So we all get a lesson next Sunday from the new Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: George Albert Smith manual, and I suspect that many wards, like mine, used the first Sunday for a biographical overview. Teachers may have mentioned that President Smith was the namesake of his grandfather, George A. Smith, a cousin of Joseph Smith’s and an early church leader himself, especially during Brigham Young’s tenure.
Which gives me an excuse to go back to George A. Smith for a story you won’t hear in Priesthood or Relief Society …
After pioneering his way to the Salt Lake Valley in 1847, Brigham Young returned to Winter Quarters late that fall. He and a number of the other leading brethren – Wilford Woodruff, Ezra T. Benson, Willard Richards, Heber C. Kimball, Amasa M. Lyman, Joseph Young, Albert P. Rockwood, Benjamin L. Clapp, and others – held a conference on December 3, 1847, in the house of Silas Richards in Miller’s Settlement, across the river from Winter Quarters at what became known as Kanesville. And –
And, well, there’s just no better way to tell the story than to present it verbatim from the minutes of that meeting, preserved in the records of the Church:
G. A. Smith suggests we r in a private house—& I want every man who uses the weed to write his name that we may know whether he spits more than 6 quarts of juice—if you spit more than 6 quarts you may be called on to assist to clean it. it works me to see so much filth—& I wish the brtr wold forget the use of the weed for a few hours—even if they av to chaw double afterwards to make it up.
That is all.