Reed Smoot represented Utah in the United States Senate for thirty years, longer than any other Utah senator past or present. He was the first native-born Utahn to establish a national political reputation and was also the only Mormon apostle to serve in the U.S. Senate. During his senatorial career, Smoot served concurrently as a Mormon apostle, thus earning the nickname of the "Apostle-Senator."
He was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, on 10 January 1862 to Abraham Owen and Anne Kristina (Morrison) Smoot. He attended public schools and the University of Utah, and graduated from Brigham Young Academy (now Brigham Young University) in 1879. He served as a Mormon missionary in England and later married Alpha M. Eldredge of Salt Lake City on 17 September 1884. They were the parents of six children: Harold Reed, Chloe, Harlow Eldredge, Annie K., Zella Esther, and Ernest Winder. Alpha died on 7 November 1928 and Smoot later married Mrs. Alice Taylor Sheets on 2 July 1930.
Before his election to the Senate, Reed Smoot engaged in a number of business enterprises, including banking, mining, livestock raising, and the manufacture of woolen goods. He was president of both Provo Commercial & Savings Bank and the Smoot Investment Company. He also served as a director of ZCMI and of the Deseret Savings Bank in Salt Lake City. Smoot was active in the Mormon church and was called to the presidency of the Utah Stake (Provo) in 1895. He served there until his ordination as an apostle in 1900.