Joseph Fielding Smith served in the leading quorums of the church for over sixty-two years. He was sustained as president of the Quorum of the Twelve in 1951, and was ordained president of the church with the death of David O. McKay in January 1970.
Joseph Fielding Smith was popularly regarded as the LDS Church's chief theologian and spokesman on doctrinal matters. Heber J. Grant referred to him as the most knowledgeable man in the church on the scriptures. He wrote a regular article in the church magazine, the Improvement Era, entitled, "Answers to Gospel Questions" from 1953 to 1967. These articles have been gathered into five volumes. He wrote more than two dozen books. Smith was also an avid genealogist, and served as an officer in the Utah Genealogical Society for more than thirty years, as well as in the presidency of the Salt Lake Temple for two decades. He died in Salt Lake City on 2 July 1972.
Joseph F. McConkie