Mormon studies, Joseph Fielding Smith, historian, theologian
Each year hundreds of thousands of visitors to Salt Lake City’s Temple Square make their way to the Church History Museum of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. While many of the museum’s exhibits have been rotated over the past three decades, the “Presidents of the Church” gallery, made of individual displays for each previous Church president, is a longstanding exhibit that has generally been refreshed only after a Mormon prophet has died and his artifacts have been added to the chronological display cases. The current museum exhibit commemorating President Joseph Fielding Smith (1876–1972) hangs on the east wall of the second-floor gallery (fig. 2). To the right of his official oil portrait is a text panel that reads: “Joseph Fielding Smith was one of the Church’s most prolific writers. His numerous books and articles helped educate generations of Latter-day Saints about the history and doctrine of the Church.” To the left of his portrait is a large display case showcasing his numerous publications. The largest text panel within this showcase is titled “Church Historian,” and it reads as follows: “Joseph Fielding Smith worked nearly 70 years in the Church historian’s office, 50 years as Church historian. He authored more than twenty volumes on Latter-day Saint history and doctrine.” This exhibit succinctly summarizes Smith’s legacy as both a historian and theologian.
Neilson, Reid L. and Marianno, Scott D.
"True and Faithful: Joseph Fielding Smith as Mormon Historian and Theologian,"
BYU Studies Quarterly: Vol. 57
, Article 3.
Available at: https://scholarsarchive.byu.edu/byusq/vol57/iss1/3