Goes Back to the Founder of Mormonism
He was a direct descendant of Hyrum Smith, brother of Joseph Smith, the creator of Mormonism.
4. He Worked on the Manhattan Project
He was a qualified nuclear scientist and worked on the Manhattan Project in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, that helped to create the first atomic weapon. Smith said of his time working there:
The atomic energy project…I got a certificate signed by the secretary of war, telling me I helped bring the war to a close. I always say, ‘I and a few billion others.
5. He was a Missionary for the Church
He was known to travel to Europe frequently on official trips for his church.
6. He was Married Twice
He had five children with his first wife, Jeanne, who died in 1977, and after this he married Hortense Child Smith the same year.
7. He Began Supporting his Family During the Depression
His first job was in Depression-era Salt Lake City delivering ice for Hygeia Ice Co.
8. He was a Close Friend of Current Mormon President Thomas S. Monson
9. His Family’s Legacy in the Church will be Continued
His son Gary will continue his family’s active role within the church.
10. He Continued Public Speaking for the Church in his Later Years
Toward the end of his life he was afforded a living allowance by the church, which allowed him to continue unpaid public speaking.He was still traveling, offering public speaking well into his 100s.
He was often a guest speaker at Mormon events, where he would display artifacts he possessed that once belong to Joseph Smith.