The Missions of Samuel H. Smith

    “The Missions of Samuel H. Smith,” Ensign, Aug. 2008, 48

    The Missions of Samuel H. Smith

    Samuel Smith’s missionary efforts were extraordinary, making him “one of the foremost builders in the early years of the Church.”1

    Though Samuel was not always as eloquent as his brothers or his companions,2 his testimony was strong. He said, “How could I doubt anything that I knew to be true?”3 In a blessing given by his father, Samuel was promised that his testimony would be received by thousands.”4 This blessing was fulfilled through Samuel’s six missions.5

    1. Spring and summer 1830: Samuel served alone in the neighboring communities around Palmyra, New York.6

    2. January 31, 1831, to April 1831: Samuel Smith and Orson Pratt preached the gospel in the vicinity of Kirtland, Ohio. In April they baptized about 50 people, many previously of the Campbellite faith.7

    3. June 4, 1831, to mid-November 1831: Samuel, who had recently been ordained a high priest, was one of many elders called to Independence, Missouri (see D&C 52:1–2, 30; 57:1–3). He and his missionary companion, Reynolds Cahoon, had powerful missionary experiences. They returned to Kirtland on September 28 but were immediately asked to serve briefly in southern Ohio.

    4. November 16, 1831, to late December 1831: Samuel Smith and William McLellin served in eastern Ohio (see D&C 66:7–8). William recorded that Samuel laid his hands upon a badly scalded child and the burn was healed “in so much that it did not even so much as blister.”8 This mission ended abruptly after 40 days because William had murmured in his heart (see D&C 75:6–8).

    5. February 1, 1832, to December 22, 1832: Samuel Smith and Orson Hyde were called to serve in New England (see D&C 75:13). Their efforts resulted in about 60 baptisms and the establishment of four branches.

    6. April 1841 to November 1841: Scott County, Illinois (see page 49).


    1. John A. Widtsoe, Joseph Smith: Seeker after Truth, Prophet of God (1951), 166.

    2. See Millennial Star, Nov. 26, 1864, 774.

    3. Quoted in Richard Lloyd Anderson, “Joseph Smith’s Brothers: Nauvoo and After,” Ensign, Sept. 1979, 31.

    4. Quoted in Ruby K. Smith, Mary Bailey (1954), 42.

    5. A letter dated June 25, 1836, from Don Carlos Smith to his wife, Agnes, suggests the possibility of an additional mission. Samuel and Don Carlos (and perhaps another named Wilber) may have been called to serve a mission together in Boston. See Ruby Smith, Mary Bailey, 56.

    6. See History of the Church, 7:218.

    7. See Kyle R. Walker, United by Faith: The Joseph Sr. and Lucy Mack Smith Family (2005), 213–14.

    8. See The Journals of William E. McLellin: 1831–1836, ed. Jan Shipps and John W. Welch (1994), 66. Spelling and punctuation modernized.