Photo courtesy of Community of Christ Archives

Smith Brothers: Alexander Hale Smith and Joseph Smith III

Alexander Hale Smith (1838-1909)

Alexander Hale Smith (featured in the image above on the left) was a man with many interests: farming, sports, photography, and the message of the Reorganization. In his younger years, Alexander, son of Joseph and Emma Smith, was known for his remarkable athletic skills and spirit of adventure. In 1862, his life took a religious turn when he was baptized by his older brother, Joseph Smith III. An active man who loved the outdoors, Alexander traveled to California, Utah, the Midwest, and even Australia and Tahiti on mission trips. During his trips to Utah, he did his best to preserve family ties while still promoting the Reorganization's message. He became the president of the Council of Twelve in 1890 and the presiding patriarch in 1897.

 

Joseph Smith III (1832-1914) 

Although reluctant at first, Joseph Smith III (featured in the image above on the right) heard God's call and transformed scattered groups of followers into an organized church that we know today as the Community of Christ. As a young man growing up in Nauvoo, Illinois, Joseph Smith III struggled to make sense of his father's death and his own relationship with God. When first asked to lead the church, he refused but then turned to God for guidance. In 1860, Smith felt an unmistakable divine call to become the prophet and president of the Reorganization, and devoted fifty-four years to his prophetic calling. A master mediator, Joseph Smith III steered the church away from divisions and worked to prevent the conflicts that had happened in the church's early days. Always remaining devoted to his mother and the memory of his father, Smith's careful and practical leadership enabled the Reorganization to grow from 300 members to more than 70,000. When Smith died in late 1914, he left behind a significant legacy: three of his sons would become church presidents, and the church was solidly positioned for future growth.