[see also: Yanceys West ]
[see also: RLDS Records]

Transcribed by Geri Smith Richardson

I. M. (Isaac Monroe) Smith was the son of Richard Yancey Smith and grandson of Joseph & Mahala (Yancey) Smith.

In a little log cabin in Johnson Co., Illinois, some four miles west of where Tunnel Hill now stands, I first saw the light of this world, on the 23rd day of May, 1853. Tunnel Hill is forty- five miles north of Cairo. I was born in that part of Illinois know as "Lower Egypt."

To my father and mother were born fourteen children, eleven of them are still living. The first child died before he was a year old as also did the two youngest. I was the second child born to them, hence am the oldest of the eleven now living. As a child I was sickly until after I was two years old; after that, however, I was quite fleshy, and was large for my age, but was never rugged and strong. My parents were uneducated, but seeing the necessity of giving their children at least a common school education, they sent us to school, when much of the time we were really needed at home to help do the work. Schools in that country, then were far inferior to what they are now; what was worse than that, I did not always take advantage of my limited opportunities, hence my education is quite limited. My environment was not of a character to broaden my mind and give me high ideals; my standard of right and wrong was not, in every respect, what it should have been.

We lived in the back woods, and our neighbors, with few exceptions, were poor and uneducated like ourselves; church and Sunday school influences had but little to do if anything at all, in shaping the lives of myself and young associates. My Sundays, at least many of them were spent on the creeks, on the bluffs, and in the woods; and while my intimate associates, as a rule, were respectable, the places we frequented often brought us into contact with that which was not at all elevating. Profanity, vulgarity, and sneers and scorn of religion were altogether too common and they made their impression upon our young mind and soul, and that for the worse; they lowered our ideals of purity, they lowered our morals, and they strangled, for the time being, all the higher aspirations of our soul. Such associations and influences are bound to bear fruit in any boy's life, the fruit will always be bitter.

My parents were honest, moral, and well-respected. They always taught their children to shun bad company, but like many other parents they were not always successful in enforcing their teaching. Their teaching was not altogether lost on my life, even though I did not always obey them. I was like a great many other boys; often thought I knew more than my parents, took my own course and had to suffer the consequences. Notwithstanding all that I had a great respect for my parents, because of their honorable, upright lives; and I am sure that the principles of right which they taught me had an uplifting influence on my life.

When I was in my ninth year, the spring of 1862, my father joined the church, being baptized by William H. Kelley. I can well remember when he was baptized, though I did not see the baptism, what it was for, and yet I was nearly nine years old. But I was not in "Zion" or in any of "her stakes"; not even in a branch of the church. Ignorance is ignorance, though, wherever it is; and I was certainly as ignorant concerning the gospel as a boy of my

age possibly could be. My father had belonged to the old Church before I was born. My grandfather and grandmother had belonged to the old church too, as did also many of his relatives, long before he did. They had joined the church when my father was

only a boy. My father although he had belonged to the old church had never tried to teach the principles of the gospel to his children, hence I have sometimes thought that I must have inherited faith in the gospel from my father and grandparents, for even after my father had come in to the Reorganization we had no branch of the church there, no Sunday school and no books or papers to teach the little ones the principles of the gospel. My father always advised me to be honest and truthful, read the Bible, think for myself, and do that which is right; and that was about the extent of the religious instruction I received. But I had great confidence in my father, and still have, hence I had confidence in his religion and in the church to which he belonged.

I made no study of religion, however, until I was fifteen years old. At that time, Bro. Benjamin H. Ballowe came to our place, and as he and my father talked a great deal on religious subjects, I became much interested. He loaned me the Book of Mormon, the Kingdom of God, by John Taylor, and some other works, all of which I read with much interest. But still I had that erroneous idea that religion was not intended for boys; just for grown people. My father subscribed for the Herald and while it came I read it, more or less, and I was really a believer in the gospel. There was no church there of our faith and no preaching. I heard no preaching after Brother Ballowe was there except one sermon preached by Brother Hilliard, until after I was twenty-one years old.

The winter after I was twenty years old, I taught my first school, and then having money of my own, I decided to learn something of the church. Looking up some of the old Heralds I found the address, wrote to Brother Joseph, and in due time received a copy of the Herald. I subscribed to the Herald, sent for the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, Holy Scriptures, Voice of Warning and a complete set of tracts, and then began reading. This was in the summer of 1874, hence I was then twenty-one. In August of that summer, Bro. J. C. Clapp came and preached twelve sermons. I heard most of them and was anxious to be baptized; but he gave no public invitation. I did not have the courage to go to him and ask him to baptize me, and so let that opportunity slip, but in December, 1874, Bro. G. H. Hilliard and I. A. Morris came in there and held a series of meetings, and on the day after Christmas, Aunt Rhoda Kelley, one of my uncles, my mother, oldest sister and myself were baptized by Brother Hilliard. My health at that time was very bad; I was suffering from nasal catarrh and from throat and bronchial troubles. My condition was considered quite critical, in a sense, for there was danger of the affliction extending to my lungs. A few days after I was baptized I asked the brethren to administer to me, and after they had done so, Brother Hilliard said to me "You are not going to die now. You will live to preach this gospel." And Brother Morris added "Yes that will be your work preaching the gospel." I was timid, awkward, bashful, of a stammering tongue,' and in poor health, and from a human viewpoint that prediction seemed unreasonable, and yet there was an influence accompanied it that caused me to believe it, and I took courage.

That was thirty-four years ago and I have been preaching the gospel more than thirty years of that time.

The next spring after I was baptized, March, 1875, I attended a district conference at Brush Creek, Wayne Co. Illinois; my first conference and my first meeting with the Saints in an organized branch. Nothing worthy of special mention occurred, until we met in social service on Sunday afternoon. Then Bro. B. H. Ballowe (the same one whom I have already mentioned) got up and bore his testimony; he said there was some calamity coming upon the Saints, but he did not know just what it was, but said it would be severe. He exhorted the Saints to be prepared for it, and said "I know it will come, for it has been shown to me by the Spirit." That was the first time I had ever heard anyone get up in a prayer and testimony meeting and speak in prophecy, and it seemed very, very strange to me.

The following summer, about three or four months after that conference, Brother Ballowe, his wife and two children, and old Bro. Nathan Morris, and a number of his family, died of smallpox. Brethren Ballowe and Morris were both elders. Being young and inexperienced in the work at that time, that prophecy and its immediate fulfillment made a deep and lasting impression upon my mind. In August, 1875, the Tunnel Hill Branch was organized and I was ordained a teacher, but the next year, 1876 and I think it was in August too, I was ordained priest, but for some cause I never received any positive knowledge of my call to either of those offices. I believed then and I still believe that I was called, but I did not magnify my calling, I suppose, and I never could say that I knew my call was from the Lord.

In the fall of 1878, Bro. G. H. Hilliard was holding a series of meetings in the Tunnel Hill Branch and he said to some of the Saints that Bro. I. M. Smith ought to be ordained to the office of Elder, and when this was told to me I said, "No, not until I can receive a knowledge from God for myself that it is the Lord's will." My desire was to serve the Lord in whatever office he wanted me to labor; but having accepted two ordinations without any positive knowledge, it seemed to me that it would be presumption of the rankest kind for me to accept an ordination to the eldership without a knowledge for myself hence I decided to take a stand, and did take it. During that series of meetings, a day set apart for the Saints to meet, fasting and praying for light regarding a fuller organization of the branch. We did so and when Brother Hilliard got up in that meeting and said the Spirit indicated to him that Bro. I. M. Smith should be ordained an elder, the Spirit of the Lord rested upon me in power and it seemed to penetrate every fiber of my being, and although I heard no audible voice, I was made to know, beyond a doubt, that the Lord required me to accept that office. I felt assured that it was the Lord's will and I accepted the ordination in November, 1878 and feeling sure, as I did, that the Lord had called me to preach the gospel, I immediately commenced to do so.

I had no appointment from either district or General Conference, but I went to work just the same, laboring under the direction of the branch and district officers. I would study all week and then go out and preach on Sunday evening and frequently on Saturday evening too. In March 1879, at the conference of the southeastern Illinois District, they passed a resolution the Bro. I. M. Smith should devote his entire time to preaching the gospel in that district. Not being in attendance at that conference this resolution was a great surprise to me, it was certainly a pleasant surprise, for my acquaintance with the Saints in the district was limited, and it pleased me to know that they had that much confidence in me. As I had been practically devoting my entire time to the work, ever since my ordination it was a pleasure to have the whole district standing by me officially, in my effort to magnify my calling. My labor under district appointment continued until the spring of 1883, stopping only to earn money for personal expenses when I ran short.

In March of 1883, I was married to Malinda M. Kelley, a sister of T. C. Kelley, who is well known to the church. She was a noble, intelligent Latter Day Saint, also a good wife. Had she lived, my life might have been better and more useful, but she had had two spells of lung fever before we were married and, shortly after our marriage, consumption set in and she never recovered. In November, 1884 her suffering ceased and she passed over on the other side. One child had been born to us, but she died before the death of her mother; hence when my wife died, I was again left alone.

After going to school a few weeks to brighten up I taught two winter terms of school, five months each, preaching under district appointment during the summer when not teaching, and preaching locally on Sunday when teaching. In April, after finishing the last term of school, 1887, I attended the General Conference at Kirtland, Ohio. This was the first General Conference I ever attended, and I there received my first General Conference appointment. My field of labor was the Southeastern Illinois district, the district in which I was born and grew to manhood, where I first heard and obeyed the gospel, and where I

was ordained and had been preaching for nearly nine years. In November of the same year I was again married, but this marriage was an unhappy one, and proved to be one of the saddest experiences of my life. As the fruit of that marriage, however I have one daughter, now Mrs. Gertrude Arthur, of Little Blue, Missouri, who has been and is now a great comfort to me. My labors in the Southeastern Illinois District, under the General Conference appointment continued for five years, Bro. J. W. Gillen being in charge. Of my experiences while in this field, I think of but little that would be of sufficient importance to put on record, hence I shall not burden the reader with any lengthy details.

During the time in the summer of 1888, in June, Bro. J. W. Gillen and G. H. Hilliard ordained me to the office of Seventy, and I was enrolled in the first quorum, the only quorum there was at that time. After being ordained to this office I began to attend the General Conferences oftener than I had before, and as a result became better acquainted with the ministry and also with the general workings of the church. At the April conference, 1892 I asked for a new field of labor. I had been preaching in that one district for nearly fourteen years, part of the time as a local elder, and part of the time under the district appointment, and five years under General Conference appointment, and I felt that a change would be better for me and also better for the work in that district. My request met with favor in the Quorum of Twelve and I was assigned to the Southern Michigan and Northern Indiana District. There I labored for three years, very pleasantly for me, and I believe for the work, Bro. E. C. Briggs being in charge. My experiences while there were not of that nature that would interest and edify the general reader. My appointment for 1895 was the Eastern Mission, Bro. W. H. Kelley was in charge, and so I labored under him for the next three years. The first year in that mission I labored in Ohio, Western New York, and Pennsylvania. The next year my labors extended farther east; did tent work with Brother Robley, on Cape Cod; attended the reunion at Poquonnac Bridge, in Connecticut and then went into Maine. The next year my labors were in the same territory, much so at least, only I did not go so far to the east as Maine.

One experience of that year might be of interest to some. The latter part of February, 1898, I attended conference at Providence, Rhode Island. On Sunday evening, at the close of the

conference, a prayer meeting was announced for the next morning, many of the saints not being able to get started for their homes until the afternoon. The prayer meeting in prophecy, tongues, and interpretation of tongues, was certainly a Pentecostal outpouring of the Holy Spirit. I shall attempt to tell only that which related to myself in this paper. I had been undecided as to whether I should attend the General Conference that spring or

not. On my way to the prayer meeting that morning, I had decided that I would not go. During the prayer meeting, Sr. Hattie Griffiths spoke in prophecy and after speaking to Bro. Richard Bullard she turned to me and said "Verily, thus saith the Spirit unto you, My servant, Isaac Smith, it is my will that you meet with my people in General Conference at Independence, Missouri, and there you shall be blessed, and you shall be sent to another

mission; and while you may feel within your heart that you would rather not go, yet you shall be blessed in that mission." She spoke more, assuring me that the Lord would care for and protect my loved ones and telling me to trust Him and not doubt. I can't remember just how the latter part of that prophecy was worded, Hence I shall not attempt to state it verbatim.

Feeling sure that this prophecy was of the Lord, I attended the General Conference and sure enough, I was sent to another mission, Southwestern Iowa. Although I had been told that I should be sent to another field of labor, and was expecting it, I felt hurt because I could not go back to the East, but I labored in Southwestern Iowa for the next three years, and I can truly say I was never more blessed in all my ministerial work than I was in that mission. Why didn't I want to go? Was it rebellion? Whether it was rebellion or not, I went direct from conference to my field of labor and went to work, and I still feel glad that I was ever permitted to labor in that field.

One experience while in that mission I wish to relate, hoping it may be of some benefit to others who may be hungering after a chosen walk with God. I can not give the date, as it has entirely slipped my memory. It was at a conference of the Fremont, Iowa, district, held at Shenandoah, Iowa. On Sunday afternoon we had sacrament and social service and at the beginning of that service, there came over me such a feeling of hunger for God to come into my soul as I had never before experienced. I seemed to be in absolute darkness, spiritually, with the last ray of hope almost extinguished and such a longing for a word of comfort from my heavenly Father! It seemed to me that unless that worked of comfort and assurance came, I could never again go out and try to preach the gospel; that I must stop, leave my field and do something else. My very soul seemed crushed within me. I sat there and cried like a child while others were bearing their testimony and telling of the comfort

and peace they were receiving from the gospel, but for me there was no peace. I seemed cut off and shut out from God, and yet I was pleading, begging for recognition. After this had continued for half an hour or more, I should judge, Bro. Henry Kemp got up and spoke in prophecy assuring me that the Lord had accepted my work and that I should be greatly blessed in preaching the word in the future and that my life should be spared for years, to

labor for the Master. With these words of prophecy came the assurance that the Lord was actually speaking to me by his Spirit through his servant. Darkness, doubt, and fears all fled from my soul and then there came such joy and peace as I have seldom experienced. This experience, I believe to be the strongest assurance I have ever had of the divinity of the gospel of Christ. "Blessed are they that do hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled," had been running through my mind during all that hour of suffering and now I knew that that statement of our Savior is absolutely true. The fact that I know there is that within the gospel of Christ which satisfies the longings of my soul is to me the strongest assurance of its divinity I have ever experienced. When the Lord's people become

sufficiently hungry for spiritual food, I know he will feed them, but while their souls are satisfied with husks, with the things of this world, it would be useless to give them that which belongs only to the children of light. They would not appreciate it, neither could they use it wisely. But I am digressing too far. In making out my report March 1, 1901, I asked to be sent back to Western Iowa for the next year, but for some reason, those in authority thought best to give me another change of field, and so I was assigned to Maine. At the suggestion of the minister in charge, Bro. H. J. Davison and I exchanged work for a few weeks of this year, he assisting me in Maine and I assisting him in Nova Scotia. My work in Nova Scotia was among the Saints and was quite pleasant to me, but it is certainly a hard work for the man who tries to push out into new fields. Brother Davison surely deserves great credit for the many, many long years he has spent in that field, under such discouraging and trying circumstances, as do also the few Saints living there. My work in Maine that year was not all pleasant, but on the other hand it was not all unpleasant. Taking the year’s work as a whole, I was fairly well satisfied with it and believe that good was done for the cause.

The following year, 1902, I was again assigned to the Eastern mission, but that year I did not go to Maine. I labored in the Massachusetts District, and was fairly successful, I thought, in a way, but not in making converts. At the conference of 1903, I was again assigned to Southern Michigan and Northern Indiana, and was kept there for two years. My labors in that district at this time were not as pleasant and satisfactory as they had been when there ten years before. After arriving in the district I soon found that the spirit of contention and division was making much trouble in some places, and as usual this leaven of contention was spreading, and was affecting the spirituality of the Saints in many places in the district. Bro. Asa S. Cochran was president of the district, if I remember correctly. A more patient, forbearing, God fearing man I have never labored with in all my ministerial experiences. All the missionaries in the district stood together with him, battling against that spirit of contention, but our success was anything but flattering. I wish to say, however, that there are some noble Saints in that district who stood by the work as brave soldiers of the cross, while Satan was trying so hard to destroy the work.

Brother Cochran was president of the district, the greater part of the burden fell on him, yet he never faltered in his labor of love for the little flock placed under his care. I left the

Southern Michigan and Northern Indiana District the spring of 1905, not feeling at all flattered over the result of my two year's work, but I hope the record may show, when the time of reckoning shall come, that some good was done for the cause, even thought it be but little.

My appointment for 1905 was Pennsylvania and Ohio, but my labors were mostly in Ohio. I felt somewhat disappointed when assigned to this field, but I enjoyed the year's work, as a whole, and am glad I went. The next year, 1906 they gave me a big surprise; assigned me to the Rocky Mountain Mission. My labor up to this time had been in the Eastern and Central States and thus the Rocky Mountain Mission was to be a new experience to me, and it was too for a few months at least. My first point was Salt Lake City. My work there was to continue only until someone else arrived, and I did not know whether that would be one month or six months. I was somewhat embarrassed and hampered in my work. I made one trip into Southern Idaho under the direction of the minister in charge, attending their district conference at Blackfoot, Idaho. Then Brother Layland took me in his gospel wagon on a visiting tour, visiting the isolated Saints.

The last place we visited together was Eight Mile, near Soda Springs, Idaho, where we organized the Eight Mile Branch. From there he went to his home and I went first to Malad City, Idaho, and then back to Salt Lake City attended the district conference and reunion, at Provo, Utah, and then went to Montana. Utah is not a pleasant field in which to labor, and I was glad when the missionary in charge said for me to move on to Montana. My work

in Montana for the remainder of the year and the year following was quite pleasant, and while I realized that some men might have done much better than I did, I felt that some good had been done, that I should try to be satisfied that I could even do a little good. At the conference of 1908, I was assigned to the Spokane, Washington, Dist. After arriving in my field, taking in the situation as best I could, and consulting the minister in charge, I accepted the presidency of the Spokane Branch. Having been a seventy for twenty years, and my health being worse than usual, I soon found that doing the work of a high priest was very, very trying on my nerves, but having accepted, I did not feel like giving it up, and so I stayed with it during the conference year. I felt, too, that I left the branch in as good condition as I found it, but I prefer laboring in my own calling, believing that the lord gives to every man that which belongs to his office and calling, if he is faithful in that work.

Emergencies occur at times I know, but all things being equal, a man is better qualified to do the work the Lord has called him to do, than he is to do the work the Lord has called some other man to do. I tried to do the work of a high priest in the Spokane Branch, and at the end of the conference year, I returned home a physical wreck. I do not know, however, that the nature of my work had anything to do with the condition of my health but I prefer having the High Priests and Elders to preside over districts and branches.

Not feeling able to bear the strain of a General Conference and do my part of the work and not feeling willing to shirk, as I had been compelled to do the last two or three conferences. I did not attend the April conference of, 1909, the first conference I had missed since 1897. My mission for 1909 was Montana District which takes in all of the State. On May 13, before leaving home for my field of labor I was married to Miss. Clara McPhee, of Waverly, Massachusetts, and at this writing we are now located at Deer Lodge, Montana. (the conference of 1910 appointed Brother Smith to Montana, Bozeman objective point.)

This paper is quite brief, I know, for the length of time it covers, but it contains all that is necessary, I think, and perhaps a great deal more. My interest in the gospel of Christ is as strong as it ever was, and I still desire to labor for the Master in this great work. I am glad to see so many young men in the church fitting themselves for the conflict, for I know the

Lord has work for all. It is sometimes called a work of sacrifice, but I never felt that I was making any sacrifices for the cause of Christ, nor do I feel that way now. There is no other work in which a man can engage that will yield such immense profits as work done for the Lord, and a man will not have to wait until he gets a reward for the work he does for the Lord either. No, the Lord rewards his servants richly, even while they are doing the work. Not in dollars and cents, but in the glories of the divine life. There is not a single regret in my soul that I have been engaged for so many years in this work, for I look upon it as a glorious privilege to be permitted to labor with the Lord in his vineyard. I do regret very bitterly that my life has not been more fully consecrated to the Lord and his services. I am thankful that I have been permitted to do even a little good in my day.

In conclusion, I wish to exhort the young men, who are entering the ministry, to wholly consecrate themselves to God and to his service, in word, in thought, and in act. Love for god and his truth solely and you will never, never regret it.

In gospel bonds,


This concludes the published portion of this autobiography. The rest is unpublished with the original in the possession of Hazel Trieber, grand-daughter to Isaac.

I will edit part of this last section, because as Isaac got older he quoted a great deal of scripture which makes it quite lengthy. Anyone wanting an unedited copy, I will be glad to see they get it. GWR

As has been already stated, at the General Conference of 1910, I was appointed to labor in the Montana District, with the understanding that I should make my headquarters at Bozeman, and look after the work there, specially. And my mission for the next year was the same.

I enjoyed my work, the two years I was located in Bozeman, and was well sustained by the few faithful saints who were living there at that time. I did not accomplish as much for the work there during those two years, as I hoped to accomplish; but I felt quite sure that I left the work in as good conditions it was when I went there and, in some respect, possibly some better.

The Bozeman saints have a warm place in my heart, and I am glad that I had the privilege of working among them and knowing them.

At the General Conference of 1912, I was assigned to the Southeastern Illinois district. This was at my own request, because of the condition of my father.

I remained in that district, the district where I was born, where I grew to manhood, where I obeyed the gospel and where I was ordained to the office of teacher, then to the office of priest; and on the 25th day of November, 1878 I was ordained to the office of Elder and, nearly ten years later, I was ordained a Seventy, while still laboring in that district.

I reached my field of labor, soon after receiving my appointment, and labored there until near the end of 1912; but about the first of the year, 1913, I was transferred to the Southern Mission, a missionary from there taking my place in the Southeastern Illinois district.

I labored in the Southern mission until the conference of 1913, attended the General Conference, and was returned to the Southern mission. Wife and I moved into that mission and I continued to labor there until the general conference of 1915. At the general conference of 1914, however I was ordained to the office of Evangelist.

At the General Conference of 1915, I was again assigned to the state of Maine, with Stonington as an objective point. Wife and I located at Stonington and remained there until the spring of 1917. Found the work pleasant, generally, and think we did some good for the work there, in some ways at least.

During our stay in Stonington, wife and I visited her relatives in Nova Scotia, where she was born and reared. I did quite a bit of preaching, while there and it was to people who had never before heard the gospel as we preach it; but the people were, as a rule, liberal minded and willing to hear what we believed. I really enjoyed my work there, and specially enjoyed preaching the good news to my wife's people, as it was the first time many of them ever had the privilege of hearing any of our elders preach.

The general conference of 1917, assigned me to the Holden Stake, in Missouri, with Warrensburg as an objective pint. We lived there for nearly thirteen years. My work among the saints, as a rule was pleasant, though I had some experiences which were not altogether as pleasant as one might wish. But I found many faithful saints in that Stake; men and women who had the work at heart, and who really loved the gospel -- and who were willing to do their part towards supporting the cause.

While still laboring in that mission I was, at the General Conference of 1927 put on the Superannuated list; and since then, I have received no special mission, only to labor in Warrensburg, while we continued to live there.

In March, 1930, we moved to Independence, Missouri, where we are still living, and where we are hoping to spend the remainder of our days, if the Good Lord so wills.

I am well along now on the later half of my eighty first year, having lived out my four score years of earth life.

Looking back over my past life, I am compelled to see defects in it. My judgement being only human, was, of course, defective; hence mistakes were made. If I had it all to go over, I do not know whether I would be able to improve it or not. My life is nearing its end, here upon the earth, and I shall soon pass on to my reward. I am glad I have been permitted to labor for the Master; and, if I had my life to live over, I would say: Let me live it in the service of the Lord. The gospel life, the life lived for the Master is the only life for men to live, that is, it is the only life that will give joy and peace here on the earth, and eternal life in the world to come.

I have been disappointed in men, many times, and in many ways; but my faith in God and in His gospel is as strong as it ever has been. True there are some things taught in connection with the gospel, concerning men, and their claims to power and authority, which I do not now believe, as I one time did. But I do believe in god, and I believe in His gospel, as it is set forth in the New Testament and in the New Testament part of the Book of Mormon.

The weakness and the frailty of men, with their proneness to wander from the truth when their own selfish interests are concerned, are astonishing.

Strong men, that is, men who have thought themselves to be strong, and whom their fellows have also thought to be strong, are often found to be weak, easily exalted in their own conceit.

But the Lord, we are assured, is merciful, long-suffering, and full of compassion. And we are also assured that He, having passed through a life in the flesh, as we have had to do, knows the weakness of humanity, and He is our ADVOCATE and will plead our cause for us.

I believe in God. I believe His gospel; and I believe it to be "THE POWER OF GOD UNTO SALVATION, TO EVERY ONE THAT BELIEVETH." But ritualism church machinery, with the doctrines and the precepts of men, are hindrances to the gospel, as a rule, instead of being helps.


MAY 23RD, 1935

Today I passed my 82nd birthday Anniversary. Am now 82 years old. I feel that my remaining days here on the earth must necessarily be few--unless the Lord, for some reason, might see fit to lengthen out my span of life a few years longer than what might be considered my natural lifetime. And I must confess that I can see no reason for this being done, hence, I am not expecting to last much longer.

I have nothing special to add to what I have already written, neither do I think of nothing in this brief Autobiography that I care to change, at this time.

Many things connected with the Gospel of Christ or, rather with the church, I now look at from a different viewpoint than the one from which I viewed Church matters in my younger days. Of those matters I have written more fully, elsewhere, that is, I have written elsewhere on some of the things connected with the church which I see quite differently from what I did a few years ago.

Of that, it is not necessary for me to say very much at this time. I have been, from my youth, a student of the Bible; and, to me, it is still THE BOOK OF BOOKS; and that which I cannot harmonize with the Bible, I am inclined to doubt, even though it may claim to be revelation from the Lord.

Some people seem to be of the opinion that later revelations are more important to us than former ones; but later revelations, to be of any importance to me, must harmonize with those which I have been taught to believe from my childhood.

My intelligence, what little I have, has been given to me by the Lord, and I firmly believe that I shall be held accountable to Him for the manner in which I use that intelligence; hence, in the study of the scriptures, as with other matters, I try to use my own intelligence in trying to reach right conclusions. That seems safer to me than taking what some one else may tell me, especially in matters of religion. And, with the understanding I now have of the scriptures, it is IMPOSSIBLE FOR ME to believe as I one time did, in regard to certain things connected with the church, especially with certain things which the church holds as revelation, and which I am unable to harmonize with the teaching of the Bible.

I have nothing against the members of the church to which I belong, and for which I have been preaching for nearly sixty years. The people of the church as a rule, are honest and

sincere in their religion, that is, they try to be honest and sincere, as I have tried to be. As to who is right and who is deceived, we shall have to await the final judgment, perhaps, and

until the, I shall try to be merciful, even as I hope for mercy from the Lord.

This may or may not be the last I shall write. That depends, perhaps, upon the length of time I shall continue to live, and possibly upon the condition of my health.

But I want you to remember that my faith in the Savior of the world, and in his gospel, as revealed to us in the New Testament and in the New Testament part of the Book of Mormon, has not diminished nor failed me. I firmly believe in Jesus Christ as the Son of God and as the Savior of the world. In Him is my hope and my trust.

MAY 23rd, 1936

Today I pass my 83rd birthday Anniversary and commence my 84th year of this earth life. The greater part of my life, since reaching manhood, has been devoted to preaching the gospel, as I understood it. I have no regrets for work done for the Master: only wish I had done more for Him; but, if I had my life to live over again, knowing what I think I know now, it would be quite different from what it has been. I was twenty-five years old, when I commenced preaching; and, could I now call back the fifty seven and one half years which have intervened since then, I would not change my life's work, only I would cut loose from so much church machinery and everything of minor importance, and would preach Christ, FIRST, LAST, AND ALL THE TIME. O yes, I have been preaching Christ, all those fifty seven years; but I have given entirely too much time to Church organization, church government, Restoration, Priesthood, authority, etc., etc.

Our Savior said to Martha ______ Luke 10: 41-42. Smith Goodspeed Translation. And the "RIGHT THING" according to Paul is this, Colossians 3:11. Christ in you is the one thing that is needful; and, when Paul came to Ephesus and found a few disciples there, the first question he asked them was ---- Acts 19:2.

Paul did not ask those saints as Ephesus if they had received the doctrine of stewardship when they believed. He did not ask them if they had received the doctrine of the gathering when they believed. He did not ask them if they had received the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment when they believed. No, these things might be quite important but "INDEED THERE IS ONLY ONE THING WE NEED", and that one thing is VITAL CONTACT, OR VITAL UNION, WITH THE CHRIST, WHO IS OUR LIFE. Paul

evidently understood that; hence, he asked: "DID YOU RECEIVE THE HOLY SPIRIT WHEN YOU BECAME BELIEVERS?".

"ABIDE IN ME, AND I IN YOU," was the teaching of the master. As the branch cannot partake of the life that is in the vine, except it abides in the vine, you and I cannot partake of the life of Christ, except we abide in Christ or, as some translators render it: EXCEPT WE ABIDE IN VITAL UNION WITH HIM.

"So as you once accepted the Christ, JESUS as your Lord, YOU MUST LIVE IN VITAL UNION WITH HIM." ----Colossians 2:6.

I like the translation of Dr. Moffatt of 1st John 2:26-27 ----- "ABIDE IN ME, AND I IN YOU." The one thing we need is that which God chose to make known among the heathen: "How glorious this mystery OF CHRIST IN YOU, THE PROMISE OF GLORIFICATION, REALLY


"CHRIST IN YOU" is the promise, or the assurance which the Lord gives to His people of their ultimate glorification; and "HOW GLORIOUS" it "REALLY IS. -----Colossians 1:27.

I did not intend to preach a sermonette, but I shall take the privilege of calling attention to a few more texts of scripture before leaving this Ephesians 4:15-16.

But you will note that the whole body must be "CLOSELY JOINED AND KNIT TOGETHER:" and it must be closely joined and knit together "BY THE CONTACT OF EVERY PART WITH THE SOURCE OF ITS LIFE."

We would be ready to say, without any positive statement from the scriptures, that CHRIST is the "source of life" to every member of his spiritual body, His church; but fortunately, we have a positive statement of this fact in ----Colossians 1:18.


Every part of the body, that is, every member of His church, must be in vital contact with CHRIST, The head, in order to DERIVE FROM HIM THE POWER TO GROW, just as every branch of THE TRUE VINE must remain in vital contact with the TRUE VINE in order to

derive from it the power to grow.

And how is that to be done? Just as quoted above:

But holding the truth in a spirit of love, we shall grow "INTO COMPLETE UNION WITH HIM WHO IS OUR HEAD --- CHRIST HIMSELF."


And again we hear the apostle Paul saying:----- Colossians 2:2-7 And he immediately follows this in Verses 8-10.

In union with Christ, Paul says that you, too, are to be filled with the fullness of God's nature; but, as stated in verse 6, it must be "IN VITAL UNION WITH HIM." A dead branch may remain united with the vine, in a way, but for a member of Christ's living body to abide in THE TRUE VINE, there must be a "VITAL UNION" with Christ the head.

We sometimes hear people talk of being of the blood of Ephraim or the blood of Manasseh, just as if that made them a litter superior to a full blooded Gentile; but Paul puts it like this, Colossians 3:9-11 Galatians 3:26-28.

There is absolutely no room at all in Christ for these distinctions which, to us, sometimes seem to be very important. In Him, our life is to be crucified, and Christ Himself is to

live within us, that is Christ is to live within every individual member of His body, His Church. And In Him there seems to be no room at all for distinctions between Greek and Jew, between an American and a Scotchman, between a man and a woman, between a

slave and his master, or between the king on his throne and the poor beggar who lies at his gate and begs for a crust of bread.

IN CHRIST, all are one: Christ lives in every member of His body; and his life should be made manifest in every member of His body. he is OUR LIFE, and we have a life in Him by partaking of His life; and we can partake of his life only when we abide in Him and He abides in us.

And Christ abides in us through His Holy Spirit, and His Spirit, or "UNCTION," teaches us all things; hence, we are admonished: "SIMPLY REMAIN IN HIM." Indeed, "THERE IS ONLY ONE THING WE NEED," and that one thing is to ABIDE IN HIM.

And, when we truly "REMAIN IN HIM," we come into vital contact, with His life, and that supplies us with life, with food, with raiment, and with wisdom and knowledge for the work He requires of us, and we do not need to take thought as to what we shall have to eat or to wear, nor as to what we shall answer those who demand of us a reason for our faith. "SIMPLY REMAIN IN HIM. LIVE IN VITAL UNION WITH HIM."

If I had my life to live over, understanding these matters as I now do, let me say again: I would not choose a different profession, or a different life's work, but I would make that ONE THING NEEDFUL stand out far more prominent in my work than I have been able to do in the past.

Church organization, church government, the object of the law, whether we are the children of Ephraim or common Gentiles, what is represented by the seven head and ten horns, or by the woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, whether the coming of Christ is to be before the millennium or after it--- these, with many other things, which may be more or less important in their place, would be put away down below the "ONE


Like Paul, I would make "CHRIST AND HIM CRUCIFIED" the "ONE THING NEEDFUL"--- the all important thing for the people to know and to understand.

Please try to understand me. The all important thing for people to be made to understand, in the first place, is that Christ, the Son of god, was crucified for the redemption and the salvation of the whole human family and that we have life only in and through him.

But the all important thing for us to do is to unite ourselves to Him by obedience; but when we do this, and then continue steadfastly in His doctrine we must not get the idea that we are saving ourselves from sin, nor that we can do anything separate and apart from Him. The all important thing for us to do when once united with Christ, who is our head is to "ABIDE IN HIM". Or as John expresses it: "SIMPLY REMAIN IN HIM."

We cannot make ourselves grow in the Divine life; but if we remain in Him, remain in vital contact with His life, we partake of that Divine life, His life, and He teaches us by and through the influence of His Holy Spirit, or "UNCTION," all things that are necessary for us to know. But we must "REMAIN IN HIM". We must continue to partake of HIS LIFE. In fact, he is our life, and we can continue to live only by continuing to partake of his life.

MAY THE 23d, 1938

When I last wrote in this Autobiography, May the 23d, 1936, I meant to write again on my 84th birthday anniversary, May 23d, 1937; but that day passed and I neglected to write.

Now, May 23d, 1938 has come and gone, and I am now 85 years old, and am still here. I have no special communication to present at this time.

What I have written, the last few years, is written, and I do not wish to change it to any great extent. O, if I were able to re- write the whole thing, I would make quite a number of changes.

When I wrote it, I did not mean to be at all personal in what I said; but in writing on matters of that kind, it is difficult to avoid being personal in some things. When you write of what

another man has taught, it is almost impossible to avoid being personal, at times, for you are compelled to refer to the man in connection with what the man has taught.

I do not think I have said anything which is harsh or unjust --- I know there is no malice in my heart towards any one of whom I have written, or whose teachings, I have criticized. What any one writes and puts out to the world as his understanding of the gospel of Christ becomes public, and the public naturally feel that it is perfectly proper and right to criticize it, if the criticism is done in the proper spirit.

The leading men of the church have always treated me with proper respect, so far as I know, and I have never had any trouble with any of them, hence I have no grudge or ill feelings towards any of them.

But there comes a time in a man's life, when he feels it necessary for him to re-examine the foundation upon which he is building, or on which he has been building; and, should he find that he has accepted in the past that for which he cannot now stand, there is no law of God that would compel him to continue to believe and teach that which he does not and cannot now believe.

Some things which I once believed and taught, I cannot believe now. I might continue to teach them, but it would be impossible for me to continue to believe them. It may be my fault that I do not.

MAY THE 23d, 1939

The 23d, day of May has come again, and I am now eighty six (86) years old. My hearing and my eyesight and both failing me, and I realize that I am now an old man, and that my working days are now in the past.

I am still in the faith of the gospel of Christ as it is taught in the Bible and in the Book of Mormon, according to my understanding of those two books.

A small booklet is lying before me, entitled: "OFFICIAL STATEMENT OF BELIEF, an epitome of faith and Doctrine. REORGANIZED CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER DAY SAINTS."

And on the inside of the first leaf is this "WHAT WE BELIEVE".

I have just looked it over again, and I find nothing there to which I would make any serious objections; but, as said before, there are some things in the Latter Day revelations which have been accepted by the church, which I cannot now believe. I did believe them and teach them to others, for many years.

But my mind has changed, the last few years, and I am COMPELLED to look at matters from a different view point. It hurts to be compelled to give up that which one has believed and preached for many, many years, and to thereby lose the love and the friendship of those with whom he has worked and prayed in years gone by. And, in addition to that, one runs the risk of being misunderstood, and of being considered either unbalanced, mentally or deceived by some false spirit.

Well be that as it may, I am sure I am honest in my present views of the gospel, just the same as I have always been in what I believed and taught to the people among whom I have labored. Things which once looked reasonable and scriptural to me now look both unreasonable and unscriptural to me.

And that which looks both unreasonable and unscriptural to me, I cannot, of course believe.

I have not talked my present views regarding these matters, only of a few, very few, people and the people to whom I have talked them were of the same opinion as myself, practically at least. I dislike to cause people to doubt their religion --- O, if I had something to give them in place of it, I would not hesitate, that is, if I could only hope to make them stronger in their faith toward Christ and his gospel.

But my days being so near an end, here upon the earth, and my health being so miserable, I have decided to follow after those things which make for peace, as directed in the scriptures.

I may have decided unwisely in this, but it is as I see it now. My faith is in Christ as my Lord and my Savior, and in Him is my trust. I find great consolation in this statement of the apostle Peter, as recorded in the Twentieth Century New Testament:

"Regard our Lord's forbearance as your one hope of salvation."-- 2d Peter 3:15.

Anything which tends to make the gospel more mysterious and harder to understand, more complicated and more confusing, is certainly a hindrance in bringing men and women to Christ. Personal contact or union with Christ is the essential thing in obtaining salvation---without that, all talk about doctrine, church organization, authority, Divine power, etc., etc., is just so much talk.

But the man or woman who is "IN UNION WITH CHRIST", or who is "IN CHRIST". has that one important thing which is essential to salvation. see Luke 10:41-42.

Indeed there is only one thing we need. If we have been "BAPTIZED INTO CHRIST" or "BAPTIZED INTO UNION WITH CHRIST," and remain in union with him, that, to my mind is the one essential thing which is absolutely necessary to our eternal salvation.

And this, of course, all comes to us through the forbearance and the long suffering of our Lord, as just quoted from the apostle Peter. After all that we have done, and all that we an do, we are still unprofitable servants and are dependent upon his forbearance, His mercy, His grace.

On page 11 of this autobiography, you will see that on, the 13 day of May, 1909, I was married to Miss Clara McPhee, of Waverley, Massachusetts. She has bee a faithful devoted companion to me, from that date until the 18th day of last month, that is February 18th, 1940. On that evening, it being Sunday evening, she left home to attend some church class, saying, as she left home, that she expected to be back home soon; but, only a few minutes after leaving home, she was struck by a car while trying to cross the street; and from the injuries received in that accident, she died the next morning: on Monday, February 19th at 2:35 AM. She was conscious when I reached the Sanitarium, soon after she was hurt; but she was suffering very much and could talk but little. This leaves me in a lonely helpless condition, almost 87 years old, and almost an invalid. I have had to lean on her, so much the last few years; my hearing is bad too; and my general health so miserable that it seems almost a helpless case. But I could stand all that, were it not for the loneliness without her. I have plead with the Lord for help and for strength, and am still praying; and I have hope that He will not leave me altogether alone in this dark and gloomy hour. There surely cannot be many months or years more for me on this earth, and then I too shall pass over to the other side, to join loved ones who have gone on before me. In those few years, I hope that I may be able to do some little good, in some way. Other men have been left even in worse condition than I am; for I have still living those who are near and dear to me, who are doing all they can to make life bearable for me; and for their sake, I shall be glad to live, even thought life may be dark and dreary, that is, I shall be glad to live for their sakes as long as I can live without being a burden to them. But.

"My times are in thy hands;
My God! I wish them there;
My life, my friends, my soul,
I leave entirely to thy care."

It is not for me to say how many or how few my remaining days on earth may be; but it is mine to occupy those days, few or many, in the service of my Savior, doing what little good I can.

I feel assured that my companion has gone to rest in the Paradise of God; and that she is free from pain and suffering, and that her life there is far more pleasant than it could be here. Hence, I shall try to avoid mourning for her as those who have no hope; for, it I can live acceptable to the Master, I shall certainly hope, someday, to meet her again in that home or rest and eternal bliss which the Lord has prepared for His children.

But in this fight for the victory over the evil one, I shall need help from above I shall need that "New live from God," which comes only through union with Christ Jesus our Lord. If I know my own heart's desire, and I think I do, I desire, above all things else, that Christ will come into my soul and live within me, making my life like his life.

[This is the last entry by Isaac Morton Smith. He did not die until 19 Jan 1952 at the age of 98.]