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The Understanding Heart: A Tribute to George Albert Smith

By: Ardis E. Parshall - January 10, 2012

The Understanding Heart

A Tribute to George Albert Smith

By Irene Jones
Society for the Aid of the Sightless

(Given at a reception at the Lion House, April 4,
in honor of his seventieth birthday)

When Life beats hard with stormy hands,
And bitter teardrops fall;
When friendless Winter chills my soul,
And empty echoes call –
‘Tis then I turn, with eager hope,
My steps though spent and lame,
To find an understanding heart,
Where burns a friendly flame –
A heart where gentle Wisdom dwells,
Compassionate and kind,
Whose faith in God and man has taught
A like faith to the Blind.

I lay my troubles at his feet,
Each trial, each bitter loss,
And burdens of a hundred more,
He helps us bear the cross;
Consecrated by our Lord
With Apostolic light;
Consecrated in his soul,
He makes our darkness bright;
A loving radiance he sheds
That comes from God to man,
And we who walk in life-long night,
Can see as others can.

Although his tender loving face
From us is shut apart,
We see the gracious wisdom
Of his understanding heart;
We feel a peace within his soul
And know a peace our own;
We hear his silent prayer that tells
We do not walk alone;
His faith in us will give us strength,
As unseen paths we plod;
Our souls uplifted by a man
In partnership with God.




  1. Very nice, particularly in light of the long and passionate discussion on another blog the other day.

    Comment by Researcher — January 10, 2012 @ 1:59 pm

  2. I would like to know if this poem was given and President Smith’s funeral and who read it. Irene Jones, who wrote this poem, was my aunt. I think I remember hearing that she spoke at his funeral, but I can’t seem to find out.

    Comment by Lorene Summers — January 13, 2012 @ 11:16 pm

  3. Lorene, I don’t know whether it was given at his funeral as well as in 1940 at his birthday reception. The newspaper accounts of his funeral would probably be detailed enough to answer your question — the online newspaper archives, though, haven’t gotten as far as 1951 for me to check that easily this morning.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — January 14, 2012 @ 8:20 am

  4. Deseret News April 11, 1951 Church Section, Page 11 — it says that your aunt indeed was asked by Pres Smith’s family to read the lines she wrote in tribute to him. The entirety of her tribute is beautiful as well. What a lovely legacy she leaves you.

    Comment by Lauri Haddock — January 14, 2012 @ 10:38 pm

  5. Bravo! Thank you, Laurie, for looking that up and reporting back.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — January 15, 2012 @ 3:51 am

  6. Thanks Ardis and Laurie. I appreciate you so much.

    Comment by Lorene Summers — February 2, 2012 @ 10:11 pm

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