Title

"Cheat the Asylum of a Victim": George Albert Smith's 1909—12 Breakdown

Keywords

Mormon history, Anxiety, Apostles, Prayer, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Blessings, Nerves, Conferences, Symptoms, Prophets

Abstract

On April 12, 1910, Dr. Heber J. Sears wrote briskly to his nephew: "A letter from your mother brings the sad intelligence that you are down with nervous frustration. . . . For Heaven's sake George— 'Side step or step backward not forward.' Cheat the asylum of a vic tim. Dump your responsibility for a while before the hearse dumps your bones."1 His nephew was George Albert Smith, then a forty year-old apostle who was almost totally incapacitated, physically and emotionally. But he survived to become Church president at age seventy-five, led the Church for eighty-first birthday, April 4, 1951.

Original Publication Citation

Woodger, Mary Jane, “‘Cheat the Asylum of a Victim:’ George Albert Smith’s Nervous Breakdown, 1909-1912.” no. 4, Fall 2008, Journal of Mormon History, 34: 113-53.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date

2008-10

Language

english

College

Religious Education

Department

Church History and Doctrine

University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor

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