Friend to Friend

“Friend to Friend,” Friend, Sept. 1991, 6

Friend to Friend

They assembled themselves with the church (Acts 11:26).

Elder Douglas H. Smith

We were a family that always went to church. Every year we went to tithing settlement to meet with the bishop and declare our full tithing. We’ve always had a testimony of tithing from this story that my father told:

When he was a young boy, his father was very ill and had to be in the hospital for a year, leaving my grandmother with ten children and very little income. That fall, Grandma reached up into the sugar bowl, where she kept the tithing money, and handed it to my father and told him to hurry over to the bishop and pay the tithing so that she wouldn’t be tempted to spend it.

My father said, “Mother, we don’t have any other money. Winter’s coming on. What are we going to live on?”

Grandma told him, “We have to pay our tithing.”

My father took the money over to the bishop.

The next day there were two bushels of peaches on their front porch. They never knew where the fruit came from. And that night a windstorm came up, and the wind blew down a lot of Brother Stringham’s peaches. He lived right behind us, and he told Grandma, “If you and your children want to come over, you can have all the peaches that are on the ground.” Those peaches were a good part of my father’s family’s food for that next winter.

My father and mother were always active in the Church. She was musically inclined and sang beautifully. My father was also musical; he played the organ and the piano. He served in the Liberty Ward bishopric in Salt Lake City, on the stake high council, and as president of the Liberty Stake.

We lived just half a block from the meetinghouse, and I loved to go to church. I had Religion Class on Monday after school, and Primary on Tuesday after school. I had wonderful Primary teachers and enjoyed it very much.

Now I have seven children and thirty-nine grandchildren, and I love to spend time with all of them. Every summer, we have a family outing and have Smith Family competitions. And we always have a Smith Family Conference the day after Thanksgiving.

I love all children. I was enthralled with the children I met in Asia when I served there. That area includes Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Indonesia, Thailand, India, China, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Malaysia. Half of the people in the world—over 2,500,000,000 people—live in the Asia Area! When I visited branches and wards there and listened to children sing Primary songs, I couldn’t help but think how sweet children are and that nothing else even comes close in comparison.

Children are important. The whole future of the world rests with them. If they develop good qualities while they are young, they’ll be strong, faithful leaders when they are adults.

Elder Smith loves all children.

Elder Douglas H. Smith at age 3, with his brother Vergil, age 6